Sunday, May 18, 2014

''THE CHAPERONE" and "THE ENTERTAINER"--two terrific titles--spotlighting The Jazz Age, Hollywood, American Popular Culture and beyond

The Chaperone 
THE CHAPERONE  by Laura Moriarty   

A New York Times bestseller, The Chaperone is a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in the 1920s and the summer that would change them both.

Only a few years before becoming a famous silent-film star and an icon of her generation, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita, Kansas, to study with the prestigious Denishawn School of Dancing in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone, who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle, a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip, has no idea what she’s in for. Young Louise, already stunningly beautiful and sporting her famous black bob with blunt bangs, is known for her arrogance and her lack of respect for convention. Ultimately, the five weeks they spend together will transform their lives forever.


For Cora, the city holds the promise of discovery that might answer the question at the core of her being, and even as she does her best to watch over Louise in this strange and bustling place she embarks on a mission of her own. And while what she finds isn’t what she anticipated, she is liberated in a way she could not have imagined. Over the course of Cora’s relationship with Louise, her eyes are opened to the promise of the twentieth century and a new understanding of the possibilities for being fully alive.


Drawing on the rich history of the 1920s, ’30s, and beyond—from the orphan trains to Prohibition, flappers,  and the onset of the Great Depression to the burgeoning movement for equal rights and new opportunities for women—Laura Moriarty’s The Chaperone illustrates how rapidly everything, from fashion and hemlines to values and attitudes, was changing at this time and what a vast difference it all made for Louise Brooks, Cora Carlisle, and others like them.


Laura Moriarty   

Laura Moriarty earned a degree is social work before returning for her M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Kansas. She was the recipient of the George Bennett Fellowship for Creative Writing at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. She currently lives with her daughter in Lawrence, Kansas, and is at work on her next novel.


 Movies, Magic, and My Father's Twentieth Century 
"THE ENTERTAINER"  by Margaret Talbot   

Using the life and career of her father, an early Hollywood actor, New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot tells the thrilling story of the rise of popular culture through a transfixing personal lens. The arc of Lyle Talbot’s career is in fact the story of American entertainment. Born in 1902, Lyle left his home in small-town Nebraska in 1918 to join a traveling carnival. From there he became a magician’s assistant, an actor in a traveling theater troupe, a romantic lead in early talkies, then an actor in major Warner Bros. pictures with stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Carole Lombard, then an actor in cult B movies, and finally a part of the advent of television, with regular roles on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Leave It to Beaver. Ultimately, his career spanned the entire trajectory of the industry.   

In her captivating, impeccably researched narrative—a charmed combination of Hollywood history, social history, and family memoir—Margaret Talbot conjures warmth and nostalgia for those earlier eras of ’10s and ’20s small-town America, ’30s and ’40s Hollywood. She transports us to an alluring time, simpler but also exciting, and illustrates the changing face of her father’s America, all while telling the story of mass entertainment across the first half of the twentieth century.    


Image of Margaret Talbot

Margaret Talbot is a non-fiction writer, who has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2003, and before that was a contributing writer at The New York Times magazine, executive editor of The New Republic, and a founding editor of Lingua Franca: The Review of Academic Life. In addition to those publications, she has written for The Atlantic, The National Geographic, More, Slate and
Margaret grew up in Studio City, California, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and has a Master's Degree in History from Harvard University.

Her reporting and essays have been collected in a number of anthologies, including The Art of the Essay, The Best American Science Writing. and Because I Said So. Margaret is the recipient of a Whiting Writer's Award, and is a former senior fellow at the New America Foundation.

Her first book, The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father's Twentieth Century was published by Riverhead in November 2012, and will be available in paperback in November 2013.

She lives in Washington D.C., with her husband, writer Arthur Allen, and their two children, Ike and Lucy. Margaret serves on the board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

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