Hollywood Undercover by Ian Halperin, Space Captain Smith by Toby Frost
I'VE HAD a week off and have had plenty of time to read. Naturally, rather than delving into an important piece of critical thinking or revisiting a classic piece of literature, I've been reading a couple of books that require hardly any thinking at all. Excellent!
Hollywood Undercover by Ian Halperin is the hilarious account of what really happens in the film business by a man who accidentally became a film star (he has a brief moment of glory in The Aviator, directed by Martin Scorsese).
Halperin is the author of numerous books (including the New York Times bestseller, Love and Death: The Murder of Kurt Cobain) but takes centre stage in this wonderful gallop through the seedy back alleys of Los Angeles. Stories range from bumping into Ava Gardner and not knowing who she was, to a meeting with the legendary Ron Jeremy and an encounter with the Church of Scientology that is both entertaining and frightening.
You'll learn which male actors are hiding a secret (practically all of them, allegedly) and see which fading actresses use the casting couch to guarantee work.
Shocking in its depictions of the famous, this is a great investigation into the not-so-glamorous world of Hollywood. Be warned; it can get a little saucy!
Now, I've never been a fan of the Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell (or the TV series with Sean 'man's man' Bean). If they were set in space, like Space Captain Smith by Toby Frost, and were filled with exotic and menacing aliens, I expect I would probably enjoy them a whole lot more.
This book, a great Douglas Adams-esque romp through space, is filled with witty one-liners and ridiculous situations.
It tells how the eponymous Space Captain, Isambard Smith, is given his first mission and how it all goes just a little bit wrong.
With echoes of the Flashman novels of George Macdonald Fraser, and with a nod to both Zulu and Joss Wheedon's Firefly, this is a very British tale.
If you miss the old days of the Empire, but have a hankering for sex robots on the run and homicidal aliens, this is for you!
Oh, and for the animal lovers among you, there is also a hamster called Gerald!