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Saturday, August 01, 2009

This Weeks' Reading List: 1st August

It's been a very busy week. Fights with the workplace, some pressures, stresses and an on-going battle with depression has seen my reading limited but on the upside I have completely emptied the storage unit and thrown out reams of useless crap and, best of all, unpacked several hundred books and placed them upon the shelves. Excellent!

What did I finish this week?
King Of Comedy: The Life & Art Of Jerry Lewis by Shawn Levy. I like Levy's style of writing, his book on the Rat Pack is one of my all time favourites and this book is greatly assisted by the same informative, yet entertaining style of reporting. There's stuff in here that I never knew about Lewis, and to be honest, he's never been one of my favourite comedians (Marx Brothers boy that I always was) yet this has caused me to reconsider my appraisals of the man. Levy shows that Lewis, like most comedians, has a definite dark side, which erupted during the writing of the book, as the postscript shows, as Lewis began to attack Levy for slights that were, for the most part, totally imagined.

First Photographs by Gail Buckland. Pretty much what the title says the book delivers. Piles of early and interesting photographs of all kinds of topics. The photo of Ruth Synder's execution is still a chilling image, even after eighty years.

The World Of Mitchell by Phil Birnbaum. An overview of the career of editorial cartoonist Bill Mitchell. This book will mean absolutely nothing to:
1] anyone under the age of 40 and
2] anyone who's never lived in Australia. Thus this book has limited appeal. Like the bulk of such books, the editorial cartoons presented make no sense unless you're aware of the situation surrounding them, and some, in hindsight, appear to be either silly or mean spirited. Damned good artist though.

Rockwell On Rockwell: How I Make A Picture by Norman Rockwell. I got this book, and the next one listed, for peanuts from a local market. Colour me happy. Brilliant book by Rockwell showing the techniques that the artist used to create some of his most memorable images. I expect that artists of today could do worse than to try and track a copy of this sucker down.

Norman Rockwell & The Saturday Evening Post: The Early Years by Norman Rockwell. See the recurring pattern here? A beautifully presented book, large in format and as such able to showcase of the earlier Rockwell covers. I know a lot of art aficionados look down on Rockwell, but I like the stuff. Reading it I couldn't help but wonder if there's a book out there showcasing my other favourite painter: Norman Mingo...

The Draft by Emma Quayle. As mentioned last week, this was finished an hour after I finished my entry. See last week's entry for an more in-depth report.

READING AT THE MOMENT
S.P. Mackenzie: The Colditz Myth. Holy crap!! Not your usual WWII POW book, not that light and breezy, but it is showing, by use of detailed research, that a lot of what we've been lead to believe about WWII POW life might not be all that it appears. Not an easy book to read, but rich in detail and scope. Halfway through it, ETA of finishing is sometime Monday.

ON THE READING LIST THIS WEEK
Bruce Beresford: Josh Hartnett Definitely Wants To Do This...
Kevin Brownlow: Behind The Mask Of Innocence - Sex, Violence, Prejudice, Crime: Films Of Social Conscience In The Silent Era
Paul Buhle & Dave Wagner: Hide In Plain Sight - The Hollywood Blacklistees In Film & Television 1950 - 2002

I'm also doing some serious research into a potential new book that I want to write. This has also seen a lot of reading time taken up with other subjects. As such if I wasn't researching I'd have finished another two books or so, but if Project #5 (as I'm calling it) takes off it'll all be worth it. Watch this space.

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