How to Be a Movie Star

Monday, December 14, 2009

I am a little over two weeks away from the end of my year-long project (a fact which boggles my mind) and the questions have begun rolling in. Are you looking forward to being done? What are you going to do when the year is over? Are you going to do another reading challenge next year?

In case you are losing sleep at night wondering the answers to those questions (hey it won't kill you to humor me on that one dear readers, so just play along), I will end your suspense. Yes, I am looking forward to the year being over. I'm counting the days (18, if you count today) because I'm really looking forward to finding out what it will feel like when this is over. As for what I will do next year, I am continuing the blog, but since I will not have to stick to the format of a book every day, I'm going to have a chance to do some fun blogging stuff that I couldn't do this year. I'm also looking forward to writing some blog entries about books that were either too short or too long to have read this year. And, I will be working on turning my experience with this year-long project into a book. And, no, there will be no reading challenge next year. I am toying with reading my way across the fiction section of the library at some point in the future, but that will not be happening next year. I need a bit of a break from reading projects for awhile.

Today's book, "Readers will feel they are sitting next to Taylor as she rises at MGM, survives a marriage engineered for publicity, feuds with Hedda Hopper and Mr. Mayer, wins Oscars, endures tragedy, juggles Eddie Fisher, Richard Burton and her country's conservative values. But it is the private Elizabeth that will surprise--a woman of heart and loyalty, who defends underdogs, a savvy professional whose anger at the studio's treatment of her led to a lifelong battle against that very system. All the Elizabeth's are here, finally reconciled and seen against the exciting years of her greatest spirit, beauty, and influence. Swathed in mink, staring us down with her lavender eyes, disposing of husbands but keeping the diamonds, here is Elizabeth Taylor as she was meant to be, leading her epic life on her own terms, playing the game of supreme stardom at which she remains, to this day, unmatched."

Hollywood thoughts:

  • I loved today's book! I've always been a huge fan of biographies and autobiographies - especially those that feature actors/actresses from my favorite old movies. I'm a big fan of the original Father of the Bride (I enjoyed the remake as well), so I when I discovered there was a new book out about Elizabeth Taylor I was anxious to read it. Especially since the author promises that today's book is, ". . . not a traditional biography. I do not cover every year of Taylor's life, or every film, or every up and down of every romance. There are plenty of other books that do that . . . What intrigues me are those areas that haven't been fully investigated before: the mechanics of Taylor's fame and the alchemy that assured her enduring celebrity." - As much as I love biographies, the one big flaw I often find is that they focus too much on the subject's personal life at the expense of their career. I'm interested in hearing about the personal lives of actors as well (the number of times a day I visit People.com will attest to that) but I am much more interested in the behind-the-scenes stories from the movie sets.

  • The biggest advantage today's book has over the traditional biography is that the book doesn't get bogged down in the boring details of every failed marriage Taylor had. As much as I love biographies, while reading the traditional kind, there is always that moment that comes about mid-way through when I think, This book should have been named "Stupid Reasons for Marrying the Wrong People." Don't get me wrong dear readers, the bad marriages are mentioned, and the stupid reasons are given (and they were stupid) but the book doesn't dwell on them to the point where it becomes tiresome.

  • And here are your fun facts for the day dear readers: 1. Elizabeth Taylor was the first female star to be paid a million dollars a picture. (Are you breathing a sigh of relief right now dear readers, and thinking Finally, a fun fact that is actually fun!) 2. Elizabeth smoked a pack of cigarettes a day, and always insisted that her cigarette holders must match whatever outfit she was wearing at the time, and coordinate with the tablecloth. - Because when you're destroying your lungs, it's always import to do it in style. Ordinarily I applaud people for color-coordination, but I think I'll make an exception in this case.