it’s only a movie : alfred hitchcock

Musing Mondays (June 18)

This week’s Musing Mondays from Should Be Reading asks…

“In this week’s musing MizB asks a question based on Craig Mod‘s article called Hack the CoverThe article basically tells us that covers are dead. Physical books are disappearing, e-books are taking over and publishers are increasingly skipping right to the content discarding digital covers. So MizB wants to know, 

What do we think about this? Do we think the book cover is “dead”? Do we care whether the “covers” on digital books exist or not?

Do I care? People who know me know that I am kind of an old fashioned prude who thinks ‘Facebook’ is a terrible waste of time and refuses to join in. So you bet that I care about the existence of book covers!

I don’t know if book covers are dead but I certainly don’t want them to be! Covers do matter whether physical or digital. Here are a few instances from my life.

As an yet uneducated 3 year old, I loved looking at the brightly drawn cover of Chestnut-Grey and the more sombre cover of The White Deer (two mysterious books that have been on our shelves from before my birth, books that my parents swear they didn’t buy). As I sat there looking at them my heart filled with anticipation about the treasures hidden inside them.

I would eagerly read the back page of each of my Penguin Popular Classics  editions, wanting to know what art work has been used as the cover.

And very recently reading  It’s Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock – A Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler en route to my workplace and people asking me what book I was reading. The striking cover grabbing everyone’s attention and surprising me!

Okay let’s get back to digital books. I am not that into them but when I occasionally do read one I prefer the ones that do not skip directly to the first page of the first chapter or table of contents. The cover makes my ‘digital’ reading experience seem more ‘real’.

Even my future reads like   Crooks Tour by Jane Shaw feels more readable because of the ‘retro’ looking covers from Retro Press!

So, yes I do care whether the “covers” on exist or not, whether on digital books or real books.


My Top Ten Books 2011

I am normally very sure about what I like and what I don’t. So, doing top 10 best reads is usually a cinch for me. But last year was such a whirlwind! Also, my reading experiences were a bit of a mixed bag. There were a lot of books that I didn’t love but didn’t hate either. Thus, putting together a top 10 was more difficult than it usually is. Anyway here is my Top 10 Books for 2011 with excerpts from my reviews (Click on the titles for the full reviews),


Detective Stories. Philip Pullman.

The collection starts with The Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine in 1892. Panic grips a lonely woman when she starts to hear the same late night whistling noise that her twin sister spoke of in her dying moments…


Very Good, Jeeves. P.G. Wodehouse.

Jeeves and the Song of Songs (1929) has Bertie right in the middle of Tuppy Glossop’s tangled love life as he is forced to sing at a concert for Beefy Bingham. Anyone who has seen the 1990 series Jeeves and Wooster will appreciate this story even more. I recently watched a re-run of the show (I am too young to remember its original run) and thought  Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry were absolutely marvellous in it!


Rebecca. Daphne Du Maurier.

For me, Rebecca is about Rebecca. Long after the book ends her laughing, beautiful, cruel face stays vividly alive. She wins, as always, even in death.


The Diary of a Nobody. George Grossmith.

I found several parts of the book quite funny. Like Lupin recklessly driving a pony-trap and causing general havoc in the streets while Mr. Pooter being seated at the back has to bear the wrath of  ‘a gang of roughs in a donkey-cart’. Or Mr. Cummings becoming ill and being angry at his friends for not reading about his illness in ‘The Bicycle News’. And Mr. Pooter getting annoyed after having to eat the same blanc-mange repeatedly.


A Short History of Nearly Everything. Bill Bryson.

I really liked how Bryson talks of the people behind the science. The lives of known and unknown people behind some of the greatest discoveries come alive through Bryson’s narrative.

The Ninth Life of Louis Drax. Liz Jensen.

Louis Drax is an accident prone boy. Ever since he was a baby he has been involved in more than his fair share of near fatal accidents. But so far they have all been just that, ‘nearly’ but not wholly ‘fatal’. On his ninth birthday, however, things may change for the worse. Louis may never come out alive from this ‘accident’.


The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Haruki Murakami.

Sprawling, odd, complicated, scary, these are the words that come to my mind when I say the name, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I tried to keep an open mind and take it all in. But still at times I had to stop and think,

‘What on earth is this?’


The Inimitable Jeeves. P. G. Wodehouse.

In Introducing Claude and Eustace and Sir Roderick Comes to Lunch, Bertie’s cousins, Claude and Eustace, come home with a top hat, several cats and a Salmon. Meanwhile, Sir Roderick Glossop, the noted nerve specialist, comes to lunch and questions Bertie’s sanity.

Mrs Lirriper’s Lodgings. Charles Dickens.

After Mrs. Lirriper’s drink loving husband perishes in an accident, Mrs. Lirriper starts to take in lodgers to make ends meet and also to pay off Mr. Lirriper’s debts. Mrs Lirriper’s Lodgings describes some of her experiences as a lodge keeper… I liked how Mrs. Lirriper keeps addressing the reader as ‘My Dear’, as though she knows us all and is having an ordinary conversation with us. It is sort of comforting somehow.


Mrs Lirriper’s Legacy. Charles Dickens.

Mrs. Lirriper’s Legacy is a worthy conclusion to the story of Mrs. Lirriper.  The hopefulness of the first book comes to fruition in the second one.


It’s Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock – A Personal Biography. Charlotte Chandler.

I like the cover of the book. It is striking. As I read this book en route to my workplace many people asked me what book I was reading and they seemed genuinely interested in it.

Musing Mondays (Oct.11)


This week’s Musing Mondays from Should Be Reading asks…

“This week’s musing asks…

What types of nonfiction do you read? Can do multiple choices.


 – e-books

– Mythology/Folklore

– Travel/Locations

– Humor

– History

– Art, including art history

– Science including forensics

– Gardening/Nature

– Political

– Financial/Economical

– Religious

– Self-help

– How-to books

– Books on writing

– Audio books

– Biography

– Autobiography

– Sports

– Architecture

– Fitness/Exercise/Nutrition/Beauty

– Other

– None of the Above

I am a total fiction reader! I don’t read too many non-fiction books but when I do I try to keep it light. I am afraid too much heavy duty stuff may bog me down and I may end up not enjoying it at all. So, most of my non-fiction reads tend to be ‘Humorous’. For example, something like Lynne Truss’s Eats, Shoots & Leaves. I have also read one or two ‘Biographies’ and ‘Autobiographies’ but the ‘Biography’ or ‘Autobiography’ has to be of a person I already admire (i.e. Agatha Christie’s An Autobiography or Alfred Hitchcock’s biography It’s Only A Movie). Otherwise again I am afraid I’ll get bored.

It’s Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock – A Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler

I am not really a major non-fiction reader. People may actually be shocked at the lack of non-fiction titles in my library. I don’t know why that is because I actually have enjoyed my little forays into the realm of non-fiction. It’s Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock is no exception.

As an avid movie watcher, I have seen many of Alfred Hitchcock’s works. I must admit his movies make me feel uneasy (i.e. Rope. The movie starts with a scene that no one warned me about.) and at times plain revolted (i.e. Frenzy. Grisly to say the least.). But nevertheless, I find his movies interesting to watch and was eager to learn more about them.

It’s Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock – A Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler was published in 2005. The book gives a chronological account of Hitchcock’s life right from his childhood, his beginning in the nascent British film industry, his meeting and marriage withAlma, his rising fame, migration toAmericaand finally his declining years. All of this in interjected with a lot of gossipy anecdotes from well known personalities.

I don’t really care about the personal aspects of the lives of the people involved in the movie business. They are, after all, mere human beings like the rest of us. So, although I doubt the accuracy of some of the personal bits of the book, it didn’t mar my enjoyment of the book.

What really interests me are movie plot summaries and little snippets of the shooting of the movie. The book has enough of those to keep me satisfied for a long time.

I like the cover of the book. It is striking. As I read this book en route to my workplace many people asked me what book I was reading and they seemed genuinely interested in it.

A rather sanitized image of Alfred Hitchcock is presented here. There are hints of a darker side but they are few and far between. His alleged treatment of Tippi Hedren (seriously, what a name!) is mentioned and discussed and that’s about it. Overall, the book presents Hitchcock as a slightly odd but immensely talented man who really meant no harm.

This a very, very easy book to read. I moved quite fast through it. The prose was comfortable to read.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading It’s Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock – A Personal Biography. Recommended.

© wutheringwillow and A Paperback Life, 2011-2061. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to wutheringwillow and A Paperback Life with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Friday 56

The Friday 56 is a bookish meme hosted by Freda’s Voice.

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link up at Freda’s site

Today’s sentence comes from It’s Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock – A Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler. Here Hitchcock reminisces about the time his team became broke while shooting for The Pleasure Garden in Germany. Alma was his wife.

“Until a check arrived from London, we were dependent on the hospitality of our German friends, who saw to it that we lost no weight, unfortunately. Looking back at some snaps Alma took of me at that time, a bit of hunger might have done me some good.”