My Guilty Pleasure Reading List

hollywood sign
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It is getting close to December which means close to our end-of-year holiday which means time I spend reading for guilty pleasure after a year of serious, hardcore reading. I’ve started to prepare a list of what to read and few days ago, on Twitter, I asked for some recommendations:

For me, guilty-pleasure reading1 usually consists of biographies and memoirs about celebrities past, or histories of Hollywood and things like that. It occurred to me that when I asked for recommendations, I didn’t indicate those books that I’ve already read. To remedy that, I create a Guilty Pleasure Reading list on my reading list site listing all of the guilty-pleasure books I’ve read over the years. There, you can see all of the books I’ve read that fall into this category. I’ve included a section on my 5 favorites. And I’ve included links to some posts I’ve written about these books. Now, if you are wondering whether or not I have read a specific Hollywood bio, memoir, or history, you can go to this list and find out.

So far, for the end of the year, I’ve got the following books lined up:

I can usually tackle 6-8 books during this break. If you’ve got other recommendations in this genre, please drop them in the comments. If there are really good, they may supplant the ones listed above.

Written on 21 November 2022.

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  1. Not really guilty at all.


  1. Okay, Jamie! I read your list and I have thoughts!

    Have you read anything by Donald Spoto? He’s a great historian of the Golden Age and I like all his books. In particluar you might like his High Society (life of Grace Kelly) and he has two really great Hitchcock books –

    The Dark Side of Genius – this is the full accounting of Hitchcock’s life and films

    Spellbound by Beauty – this one is a real guilty pleasure of mine, as it focuses on Hitchcock’s strange obsessions with his leading ladies, including Ingrid Bergam, Kelly, and Tippi Hedren, among others.

    He’s got a book about Preston Sturges I’ve had on my list to read forever.

    For straight up Hollywood cattiness, you can’t be Joan Fontaine’s memoir “No Bed of Roses.” It’s a classic case of a person feeling like they’re insulting everyone else but really just making an ass of themselves.

    Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud by Shaun Considin is another one I’d but in the “catty” category – trying to parse the fact and fiction of Joan Crawford and Bette Davis’ feud.

    And Screwball, by Larry Swindell. There’s not too many biographies out there about Carole Lombard, probably because she died so young, but she comes across so likeable and funny in this one that it makes her death all the worse!

    Enjoy! My end of the year guilty pleasures are usually romance and detective genre fiction that I just gobble up with turkey and egg nog!

    1. Melanie, I’ve had a Grace Kelly bio on my bookshelf since the summer of 2017, Grace by Robert Lacey. For some reason, I haven’t touched it. I’ve added two of your recommendations to my list now: High Society by Donald Spoto — another of my favorite movies. I mean: Bing, Satch, Grace, and Old Blue Eyes! I have the original album soundtrack on a shelf in my office, and my youngest daughter, when attempting to read it, said, “High Psychology,” which is apt, and is what the two of us call it now.

      I also added The Dark Side of Genius, as I’ve read very little about Hitchcock over the years.

      Thanks for the recommendations, and Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. I’d recommend “City of Nets: A Portrait of Hollywood in the 1940’s” by Otto Friedrich. It’s called a social and cultural history and of Hollywood in the Golden Age and is based on everything from celebrity memoirs to trade union histories. Lots of great stories.


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