Winter is upon us. Snow is falling, cocoa is plentiful and there's no better time to curl up and let the stress of Christmas pass you by with a good book. Here's a trio of titles worth reading.
Elizabeth Taylor by Ellis Cashmore
Paparazzi everywhere; TMZ covering every celebrity's move 24/7. It's nearly impossible to imagine a time where this didn't exist. Ellis Cashmore's Elizabeth Taylor seeks to pinpoint when this oppressive obsession with celebrity first started, zeroing in on Elizabeth Taylor's public affair with Richard Burton. Cashmore doesn't rehash Taylor's biography. Instead, the book charts Taylor's rise from child star to international woman of mystery, whose every endorsement and quote was feasted on by the masses; who's public affairs were fodder for the tabloids. A taste gossipy at times, and dry in others, the book takes awhile to get off the ground, but maybe that's because we're all so used to standard celebrity biographies. Cashmore's academic approach turns Taylor into a specimen, whose career under the microscope is placed under one itself.
Junk by Alison Stewart
What's the difference between "junk" and "trash?" Is there any? As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once said, regarding pornography, "I know it when I see it" and it's a quote Alison Stewart looks at in her text, Junk. Junk looks at the rise of garage sale culture, where one man's trash is touted as treasure, even when it might be a jar of corks. Stewart looks at the rural garage sale scene, the foundations of why junk culture is so prominent, even how the packrat is one of the more annoying rodents for its tendency to accumulate stuff. If you've ever wanted to learn more about why you have a hard time parting with your old clothes, this one is for you!
The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter by Jeremy Arnold
Life's too short to waste on bad movies. It's why there are countless books written about the "must-see" films you have to consume before shuffling loose the mortal coil. If you're like me, you want an expert to tell you what to watch and there are no greater experts than the gang at Turner Classic Movies. Author Jeremy Arnold teams up with the classic film network to present 52 amazing films you should definitely see.
Each section includes gorgeous full-page photos, quotes from TCM Essentials host Robert Osborne (and guest hosts like Molly Haskell, Drew Barrymore, and Alec Baldwin) and trivia. The films included are givens for worshipers of film: Ben-Hur, Double Indemnity, and Lawrence of Arabia for starters. There are a few surprise films I didn't expect, especially Rob Reiner's This is Spinal Tap which I'd certainly consider an Essential. With Robert Osborne out of commission for over a year, part of the book's fun is hearing Osborne's voice describing some of these films. Arnold doesn't need to gild the lily of these films, presenting a mix of informative trivia and his own interest in what makes these films essential. This is a great starter's guide for anyone interested in learning what makes film so essential in the first place, direct from the source.