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David Thomson

Warner Bros: The Making of an American Movie Studio

Yale University Press

Thomson’s Warner Bros makes a point of the “bros” in the title. This succinct, opinionated work chronicles the rise, eminence and decline of the Hollywood studio. Thomson’s thesis is that of Heraclitus: “Character is destiny.” As he sees it, pretty much everything, good or lousy, that happened to Warners came as a result of the brothers—notably Jack. The Warners had help—the personalities and quirks of stars like Al Jolson, Joan Blondell, Paul Muni, James Cagney, Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart, and their famous and not so famous films, also contributed to the studio’s rags-to-riches saga.

– Marilu Morgan

Gabrielle Zevin

Young Jane Young

Algonzuin Books

Young Jane Young centers around a South Florida sex scandal between a married Congressman and his bright, ambitious intern, Aviva Grossman.  After the scandal, the Congressman gets to continue his life just as before, but Aviva’s reputation is ruined—her past is revealed every time a potential employer performs a Google search of her name. Seeing no other options, Aviva changes her name and starts fresh somewhere else. Many years later, as a business owner and a single mother, she decides to run for office herself, but her reputation comes back to haunt her. Young Jane Young explores themes of feminism and recovering from a scandal in the age of the Internet. The story is told in a whimsical fashion, from multiple viewpoints and includes a choose-your-own-adventure section. A fun, funny and thought-provoking read.

– Marilu Morgan
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