Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Five reads for April


I Used to Be in Pictures: An Untold Story of Hollywood

Born in Surrey, England in 1972, twins Austin and Howard Mutti-Mewse were raised in a household that enjoyed classic black-and-white Hollywood movies, and aged 12, the pair enthusiastically began writing to their on-screen legends. Many responded with heartfelt, handwritten notes and signed pictures, with Lillian Gish the first actor to reply. The so-called First Lady of American Cinema was entranced by the twins’ “Englishness” and was followed by Katharine Hepburn, Frank Sinatra and Shirley Temple. Letters soon turned into invites for tea, and the twins made their first visit to Hollywood in 1992, long after the demise of the much-loved studio system. Over a decade later, the twins—who continue to keep in contact with surviving stars—compiled their treasured findings in the book, I Used to be in Pictures. Heavens to Betsy, have you ever heard of a more amazing book?


The Paying Guests

Sarah Waters' latest novel has just been nominated for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. Our latest book group read, The Paying Guests is a tale of two women who fall in love in the twenties, one of my favourite eras. The description of the chemistry between the two lead characters and the way in which their relationship develops is particularly worth reading.


Yes Please

Amy Poehler, what a dude. Yes Please is a memoir but done Amy's way (which is, of course, the best way one could ever approach a 'celebrity' memoir) - with exceptional humour and aching honesty. If you don't know it already, Amy's Smart Girls site is also brilliant.


Man's Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust

Doesn't sound that promising, does it? Nothing could be further from the truth. Viktor Frankl, a Viennese psychiatrist before the war, used his time in the concentration camp to observe human behaviour under the most extreme circumstances. He used this to refine his theory of psychotherapy, known as logotherapy, which focuses on the meaning of human existence as well as on a person's search for such meaning, and the consequent purpose. Frankl says that 'the meaning of life always changes, but... it never ceases to be', and that we really find ourselves when we find it.


Lost My Name

The cutest pair of books arrived on our doorstep the other day. The Little Boy Who Lost His Name tells the story of a child who has lost his name, and bravely sets off to track down the missing letters. Along the way he meets lots of weird and wonderful characters, who each give the first letter of their name. My two were enchanted.


What are you reading?


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