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Kyle's Book

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The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to the Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781101911327
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - September 5th, 2017

Despite the title, this book by the TV critic of FRESH AIR is not a study of a particular era. It's a history of television wisely offered in a series of short essays on shows that are excellent, influential, or both, and it even includes interviews with some of the key people. The way it's organized is great for browsing, but don't be surprised at the impulse to barrel through the whole book.


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Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143126836
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - February 24th, 2015

A World War II history, a moviemaking book, a study of five famous filmmakers serving their country – this one is all that, and my favorite sort of nonfiction: taking multiple topics and combining them so freshly and successfully that it seems they must have always been entwined. No, that’s just a great writer pulling it all together in a single story for you.


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Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West--One Meal at a Time Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780553383485
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bantam - May 3rd, 2011

This fantastic pop history is page-turning Americana as well as a business case study. The story of Fred Harvey points directly to McDonald’s, Starbucks, and every franchised anything. He set out to duplicate his inns and dining rooms wherever the railroads were taking settlers, and he did exactly that. I closed this book longing to jump off a frontier train and step into a Harvey House.


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Life Itself Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780446584968
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 4th, 2012

Roger Ebert was more than an expert on movies who landed a TV show. He was a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper man whose columns and reviews were as knowing about real people as about the movies. He was never been better than in telling the story of his own life, which was in decline as he wrote this. You’d never know it by what’s on the page.


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The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap Cover Image
$22.99
ISBN: 9780465098835
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Basic Books - March 29th, 2016

It’s one thing to be nostalgic about our own days gone by. It’s something else to believe in days gone by as seen on TV or at the movies, and that is what the author calls “the nostalgia trap.” If letting go of what we soaked up from the screens feels sad, take heart: The author argues that life is lots better lately, and she shares the facts to prove it.


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Collected Stories Cover Image
By Roald Dahl, Jeremy Treglown (Introduction by)
$30.00
ISBN: 9780307264909
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Everyman's Library - October 17th, 2006

The temptation towards misbehavior we enjoy in his books for kids is also found in Roald Dahl’s wonderful stories for adults. Because the characters aren’t children, though, he doesn’t have to give them the keys to the chocolate factory, and he often twists the prize in the style of O. Henry. Alfred Hitchcock loved Dahl’s stories and dramatized quite a few on his TV series, if that gives you any idea what you’re in for. Laugh. Enjoy. Shiver.


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The Berlin Stories Cover Image
By Christopher Isherwood, Armistead Maupin (Introduction by)
$17.95
ISBN: 9780811218047
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - September 1st, 2008

Christopher Isherwood was such a great, clear-eyed writer that it feels wrong to say he wrote like a dream – every observation is sharp, every character vivid. There is no dreamy haze. You will devour every story, and you may also decide that Holly Golightly owes everything to Sally Bowles.


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Possession: A Romance Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780679735908
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage Books USA - October 1st, 1991

A prize-winning bestseller almost 30 years ago, rather like THE GOLDFINCH, this was an unexpected sensation, coming from an author who was respected but hardly a success on the level of Donna Tartt. Also making its success a surprise was that it’s about a couple of academics competing to research a hundred-year-old mystery that involves a pair of poets! Just goes to show the impact that suspense, humor, the cozy English countryside, and a developing love story can make when the mix is perfect.


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Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780871403131
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - September 27th, 2016

This award-winning new bio makes my list for being another opportunity to steer people towards Shirley Jackson’s own novels and story collections. (I moonlight as a Shirley Jackson booster.) Her stock as a 20th-century master is still rising, and reading about her frustrations and fears makes the escalating suspense in her books even more fascinating. 


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Welcome to Utopia: Notes from a Small Town Cover Image
$16.50
ISBN: 9780292738751
Availability: Special Order
Published: University of Texas Press - March 1st, 2012

This nonfiction will feel familiar to anybody who’s spent time in a small town or a close-knit community, and it’s full of charm and humor. Its focus on young people, though, gives an urgency to the long, slow days in Utopia, Texas, as its graduating class looks for their paths within, or maybe out of, their little hometown. 


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Bettyville: A Memoir Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143107880
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - February 2nd, 2016

If you have done some growing up of your own and have a senior parent (or two), here is familiar turf. This is a story of family duty, of coming to terms, of recovery, and of a career hiatus, all of them mostly reluctant. None of that sounds like fun, I know, which is why it’s stunning to find yourself loving every page spent with the author and Betty, his ailing mother.