3/24/10

Even Cowgirls Get The Blues

Candy Barr
I've been bouncing back and forth between reading history and biography recently. I finished Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends by Allen Barra. And, continuing on sort of a Great Plains theme, I read Timothy Egan's excellent book about the dustbowl, The Worst Hard Time. And since I was in an Oklahoma Panhandle and Texas sort of mood, I read the relentlessly grim Candy Barr: The Small-Town Texas Runaway Who Became a Darling of the Mob and the Queen of Las Vegas Burlesque by Ted Schwartz and Mardi Rustam. (That's NSFW Candy in the cowboy hat above.) Brushing all that dust off my jeans, I decided to read something completely different with Just One More Thing by Peter Falk, a fast and funny book which should entertain both the fans of John Cassavetes and the fans of the television show Columbo. I was hoping for more about Natalie Wood, who starred in both The Great Race (1965) and Penelope (1966) with Peter Falk, but that was not to be. Falk's book has a lot of photos, including one of Peter with Inger Stevens in an episode of The Dick Powell Show called "The Price of Tomatoes." Anyway, I raced through those 281 pages in three and a half hours, and got started on Gus Russo's The Outfit: The Role of Chicago's Underworld on the Shaping of Modern America, which is much, much thicker and might take me three and a half weeks. We'll see.
Jan Sterling
So what are you reading?
Go ahead, tell me.
I'd like to know.

14 comments:

COCAMIA said...

I am reading nothing right now! Currently looking for a really good book.

C. Parker said...

COCAMIA, you might enjoy The Way We Wore: Styles of the 1930s and '40s and Our World Since Then by Marsha Hunt or The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper by Dominick Dunne.

Paladin said...

I try to read at least one or two books a week during my lunch hour at work. Usually it's fiction, though occasionally I'll read something of a more technical nature if it relates to something I'm interested in.

If you can believe it, I had never read anything by Robert B. Parker until last week. I had picked up one of his "Spenser" books, and now I'm hooked. Now I've got the first book of the series, and have I think 40 some-odd books to go :) Its not high literature or anything - just a really enjoyable, natural writing style.

I'm diggin' it. Love your blog, btw. I lurk here every morning before I head off to work.

Tecumseh said...

I've been on a similar high plains non-fiction jag for a while now. Did however come across the gritty prairie gothic fiction of Marie Sandoz(1896-1966), a native of eastern Nebraska while reading some of her superb histories. A master of both mediums. Everything recommended.

C. Parker said...

Paladin, I've enjoyed a couple of movies made from Parker's Jesse Stone series. Tecumseh, I think I learned how to swim in Lincoln, Nebraska one summer in the early 60s. I think it was maybe around South 18th Street. That's about my only connection with the state.

Tecumseh said...

I'm in Montauk on the eastern tip of Long Island. Been through Nebraska once over 30 years ago. That's where I first smelled sage brush. I would like to visit again.

Marie Sandoz was born in the far western end of Nebraska, Sand Hills.(I said eastern in my prior comment.) Her history "Cheyenne Autumn" became the last western to be directed by John Ford. Her fiction "Slogum House" would make a good film in the right hands.

These are my first comments on your blog which I visit daily without fail. I think we're of a similar age & temperament, at risk of presumption. I liked the Lee Morgan you posted the other day.

Artman2112 said...

just this week i finished Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, 3rd time for me on that one. i read her short story, Anthem the next night, 3rd time for that one too. i get on a roll with her stuff and then put them away for a couple of years, but i always come back. not sure what i'm gonna read next. i have a ton of Movie star bios sitting around here i have yet ro read, maybe i'll grab one of those. i wish i had more time to read.

Homebody said...

Egan's "The Worst Hard Time" is excellent! I'm just about to start "George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War 1" by Miranda Carter. I'm fascinated by World Wars 1 and 2. I'm finishing up "This is Not the Story You Think It Is" by Laura Munson, which is kind of a memoir, kind of a self-helpy thing, mostly just thoughtful about how we can DECIDE how to feel. Sounds all mushy-gushy, but it's not; she's very straight-forward and even funny sometimes.
Anyway, I love your site, as always, and it's fun to see what you're reading!

C. Parker said...

Tecumseh, if you liked the Lee Morgan, you should check out the rest of the "Jazz" category posts. There's a really rare jazz fusion post coming up in a couple days.
Artman2112, read to live and live to read. Or re-read, as you say.
Homebody, I think I mentioned in an earlier post about having read Keith Lowe's Inferno: The Fiery Destruction of Hamburg. I liked it. You might enjoy it, too.
And I appreciate all of y'all taking time to tell me what you're reading. It gives us all a sort of literary cross-pollination without a lot of academic posturing.

El Postino said...

I'm reading American Tragedy, the Uncensored Story of the Simpson Defense by Lawrence Schiller and James Willwerth. It's been long enough since that trial that I can read it dispassionately.

I just finished The Talented Miss Highsmith, The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith, by Joan Schenkar, which is a book about her as a serious artist, and a seriously awful human being. Did you know that in the 1940s Highsmith, while writing Strangers On A Train was also writing comic books? Talk about "secret life."

Artman2112 said...

good motto! however mine is "live to draw" (or redraw, such is the case more often than not, lol) but i am making a conscious effort to make more time for reading this year. 3 books already in 2010 that aint bad for me and one was a doozie so i get points right? YES i get points!

C. Parker said...

El Postino, wasn't it Lawrence Schiller who pointed out something like, "all the sisters had breast jobs, but none of them had college degrees." Something like that?

Betty said...

I just finished "Eat, Pray, Love" (which I thought was wonderful!) and now I'm reading two books: "The Power of Now" and "Food Rules."

arshille said...

Hello - well it seemed impolite not to answer your question as to what visitors to Starlet Showcase are reading so here is my contribution -
I generally read three books at the same time (probably because my attention span is so short), that is a book about History, a second book which is more often than not about an art movement or dead artist and last but not least, what I call my 'comfort' reading - which are the wonderful and evocative (yes, that is one of my favourite words !) science fantasy short stories by Clark Ashton Smith (California 1893-1961). Stories which I first read in the early 1970's and remain close to my heart to this day.
The History book is The Legends of Troy by Margaret Scherer (1963) and has nothing to do with the spate of awful modern films that plunder Mythology to provide a backdrop for unwatchable not so special effects and uninteresting
actors.
The Art book is Black Angel - A Life of Arshile Gorky by Nouritza Matossian (1998).
The Clark Ashton Smith I am reading this week is Lost Worlds Volume 1 - a rather tattered copy of the Panther paperback from 1974 with the amazing wraparound cover by Bruce Pennington. (I have five copies of this edition which
range in quality from my battered reading copy to a treasured near mint condition copy found on EBay).
Although I adore the films and the characters from the Thirties, Forties, Fifties and Sixties for some reason I have always been hesitant to read about them too much. Although I do have books on Vertigo, The Palm Beach Story and The Searchers -
Best Wishes and Thank You for all your work in making Starlet Showcase such a wonderful blog.