Have books on your holiday wish list? I know I do! This season, I’m hoping that Santa will bring me new and old works by some of my favorite authors.
Here’s what’s on my wish list, plus a podcast that will tide me over in the meantime and a series that’ll help me pick gifts for everyone else.
On Your Kindle
Help, Thanks, Wow, by Anne Lamott
Help, Thanks, Wow is the latest spiritually themed work from Anne Lamott, author of the bestsellers Bird by Bird and Plan B. I love Lamott’s work; she’s wry, funny, and often heartbreakingly honest about the challenges of being a single mother in a complicated world. Balancing the stresses of modern culture with her commitment to faith and progressive causes, she is a multifaceted and interesting voice.
On Your Smartphone
“Book Lust,” by Nancy Pearl
Heard of librarian Nancy Pearl? If not, you’ll be charmed by Pearl’s wildly popular “Book Lust” series of excellent reading guides for book lovers. Each of Pearl’s books and her website is structured around paragraph-long synopses that explain why Pearl recommends a particular work. Her most recent guide, “Book Lust to Go,” focuses on literature for the armchair traveler. Explore her website on your smartphone for fantastic book recommendations for yourself (and your friends and family). Not to be missed: the fun Nancy Pearl action figure that bears her likeness!
On a Podcast
I absolutely loved Sarah Churchwell’s astute examination of Marilyn Monroe biographies in her 2004 book, The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe. She combines extensive research with obvious love for her subject, never losing sight of the real person behind the myths. So, I was delighted to learn that her next book, Careless People, will be a study of 1920s culture, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and The Great Gatsby, one of my favorite novels. While I wait for the book’s forthcoming release, I am recommending this Churchwell lecture on the parallels between our material culture and 1920s financial trends to everyone I know.
Lulu in Hollywood, Louise Brooks
While I’m a true fan of e-readers, some books I really admire haven’t yet made the shift to digital. One of those is Lulu in Hollywood, the witty, incisive memoir from silent actress Louise Brooks. I’ve borrowed it from libraries multiple times (ever since I became obsessed with Brooks in my teens), but it might be time to buy my own copy. A wildly unconventional star, Brooks had affairs with Charlie Chaplin as a teen, quit movies in her 20s, and then worked a series of unusual and often sad jobs until her rediscovery by French film scholars in the 1950s. An icon among film studies fans for her role in the haunting 1920s film Pandora’s Box, this essay collection includes Brooks’ musings on early cinema, Humphrey Bogart, and her friendships with tragic figures of 1910s and 1920s-era Hollywood.