February Book Club: Lonely Hearts Club Edition with Anjelica Huston, Lee Grant & Nora Ephron
Circle up the lovelorn bookworms; this month’s Book Club is all about what to read if you’re not celebrating Valentine’s Day. Not into reading this month either? Can’t say we approve, but our February selection lends itself particularly well to film, so be sure to check out our small-screen suggestions at the end of the post.
What is it about Anjelica Huston and Jack Nicholson? They’re like the shadow Jackie and JFK. The pair dated—or whatever that’s called when you’re photographed in glamorous locations together but then are not speaking to each other the next day—from 1973 to 1990, and Huston’s second memoir details all of it. You would sort of give anything to time travel and sit poolside with them (and some martinis) on a Saturday afternoon—and then hang around long enough to hear them spar later on. But at the same time, that’s the last thing you want because doing so would blow all your ideas about America in the ’70s and ’80s. Watch Me is about more than just Jack, but their relationship basically defined the eras, much like Huston defines what it is to be an international ageless icon—with or without a man.
Stage and screen actress and director Lee Grant is one of those people everyone should know—but somehow they don’t. Her tell-all life story is a how-to and a cautionary tale (how-to not?) about life in show biz and, as the title implies, an openness to experimentation. The book is studded (zzzzing!) with the hunky bold-face names that were her friends and lovers—from Marlon Brando to Burt Bacharach, of whom she said, “All he ever wanted to do was play the piano, watch basketball and the TV, and go to bed.” I promise the juicy bits about Warren Beatty are, well, juicier.
Fans of laughing hysterically at oneself and/or reading lovingly acerbic commentary on female relationships mourned the death of Nora Ephron in June 2012. A whole new fanbase emerged when Lena Dunham eulogized her in The New Yorker, and then … a lit blogger suggested that Dunham remake and update Heartburn, the Jack Nicholson/Meryl Streep movie version of this autobiographical novel. And, frankly, that’s been on my mind ever since. Put it this way, to get to the heart of one of the truest funny women in contemporary books and film, you need to read or watch Heartburn. Warning: it’s not perfect, which is precisely why you might then want to see that other really important and truly funny contemporary woman have her turn with it, too.
And speaking of vintage flicks, if you want to make this book club into a movie party, simply add Anjelica and Jack in The Crossing Guard and Lee and Warren in Shampoo to your screening of Heartburn. Voilà—and take that, Valentine.