Beautiful ruins

By Walter, Jess

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Aug 21, 2014

Beautiful ruins is a remarkable love story that spans decades and two continents. Pasquale, a young Italian who is trying to make his family's humble hotel marketable to American tourists, is struck by a beautiful American tourist who comes to stay. Her name is Dee Moray and she has been diagnosed with stomach cancer while filming Cleopatra and has been sent to Porto Vergogna - Pasquale's small fishing village - to rest before going for treatment in Switzerland. She is waiting for another man to come take care of her but finds a much-needed friend and confidante in Pasquale. A friendship that

Going Clear, Scientology: Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief

By Lawrence Wright
Star Rating

Rated by Michelle H.
Sep 30, 2013

Lawrence Wright’s journalistic writing is the perfect voice for the subject of Scientology. In the hands of most other writers, Scientology would float into the ether, a dark and unfathomable history left unread by sensible readers.  That said, though Wright offers Scientology an even-handed approach, his book is full of strange stories, made stranger when compared to the seemingly (sometimes) sane and healthy lives of people who are associated with Scientology. 

Wright’s aim, he tells us, is to “learn something about what might be called the process of belief.”  He describes in detail the

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Jul 3, 2013

The sun.  The coast.  You are luxuriating in the beautiful descriptions of Porto Vergogna, Italy.  But then  an American actress enters  Pasquali Tursi’s family pensione —the Hotel Adequate View.   She enters and leaves mysteriously and we spend the book searching for the beautiful Dee Moray. But in this idyllic setting we become involved in a cast of characters who are not beautiful.  They are flawed, searching, trying to make it through their version of life.  That search takes us from World War II to the present, from Italy to America and back again in a journey that is pure fun.  In Beauti

Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews by Carl Rollyson

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Jan 8, 2013

Hollywood Enigma is a readable biography of one of Hollywood’s better, yet underappreciated male screen stars of the 1940s and 1950s. Dana Andrews was not a famous or flashy screen star in the mold of Gable, Tracy, or James Stewart, but his performances got to the heart of introspective, complex characters that probably would not have worked if he had been more famous or extroverted. Consider his performances in the Ox Bow Incident as a wrongly accused cattle thief and murderer, as confused detectives in film noir classics (Laura, Fallen Angel, Where the Sidewalk Ends), or as a returning World

Hollywood Animal by Joe Eszterhas

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Sep 7, 2012

I cannot, in good conscience, recommend Joe Eszterhas’ memoir Hollywood Animal. I tried to read this book with an open mind, but in the end, ended up just about despising the author. In his zeal to portray himself as a player on the Hollywood scene, Eszterhas instead reminded this reader that sleaze just isn’t all that amusing.

In addition, this book is more than 700 pages long; it should have been HALF that. I guess, though, that if you're the screenwriter who wrote Basic Instinct, plus a lot of other films that altogether have grossed about a billion bucks (that's not an exaggeration), then

Apr 27, 2012

Perhaps the title should be Beautiful and Brainy. Beautiful is a readable account of the life of “the most beautiful woman of the first half of the Twentieth Century”, a film star of 1930s and 1940s, and the namesake of Austria’s annual invention award.

Born to an upper middle class Viennese banker and a Jewish mother, Hedy Kiesler became a movie star in Europe as a teenager, soon afterwards married one of Europe’s wealthiest arms manufacturers, and fled her husband and Vienna as Austria was joining the Third Reich.

Shearer tells the story of an actress who arrives in America with no English

Stardust by Joseph Kanon

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Apr 1, 2010

stardust.jpgReally good noir fiction about a bygone era in Hollywood can be scarcer than hens’ teeth, but Kanon provides a fine tale, with historical overtones.  The period is set immediately after WWII, and a returning GI is traveling across country, after learning his brother, a successful screen writer, has had a fatal accident.  Or was it?  As Ben Collier becomes familiar with his brother’s life, marriage, and somewhat clandestine activities, the Communist witch hunt begins with forays into studio politics and the émigrés who have sought asylum in the US from Eastern Europe. The division between real