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It’s that time of year again: summer! That means we’re due for The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2022!
For new readers, my criteria is pretty straightforward. To quote myself from the 2016 list:
The books listed here are among some of my favorites. I’m not necessarily reading them at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t!
Pretty vague, I know. Additionally, I usually feature three books, plus an “Honorable Mention” that’s usually worth a read, too.
For those interested, here are the prior installments:
- “The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2016“
- “The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2019“ (SubscribeStar)
- “The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2020“ (SubscribeStar)
- “The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2021” (SubscribeStar)
With that, here’s The Portly Politico Summer Reading List 2022:
1.) Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: A Novel (2021) – This novel—Tarantino’s first—is a novelization of his film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), a flick I really enjoyed, even though it appears I have not reviewed it on the site. What makes it so fun is that it’s written like a pulp novel about the waning days of Hollywood’s golden age. I’m only nine chapters (about 142 pages of 400) into the book, but as a fan of the film, I can heartily recommend it. Like an novel (or, in this case, novelization) it can explore scenes and characters and backstories in more detail. Considering the film is a daunting 161 minutes—nearly three hours—in length, it’s remarkable how much more can be explored in a book.
The novel shifts perspectives between different characters, but the main characters are washed-up cowboy actor Rick Dalton and his stunt double and personal driver, Cliff Booth. Dalton’s career isn’t exactly dead, but his glory days are behind him, and he’s playing bit-parts as the “heavy” on Westerns. Booth, a veteran of the Second World War with a fairly dark past, plays babysitter to the bipolar, alcoholic Dalton. While it seems Dalton gets the better part of this arrangement, the pair form a mutually-beneficial bond—when Dalton works, Cliff does.
Dalton’s career is slowly starting to improve against the backdrop of the Manson Family, which begins its murderous spree in Los Angeles. The film version presents an alternate version of the Sharon Tate murder, and I imagine the book is heading in the same direction.
For fans of Old Hollywood and Westerns—and, of course, the Zeitgeist of the late 1960s and early 1970s—it’s a must-read, and very fun, too.
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