“Let’s go to the movies. Let’s go see the sta-a-ars!” This classic song from the movie musical, Annie, is the perfect introduction to our March book chain that’s all about Hollywood and movie stars. Do you love reading, movies, and reading books about movies? Then this is the challenge for you.
March is Oscars month. Hollywood has been churning out award-winning movies and movie stars for over 100 years, which means lots to read about. It’s time to discover all you can about remarkable actors and the glamour of Hollywood.
Fans have always been fascinated with actors and actresses that grace the big screen. We can’t pretend to understand precisely why that is. Regardless, there’s no denying that those who are comfortable telling stories in front of a camera have something special that makes them intriguing and fun to watch.
In fact, storytelling is at the heart of acting. So it should come as no surprise that actors find all kinds of ways to tell stories, especially their stories.
Let’s start our reading chain with some outstanding memoirs.
Stories I Only Tell My Friends
Rob Lowe, 2018
Folks who read lots of Hollywood memoirs agree: this might be the best Hollywood memoir ever written. Lowe is a strong writer and has scads of stories to tell. This book tells them all kindly and thoughtfully. His anecdotes include gems such as chatting with Sting while waiting in line for the bathroom, talking about marriage with John F. Kennedy, Jr., watching the filming of special effects sequences for the first Star Wars, and arguing with Michael J. Fox about whose film had the best movie anthem.
At the same time, while Mr. Lowe’s stories are delightful, the most important and enjoyable aspect of this book is his evolution from being a pretty Hollywood party boy to becoming a loving, responsible husband, father, and man.
His shift from the path of self-destruction to a committed, contented family man is a story you’ll take with you long after you finish this book.
Life Beyond Measure: Letters to My Great-Granddaughter
Sydney Poitier, 2008
In January of this year, we said goodbye to Sydney Poitier, one of the finest black Hollywood movie stars. In this book, Poitier shares lessons gleaned from his life in letters written to his great-granddaughter.
His life was certainly remarkable; he was born in the Bahamas, but his parents sent him to the United States at 14 with only a fourth-grade education to save him from a life of crime. He was shot during race riots in Harlem at the age of 16 and then worked menial jobs to get by.
Finally, he took a chance, auditioned for a spot with the Negro Ensemble Theater, and everything changed. You’ll find his journey from Bahamian delinquent to Hollywood star, diplomat, humanitarian, father, and grandfather to be unforgettable and inspirational.
A Lotus Grows in the Mud
Goldie Hawn, 2006
When you think of Hollywood in the ’60s and ’70s, Goldie Hawn’s blonde hair and bubbly voice quickly come to the forefront. She was an “it” girl who was everywhere, and this book is her story.
It’s the story of a girl who just wanted to be happy. Hawn led a fascinating life, and she gives her readers an honest, private peek into all of it. She shares 35 individual stories about the people, places, events, and ideas that inspired her, interspersed with photos and “postcards” filled with words of wisdom meant to encourage you on your quest for happiness.
If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won’t)
Betty White, 2012
We’re all still grieving the loss of the beloved Betty White, and reading her memoir is the perfect way to celebrate her memory.
Betty shares everything about being a star in this book – the glamorous and the not-so-glamorous. This book is witty, sharp, honest, and straight to the point. We’d expect nothing less from Betty.
Taste: My Life Through Food
Stanley Tucci, 2021
If you know anything about Stanley Tucci, it’s these two things: one, he loves food, and two, his sense of humor is wry. Both characteristics are on full display in this enjoyable memoir.
Don’t expect a full life story – he doesn’t start with his birth, and he doesn’t fill in all the gaps. Likewise, this isn’t a book about Hollywood gossip. What this book is about, however, is how food featured in the notable moments of his life, like when he fell in love with his wife watching her lust after the cheese trolley or when actress Meryl Streep ordered smelly chitterlings sausages while dining in a French bistro.
It’s also the story of how a cancer diagnosis in 2017 left him being fed by a tube and how a life well lived is a life full of good food. This book will endear you to Tucci and make you decidedly hungry. You’ve been warned.
Will Smith and Mark Manson, 2021
You’ll laugh and cry as you read this memoir written by Will Smith with the help of Mark Manson. Smith shares details and lessons from his life in his characteristic open and honest voice.
His life thus far has taken him from the rough streets of West Philadelphia to glamorous and glitzy Hollywood, and the tale of that ride is nothing short of amazing. But Smith doesn’t stop there.
The readers are shown his journey to master his emotions while performing for high stakes on the world stage. You’ll find the wisdom to move your life forward, regardless of the stakes, in this gem of a book.
The Big Screen:
It’s not just the actors and actresses that make interesting reading. Hollywood itself is the stuff of great stories, facts and fiction.
City of Nets: A Portrait of Hollywood in the 1940s
Otto Friedrich, 2014
Otto Friedrich shares the story of Hollywood during its “golden age” in this lively non-fiction book filled with gossip, culture, humor, and corruption. If you’re a movie buff and a fan of all things classic Hollywood, you’ll love this detailed look behind the curtains at the rise and fall of the movie industry during this tumultuous decade.
You’ll also find plenty of films to add to your streaming queue, so when you’re not reading, you’ll be discovering and watching new favorites.
You’ll Never Eat Lunch in this Town Again
Julia Phillips, 2002
What was it like to be a woman in the predominantly male Hollywood club of elite movie producers? Julia Phillips answers that question and more in this expose of La-La-Land in the 1970s and 80s. Phillips won an Academy Award for her work as co-producer of The Sting, the first woman to ever win an award for producing. Working with the leading directors of the day, Phillips was universally respected for knowing what she was doing.
Yet the fact she was female kept her consistently on the outside looking in. She holds nothing back in this look at a career cut short by chauvinism and discrimination.
A Touch of Stardust
Kate Alcott, 2016
This page-turning novel is set in 1938 Hollywood, where Julie Crawford, an aspiring writer, spends her days working as Carole Lombard’s personal assistant.
Ms. Lombard is having an affair with none other than Clark Gable, the married star of Gone with the Wind, and Julie is tasked with keeping the press out of it. The stories of Julie and Carole’s growing friendship are set against the backdrop of the filming of one of the greatest movies of all time. There’s a bit of romance, a bit of Hollywood gossip, and just a touch of stardust in this dazzling novel.
West of Sunset
Stuart O’Nan, 2015
West of Sunset is a book of historical fiction set during the years author F. Scott Fitzgerald spent living and writing in Hollywood. These were Fitzgerald’s last years, where he tried desperately to figure out how to expand his talents in an environment where he felt distinctly out of place.
O’Nan captures both the angst of Fitzgerald and the energy and vitality of 1930s Hollywood in this memorable novel.
Take a Deeper Dive into Hollywood Today
Channel the excitement of the Oscars into your March reading list. You might not be walking the red carpet with the stars this month, but you can capture a taste of the glamour and history of Hollywood by dropping one or more of these titles into your cart.
Get started on the Hollywood reading challenge now. Search our extensive catalog for additional celebrity memoirs and biographies so you can get the inside scoop on the glories of the silver screen.
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