General

Remembering Julie Harris

Along with Katharine Cornell, Rosemary Harris, Helen Hayes, Jessica Tandy and Laurette Taylor, Julie Harris was one of a handful of actresses who became as much a part of the American theater as greasepaint and follow spots. Harris died on August 24 at her home in West Chatham, Mass. She was 87.

During her long career, she played an epic historical figure (The Lark), a reclusive poetess (The Belle of Amherst), a tragic First Lady (The Last of Mrs. Lincoln), the crotchety title character in Alfred Urhy's Pulitzer prize-winning Driving Miss Daisy and literally hundreds of other women, every one of them memorable simply because Julie Harris gave them life. She remains one of the most honored players in the history of the Tony Awards with ten nominations and six wins.

In a breakthrough performance, Harris created the role of Frankie Addams, a tomboyish 12-year-old who is determined to tag along on her beloved brother’s honeymoon in the stage adaptation of Carson McCuller’s The Member of the Wedding. She played Frankie again in Fred Zinnemann’s 1952 film version of the play, along with fellow cast members Ethel Waters and Brandon De Wilde. Elia Kazan credited Harris’ calming influence on the mercurial James Dean as one of the major factors that made the movie version of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden such a pleasure for him to direct. (READ MORE)

 

The man who isn’t there

We live in an age when vacuum-headed nonentities become celebrated simply by allowing their personal lives to be exploited on television and smeared over the front pages of every trashy tabloid in the country.

Greta (“I want to be alone.”) Garbo would be more bewildering than fascinating to the public today. Why, for God’s sake, would anyone not want to be famous?

Movie director Stanislas Cordova doesn't like being famous. Cordova makes Stanley Kubrick look like a party animal. He haunts the pages of Marisha Pessl’s excessive new literary thriller, Night Film as the constant presence who is never there. The indistinct figure in the blurred photograph might be him. The man in the backseat of the car resembled what he probably looks like. The general consensus is that he isn't dead, but no one knows for sure. (READ MORE)

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Night Film: A Novel By Marisha Pessl Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780812979787
Availability: IN WAREHOUSE - Usually Ships in 3-7 Business Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - July 1st, 2014

Illusion of Separateness Simon Van Booy

A few months ago the bookstore received an Advance Readers Copy of Simon Van Booy’s newest book, The Illusion of Separateness. Fights broke out among several booksellers and, by some miracle, I was the second bookseller to get ahold of it (I swear I never threw a single punch). I read it in one sitting, as many of us did, not only because I couldn't put it down, but because putting it down mid-story, thus disrupting the flow, would have been a crime. A terrible, unspeakable crime.

The Illusion of Separateness is an intimate look at the tiny choices that connect us all. Readers get the story of multiple characters that are all seemingly connected in the present day through events that began during the Second World War. Each chapter is written with a different voice, telling the story of a fully-realized character that you can't help but empathize with. (READ MORE)

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The Illusion of Separateness: A Novel By Simon Van Booy Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062248459
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Published: Harper Perennial - July 29th, 2014

If Orson could do it

There is a big difference between a bad movie and a boring one. I would rather sit through Plan 9 from Outer Space three times than have to endure Out of Africa once more. Until recently, Plan 9, directed by Ed Wood, the acknowledged DeMille of cinematic debris, has often been cited as the worst film ever made. Its pedigree for the honor is impressive if only for the pie plate flying saucers and the abrupt disappearance of its titular star, Bela Lugosi, who mercifully died before the movie was finished.

There is a kind of perverse grandeur to a really bad movie, like gazing in awe upon the blackened skeleton of the Hindenburg as it lay on the ground. If you want to invest a bad film with grandeur, then you have to cede a certain nobility to its creators. And using that debatable premise, then Tommy Wiseau should be a candidate for sainthood. (READ MORE)

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The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made By Greg Sestero, Tom Bissell Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781476730400
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Published: Simon & Schuster - October 7th, 2014

Stephen King’s house of horrors

Joyland will probably be remembered as a minor entry in Stephen King’s impressive collection of books, but even minor (not to be confused with second-rate) King is more addictively readable than most contemporary authors. The new novel, released in paperback, doesn't have the epic sweep of Under the Dome or the intricate structure of 11-22-63, but Joyland is not unlike hopping on to one of the rides at the amusement park in North Carolina where most of the book is set. You just hold on and wait for the thrills.

The novel is part murder mystery, part ghost story. It has many of the elements that have become Mr. King’s literary trademarks over the years: a small town setting, a sympathetic child (who shares Danny Torrance’s gift for shining), an array of colorful secondary characters, a mascot of sorts -- in this case, Howie the Happy Hound -- and a particularly vicious murderer on the prowl. (READ MORE)

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Joyland By Stephen King Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781781162644
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Published: Hard Case Crime - June 4th, 2013

Judge a book by its cover. Right now.

I do it.  I do it all the time.  Show me a book cover and I'll tell you how likely I am to enjoy it.  I know "they" say it shouldn't be done, but I'm here to tell you "they" are wrong.  Here's why:

1. Publishers chose great covers:
Why? Because they've been at it and they know what they're doing.  For example, Vanessa Farquharson hated the cover of her book, Sleeping Naked is Green.  But I like it.  It's funny.  It represents the book well, which is also funny.   Writers write and publishers market.  So go marketing team, you sold me a book.  See, not all marketing is bad.

Political books often feature a photo of the author on the cover.  That's because publishers know that the readers who are going to pick that book up are doing it because they recognize the author and may want to read what they have to say.  Many of those authors may not have chosen to put themselves on the covers (or maybe they would.  Ugh, politicians). (READ MORE)

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1984: 75th Anniversary By George Orwell, Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Introduction by), Sandra Newman (Afterword by) Cover Image
By George Orwell, Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Introduction by), Sandra Newman (Afterword by)
$9.99
ISBN: 9780451524935
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Published: Signet -

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