This post was a long time coming. The majority of my classic film books had been packed away in cardboard boxes for the better part of five years, sitting unloved in our garage winter after winter after winter. I finally managed to unearth them all a few weekends ago, dust them off and place them lovingly on my new basement bookshelves where I can stroke their spines and flip through their glossy pages once more.
I'm an avid collector. It's something that I've always enjoyed doing. Amassing sizable collections of various objects has always been one of my passions and I did it with puzzles, Barbie dolls, Archie comic books, European fashion magazines, first edition classics, and classic film memorabilia. I'm sitting here scratching my head, wondering how I even became a collector in the first place; I'm notorious for throwing things away and constantly clearing out cabinets, closets and shelves. I've always hated clutter and the hoarding of objects, so why the hell have I been collecting for thirty years??
The answer is simple: because I love frequently and I love passionately. And if there is one thing I'm absolutely sure of: I love classic film.
Here, I take you on a tour of my classic film bookshelves! This is where I keep all of my coffee table books, my autobiographies/biographies, my film books, and my rarities. The reason why everything is just thrown together on the shelves willy-nilly is because when people come over and have a look through my collection, I don't want them to feel pressured to put the books back in designated spots. Rather, they can just put them anywhere at all where there's room and not have to worry about keeping them in any particular order.
Here I go, dissecting each shelf one-by-one for you! I'll start at the top and work my way down to the bottom where all the good stuff lies (i.e. coffee table books). I've gone ahead and BOLDED my absolute favourite picks of the lot in case you were wondering which books I've enjoyed the most.
L - R: Life: Katharine Hepburn Commemorative 1907-2003 by Editors of Life (2003), Majestic Hollywood: The Greatest Films of 1939 by Mark A. Vieira (2013), Sotheby's Property From the Estate of Katharine Hepburn (2004), Kate Remembered by Editors of People Magazine (2003), Gene Tierney: A Biography by Michelle Vogel (2005), Gene Kelly: A Celebration by Sheridan Morley (1996), Conversations with Greta Garbo by Sven Broman (1992), The Making of The African Queen: Or, How I Went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind by Katharine Hepburn (1987), The Making of The Wizard of Oz by Aljean Harmetz (1998), The Star Machine by Jeanine Basinger (2009), Complicated Women: Sex & Power in Pre-Code Hollywood by Mick LaSalle (2001), The Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers Book by Arlene Croce (1972), Leading Ladies: The 50 Most Unforgettable Actresses of the Studio Era by Molly Haskell (2006), Leading Men: The 50 Most Unforgettable Actors of the Studio Era by Molly Haskell (2006), Leading Couples by Frank Miller (2008), Judy Garland: A Biography by Anne Edwards (2013), I Do & I Don't: A History of Marriage In the Movies by Jeanine Basinger (2013), Fred Astaire: Steps In Time by Fred Astaire (1959), Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild by David Stenn (2000), Marlene Dietrich by Maria Riva (1994), Marlene Dietrich: Life & Legend by Steven Bach (2013), Vivien: The Life of Vivien Leigh by Alexander Walker (1987), Marilyn Monroe by Barbara Leaming (2010), Ava Gardner: Love Is Nothing by Lee Server (2007), The Million Dollar Mermaid: An Autobiography by Esther Williams (2001), Me by Katharine Hepburn (1996), Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn by William J. Mann (2007), Clark Gable: A Biography by Warren G. Harris (2005), Cary Grant: A Biography by Marc Eliot (2005), Jimmy Stewart: A Biography by Marc Eliot (2007).
L - R: Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master by Michael Spagow (2008), Buzz: The Life & Art of Busby Berkeley by Jeffrey Spivak (2011), Greta Garbo: A Life Apart by Karen Swenson (1997), Robert Redford: The Biography by Michael Feeney Callan (2011), Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me by Marlon Brando with Robert Lindsey (1994), Beautiful: The Life of Hedy Lamarr by Stephen Michael Shearer (2010), Paul Newman: A Life by Shawn Levy (2009), Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, & the Marriage of the Century by Sam Kashner & Nancy Schoenberger (2010), Spencer Tracy: A Biography by James Curtis (2011), Dark Victory: The Life of Bette Davis by Ed Sikov (2007), Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland by Gerald Clarke (2000), Not the Girl Next Door: Joan Crawford, A Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler (2008), An Affair To Remember: The Remarkable Love Story of Katharine Hepburn & Spencer Tracy by Christopher Anderson (1997), John Wayne: The Life & Legend by Scott Eyman (2014), A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel - True, Volume One, 1907-1940 by Victoria Wilson (2013), The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe by Donald H. Wolfe (1998), Fireball: Carole Lombard & the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen (2014), Bombshell: The Life & Death of Jean Harlow by David Stenn (1993), Myrna Loy: Being & Becoming by James Kotsilibas-Davis & Myrna Loy (1987), John Gilbert: The Last of the Silent Film Stars by Eve Golden (2013), Ann-Margret: My Story by Ann-Margret (1994).
Bottom Shelf (my favourite):
L - R: Garbo: Portraits From Her Private Collection by Scott Reisfield & Robert Dance (2005), Joan Crawford: The Enduring Star by Peter Cowie (2011), Bette Davis: Larger Than Life by Richard Schickel & George Perry (2009), Lana Turner: The Memories, The Myths, The Movies by Cheryl Crane & Cindy De La Hoz (2008), The Marilyn Encyclopedia by Adam Victor (1999), Universal Studios Monsters: A Legacy of Horror by Michael Mallory (2009), Greta Garbo: A Cinematic Legacy by Mark A. Vieira (2005), Bogie: A Celebration of the Life and Films of Humphrey Bogart by Richard Schickel (2006), MGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot by Steven Bingen, Stephen X. Sylvester, & Michael Troyan (2011), Judy Garland: World's Greatest Entertainer by John Fricke (1992), The Films of Jean Harlow by Michael Ricci & Mark Conway (1965), Gary Cooper: Enduring Style by G. Bruce Boyer (2011), Marlene Dietrich: Photographs & Memories by Marlene Dietrich Collection (2001), Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait by Kendra Bean (2013) x2, Ann Dvorak: Hollywood's Forgotten Rebel by Christina Rice (2013), George Raft: The Man Who Would Be Bogart by Stone Wallace (2008), Adrian: Silver Screen to Custom Label by Christian Esquevin (2008), The Looney Tunes Treasury by Andrew Farago & Ruth Clampett (2010), Hollywood Dreams Made Real: Irving Thalberg & the Rise of MGM by Mark A. Vieira (2008), Shall We Dance: The Life of Ginger Rogers by Sheridan Morley (1995), You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story by Richard Schickel & George Perry (2008), The Wizard of Oz: An Illustrated Companion to the Timeless Movie Classic by John Fricke & Jonathan Shirshekan (2009), Silent Movies: The Birth of Film & the Triumph of Movie Culture by Peter Kobel & the Library of Congress (2007), Hollywood Costume by Deborah Nadoolman Landis (2013), George Hurrell's Hollywood by Mark A. Vieira (2013), Harlow In Hollywood by Mark A. Vieira & Darrell Rooney (2011), Some Like It Hot: The Official 50th Anniversary Companion by Laurence Maslon & Walter Mirisch (2009), Hurrell's Hollywood Portraits by Mark A. Vieira (1997).
My collection is nowhere near complete. There are still a bunch of books I'm planning to add to my shelves, namely a Dana Andrews biography and this monster of a tome. I've also been trying to hunt down a copy (in decent condition) of Mark A. Vieira's Sin In Soft Focus coffee table book for the past couple of years to no avail. One day I will have it! I will!
If you're interested in checking out some other fabulous classic film book collections, I'd recommend Cliff's post here - but, be warned: keep a box of tissues nearby because you will be salivating. It's inevitable as far as I'm concerned!
If you'd like to see more of my bookshelves please let me know in the comments section down below! I've always been an avid reader and, over the years, I've built up quite the collection of fiction and Fashion related books (thanks to my college fashion studies). Happy Reading!