First line: Cards on the table: this is not going to be my proudest moment.
Summary: Tom Felton had an unconventional childhood. He started his acting career as a young child in movies such as the The Borrowers but nothing prepared him for life in the world of Harry Potter. In his memoir he describes the highlights as well as the darker moments of life in the spotlight. Working along such legendary actors as Alan Rickman, Dame Maggie Smith and Richard Harris he learned what it was like to be serious about his craft but to have fun while doing it. However, unlike his co-stars he had the chance to live a more normal life as a regular teenager who just happened to be an actor.
My Thoughts: Several months ago I came across this title as I was importing into the library’s catalog. I had no idea that Tom Felton was writing a memoir of his childhood and his time during and after Harry Potter. I was immediately putting my name on the hold list. I could not wait to see what life was like on the set of one of my favorite movie series.
Through this I learned a lot about Tom and his life but there was so much I did not expect. I did not realize that he had been acting for years before landing his role as Draco Malfoy. And that he actually got to live a rather normal life outside of work. That was the part that really shocked me.
But my favorite parts were hearing about his relationships with his cast mates like Alan Rickman and Emma Watson. The relationships between the cast seem to be more family than coworkers.
Tom’s life after Hogwarts was shocking to me. I had not heard about his troubles or just don’t remember seeing the stories. I cannot even imagine how life would change after such a big part of his life. It was heartbreaking to see the changes in him but I found it really brave of him to discuss them and how they made him realize that he needed help.
I would highly recommend this quick biography for any Harry Potter fan. It gives a little insight into the world of the movies and shows the ups and downs of life as a child actor. I have a whole new appreciation for Tom Felton after reading Beyond the Wand.
FYI: Alan Rickman’s diaries have also been published. I am eagerly pouring through them to learn about his life during Harry Potter and his other iconic roles.
Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
First Line: This is not a traditional memoir.
Summary and Thoughts:
A proud Texan and creative personality, Matthew McConaughey’s life is what most people would expect it to be if you know of him. It’s full of wild adventures that never fail to teach him a lesson or two. From wild escapades in the Amazon or a relaxing time in a private Austin, TX neighborhood, McConaughey looks for what he calls “greenlights.” Like actual green lights on the road, they are signals for McConaughey to move forward in life. Even when faced with red or yellow lights, he lets them happen but he never lets them affect him negatively. He waits for them to turn green or he sees the green in the opportunity. McConaughey has never let a bad situation ruin his spirit, and he’s rarely been the one to complain about consequences or victimize himself. He finds the beautiful in the ugly and lives life to the fullest.
This certainly wasn’t traditional memoir by any means. Granted, I do not read a lot of them but an untraditional traditional man wouldn’t write something like everybody else. I liked how within the stories he inserted poems, post-it notes of advice, pictures, and even more tales. His life has rarely had a dull moment. My favorite story of his was him talking about the different types of people he met at this RV park area during his time when he only lived in an RV. It’s nice to see despite him being pretty well known the people who typically meet him know to treat him like any other kind stranger. What I also loved was seeing just how much of a family man he was. He adores his wife (another one of my favorite moments was when they met) and his main goal in life was to become a father, which he has been doing since the birth of his first child. He truly has such a sensitive side; one I admittedly didn’t expect from him. Through this memoir I got to learn what an interesting person Mattew McConaughey is on top of being a great actor, and he’s definitely become one of my favorite actors because of this book.
FYI: This book involves mature language like cursing and sexual talk.
First line: “Well, shit. How y’all doing?”
Summary: Leslie Jordan has spent years acting in shows like Will and Grace, The Help and now is on Call Me Kat. Even with his long list of acting credits he never dreamed of the fame he would get from joining Instagram. During the start of the pandemic he was “hunkered down” with his family in the South. In order to keep himself entertained he made little videos that he shared with all his new friends on Instagram. He became an overnight success! In this collection of stories from his life we get a look into his life before and during the pandemic.
My Thoughts: I love Leslie Jordan. He first caught my attention as Beverly Leslie on Will and Grace. Every episode he appeared in, he stole the show. His lines and persona were perfect for such a fun and quirky show. When I saw he was on Instagram at the start of the pandemic I immediately started following him. He made me laugh a lot, which was much needed during the spring of 2020. I have re-watched many of his shenanigans and stories several times because they are so lighthearted.
Reading this book was just like when I read a David Sedaris book. I can hear the author telling their story in their voice while I read. I laughed and learned a lot about this man who has done a lot in the years of his career. I would highly recommend this for its uplifting and charming stories about a small gay man who lives his life with a smile on his face.
FYI: Short little book with lots of heart.
Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks
First line: Anna said there was only one place to find a meaningful gift for MDash—the Antique Warehouse, not so much a place for old treasures as a permanent swap meet in what used to be the Lux Theater.
Summary: A collection of short stories written by Tom Hanks. Each story has its own feel and flow to it but in each he incorporates a typewriter. The stories span from time travel to a struggling actress to a bowler with a perfect score.
Highlights: I liked each and every story. They are all unique. I was excited to read this book because I am a big fan of Tom Hanks. He is very talented and once again proved it with this collection. The depth of the stories and the variety captured me. It was nice to have something I could pick up and put down without losing track of the storyline. I think my favorite was the story of the time traveling billionaire. The ending was sad but I completely enjoyed it.
Lowlights: I wanted more! I have never been drawn to short stories but I think this will be a gateway into trying more. I was always disappointed when the story ended.
FYI: Must read for all Tom Hanks fans!