Thursday, June 13, 2013

2013 Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge

This week marks Out of the Past's 6th Blog Anniversary! I would like to celebrate by hosting a 2013 Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge.

Your challenge, if you choose to accept, is to read up to 6 classic film related books this summer. You can read 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 books total but your challenge is to try to read six if you can! This summer reading challenge starts now and ends on September 15th, 2013. The books must be read and reviewed online before the challenge is over.

What counts as a classic film book?
  • Biography/Interviews/Letters/Autobiography/Memoir of an Actor/Actress/Director/Other Cast or Crew Member
  • Book about films – specific film(s), genre, film-making process, etc.
  • A photography or art book related to classic films, fashion, style or an Actor/Actress/Director/Other Cast or Crew Member
  • Film criticism or analysis
  • 20th Century Novel that was adapted into a Classic Film
  • Novel that is about a Classic film or an actor/actress from Old Hollywood
Check out my list at the bottom of this post for examples of books in each category.

How many books should you read?

You can read one book in each category, 6 books in one category or mix it up. It’s whatever you want! You can read a book you’ve never read before or re-read an old favorite. The book can be brand new or long out-of-print. For me, classic films are ones from 1969 and earlier. If you want to include the 1970s, that’s fine too! I know not everyone has time to read 6 books so I’ll leave it up to you if you want to read less than that. Also, if you recently finished a book or are in the middle of one, you can count that too!

If you do complete all 6 by September 15th , you’ll be eligible to win a prize pack I will be giving away. Details on that to come.

How should you post the reviews?

You must review each book online and you can do this one of two ways. Post reviews on your blog or post reviews on Goodreads. Your review must be public somehow! Reviews on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other general social media forums do not count.

If you have a blog, feel free to add this button to your review post!

Grab button for 2013 Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge
<div class="2013 Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge" style="width: 250px; margin: 0 auto;"> <a href="" rel="nofollow"> <img src="" alt="2013 Summer Reading Classic Film Book Challenge " width="250" height="197" /> </a> </div>

When should you post the reviews?

Reviews must be brand new and posted from now until September 15th. I will not be accepting links to old reviews (I'll let it slide if it was a review from early June of this year!).

If you are interested in signing up, please add your name, email address and either your blog or Goodreads profile page to the form below. I’ll be checking up on folks throughout the summer and will be sharing links to book reviews on here. The sign up form will be available from now until July 15th. (Form is now closed for entries. If you still want to participate, email me!)


Biography/Interviews/Letters/Autobiography/Memoir of an Actor/Actress/Director/Other Cast or Crew Member 

Spencer Tracy by James Curtis
My Lunches with Orson: Conversations between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles 
Unsinkable: A Memoir by Debbie Reynolds 
Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley by Jeffrey Spivak
Hollywood Unknowns by Anthony Slide
Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Richard Rhodes

Book about films – specific film(s), genre, filmmaking process, etc.  
Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History by Yunte Huang
My Life with Cleopatra: The Making of a Hollywood Classics by Walter Wanger and Joe Hyams
The Night of the Hunter: A Biography of a Film by Jeffrey Couchman
The Noir Forties: The American People From Victory to Cold War by Richard Lingeman
Silent Movies: The Birth of Film and the Triumph of Movie Culture by Peter Kobel
A Song in the Dark: The Birth of the Musical Film by Richard Barrios

A photography or art book related to classic films, fashion, style or an Actor/Actress/Director/Other Cast or Crew Member
Classic Hollywood Style by Caroline Young 
Hollywood Movie Stills by Joel W. Finler
Icons of Men’s Style by Josh Sims 
Lana Turner: The Memories, the Myths, the Movies by Cheryl Crane and Cindy De La Hoz
Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design by Jennifer Bass 
Weddings and Movie Stars by Tony Nourmand et. al. 

Film criticism, analysis or theme 
Being Rita Hayworth: Labor, Identity and Hollywood Stardom by Adrienne McLean
Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood by Mick LaSalle
Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression by Morris Dickstein
I Do and I Don’t: A History of Marriage in the Movies by Jeanine Basinger
The Leading Man: Hollywood and the Presidential Image by Burton W. Peretti  
Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics by Steven J. Ross

20th Century Novel that was adapted into a Classic Film  
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Young Man with a Horn by Dorothy Baker

Novel about a Classic film or an actor/actress from Old Hollywood 
Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton by Matt Phelan
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty (Louise Brooks)
The Disenchanted by Budd Schulberg
The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe by Andrew O’Hagan
The Pirate’s Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson  (Errol Flynn)
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King


  1. Uh, awesome! Could I review on my Tumblr? If not, I'll be pleased to start a Goodreads profile!
    I'm now reading a book that may not count, The Image of Kate, written by a classic movie actress, Mary Astor.
    Well, this challenge will convince me to finally read Rebecca!

    1. Le - You can review on your Tumblr! Just provide the link the in the form and I'll accept that. And I forgot to mention about that everyone (US and International participants) will be eligible for the prize pack giveaway if you complete 6 books :-)

      I'm very happy that you are on board with this!

  2. Terrific idea! I'll start in July, once I'm done with my exams ;)

  3. I'm in. This'll finally give me the excuse to get a certain book that I first read about here...

  4. I tried to comment on this earlier, but we lost power and my comment disappeared! I'm in! I desperately need to start reviewing books again (I miss it!) and this is exactly what I need to get my rump in gear. This is an awesome idea, Raquel!

  5. I absolutely love it! I'm in like Errol Flynn, baby! (sorry - too much green tea this morning.) Seriously, though -- this is really cool -- you have no idea how many unread classic film books I have, or how many times I've (unsuccessfully) vowed to read some during the summer. I'm excited! (Plus, I have a head start on the one I'm reading now -- about the making of Imitation of Life!)

  6. What a terrific idea! I'm looking forward to reading these posts.

  7. Thanks for the impetus to try to get more books read, Raquel! As I've mentioned before, I *love* reading but tend not to read so many books these days since I have to read all day for my job. Even if I don't make it to six books, your challenge will encourage me to make the effort this summer! And I've already got one down with the book I reviewed today, yay! :) I have some wonderful movie books I'm looking forward to reading -- just bought a used copy of James Harvey's MOVIE LOVE IN THE FIFTIES which might be the one I read next.

    Best wishes,

  8. Raquel, a fantastic idea! I doubt I'll be able to complete this challenge but love that you're doing it.



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