Hollywood’s 100 Year Love Affair With Bookstores and Books

November 7, 2013 — Leave a comment
Billy Crystal picking up a girl in When Harry Met Sally

Billy Crystal picking up a girl in When Harry Met Sally

I love the physical bookstore.  It is an immersive experience. There is something awesome about  walking through the tables of new books, passing through the aisles of evergreen books and classics. It is both meditative and comforting.  We are surrounded by so much human creativity, struggle, love and wisdom when we take a visit to a bookstore. Let us not forget,  a simple book cover can be immersive, too.

Amazon  is great for its efficiency and speed. Amazon never seems to fail. However, walking through a bookstore is something different. As a kid, I went into  my local bookstores with my Mom and Dad. They were gracious enough to buy me books that captivated my  weird  interests. I was the only kid on the block  at the age of 10 who could  tell you about Michelangelo’s Agony and The Ecstasy or the poverty of Charlie Chaplin’s childhood found in the book, Chaplin, his autobiography.

I love the convenience of reading books on my kindle, especially while traveling. I can hold an entire library in my backpack.  But like most people, I still love physical books. Even the millennial kids, based on studies, prefer physical textbooks to digital ones. There is all that wonderful tactile energy embedded in a book of pages and  bindings. And there’s nothing like walking into a bookstore without an agenda and finding  that seemingly random book that changes your life.

I am going to start my own little revolution.

I hope you will join me  in supporting  a favorite  bookstore in your area, whether that be an independent  or your local Barnes and Noble by simply buying a book. Christmas  is coming. Surely, someone would be happy with an awesome gift of a book.   Bookstores need our help to continue to be part of the thread of  our communities which must include reading and the arts.

There are approximately 1700 independent bookstores  standing in America , and another 800  bookstores through Barnes and Noble.

Bookstores are  challenged right now   but they will make it if we take a conscious effort to support them.

Why can’t we love bookstores like Julia Roberts loves them?

I worked for years as a Hollywood executive making movies from books. I would never have become a Hollywood studio executive had I not experienced  the artist’s heart through books like Chaplin and The Agony and The Ecstasy.  I discovered those books at the bookstore. In fact, by walking through a bookstore, that weird little kid that was me  also discovered himself.

As I began to reflect on my own love of books, I realized  how Hollywood had engaged in an 100 year love affair with bookstores and books. I started putting together a list of that Hollywood love affair with simple “meet cutes” at the bookstore.

Here are a few examples:

Meg Ryan reading in the bookstore children’s library in You’ve Got Mail (1998). This is a remake of Little Shop on Main Street.

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 But she “meets cute” with Tom Hanks in another scene.

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Jim Carey trying his best with bookstore worker, Kate   Winslow, in  Eternal sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004).

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Julia Roberts looking for travel books from Hugh Grant in  Notting Hill. (1999)

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And Julia Roberts wanting more books and more Hugh at the travel  bookstore.

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On staff at a bookstore, Dorothy Malone flirts with  gumshoe, Humphrey Bogart, in The Big Sleep (1946). In another thirty seconds, Malone will have a drink with Bogart and take off her glasses and let down her hair. If it only was that easy. And who says guys shouldn’t  make passes with girls who wear glasses?

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Photographer, Fred Astaire,  believing  bookshop worker, Audrey Hepburn, would make a great fashion model in Funny Face (1957).

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So  let me ask you, if Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn, Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, Dorothy Malone, Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Julia Roberts, and Hugh Grant can make it into a bookstore, and not only find a book,  but find love, then why can’t we? Please join me in supporting your community by supporting your bookstore.

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