Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pop Culture and Celebrity

The next Genre Reading Group meeting will be on Tuesday, January 28th at 6:30pm and we'll be starting our Year of the Theme!  January's meeting will celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday with a discussion of the Civil Rights Movement in America.  Books, audiobooks, movies, documentaries, graphic novels, fiction, nonfiction...YOU pick what to read/watch/listen to, then come tell us about it on January 28th!

Last night we met to talk about pop culture and fame and the discussion ranged from Downton Abbey to the paparazzi to variety shows and stars of the past.

The Cult of Celebrity: What Our Fascination with the Stars Reveals About Us by Cooper Lawrence
America’s fast-growing religion is—let’s face it—celebrity worship. From gossip magazines to entertainment TV, from blogs to ads featuring famous faces, the stars are our new gods and goddesses. But why are we so quick to put them on pedestals? Why are we even more spellbound when they topple back down to earth?

The Cult of Celebrity is the first book to explore this phenomenon comprehensively and yet in eminently readable terms. In a compulsive read, Cooper Lawrence maps out the psychology behind the behavior of the stars—and that of the millions out there who follow their every move. She points both to the benefits and dangers not only to society but also to us personally; to our spending habits, health, social awareness, attitude toward personal failure and toward relationships, and above all, our self-image. And she offers practical tips on keeping our interest under control. Drawing on the latest research as well as interviews with fans and entertainment industry insiders, as well as celebrities themselves, The Cult of Celebrity is as accessible and sassy as it is thought-provoking. (amazon.com)

The Line That Learned a Lesson by Beverly B. Erdreich  (not in the PLJC system)
“The Line That Learned a Lesson” tells a moral while delightfully engaging young readers to look at the alphabet in a creative, new way. The Line is very proud that it is straight and tall and brags about the things that it can achieve. The Line loves its family and also finds the alphabet irresistible. It can draw 15 letters, but finds the other 11 impossible to write. What happens when the Line tries to relax and bend? Is it better to stay true to oneself or to change? Using a clever approach, this refreshing tale ends with a happy solution! (amazon.com)

Marilyn Monroe by Maurice Zolotow  (not in the PLJC system)
The classic book on Marilyn Monroe, written during her lifetime and partially based on interviews with the actress herself, now illustrated and brought up to date. Originally published in 1960, Zolotow's book was the first to take Marilyn seriously as an actress at a time when she was thought to be just an eccentric, gorgeous blonde. 16 pages of photographs.  (books.google.com)

Comic Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World's Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment by Rob Salkowitz
Welcome to Comic-Con: where the future of pop culture comes to life.  Every summer, more than 130,000 comic fans, gamers, cosplay enthusiasts, and nerds of all stripes descend on San Diego to mingle with the top entertainment celebrities and creative industry professionals in an unprecedented celebration of popular culture in all its forms.  From humble beginnings, Comic-Con has mutated into an electrifying, exhausting galaxy of movies, TV, video games, art, fashion, toys, merchandise, and buzz. It’s where the future of entertainment unspools in real time, and everyone wants to be there.

In Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, author Rob Salkowitz, a recognized expert in digital media and the global digital generation (and unabashed comics enthusiast), explores how the humble art form of comics ended up at the center of the 21st-century media universe. From Comic-Con’s massive exhibit hall and panels to its exclusive parties and business suites, Salkowitz peels back the layers to show how comics culture is influencing communications, entertainment, digital technology, marketing, education, and storytelling.

What can the world’s most approachable and adaptable art form tell us about the importance of individual talent and personal engagement in the era of the new global audience, the iPad, and the quarter-billion-dollar summer blockbuster?  Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture combines the insights business leaders need with the details fans crave about the future of the world’s most dynamic industry. Even if you can’t be in San Diego in July, this book brings the excitement into focus . . . no costumes required!  (amazon.com)

I'll Be Right Back: Memories of TV's Greatest Talk Show by Mike Douglas with Thomas Kelly and Michael Heaton
The man who ruled daytime TV for two decades displays the same engaging style that made him so enormously popular--in a memoir bursting with terrific stories told with nostalgia, wit, and more than a touch of class. 100 photos throughout.  (amazon.com)

Muscle Shoals (documentary film) (not in the PLJC system)
Located alongside the Tennessee River, Muscle Shoals, Alabama is the unlikely breeding ground for some of America's most creative and defiant music. Under the spiritual influence of the "Singing River," as Native Americans called it, the music of Muscle Shoals has helped create some of the most important and resonant songs of all time. At its heart is Rick Hall who founded FAME Studios. Overcoming crushing poverty and staggering tragedies, Hall brought black and white together in Alabama's cauldron of racial hostility to create music for the generations. He is responsible for creating the "Muscle Shoals sound" and The Swampers, the house band at FAME that eventually left to start their own successful studio, known as Muscle Shoals Sound. Greg Allman, Bono, Clarence Carter, Mick Jagger, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Keith Richards, Percy Sledge and others bear witness to Muscle Shoals' magnetism, mystery and why it remains influential today. - See more at: http://www.magpictures.com/muscleshoals/#sthash.5CX2bULq.dpuf

To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl and Carol McDonald Wallace
From the Gilded Age until 1914, more than 100 American heiresses invaded Britannia and swapped dollars for titles--just like Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, the first of the Downton Abbey characters Julian Fellowes was inspired to create after reading To Marry An English Lord. Filled with vivid personalities, gossipy anecdotes, grand houses, and a wealth of period details--plus photographs, illustrations, quotes, and the finer points of Victorian and Edwardian etiquette--To Marry An English Lord is social history at its liveliest and most accessible. (amazon.com)

The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes
A lavish look at the real world--both the secret history and the behind-the-scenes drama--of the spellbinding Emmy Award-winning Masterpiece TV series Downton Abbey

April 1912. The sun is rising behind Downton Abbey, a great and splendid house in a great and splendid park. So secure does it appear that it seems as if the way it represents will last for another thousand years. It won't.

Millions of American viewers were enthralled by the world of Downton Abbey, the mesmerizing TV drama of the aristocratic Crawley family--and their servants--on the verge of dramatic change. On the eve of Season 2 of the TV presentation, this gorgeous book--illustrated with sketches and research from the production team, as well as on-set photographs from both seasons--takes us even deeper into that world, with fresh insights into the story and characters as well as the social history. (amazon.com)

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey:  A New Era for Family, Friends, Lovers, and Staff by Jessica Fellowes
The Great War has ended, but Downton Abbey is far from peaceful...

"Americans can't get enough of 'Downton Abbey,'" said The Boston Globe. As Season 3 of the award-winning TV series opens, it is 1920 and Downton Abbey is waking up to a world changed forever by World War I. New characters arrive and new intrigues thrive as the old social order is challenged by new expectations.

In this new era, different family members abound (including Cora's American mother, played by Shirley MacLaine) and changed dynamics need to be resolved: Which branch of the family tree will Lord Grantham’s first grandchild belong to? What will become of the servants, both old and new?

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey, carefully pieced together at the heart and hearth of the ancestral home of the Crawleys, takes us deeper into the story of every important member of the Downton estate.This lavish, entirely new book focuses on each character individually, examining their motivations, their actions, and the inspirations behind them. An evocative combination of story, history, and behind-the-scenes drama, it will bring fans even closer to the secret, beating heart of the house. (amazon.com)

Bossypants by Tina Fey
Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy. (amazon.com)

A Paper Life by Tatum O'Neal
A real Hollywood-style tell-all, this is the extremely candid and highly explosive autobiography of one of the movie industry's most talented and troubled young stars.

At age ten, Tatum O'Neal became the youngest Oscar winner in history for her performance in the film classic Paper Moon. As the sidekick to her father, the flamboyant star and man-about-town Ryan O'Neal, she became a fixture at the most glamorous Hollywood parties and counted celebrities ranging from Cher to Stanley Kubrick among her childhood friends.

Yet behind the glittering fa├žade of Tatum's life lay heartbreak: abandonment, abuse, neglect, and drug addiction. She reveals the most intimate secrets of her dysfunctional relationships with her father, Ryan O'Neal, and stepmother, Farrah Fawcett, as well as her alcoholic mother, Joanna Moore, and ex-husband, tennis pro John McEnroe.

After the collapse of her marriage and with no real family to turn to, Tatum succumbed to the demons of her past that would nearly kill her. Now she has emerged clean and sober, rediscovering herself as an actress, mother, and wonderfully vibrant woman in what she considers the prime of her life. (amazon.com)

What are YOU reading?
Holley




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