Suggested Reading List
A Twist of Lemmon: A Tribute to My Father
Author: Lemmon, Chris
Description: First time in paperback, a very personal portrait of an actor audiences loved, written by his actor son. Jack Lemmon (1925-2001) was one of our most beloved movie stars, a two-time Academy Award winner for Mister Roberts and Save the Tiger. In A Twist of Lemmon, Chris Lemmon shares family tales, intimate father-son conversations, and anecdotes from and about his dad. Joining Chris are first-person tributes from Blake Edwards, Andy Garcia, Julie Andrews, Tony Curtis, Neil Simon, Shirley MacLaine, and Cliff Robertson, among others.
Stephen Sondheim: A Life
Author: Secrest, Meryle
Description: In the first full-scale life of the most important composer-lyricist at work in musical theatre today, Meryle Secrest, the biographer of Frank Lloyd Wright and Leonard Bernstein, draws on her extended conversations with Stephen Sondheim as well as on her interviews with his friends, family, collaborators, and lovers to bring us not only the artist--as a master of modernist compositional style--but also the private man.
Beginning with his early childhood on New York's prosperous Upper West Side, Secrest describes how Sondheim was taught to play the piano by his father, a successful dress manufacturer and amateur musician. She writes about Sondheim's early ambition to become a concert pianist, about the effect on him of his parents' divorce when he was ten, about his years in military and private schools. She writes about his feelings of loneliness and abandonment, about the refuge he found in the home of Oscar and Dorothy Hammerstein, and his determination to become just like Oscar.
Secrest describes the years when Sondheim was struggling to gain a foothold in the theatre, his attempts at scriptwriting (in his early twenties in Rome on the
set of Beat the Devil with Bogart and Huston, and later in Hollywood as a co-writer with George Oppenheimer for the TV series Topper), living the Hollywood life.
We see Sondheim at work with composers, producers, directors, co-writers, actors, the greats of his time and ours, among them Leonard Bernstein, Ethel Merman, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Jerome Robbins, Zero Mostel, Bernadette Peters, and Lee Remick (with whom it was said he was in love, and she with him), as Secrest vividly re-creates the energy, the passion, the despair, the excitement, the genius, that went into the making of show after Sondheim show.
Some Like It Cool: The Charmed Life of Jack Lemmon
Author: Freedland, Michael
Description: 'Some Like It Cool' is the story of Jack Lemmon, perhaps one of the best-loved stars in Hollywood's history. The first biography since his death in 2001, this book focuses not just on Lemmon's career, but also on his private life. It includes the story of his relationship with his mother, a broken first marriage, his drinking, his 'terrible' facelift and his fight with cancer. This is no rags to riches tale as his wealthy father sent him to Harvard where a Columbia Pictures talent scout invited him to Hollywood where the speed of his rise to success and stardom was astonishing. The author, Michael Freedland, who interviewed Lemmon frequently, confesses to being a Lemmon devotee, yet this biography presents a frank and honest account - as well as a celebration - of one of Hollywood's greats.
Sondheim on Music: Minor Details and Major Decisions
Author: Horowitz, Mark Eden
Description: Steven Sondheim was an important composer and lyricist of musical theater in the second half of the 20th century. Celebrating his 80th birthday, this new edition of Sondheim on Music finds him in these guided interviews expounding in great depth and detail on his craft. As a natural teacher, thoughtful and opinionated, Sondheim discusses the art of musical composition, lyric writing, the collaborative process of musical theater, and how he thinks about his own work.
Where the first edition focused particularly on six shows—Passion, Assassins, Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd, and Pacific Overtures—this second edition presents a new chapter that discusses Sondheim's entire career. Several shows that were not discussed previously are explored here, including A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Merrily We Roll Along, Company, Follies, Anyone Can Whistle, and A Little Night Music, as well as thoughts about the recent film adaptation of Sweeney Todd. The book also features an entire chapter on Bounce: the previous incarnation of his latest musical, Road Show. In addition to Sondheim's list of "Songs I Wish I'd Written," the songlisting and discography has been greatly expanded and updated to include all works composed and recorded over the last six years.
Ford County: Stories
Author: Grisham, John
Description: New York Times bestselling author John Grisham takes us back to Ford County, Mississippi, the setting of his first novel, A Time to Kill. This riveting collection of short stories features an unforgettable cast of characters: Wheelchair-bound Inez Graney and her two older sons embark on a bizarre road trip through the Mississippi Delta to visit Inez’s youngest son, Raymond—on death row. A hard-drinking, low-grossing divorce lawyer fed up with his wife, his life, and the law plans a drastic escape after an unexpected phone call. A quiet, unassuming data collector sets out to bring down a flashy casino owner with his skill at blackjack—as payback for the theft of his wife. A stalker hunts victims in a retirement home, a lawyer confronts a vengeful adversary from the past, and a young man from a prominent family is driven off by scandal and fear—but finds unexpected redemption on the wrong side of the tracks. Often hilarious, frequently moving, and always entertaining, this collection makes it abundantly clear why John Grisham is our most popular storyteller.
Author: Grisham, John
Description: Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, John Grisham was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. It was published in 1988.
He had begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.
The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.
Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year and all of them have become international bestsellers. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas),