The Guilty Feminist: You Don't Have to Be Perfect to Overthrow the Patriarchy by Deborah Frances-WhiteWhat it is: a witty and thought-provoking expansion of Australian comedian Deborah Frances-White's The Guilty Feminist podcast.
What's inside: the author's musings on topics like Brexit, toxic masculinity, diet culture, intersectionality, religion, and white privilege.
Don't miss: interviews with a diverse group of women and nonbinary people, including actress Susie Wokoma and body positivity advocate Jessamyn Stanley.
1973: Rock at the Crossroads by Andrew Grant JacksonWelcome to...1973, the year that ushered in a sea change for many of rock music's biggest acts, heralded the arrival of new talents, and saw the rising popularity of genre offshoots including punk, reggae, hip hop, funk, disco, and outlaw country.
Why you might like it: Andrew Grant Jackson's engaging season-by-season chronicle reveals how a transformative moment in music reflected the social and cultural developments of a fractured era.
Book buzz: 1973 is the follow-up to Jackson's 1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music.
Dangerous Melodies: Classical Music in America from the Great War Through the Cold... by Jonathan RosenbergWhat it's about: the surprising ways in which America's classical music scene was shaped by 20th-century global politics, from the ban on German operas during World War I to the Cold War-era boasting of American achievement at the International Tchaikovsky Competition.
Is it for you? Classical music fans and readers who enjoy political histories will best appreciate this richly detailed work from history professor and Juilliard-trained musician Jonathan Rosenberg.
Disney's Land: Walt Disney and the Invention of the Amusement Park That Changed the World by Richard SnowWhat it is: a lively, well-researched chronicle of the development of Disneyland, the iconic California amusement park that opened in 1955.
Read it for: profiles of the workers who tirelessly helped make the park a reality, like former United States Navy admiral and submarine designer Joe Fowler, who built the Mark Twain Riverboat.
Try this next: David Koenig's Realityland: True-Life Adventures at Walt Disney World offers an immersive behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Disney's east coast park.
Sidney Lumet: A Life by Maura SpiegelStarring: five-time Academy Award-nominated director Sidney Lumet (1924-2011), best known for helming the 1970s classics Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, and Network.
What sets it apart: Supplemented with materials from an unfinished memoir and interviews with Lumet's loved ones and collaborators, this first-ever biography of the quintessential "actor's director" offers rare insights into his creative process and relationships.
Reviewers say: "Essential reading for movie fans" (Booklist).
Hollywood Black: The Stars, the Films, the Filmmakers by Donald BogleWhat it is: an engaging and beautifully illustrated decade-by-decade chronicle of black representation in Hollywood, beginning with the silent era and ending with the release of 2018's Black Panther.
Why you might like it: This brisk and accessible primer gives equal coverage to the films of Hollywood's classical era, richly contextualizing the ways in which 1950s breakouts like Ruby Dee and Sidney Poitier helped pave the way for future generations.
Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by Mark HarrisStarring: directors Frank Capra, John Ford, John Huston, George Stevens, and William Wyler, who put their talents to use during World War II by creating military training films, propaganda, and documentaries.
Read it for: a perceptive look at how the war impacted their lives and careers -- particularly Stevens, whose experiences filming the horrors of Dachau informed his directing of 1959's The Diary of Anne Frank.
Media buzz: Five Came Back is the basis for the Emmy Award-winning Netflix docuseries of the same name narrated by Meryl Streep.
We'll Always Have Casablanca: The Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood's Most... by Noah IsenbergWhat it is: a page-turning chronicle of the production of 1942 classic Casablanca, chock-full of fascinating behind-the-scenes tidbits; a nostalgic celebration of the film's enduring legacy.
Did you know? Dooley Wilson, the actor who portrayed pianist Sam, didn't know how to play the piano; many of the film's supporting cast were real-life European refugees who can be seen during the emotional "La Marseillaise" scene.
Seduction: Sex, Lies, and Stardom in Howard Hughes's Hollywood by Karina LongworthWhat it's about: how eccentric businessman and aviator Howard Hughes became a successful film producer, often at the expense of the actresses he sought to employ -- and control.
Why you should read it: Rife with sobering parallels to the #MeToo movement, Seduction illuminates the long and troubling history of Hollywood power players' exploitation of women.
Author alert: Film historian Karina Longworth is the creator and host of the popular classic Hollywood podcast You Must Remember This.
Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama from the Golden Age of American... by Anne Helen PetersenWhat it is: a thoughtful re-appraisal of some of Hollywood's earliest scandals that reveals how public perception of stars' off-screen misdeeds reflected the tensions surrounding evolving social norms.
Topics include: Fatty Arbuckle's rape case; the smear campaign that derailed "It Girl" Clara Bow's career; Mae West's arrest for indecency; Rudolph Valentino's "slave bracelet."
Reviewers say: "brisk and lively" (Library Journal).
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