Litstack Rec: Spielberg, Truffaut and Me & The Wanderers

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Spielberg, Truffaut and Me: An Actor’s Diary, by Bob Balaban In the summer of 1976, during the first weeks of the filming of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Francois Truffaut, who played the extraterrestrial specialist Claude Lacombe, was at work on a book about actors—tentatively titled Hurry Up and Wait. The legendary auteur-director and [….]

LitStack Recs: Top reads & Winterdance

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Are books, and stories, getting better? That is, are they getting richer, stronger, and more compelling? My answer is an unequivocal yes. Stories and voices we haven’t heard before are being published, and familiar stories, like those of love and relationships, are being told in a new way, with fresh eyes. This year contained all [….]

LitStack Recs: Speedbumps & The Human Division

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Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood, by Teri Garr Think of Teri Garr, the legendary actress turns 70 on December 11, and likely it’s as the outspoken girl next door, the slightly off-kilter girlfriend, wife, or mother—characters she played in Tootsie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Young Frankenstein. Even when Garr is playing it [….]

Litstack Review: And There Was Evening And There Was Morning, by Mike Smith

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And There was Evening And There Was Morning, Essays on Illness, Loss, and Love, by Mike Smith (WTAW Press) “Mourning,” Hilary Mantel wrote, “is work. It is not simply being sad. It is naming your pain. It is witnessing the sorrow of others, drawing out the shape of loss.” Who among us, when grieving, is [….]

LitStack Rec: Out of Place & Landscape with Invisible Hand

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Out of Place: A Memoir, by Edward Said Edward Said, the prolific author, political activist, pianist, and critic who would have been eighty-two yesterday, rose to academic stardom in 1978 with the publication of Orientalism, the seminal critique of the cultural bias that founded the Western study of Eastern culture. Said, who died in 2003 [….]

Litstack Rec: Blood Will Out & Vinegar Girl

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Blood Will Out, by Walter Kirn In Preston Sturges’  romantic comedy, “The Palm Beach Story,” Claudette Colbert plays Gerry, reluctant divorcee of husband Tom (Joel McCrea) who’s bankrupted when his dream of building an airport fails. On a train to Palm Beach, Gerry meets eccentric millionaire John D. Hackensacker III, America’s richest man. He’s Sturges’ [….]

Litstack Rec: Barbarian Days & The Echo

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Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan William Finnegan’s 2016 memoir begins with an epigraph from Edward St. Aubyn’s novel Mother’s Milk: “He had become so caught up in building sentences  that he had almost forgotten  the barbaric days  when thinking was like a splash of colour landing on a page.” It’s a fitting [….]

LitStack Rec: Little Failure: A Memoir & Back Roads and Frontal Lobes

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Little Failure: A Memoir, by Gary Shteyngart “In order for me to be born,” Gary Shteyngart says early on in his memoir, “all four branches of my family have to end up in Leningrad, trading in their tiny towns and villages for that somber, canal-laced cityscape. Here’s how it happens.” Voice, more than anything, can [….]

LitStack Rec: Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood & American Born Chinese

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Speedbumps: Flooring It Through Hollywood, by Teri Garr Think of Teri Garr, and likely it’s as the outspoken girl next door, the slightly off-kilter girlfriend, wife, or mother—characters she played in Tootsie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Young Frankenstein. Even when Garr is playing it straight, as in Mr. Mom and Oh God!, [….]

LitStack Recs: Passage to Ararat & War for the Oaks

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Passage to Ararat, by Michael J. Arlen “It’s a dangerous business,” writes Clark Blaise in this book’s introduction, “going into the underworld of history and ethnicity to discover one’s father, yet it seems one peculiar duty in our time of identity politics.” The observation is an apt one in which to begin Michael J. Arlen’s [….]