Sunday, December 21, 2014

Some Books I Have Recently Read

When I did my stint at the local book exchange, I took perhaps 300-400 books to keep in my collection as well as buy a few from there and ordered others from Amazon or bought locally in bookstores/flea markets. That's just during the last six or seven months. Of course I have literally hundreds of books in storage, and I hope they are okay. Anyway, I figure I have enough reading material to last me a couple of years, since many of the books I took home from the book exchange are reference works. Very few are novels since I am not big on fiction. A few books I have recently read with a few remarks:


The Girl by Samantha Geimer (2013): Excellent account of the Polanski case through the eyes of the victim Geimer, who was 13 years old when it happened. Most people STILL haven't figured out or refuse to admit Polanski DID serve his time, which was the result of a plea deal since Samantha's mother did not want to subject her through the ordeal of a trial. However, a corrupt, publicity-seeking judge wanted to change his mind, which is something that CANNOT be done. THAT was always the issue, not whether Polanski's sentence was too lenient or that he skipped out of the country to avoid prosecution. Geimer's tells her story with considerable humor. She wasn't a "victim" but was a survivor who went on to achieve much in her life. I highly recommend this book.


Jimi Hendrix: A Brother's Story by Leon Hendrix with Adam Mitchell (2012). An account of the man behind the guitar by somebody who perhaps knew him the best, his younger brother Leon. Jimi virtually raised his brother since their parents constantly broke up and reconciled, while their father struggled with drinking and gambling issues. Most of the book is about this relationship. After Jimi leaves home for first the army and then for show business, the book centers more on Leon and his struggles growing up, dealing with his brother's untimely death in 1970, his substance abuse problems, and his finding his own direction in life. Very little of the book is about the infamous legal battles between him and his stepsister/adopted sister Janie, and it's just as well. Another book I enjoyed and an easy read.


Life Is Too Short by Mickey Rooney (1991). If even half of this book is true, Mickey Rooney led one hell of a life. It is an almost unputdownable book about his career in vaudeville, in films, and on television. Of course there is a lot in his book about his eight marriages, including the tragic marriage to wife Barbara Tomlinson, the one who was murdered by her lover in 1966, who in turn committed suicide after he shot her. Rooney clearly loved this woman more than all of the others, or at least until met eighth and last wife Jan Chamberlin, and probably loved Barbara the most of all after his marriage to Chamberlin went on the rocks. The book was never updated by Rooney, so all of the mess regarding his final years, with allegations of elder abuse, is not there.

The reader also gets a good perspective of his friendship with Judy Garland, a friendship that lasted until her death in 1969. Many people thought Mickey and Judy should have married each other because they understood each other so well, and perhaps Judy would not have self-destructed and died young. Even Rooney pondered that in his book, but as it was, there was never any kind of romantic feelings between the two.

Anybody who is interested in Hollywood's Golden Age should get this book. It's a great read.

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I typically read several books at a time, and then I get a "burst" of speed and will finish off a book in a day. Right now I am reading or have started to read about six or seven books.

I am thinking about writing short reviews here every now and then as I finish reading books. I have been reading a lot of biographies and memoirs as of late. There just isn't a hell of a lot of news out there I care to comment on, including all of the police shootings and shootings of police. I mean, what else is there to say about it? What could I possibly add about it?

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