Being successful in the cut throat world of American film and television requires an exceptional skill set and some unique qualities which set you apart from the crowd. A healthy reading habit may be something that affords some the cutting edge; and it seems to have worked for some. On this weeks edition we find out what one of the industries most successful screenwriters , and a leading host read read and recommend.
David Benioff is a novelist and and an accomplished screenwriter, with projects such as Troy, The Kite Runner under his belt. He is also the co-creator of the hugely popular HBO original series “Game Of Thrones”. He shared some of his favourite books with The New York Times .
1) The White Tiger by Arvind Adiga
The Man Booker Prize winning novel was first published in 2008. It narrates the story of a young boy, born in India’s “darkeness”, and his his dreams which take him to India’s capital. Told as a series of letters to then Chinese Premiere Wen Jiabao, The White Tiger encapsulates superstitions, family structures, caste hierarchy, and the divide between the rich and poor.
Sometimes I get jealous when I’m reading a great book by a younger writer. But “White Tiger” is so good I almost forgot to hate Aravind Adiga.David Benioff to the New York Times
2) Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
Considered by readers as among the funniest books written, Lucky Jim tells the story of an academic who teaches history at a college. Published in 1954, it has a range of strange and vivid characters with whom the protagonist has to interact with, in order to keep his position. One of the themes central to the book is the phenomenon of boredom and how its is dealt with.
The funniest book I’ve read.David Benioff to the New York Times
3)The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
The story of a bored adolescent girl to whom her brother’s wedding comes as a boon. It tells of how she plots with a kid cousin and domestic help to become involved in the festivities and being a stowaway on the honeymoon.
Ben Mankiewicz is probably best know as the host of Turner Classic movies. The former reporter is also a well know film critic and an active commentator on the popular YouTube talk show The Young Turks. He shared some of his favourite books with theweek.com.
1) Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello
The book tells, in intricate detail, the story how the iconic thriller film was made. It draws on a number of personal interviews and Hitchcock’s notes to run the movie down scene by scene.
Rebello’s research is so deep and his storytelling so effective, I suspect you’ll learn as much from this book about the movie-making process as from any broad history of Hollywood in the studio era.Ben Manikewicz to theweek.com
2) Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard
The story of a middle aged air-hostess, who gets caught smuggling money into the United States for a small time gangster, Rum Punch finds the air-hostess balancing pressure from the police to help expose the boss, and pressure from the boss to hold them off a little longer.
3) The Woody by Peter Lefcourt
A story of sex and power in American politics, told through the eyes of a senator who is diagnosed with erectile dysfunction, waging a legal battle against his ex-wife , being blackmailed by his current wife, and trying to win a re-election.
Lefcourt inspires in me late-at-night, wake-up-your-girlfriend laughter.Ben Manikewicz to theweek.com