Saturday, May 06, 2006

Some of what I'm reading this Month

An all Biographical review month this month:

Center Square: The Paul Lynde Story
Steve Wilson, Joe Florenski
During his three decades as a popular character actor on television, film and the stage, Paul Lynde's arch and bitchy wit snuck regular doses of the queer world into that bastion of intolerance: the American living room. Paul showed mainstream viewers that a gay man could deliver jokes, not just be the butt of them. Biographers Steve Wilson and Joe Florenski reveal the true story not only about Paul's life, but also his mysterious and controversial death.
My Thoughts
Long before Will & Grace and Queer Eye there was Paul Lynde. Like may a comedian and gay man of his era he was a tortured soul and there is a real sadness in this book that a man who brought pleasure to millions seemed incapable of making himself happy an amazing story of a man who skated on thin ice professionally and personally for much of his tragically short life. Fascinating.
*** Stars

Barbra: The Way She Is
Christopher Andersen

"Barbra" is the brand-new biography of the ultimate showbusiness diva. Born in Brooklyn in 1942, Barbra Streisand has always been unshakably determined to excel in whatever she attempts, from singing and acting to directing and producing, constantly fighting to win the often-begrudging respect of the entertainment industry.
My Thoughts
Lordy! No wonder La Streisand is cross about this book she really does come across as a monumental bitch if Mr Andersen is to be believed. Whilst its not quite in the reputation destroying league of a Mommie Dearest it certainly portrays Barbra as a penny pinching obsessive and downright nasty person. To be honest though isn’t that what we all expect from our Divas? High Drama and oversized egos and anything less and we wouldn’t like them half as much, so maybe Babs should stop whining think about the publicity and record sales she could generate by buying the rights and turning it into a movie produced directed by her and starring either her or Faye Dunaway. The soundtrack alone could make her a fortune! A fantastic, gossipy and bitchy read. Is it all true? Who cares its great fun to read!
**** Stars

Ned Sherrin: The Autobiography
Ned Sherrin
In this hilarious, frank and affecting autobiography Ned Sherrin looks back on his life and career with inimitable wit and a good deal of wisdom. In his long, successful and event-filled career Ned Sherrin has been an innovative satirist (That Was The Week That Was), novelist, anthologist, film producer (including Up Pompeii), celebrated theatre director (Side by Side by Sondheim, Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell) and BBC Radio 4 host (Loose Ends).
My Thoughts
Hmmm yes it’s true Ned Sherrin is one of this country’s most famous wits an accomplished writer and raconteur. So how on earth did he manage to produce one of the most dreary autobiographies I’ve read in years?! The answer lies in the rampant ego of Mr Sherrin who declines to include anyone but himself in his dreary book. Every time we have a whiff of a decent story about the great and the good he cuts back to some tedious detail about his own tiresome story. Maybe I’m being harsh? I was expecting a lot more from Mr Sherrin though. A huge disappointment which I’m sure will be clogging the bargain bins pretty soon.
** Stars
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* Star-Dont put this book down, throw it as hard as you can out of the nearest window.
** Stars-Yawn.... bit of a dud
*** Stars-Not bad, but no masterpiece
**** Stars-A Ripping yarn definately worth killing a few hours with
***** Stars-Couldnt put it down! an instant classic

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