Friday, October 31, 2014

A Real-Life Hollywood Murder Mystery

 I received from HarperCollins a review copy of  William J. Mann's latest nonfiction book, Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood. It's about the unsolved 1922 murder of film director William Desmond Taylor. I already own a copy of  A Cast of Killers, Sidney D. Kirkpatrick's 1986 book about the same case. Unfortunately, I never got around to reading it. Mann's book will  be an incentive. After reading both books back to back to see how they compare and contrast, I will write a double review. Mann is an excellent writer whose previous books I have read.  So I am looking forward to reading Tinseltown.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Library In The Park

I encourage people to visit Mount Morris Park (aka Marcus Garvey Park) in Harlem. You will find two little green and yellow boxes in the shape of a house with a slanted roof mounted on a green wooden platform supported by a green wooden pillar These boxes are part of the Little Free Library project. One box is marked "Young Adult Books," the other is marked "Children's Books." On the roof of each "house" is the slogan "Take A Book, Return A Book."

The Little Free Library boxes are located near the Children's playground which faces 124th Street (near 5th Avenue) and is across the street from the New York Public Library's Harlem Branch library. (The playground equipment has the same green and yellow color scheme as the book boxes.)

  I recently found inside one of the boxes a hardback copy of Having Our Say by Sarah and Elizabeth Delany, two African-American sisters who each lived well past their 100th birthdays. The book was published in 1993. (They were the aunts of the famed science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany.)

Surprisingly, the boxes have not been vandalized or spray painted with graffiti. Maybe there is some respect for literature.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Literary Voice That's Gone, But Not Forgotten

This year would have marked Joseph Beam's 60th birthday. Sadly, in 1988, we lost one of the most eloquent and powerful literary voices, not only in the gay community but also in the black community.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The One-Sentence Book Review Challenge

It seems that the New York Times Magazine has discontinued "The One-Page Magazine" feature. This feature consisted of several extremely short articles. Of particular interest was the one called "The One-Sentence Book Review" by Tyler Cowen. It has inspired me to try to do something similar for this blog. It will be a refreshing challenge.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Mammoth Novel

One book I intend to check out is A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, a Jamaican novelist. The novel is set in Jamaica in the late 1970s when an assassination attempt was made on reggae star Bob Marley. The book is 700 pages long. I'm hoping the book's quality justifies its length.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Talking (Briefly) To The Uncola Man

I heard about actor/choreographer Geoffrey Holder's death at the age of 84 during a radio newscast. (I think it was NPR.) Listening to his Paul Robeson-like deep voice (with a Caribbean flavor) as an excerpt from one of his 7-Up "Uncola" commercials was played, reminded me of the only time I got a chance to speak to him. It was at a Broadway revival of  The Wiz (which he choreographed). This would be about thirty years ago. As I headed for my seat, I told him that I wanted to interview him. His odd response was, "Yes, but not right now." I never got to do the interview.

A few years later, I saw Holder and his wife, dancer Carmen de Lavallade, getting out of a car in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. Our eyes met, but I kept on walking.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Thursday, October 2, 2014