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Drama: An Actor’s Education
by John Lithgow
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“Natural eccentricity” has always made John Lithgow an engaging stage and screen presence, said Charles McNulty in the Los Angeles Times. Raised in the theater by his director father, Lithgow “had a walk-on appearance in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at an age when most kids are still banging together blocks.” Though Lithgow’s memoir is at times too unhurried and lacks “the soul of drama—conflict,” it’s effortlessly appealing, like the actor himself. Clearly, “what you see is no affectation.”
by Hal Holbrook
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30)
Hal Holbrook’s book is “a stress-inducing grind,” said Ada Calhoun in The New York Times. Abandoned at a young age by his chorus-girl mother, he comes across in this long memoir as motivated by a “bottomless loneliness,” and he ends the book in 1959, just as he finds the role that would make him most famous—playing Mark Twain. Given all the self-pity he has offered up to that point, it’s unlikely that many readers will be eagerly awaiting the sequel.
by William Shatner
It’s impossible to read William Shatner’s new book without hearing his “pause-inflected speech patterns,” said Molly Driscoll in CSMonitor
.com. The actor who attained fame playing Star Trek’s Captain Kirk has since ridden his patented brand of overacting to icon status. In this tongue-in-cheek guide to living well, Shatner shares plenty of stories from his days on the Enterprise, chronicles how becoming a TV pitchman resurrected his career, and throws in plenty of “Fun Factners.”
Luck and Circumstance
by Michael Lindsay-Hogg
Imagine living most of your life being uncertain whether Orson Welles was your real father, said Moira Hodgson in The Wall Street Journal. “Welles’s considerable shadow looms” large over this “sad, funny, and intelligent memoir” by this Hollywood actress’s son who grew up to be a director who worked with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The author shares “plenty of entertaining anecdotes” about other celebrities, but he’s “at his most compelling” when exploring his relationship with Welles.
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