Hollywood is a land of sunshine dreams, glamorous red carpets, and the magic that happens when a great story is nurtured along by the right creative hands.
It’s also a place where brutal business decisions make and break careers — and where the bottom line can supersede artistic choices.
Since its beginnings in 1886, this singular neighborhood of Los Angeles has been defined by the push-pull between beauty and the bottom line. Even its founder, Harvey Henderson Wilcox, was seduced by the California sun, then used that affection to turn a profit.
Still, it’s hard to resist the spell of a place that’s so iconic. Hollywood landmarks are recognized around the world: Melrose Avenue, Sunset Boulevard, Griffith Park, the Hollywood Bowl, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Walk of Fame, Universal Studios. Tinseltown has become the gold standard for glamour and success around the globe.
In this episode, we take a dip into Hollywood history, discuss the times the Oscars ceremony went (gloriously) off the rails, and recommend five books that transported us to the movie capital, including a primer on storytelling from a master screenwriter, a journalist’s view of why we’re drowning in superhero movies, and three novels with distinctly different looks at the lives and loves of film stars.
For a complete roundup of all the books we recommend, plus a full transcript and the other cool stuff we talked about, visit the Episode 25 show notes.
Subscribe to our podcast so you never miss a must-read book or thrilling destination!
If we're not available on your favorite podcast-listening platform, send us an email!
Top image courtesy of Thomas Hawk/Flickr.
Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!
Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.
Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.
This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Content on this site is ©2023 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.