Recommended Summer Reading: Jack Nicholmsn’s Early Years, bios of Marco Rubio sand Freddie Mercury, and a Memoir by the Late Tom Mankiewiczby Larry Cox on Jul. 23, 2012, under Uncategorized
Mercury by Lesley-Ann Jones (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, $26)
Freddie Mercury, lead vocalist for the iconic rock band Queen, was one of the most legendary superstars of all time. He also was one of the first major rock stars to die from AIDS.
Leslie-Ann Jones, an award-winning music journalist, toured with Queen which provided her with unrivalled access to Mercury. Although Mercury was known for his sensational, infectious showmanship and outrageous behavior, Jones claims he was in reality a shy, complicated introvert.
Drawing on more than one hundred interviews with those closest to Mercury, Jones documents the performer’s life in the fast lane that included extreme highs and lows. To gain a better understanding of his early life, Jones traveled to Zanzibar, Mercury’s birthplace, and India, where he attended boarding school. She documents his relationships and accomplishments as she tries to define the magnetism that made him one of the most enigmatic entertainers of our era.
This is a fascinating biography that is insightful, compelling, and definitive.
The Rise of Marco Rubio by Manuel Roig-Francia (Simon & Schuster, $25)
Marco Rubio, Florida’s junior U.S. Senator, has risen so quickly, the 40-year-old son of Cuban immigrants has been called “the Michael Jordan of Republican Politics.”
The author, a staff member of The Washington Post, sifted though records and documents — many never before disclosed — to document the Rubio family and their immigration experience.
When Marco was eight years old, the family moved from Miami to Las Vegas where he converted to Mormonism. When his family returned to Florida, he reconnected with the Catholic Church and as an adult has found a delicate balance between Catholicism and Evangelical Protestantism.
After Rubio was elected to the Florida legislature, he veered to the political right. As a U.S. Senator, his established a reputation by attempting to build bridges between that wing of the Republican Party and its relationship with Hispanics. Since Marco Rubio obviously has his eye of the White House, this is a much-needed guide to the man.
Jack Nicholson: The Early Years by Robert Crane and Christopher Fryer (University Press of Kentucky, $19.95 softbound)
To say that Jack Nicholson is one of our most talented actors would be an understatement. He has been nominated for twelve Academy Awards, winning three, racked up seven Golden Globes, and captured the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award.
“Jack Nicholson: The Early Years” was first published in 1975, and is the first and only biography to have had his participation. Where so many professional journalists failed, Crane and Fryer, two college students, somehow connected with the actor. What began as their thesis for a University of California film class, quickly morphed into a somewhat larger portrait, revealing Nicholson’s accomplishments as an actor, writer, and director, and even aspects of his personal life.
My Life as a Mankiewicz: An Insider’s Journey Through Hollywood (University Press of Kentucky, $39.95)
Even as a youngster, it was almost a given that Tom Mankiewicz would become involved in the film community.
Son of famed director and screenwriter Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Tom grew up in Beverly Hills and spent as much time as possible on film sets. He rubbed elbows with Hollywood royalty. For example, he had his first drink with Bogart, dined with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, took Ava Gardner to the theater, and traveled throughout the world as a writer for film projects involving Brando, Sinatra, and Connery.
In his memoir, Mankiewicz documents his life including the personal challenges of his mother’s schizophrenia and untimely debt and his own issues with alcohol and drugs.
Film biographer Robert Crane began working with Mankiewicz on this memoir in 2009, but Tom died the following year of pancreatic cancer. The project was, however, completed and is a fitting tribute to a man who a member of the glamorous world of Hollywood during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.