Sunday, March 30, 2014

What I read on my spring vacation

Spending three weeks in Hawaii gave me a chance to catch up on my reading.  Here's what I read:

Shell Shocked -- the Howard Kaylan autobiography.
Well-written, candid, and very funny.   The lead singer of the Turtles takes you through his remarkable career.  "What a life!" and "Why isn't he dead?" are the two statements you'll be making.

Children of the Canyon -- by David Kukoff
A dark but engrossing novel about the kids who grew up in Laurel Canyon during the '70s.  Filled with rock stars, drugs, alternative lifestyles, bullshit rhetoric -- back when "family"  meant Charles Manson.

Effed Up -- by Russ Woody
A wickedly funny dysfunctional family by one of Hollywood's best comedy writers --  who needs to get in therapy quick.

Deadly Heat -- by Richard Castle
For a TV character, Castle really packs his crime novel with murders, terrorist plots, clues, twists, and sex.

Mad as Hell -- by David Itzkoff
The making of one of the great movies ever, NETWORK.  It really gets into the mind of writer Paddy Chayefsky -- worth the price just for that.

And I had already read this book but wanted to plug it anyway:  Must Kill TV -- by me.  85 reviews (78 real good ones).  And the Kindle is only $2.99.  Don't wait for the movie. 

TOMORROW:  My thoughts on THE GOOD WIFE.


Stoney said...


Off-topic but I wanted to give you heads up; CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood has a lead-off story "What's SO Funny" Susan Spencer interviews three of Letterman's writers.

Daniel said...

I'm in the middle of "Mad as Hell" right now and am really enjoying it.

Hamid said...

I just clicked on the Must Kill TV link to have a look at the latest reviews (I posted mine in December) and I was surprised to see someone says they found it offensive towards the LGBT community. Huh? It wasn't that long ago I read it and I don't remember anything in it that mocked gay people, and I react against anything that peddles homophobia, but this book doesn't do that.

I remember the gag about a cop show where the actors fell in love, but there was nothing offensive or mocking about that. Seriously, some people are way too sensitive. It's like that idiot Bruce LaBruce who called Ellen "transphobic" for making a joke about Liza Minnelli at the Oscars. Lighten the fuck up.

Mike Schryver said...

Thanks for mentioning Mad As Hell. I didn't know about the book, and NETWORK is my favorite movie. Can't wait to read it.

Tim W. said...

A friend recommended Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter and it was one of the best books I've read in a while. Funny, touching and well written.

MikeN said...

So the Castle books are legitimately good and not just fan-bait?

Johnny Walker said...

Ooh! The making of NETWORK, one of my favourite films of all time. Didn't know about that book, gotta check that out. Thanks.

Did anyone see that #cancelcolbert' Twitter nonsense? (A Twitter account, not controlled by Colbert or his show, posted a joke out of context - making it appear racist - the Twitter-verse jumped to the defense of offended people everywhere and demanded Colbert's show be cancelled.)

It even made Variety:

I'm scared by the angry ignorance displayed in great numbers through Twitter. The entire platform is great for making pithy remarks ("X is racist - boycott!!") and terrible for allowing people to explain themselves.

The fact that great numbers of numbskulls can come together and actually grab headlines is scary to me.

Tim W. said...

@Johnny Walker

Do you have something against ignorant, knee-jerk reactionists?

Sounds like someone's a little racist, themselves!

Liggie said...

MikeN, those "Richard Castle" books would earn their same strong sales and reviews even if they didn't have his name. I read the first one, "Naked Heat", and it was as good as other contemporary mystery novels I've read.

The "Nikki Heat" Castle books are like more intricate "Castle" episodes, with the "Castle" characters getting different names ("Heat" is Beckett, "Jameson Rook" is Castle, etc.). The "Derek Storm" books, which I haven't read yet, sound like Ludlum-esque spy action thrillers.

Jimmy said...

Who are the Turtles? Rock group, I assume? Never heard of them.

D. McEwan said...

A friend came by for brunch today. He was carrying Must Kill TV to read on the bus. He said he was really enjoying it but was pretty sure he knew where it was going. I said: "No, you don't. Some dandy twists ahead."

D. McEwan said...

"Jimmy said...
Who are the Turtles? Rock group, I assume?"

Yes, a GREAT rock group from the 1960s. Make yourself happy and listen to their great hit Happy Together, one of my favorite songs ever!

VP81955 said...

And don't forget "Elenore," one of the best songs of the late '60s. Just try and resist tapping the top of your steering wheel (assuming it's safe to do so) when it comes around to the "Elenore, gee I think you're swell, and you really do me well, you're my pride and joy, et cetera" refrain.

Anonymous said...

The Turtles:

Helped popularize Bob Dylan for the masses with their version of It Ain't Me Babe (he never gave them appropriate credit)

One of the great openings to a rock song, in You Baby

An underrated classic rarely heard -Let Me Be, Let Me Be

And a great version of the theme for the movie A Guide For The Married Man

And genuinely funny guys

Greg Ehrbar said...

In his book, does Howard Kaylan mention writing songs and music for the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake?

On another subject, Rosalind Chao was on last week's The Neighbors as a therapist and it looks like she is joining the cast. She is married to one of the leads.

Mister Charlie said...

No, Howard did not somehow get around to mentioning Care Bears or Strawberry. It is a good breezy read, interesting and funny.

Mike Barer said...

Howard and Michelle live near our store, so I got the autographed copy of Shellschocked. Real funny guy. We always share a laugh when he comes in.