Today’s reviews are for two books that are vastly different while largely being about the same thing – pop culture.
Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance by John Kobal is a history of the movie musical from it’s start through to the 1960’s. It was published in 1970, at a time when the movie musical had yet to be revitalized with movies like Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, and Jesus Christ Superstar. It’s a fascinating look at the origins of a fantastic genre of film, with pages upon pages of black and white photos from the author’s own extensive collection. (It now contains over 200,000 images, and is it still used to mount exhibits around the world.
I had a habit of marking the outfits I liked best. This was my number one favourite. I couldn’t begin to explain how this book came into my personal possession from my parents house, but I have moved it with me through 5 different domiciles and only now have I read it! Was it worth the wait on a literary level? Well, I learned quite a lot, but Kobal’s writing is dry and extremely dated, and it’s not something I’m likely to reread.
Today’s other review is a much more modern take on pop culture. So modern, in fact, that it has not yet been published! This past January, I attended the annual Ontario Library Association’s Superconference, and had the chance to meet Sam Maggs, author of The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: a Handbook for Girl Geeks which will be published this coming May by Quirk Books.
Canadians may recognise Maggs’ name from the preshow entertainment shown on screens cross the country in Cineplex theatres, and she has parlayed that pop culture expertise into a great little book. In it, she outlines what it is to be a geek, describes the primary internet sites and public events where geeks can be found, and explains how to navigate your first convention. Strewn throughout the book are short interviews with other geek girls of note, such as TV writer Jane Espenson, actress Laura Vandervoort, and comic artist Kate Beaton.
I enjoyed the book quite a lot, and especially enjoy the accompanying poster, which features “The Geek Girl’s Litany for Feminism” from the book.