Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For February, we’re looking at a 19th century tale of adventure on the road out West, a fictional look at one of the more infamous members of the British Royal Family, and a biography of a beloved TV star.
Harper Lee is famous for her beloved classic To Kill A Mockingbird-–just last year it won The Great American Read and was so universally popular that it always led the public’s voting for favorite book by a wide margin for the entire duration of the vote.
However, Lee is perhaps just as famous for the fact that To Kill A Mockingbird is her only book. Sure, publishers released her Go Set a Watchman a few years ago, but in truth, that was just the very early draft of To Kill A Mockingbird and not a new book.
That’s not to say that Lee never tried to write another book, however.
According to Casey Cep’s debut Furious Hours, Lee worked for years on a true crime manuscript about a bizarre case of murder and insurance fraud in 1960s/1970s Alabama. . . .
In the 1910s and 1920s, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison were two of the most famous men in America. They were also friends who regularly vacationed with each other. In his latest book, Jeff Guinn chronicles the quirky friendship between these two prickly historical figures, as well as their numerous road trips across a changing, modernizing America.
Call me crazy but family secrets, tell-all tales, and circus freaks do go together . . . at least in this movie and book combination!
Last year, one of our library patrons, Vernon, watched 1930s cult classic circus film Freaks and told me, while he was returning it, that it was one of the strangest movies he’d ever seen. He encouraged me to watch it. I imagine because he wanted someone else to confirm that, yes, it’s an odd movie.
So, I did watch Freaks, and about the same time, our library director Julie told me that she had just read a book (Truevine) that mentioned several of the circus performers featured in Freaks. I was not doing “From Page to Screen” features at the time, but I already was thinking about doing something like it and filed this away as a potential combination to write about it in the future. (Thanks to both Vernon and Julie for the suggestions!)
Usually I write about the book and then the movie, but I am reversing that order for this blog. My blog, my rules!
George Armstrong Custer is one of the most controversial figures in American history.
Don’t believe me?
Pick up any book about him or the American West or the American Civil War and see what the authors have to say about him. Some will praise him as a brave but misunderstood genius, some will denigrate him as an egotistical moron, and some will eulogize him as a tragic figure.
I’ve personally always found Custer a fascinating but relatively unsympathetic historical figure, but reading T.J. Stiles’s excellent, Pulitzer-Prize winning Custer’s Trials forced me to re-evaluate some of my assumptions about him.