Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Night Circus and Rin Tin Tin

When books arrive with tons of advance publicity, my suspicions are raised a tad. Are they really all they are cracked up to be? Sometimes, they aren't.

Sometimes, they are.

Case in point: Example A.

Tons. TONS of hoopla over this book. Movie rights have already been sold.

Looking for a wild, evocative, and weird read? Check this one out. Actually, you'll need to get in line for this one. Lots of hold requests. It's a mysterious and romantic story set against the backdrop of a magical Victorian circus. I don't want to give away too much, so I'll stop right here.

Case in point: Example B.

Rin Tin Tin also arrived with a lot of publicity and advance praise, not surprising for a new book by Susan Orlean. Let me tell you: SO WORTH IT. This is an incredible read. It's a beautifully and movingly written story that intertwines the history of dogs and people in modern day peacetime and wartime, the rough and tumble years of early Hollywood and the awkward transition to sound, the rise and fall of television westerns, and the amazing and unbelievable story of the first Rin Tin Tin, his devoted owner, Lee Duncan, and Rin Tin Tin's descendants. Susan Orlean interjects herself into the story from time to time, which makes her writing more personal and intimate. I knew very, very little about Rin Tin Tin before reading this, so the depth of the original Rin Tin Tin's popularity and how seriously he was taken as a genuine actor and as an icon astounded me. This is narrative nonfiction at its best. Orlean is doing a big book tour and a good amount of publicity for her book; holds will probably increase (especially if it shows up on bestseller lists, which I'm sure it will, and on the "Best Of 2011" lists which will be out shortly) so I would request now if you think you want to read it. If you love dogs or if entertainment history interests you, trust want to read this book.

A book trailer for The Night Circus:

Book trailer for Rin Tin Tin:

17 out of the original 23 Rin Tin Tin movies have been lost forever. Fortunately, you can see some clips on Youtube:

The Hills of Kentucky:

A movie starring Junior, Rinty's son. Like many second-generation entertainers, he was compared to his old man and found wanting:

The Rin Tin Tin television show. Hey, that dog's a bit blond, dontcha think? Oh, dear...better read the book. This is the brief opening:

Isn't Youtube the best? There are also terrific clips of Lassie, Rin Tin Tin's rival. Rin Tin Tin's folks would sometimes get a bit unhinged when the subject of Lassie came up.

And while we're on the subject of trailers and Youtube, a new trailer for Steven Spielberg's War Horse movie has been released:

Waah. Cannot wait. Read the book before the holds start stacking up.

Enjoy these wonderful stories!

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