I make music and I make movies, so I tend to like books about those topics. Also, I like hard-boiled crime fiction and absurd literary fiction, which are sometimes the same thing.
Georges Simenon's gift for writing economical crime stories that somehow ride the line between hardboiled terseness and deadpan whimsy is really on display in this short novel. Inspector Maigret is assigned to a superficially banal murder investigation that gets twistier and harder to solve with each new discovery.
Jan Wahl was a good personal friend, in addition to being a great author of children's stories. This story, one of his last, concerns a hunter who discovers a new respect and reverence for nature that causes him to make a change. The book is beautifully illustrated too.
Although best known for his crime novels set in Harlem, this collection focuses on the broader literary side of Chester Himes. Included are slice-of-life stories, portraying a bygone era of Black Los Angeles, vignettes of prison life, as well as later, more experimental fiction that Himes wrote after he gave up the U.S. for France.
My favorite filmmaking memoir, from the director of pulpy masterpieces like FIXED BAYONETS!, SHOCK CORRIDOR, and PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET. This tale of combat both in the trenches and within the Hollywood studio system is as unsentimental as Fuller's films, but I still got choked up at the end.
A great entry in the 33 1/3 series, covering Elvis Presley's late-'60s comeback. Well-researched and engagingly written, and I'm not just saying that because I know the guy who wrote it.
Chester Himes's Harlem is sometimes mean, sometimes scary, sometimes colorful, sometimes funny, and quite often surreal. COTTON COMES TO HARLEM is one of the best books featuring his detective duo Grave Digger and Coffin Ed.
A great non-fiction book for children about film star and renowned inventor (!!) Hedy Lamarr. Beautifully illustrated, this is a delightfully offbeat choice for little burgeoning scientists and future film fanatics.