Final count: 6 books.
The Shape of Things (Neil LaBute)
"as for me, i have no regrets or feelings of remorse for my actions, the manufactured emotions...none of it. i have always stood by the single and simple conceit that i am a artist. only that. i follow in a long tradition of artists who believe there is no such concept as religion, or government, community or even family. there is only art. art that must be created, whatever the cost."
Honeymoon (James Patterson and Howard Roughan)
Patterson's original outline for this 2005 novel was included as part of our text for his MasterClass, which I started this month. Reading the outline made me really want to read the book. It's a black widow story and although the international espionage sub-plot kind of lost me, it was addictive - I had trouble putting it down and got through it in just a few days.
"The police didn't suspect a thing. She had committed the perfect murder. Again."
On Writing (Stephen King)
"I can't remember many cases where I felt I had to describe what the people in a story looked like - I'd rather let the reader supply the faces, the builds, and the clothing as well. If I tell you that Carrie White is a high school outcast with a bad complexion and a fashion-victim wardrobe, I think you can do the rest, can't you? I don't need to give you a pimple-by-pimple, skirt-by-skirt rundown."
We Don't Need Roads: The Making of the Back to the Future Trilogy (Caseen Gaines)
Back to the Future as you could hope to find. We Don't Need Roads goes all the way back to when "The Bobs" (writer Gale and writer/director Zemeckis) were first trying - initially unsuccessfully - to sell their concept to a studio, any studio, all the way through the sequels and everything in between.
Pretty much everything is covered. Music, effects, stunts, makeup, costumes, marketing...just when you think every topic has been addressed and every player has been heard from, there's something new. The book pulls back the curtain on the notorious casting issues, mainly the firing of Eric Stoltz six weeks into filming (there are a couple of color photos of Stoltz as Marty, and it's jarring), plus the Crispin Glover situation. There's also an early poster design that would be jettisoned in favor of what would become the iconic image of Marty McFly, one foot on the ground and the other in the DeLorean/time machine, gawking at his watch. If you are a fan of the BTTF films, you will devour this book.
"Although Fox's marathon workdays have since become the material of cinematic lore, at the time, burning the candle at both ends didn't faze the actor in the slightest. As he told the Bobs when he first met them after accepting the role, he relied on his youth and enthusiasm to compensate for his lack of a good night's sleep."
My Gun Has Bullets (Lee Goldberg)
Some examples of the shows on fictional networks UBC (United Broadcasting Company), MBC (Monumental Broadcasting Company) and DBC (Dynamic Broadcasting Company): Boo Boo's Dilemma (a wildly popular sitcom about a vaudeville comedian trapped in the body of a dog), Frankencop, Young Hudson Hawk, Blacke and Whyte (a PI show that is retitled Two Dicks in an attempt to boost ratings), Honeymooners: The Next Generation, Aunt Agatha (Miss Marple meets Jessica Fletcher), Broad Squad and the titular My Gun Has Bullets. It's worth it just for the Frankencop pitch, but really, the whole thing is a riot.
"He's no ordinary man, and he's no ordinary cop. He's Frankencop and he's serious about fighting crime. Dead serious."
The Stranger Beside Me (Ann Rule)
Writers' Police Academy and continued it on my flight back to L.A. (also at night). I finally finished it on a bright afternoon while coming down with a nasty head cold.
Ann Rule was a former cop turned author/journalist who knew Ted Bundy as a caring, gentlemanly young man who she had bonded with when they worked alongside each other at a suicide hotline center in Seattle. A few years down the road and Bundy became infamous as a vicious serial killer, something Rule simply could not reconcile with the brilliant, wonderful person she had known. Even as the law and evidence caught up with Bundy, Rule remained a sympathetic friend, helping out when and where she could (usually sending him a few bucks for the prison commissary). The experience of being so completely deceived by Bundy and having to see a friend receive the death penalty was a devastatingly bitter pill for her to swallow.
The most recent edition includes a number of updates to the original text, including Bundy finally being executed. Thanks to an avalanche of legal maneuvers he had managed to delay his sentence for about seven years, long after the original edition of The Stranger Beside Me had been published.
"And so the answer to the question put to me so many times is yes. Yes, I believe Ted Bundy attacked Joni Lenz, just as I now am forced to believe that he is responsible for all the other crimes attributed to him. I have never said it out loud, or in print, but I believe it, as devoutly as I wish I did not."