Archives for posts with tag: Hollywood stars

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A COUNTRY PATHWAY (Excerpt)
by James Whicomb Riley

I come upon it suddenly, alone —
A little pathway winding in the weeds
That fringe the roadside; and with dreams my own,
I wander as it leads.

Full wistfully along the slender way,
Through summer tan of freckled shade and shine,
I take the path that leads me as it may —
Its every choice is mine…

(Read the entire poem at poemhunter.com)

PHOTO: Actor James Dean (1931-1955), an Indiana native, reads from THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS OF JAMES WHITCOMB RILEYJames Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916), born in Greenville, Indiana, was known as the “Hoosier” poet.  (Indiana is nicknamed the Hoosier State — and “hoosier” is a term for someone from Indiana.)

Image“…these canines fled away into the storm…Slowly the rain ceased, the grey rack blowing away and over Windermere as first light came creeping into the sky and the remaining inmates of Lawson Park woke to another day in the care and service of humanity.”

RICHARD ADAMS, The Plague Dogs

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In the above photo, actor Robert Pattinson— star of the Twilight series of movies — looks for books at New York City’s famed Strand Book Store, while posing as a clerk named “Tyler” (trying for peace, quiet, and anonymity — all necessary when selecting books). Rob’s book picks include THE PLAGUE DOGS, a 1977 novel by Richard Adams, author of WATERSHIP DOWN. (Pattinson holds a copy of the original edition published by Alfred A Knopf.)

At Amazon.com, THE PLAGUE DOGS is described as “a lyrical and engrossing tale, a remarkable journey into the hearts and minds of two canine heroes, Snitter and Rowf, fugitives from the horrors of an animal research center who escape into the isolation — and terror — of the wilderness.”

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JOLTIN’ JOE
by Joan Jobe Smith

I’ve begun to drink from The Joe
DiMaggio Cup I’ve kept put away for
years, a black, rather pretty thing
with a wing-like handle Joe DiMaggio
drank Cappuccino from I served him
one night when I worked as a cocktail
waitress in a swanky hotel and when
Joe DiMaggio didn’t want a second one
I snuck the cup into my purse,
Joe DiMaggio’s lip prints were washed away
years ago but I like to imagine them
still there handsome-thick, dark Italian
barely middle-aged next to mine as I
sip from The Cup and wonder: if only
I hadn’t asked him something personal
about Marilyn Monroe, maybe he might’ve
flirted with my fishnet stockings
and asked me my name.

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If you are a fan of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” you might like to compare a six-minute reading by actor Anthony Hopkins (find it here) versus T.S. Eliot‘s eight-minute performance (find it here). Which do you prefer? We would appreciate any comments.

Photo: Poets.org

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In the photo at right, Joanne Woodward reads John O’Hara‘s 1958 novel FROM THE TERRACE (the 1960 paperback released by Bantam Books) while on the set of the 1960 film version, where she starred opposite husband Paul Newman

Reviews of FROM THE TERRACE (the novel) include: 

An uncommonly good novel . . . a considerable achievement.” Saturday Review

“More than any other American novelist, O’Hara has both reflected his times and captured the uniquely individual” Los Angeles Times

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“O’Hara is one of those authors who unfortunately has been nearly forgotten, despite having been a highly popular writer in his day. This 1958 novel follows banking tycoon Alfred Eaton, whose external rise to power is matched by his internal disintegration.” Reed Business Information

Find FROM THE TERRACE by John O’Hara at Amazon.com

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In the photo at right, Paul Newman reads THE GARRICK YEAR, a 1964 novel by British author Margaret Drabble. Written when she was 24, a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and married to an actor, THE GARRICK YEAR is an insider’s account of a young woman’s life in the theater.

I don’t know if Newman’s face expresses an “Oh, those Brits” reaction to the book or if he’s just squinting in the sun. (Where are your sunglasses, Paul?) Also don’t know if this shot was taken on a movie set or while Newman was racing one of his cars. (It was probably snapped on the set of the 1967 movie COOL HAND LUKE, since Newman looks as if he’s dressed for a chain gang.)

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In 2009, Roger Angell wrote a “Summer Reading” piece in the New Yorker where he discussed his love for THE GARRICK YEAR (he rereads the book each summer) — and why he thinks it’s the prolific Drabble’s most “alive” novel. Read Angell’s article here.

Find THE GARRICK YEAR by Margaret Drabble at Amazon.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Margaret Drabble is the author of 17 novels, including The Sea Lady, The Seven Sisters, The Peppered Moth, and The Needle’s Eye. She has written biographies of Arnold Bennett and Angus Wilson, and is the editor of the fifth and sixth editions of The Oxford Companion to English Literature. For her contributions to contemporary English literature, she was made a Dame of the British Empire in 2008.

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“…these canines fled away into the storm…Slowly the rain ceased, the grey rack blowing away and over Windermere as first light came creeping into the sky and the remaining inmates of Lawson Park woke to another day in the care and service of humanity.”

RICHARD ADAMS, The Plague Dogs

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In the above photo, actor Robert Pattinson — star of the Twilight series of movies — looks for books at New York City’s famed Strand Book Store, while posing as a clerk named “Tyler” (trying for peace, quiet, and anonymity — all necessary when selecting books). Rob’s book picks include THE PLAGUE DOGS, a 1977 novel by Richard Adams, author of WATERSHIP DOWN. (Pattinson holds a copy of the original edition published by Alfred A Knopf.)

At Amazon.com, THE PLAGUE DOGS is described as “a lyrical and engrossing tale, a remarkable journey into the hearts and minds of two canine heroes, Snitter and Rowf, fugitives from the horrors of an animal research center who escape into the isolation — and terror — of the wilderness.”

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“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”

ALBERT CAMUS, The Stranger (1942)

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Born in French Algeria in 1913, Albert Camus — a novelist, journalist, and philosopher — was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957, “for his important literary production, which with clear-sighted earnestness illuminates the problems of the human conscience in our times.” Camus’ other prominent works include the novels THE PLAGUE (1947) and THE FALL (1956).

In the photo above, actor Ryan Gosling is pictured with an edition of THE STRANGER originally released by Vintage in 1954.

Is this a great cover or what?

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THE CASTLE (Novel Excerpt)
by Franz Kafka

Translated from the German
by Anthea Bell

Chapter 1, Arrival

It was late evening when K. arrived. The village lay deep in snow. There was nothing to be seen of Castle Mount, for mist and darkness surrounded it, and not the faintest glimmer of light showed where the great castle lay. K. stood on the wooden bridge leading from the road to the village for a long time, looking up at what seemed to be a void.

Then he went in search of somewhere to stay the night. People were still awake at the inn. The landlord had no room available, but although greatly surprised and confused by the arrival of a guest so late at night, he was willing to let K. sleep on a straw mattress in the saloon bar. K. agreed to that. Several of the local rustics were still sitting over their beer, but he didn’t feel like talking to anyone. He fetched the straw mattress down from the attic himself, and lay down near the stove. It was warm, the locals were silent, his weary eyes gave them a cursory inspection, and then he fell asleep.

But soon afterwards he was woken again. A young man in town clothes, with a face like an actor’s — narrowed eyes, strongly marked eyebrows — was standing beside him with the landlord. The rustics were still there too, and some of them had turned their chairs round so that they could see and hear better. The young man apologized very civilly for having woken K., introduced himself as the son of the castle warden, and added: “This village belongs to the castle, so anyone who stays or spends the night here is, so to speak, staying or spending the night at the castle. And no one’s allowed to do that without a permit from the count. However, you don’t have such a permit…” 

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In the photo above, actor James Franco holds an edition of Kafka‘s THE CASTLE released by Schocken Publishing in 1998. (Find the book at Amazon.com.)

Franz Kafka died from tuberculosis at age 40 in 1924 before finishing THE CASTLE, considered one of his greatest works. Only a few of Kafka’s stories were published during his lifetime, and his literary executor ignored his request to burn the remaining manuscripts after his death.

A lawyer by profession, Kafka spent much of his life in the insurance business investigating claims — and worked on his writing before or after his day job. Today, Kafka is considered one of the most influential authors of the past hundred years. Poet W.H. Auden called him “The Dante of the 20th century.” Kafka’s other well-known works include THE TRIAL and METAMORPHOSIS, books that are available for free in a variety of formats (including Kindle) at Gutenberg.org.

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EVENING STAR
by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

‘Twas noontide of summer,

And mid-time of night;

And stars, in their orbits,

Shone pale, thro’ the light

Of the brighter, cold moon,

‘Mid planets her slaves,

Herself in the Heavens,

Her beam on the waves.

I gazed awhile

On her cold smile;

Too cold- too cold for me-

There pass’d, as a shroud,

A fleecy cloud,

And I turned away to thee,

Proud Evening Star,

In thy glory afar,

And dearer thy beam shall be;

For joy to my heart

Is the proud part

Thou bearest in Heaven at night,

And more I admire

Thy distant fire,

Than that colder, lowly light.

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In the photo above, Robert De Niro reads from GREAT TALES AND POEMS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE, a 432-page mass market paperback edition released by Simon & Schuster in 2007. The book is available at bargain prices at Amazon.com.

If you’re in the mood for Poe (and I won’t ask why — but it’s always a good time to read a great writer), you can find a treasure trove of his prose and poetry for free in a variety of formats at Gutenberg.org.