Category Archives: books

A Bookish Year (2012) in Photos

Over the past week, I’ve been realizing how much I have to be proud of this year. My friend who goes by Mudlips over at Peregrination inspired me to post a year in photos like she recently did. I thought it would be tough to fill up the year in photos on both this blog and Bikish without having holes—I was wrong. There were times I was doing more booking than biking, or more biking than booking, but I managed to get at least one photo per month this year of both.

JANUARY

Began my MPub project report, aka Masters thesis, Publishing to Inspire: The Role of Publications at Adventure Cycling Association. My progress threatened to be derailed by someone coming back to rub salt in an old wound, but fortunately my project report didn’t suffer too much as a result.

FEBRUARY

Did some work as an extra on NBC’s show Grimm in February and a couple more times in the spring. This shot was from my first day on the set, when we weren’t released until about 11:30pm that very chilly night. The second and third shoot days were much more interesting, but they don’t like people taking photos on the set so I kept it to a minimum.

MARCH

Putting the finishing touches on my project report. Those almonds inspired a blog post.

APRIL

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Traveled to Vancouver and turned in my thesis! Closed my bank account, and even found a “I ❤ NB” T-shirt for Linnet at my favo(u)rite Vancouver thrift shop.

MAY

Visited Trappist Abbey Bookbindery thrice. The final visit resulted in my picking up a library-bound copy of my project report! Atticus and I also discovered their grounds make for a great hike.

JUNE

Graduated! Unfortunately due to yet another error on SFU’s part, I didn’t get to go to graduation. At the end of the month, I gave an hour-long presentation about my project report at Central Library in Portland. I had 10 attendees, a couple of whom I hadn’t met before. A woman I know who regularly gives free talks to the public says that was an amazing turnout for my first time.

JULY

Took Atticus to one of the most remote spots I know in Oregon for the July 4th weekend, to get away from fireworks. Not only did I get this photo, which I think is my favorite photo of Atticus to date, but I started reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Before I started reading I didn’t have high expectations, but it turned out to be the most memorable book I read all year. A new favorite.

AUGUST

Combined my love of bikes and books one afternoon at the Reed Library. The final product can be seen on the Super Relax website.

SEPTEMBER

There were more bookish happenings in September than helping Portland Fruit Tree Project harvest 14,000 pounds of pears in Hood River. For example, my high school friend Courtney Miller Santo hit Powell’s Hawthorne promoting her debut novel, The Roots of the Olive Tree. But—Bartlett pears! Hood River! The setting was fantastic, the weather warm but not hot, and the pears I tested were so delicious. How could I not include a photo?

OCTOBER

Finally met the woman behind The Doris Diaries, Julia Park Tracey, at History Pub. Also started my new job! RMLS pays me to write official communications, manage all their publications and social media, and drink jasmine tea and root beer all day. They’re really nice and did I mention, I’m now paid to write and edit things? It’s like my advanced degree actually got me somewhere!

NOVEMBER

Atticus and I continued our hiking project in November, when this photo was taken.

DECEMBER

Mad Libs, anyone? My mother gifted me a pad of “Undead Mad Libs” on Halloween, complete with a googly-eyed spoof of the Twilight movies on the cover. In December I started forcing people to play, and six people helped me complete all the stories in just a few weeks. Thanks to Sarah and Josh in Missoula, Emily, Ceri, and my mom for participating. : )

One thing you can definitely say: Kick More Ass? MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

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Happy Holidays from Bookish

Happy holidays from Bookish!

I hope my readers—hi, spambots!—are having an excellent holiday season filled with opportunities to enjoy an engaging book next to a fire or under a blanket.

Things have been crazy at Bookish HQ the last two months, resulting in few new blog posts. This trend may continue—Bookish may soon be embarking on a capital campaign and/or finding a new HQ. These things do not come easy, but the blogging will continue whenever possible.

I’ve been doing some reflecting on literary themes as well, and hope to serve up a year-in-review next week. Watch for it!

There is a bit of a story behind the photo. Earlier this week the Chicago Manual of Style released a guide to making a CMOS mini-book ornament. When I decided to take a few minutes on Friday morning to make one, I discovered a contest they were running. A half hour later, I had a garland of mini-CMOSes and a photo that they shared online

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I Need a Copyedit, Charlie Brown!

Yes, this is real. Normally I wouldn’t bother posting something like this, but it’s sad to see everyone’s favorite beagle can write a la Edward Bulwer-Lytton but struggles with the greengrocers’ apostrophe. It happens to the best of us, little guy!

As of press time, no statement on the issue had been released from Snoopy’s spokesbird.

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Hiking by the Book: 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon

It seemed like a good idea at the time. I needed a new goal to tackle, ideally some sort of physical activity I could do with Atticus. It seemed pretty natural to buy a copy of William Sullivan’s classic 100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon and make a goal of checking off every hike in the book. William Sullivan has a booth at Wordstock each year, so I bought my copy from the hiking guru himself a few weekends ago, which he signed for me.

Not long before our first planned hike, I did the (very easy) math. Even if we tackled one hike per week it would take nearly two years to work our way through this book. That’s quite a commitment for a “fun” goal!

Not to mention that this book includes such “hikes” as climbing Mount St. Helens. Doing that requires obtaining a permit, as only a certain number of people are admitted up per day. Mount St. Helens is only considered a difficult hike because climbers don’t usually need mountaineering equipment, but it does count as climbing a glaciated peak which will earn you entrance into Mazamas.

Another daunting hike in the book: Nesmith Point. I’ve dreamt about someday hiking to Nesmith Point, but imagining myself doing so as “just another hike” seems unrealistic. This is a route that is used by mountaineers in the off-season for training. It’s some pretty serious climbing: 3706′ in about 5 miles. YIKES.

So far I’ve done two hikes, both with Atticus. Not all of the hike locations allow dogs. Since I’m now needing to leave him alone five days a week I’ve been choosing hikes on which he can accompany me.

We went to Memaloose Lake and South Fork Mountain on Atticus’ birthday a couple of weekends ago. Hiking to the scenic lake was fairly uneventful, but the additional mile from the lake (where the snowline was) to the summit was a bit trickier. Not only was the trail unmaintained, but the snow occasionally left me puzzling where the trail went. Eventually we did make it to the top. We even managed to find the four foundation pieces for the old fire lookout despite the snow!

The following weekend we took a hike in the Columbia River Gorge that we’ve done at least a few times before: the Horsetail Falls/Oneonta Gorge loop. In the past we’ve hiked it when there was snow and ice on the ground, so this was pretty uneventful except for seeing all the gorgeous fall foliage in the gorge.

One trail I’d like to do, which parallels the Clackamas River for over seven miles, requires a buddy with a second car (or over 14 miles of hiking) which is kind of difficult for me to secure. And some of the in-town hikes, like Oaks Bottom, are positively blasé—Atticus and I could save those for the worst of Portland’s winter weather and do perfectly okay. Now and again I wonder if maybe I shouldn’t have bought Sullivan’s Hiking Oregon’s History instead.

Am I going to continue working on these hikes? I’m largely undecided. So far they’ve been a good way to get out of town and have a nice outing with Atticus once a week. Adventure, new ideas, and exercise have been the best benefits so far, and until the trail conditions outweigh those, I imagine we’ll keep up with it as much as we can.

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Kindness to Strangers at “a Convention for Introverts”: Wordstock 2012

Wordstock and I go way back. Portland’s annual literary festival introduced me to the MPub program, and it was at Wordstock I met Peter Sagal, for starters. I’ve been going pretty consistently since 2006, except the last two years when I was away from Portland. Naturally then, I was quite excited to get back to Wordstock this weekend!

The day was very nearly derailed before it even really began. In the morning I was feeling crummy, but that mostly dissipated while biking to the Oregon Convention Center. Once on site, I found the nearest ticket booth and started rifling around in my bag for my wallet.

It was soon my turn at the window, but I was still looking for my wallet. Where was my wallet? Teetering on the edge of a very bad day, I excused myself from the ticket area and walked toward a quiet area where I could keep looking, and start strategizing. Biking the hour back home and another hour back was not how I had planned to spend the day.

Behind me, a voice called out “excuse me…!”

Before I knew it, a random woman was offering me a ticket. She spoke of wishing more people would do nice things for strangers. Incredulous, I told her nobody had ever done any such thing for me and gave her a hug. She handed me the ticket and started walking back toward the crowd. When I finally did find my wallet (it had shifted to the back of my bag), I walked toward the crowd to see if I could catch her. I did! And I offered all the cash I had in my wallet—a paltry $3. I think sometime I shall try this “being nice to a random stranger” business—even though my wallet wasn’t actually back at home, her kindness completely floored me and turned my day around.

Inside, Wordstock was its lovely, literary self. Their theme this year seemed to be vice—describing the festival a “book-fueled bender.” The exhibit hall even sported a “red chair district” that was an 18-and-over area with romance writers, a hotel, and SheBop, the local sex toy/erotica store.

At the Friends of Multnomah County Library booth, I bought a copy of The Help for $1.50—paid by check because of course, I had given away all of my cash. At William Sullivan’s booth, I purchased the most revised edition of his 100 Hikes in Northwestern Oregon. I’ve been thinking about working through all the hikes in order to resurrect Adventure Saturday (shout out if you’d like to join me on any!). I also picked up a free arts preview magazine called Artslandia, which aims to provide a unified season guide for all the major performing arts organizations in Portland.

Then, there was the CNN truck, where I got angry at Anderson Cooper and threatened to deck him!

Okay, not really. But I did get a photo print and an electronic version of this photo to download. Visitors brave enough to step into an enormous truck at the back of the hall were offered to have a photo of them debating either presidential nominee. As Elly was later musing, people don’t generally want a photo of the nominee they don’t like, and indeed—I wanted Obama in my photo instead of Mittens.

Then I happened upon a vaguely familiar face in a Boston Red Sox cap, running a homey booth with a dining table, cookies, and shelves full of handmade books. As it turns out, it was my long-lost MHS classmate Jake Wasson! I think the best way to describe his project, The Storybank Exchange,  is literary conceptual art—he envisions a world where your work is your currency, tangible and made by each individual. He has made many books out of various found objects, and even constructed a homemade e-reader this way (in jest, of course)!

At the end of the day I snuggled into the Stealing Time Magazine booth to participate in their flash memoir contest. Headed by the lovely Sarah Gilbert and aimed at literary-minded parents, Stealing Time is just getting off the ground and features some notable parents in its first issue, including Steve Almond. As a non-parent, I chose to write my flash memoir about Atticus—I’m sure it won’t win, but in my world, Atticus is the closest thing to a child I’m ever going to get.

It turns out that wasn’t the only time I’d write about Atticus. The Attic Institute had a booth with another writing contest—a prompt was randomly selected, and the participant had nine minutes to create and submit a story on one of two of their provided laptops. Unfortunately the prompt I drew was ominous, so poor Atticus didn’t fare well in my story.

Year after year, I’ve come out of Wordstock energized and happy, even when I’ve gone in feeling low. Perhaps it’s the low-key energy combined with plenty of opportunity to show my nerdy side that keeps me coming back. As one of the Stealing Time staffers said, “it’s like a convention for introverts.”

See more photos from Wordstock 2012.

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Vintage Library Ads

Generally I try to have more substance than just reposting others’ material, but I just couldn’t keep this one to myself. Bust recently shared a series of vintage library ads and posters which are worth checking out.

Thanks to Coriana, lovely MPub classmate, for sharing!

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Geeking Out on The Doris Diaries

Damn!! I’m beginning to rebel. I crave adventures. I want to live. Not merely exist. -Doris Bailey Murphy, age 17

One thing you may not know about me, at least through this blog, is that I am a bonafide history detective. (In fact, at one point I almost got to work as a researcher on History Detectives.) When presented with a historical question or problem, my brain can instantly achieve laser focus and not let up for hours. Days, even. This skill has been put to use on scads of educational projects, from Bridging World History to the Muhammad Ali Center. My favorite historical topics are social history (studying traditionally marginalized groups, such as women) and local history.

Meaning it was either fate that I discovered The Doris Diaries, or editor Julia Park Tracey’s worst nightmare.

Twitter suggested I follow @TheDorisDiaries one evening, and soon I was engrossed in short quotes from the diaries of Doris Bailey Murphy, a 17 year old girl who lived here in Portland in the 1920s. When she died, a lifetime’s worth of diaries were entrusted to her great-niece, Julia Park Tracey. When I discovered the feed was advance publicity for I’ve Got Some Lovin’ to Do: The Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen 1925-1926, I was chomping at the bit to read the entire book. Doris has totally captivated my imagination.

Readers are introduced to a spunky teen in this volume. The daughter of a well-off Portland architect, Doris regularly skips school, bangs up the family’s car, and goes necking with a string of boys. She curses. Eventually she is plucked out of Lincoln High School for a more structured religious school, St. Helens Hall (now Oregon Episcopal School). Come summer she is wrangling at a dude ranch in Central Oregon, where she rescues a horse near death and sneaks into off-limits buildings. Naturally she keeps adding to a long list of infatuations which are enumerated and ranked in her diary.

One mystery man haunts these entries: Micky. He is the handsome classmate that Doris mentions again and again, melodramatically imagining his fate after he is expelled from Lincoln High School, and sighing wistfully over his whereabouts:

I’m never going to kiss another boy. I’m going to have nothing more to do with them, because I’ve discovered the only one. He is my aim in life. I shall keep my lips fresh and clean only for him, and SOMEDAY he’ll come back. -May 11, 1926

[Ed. note: five days later, on May 16, Doris was kissing another crush, Jack Hibbard, in the back seat of a car.]

One thing is lacking in the book: a confirmed photo of Micky. A mystery! Naturally then, at 5:00am I started hunting down an archive that would have a 1925 Lincoln High School yearbook. Surely it would have a photo of Micky, right? And this history detective could help close a case! Archives aren’t open before sunrise on Sunday though, but Ebay was—I found the listing linked above, shared it with the author, and shortly after receiving her enthusiastic response, noticed the listing is now sold. 🙂

While the diaries mostly revolve around Doris’ love life, a number of place references are sprinkled throughout. Doris regularly visits her best friend who lives in Oak Grove. She swims at The Oaks (now Oaks Park) and notices the traffic congestion due to the opening of the Hollywood Theater. Doris even visited my alma mater, Milwaukie High School, on April 12, 1926! That was when the main building was just one year old.

This volume only covers about a year and a half of Doris’ life, but I’m hooked. It sounds like she only got more interesting as she matured. Eventually Doris went to Reed College—my friendly neighborhood institution of higher learning. True to Reed form, she shocked the community by interviewing prostitutes for her thesis work, and graduated in 1938. Later she became involved with labor union issues and eventually married famous Wobbly Joe Murphy. Two years before her death she wrote a memoir, Love and Labor. (Reed ran a profile in their magazine with a photo!) Mature Doris was just as spunky as her younger self, known for owning a pair of condom earrings and being “blunt, interested to the point of intrusiveness” among her family. After an amazing life, Doris died in 2011 at age 101.

Julia Park Tracey will be presenting The Doris Diaries at History Pub on October 15th. Help me cheer her on that evening at Kennedy School from 7-9:30pm!

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Less is More: Simple Ways to Be More With Less

Minimalism seems to be a pretty hot topic these days. Films like Affluenza and The Story of Stuff have people thinking about all the stuff society encourages us to covet, leaving us feeling unfulfilled until we can afford that next gadget. As a result of this thinking, many people I know can’t stop talking about tiny houses, barefoot running, or blogs like Zen Habits. Even the Harvard Business Review recently ran an article about minimalism applied to one’s career!

About a year before I moved to Vancouver, BC, I started ruthlessly downsizing my possessions. In the process I started becoming more familiar with the community of minimalist bloggers and their work. Over two years ago, I published a review of Simplicity by Joshua Becker, the writer over at Becoming Minimalist.

Today I’m in a far different place than I was three years ago, but I’ve still been continuing to read the literature. Unclutterer is my favorite practical guide to keeping my stuff under control (check out Unitasker Wednesdays for a laugh!), and Becoming Minimalist exemplifies how an average family of four can live simply without going to extremes.

Another blog I often enjoy is Courtney Carver’s Be More With Less, which focuses on cultivating intentionality in readers. One of my favorite posts is “Immediate Gratification is for Sissies,” which encourages readers to keep their eye on the prize and not compare their progress to anyone but themselves.

This week I had the opportunity to read a review copy of Carver’s ebook Simple Ways to Be More With Less. 

At the beginning of the book I started getting trepidatious. Most of the thoughts seemed extremely simple, and seemed to be addressing an audience that had just discovered minimalism last week. As I read though, I got engrossed. The chapters about dreams and dream-killing gave me much food for thought, and I remained engrossed through the end. After reading the last chapter, I realized the book was progressing to offer something of value for everyone. Content curation can be as important as creation.

Many minimalist bloggers seem to be fond of monetizing their blog content by releasing ebook or print versions of their posts, and this book wasn’t completely free of that tactic. For example, this post about drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning was right in front—albeit slightly enhanced. While I didn’t go searching every chapter to know if it had appeared in blog form first, a quick search of the guest contributors seemed to suggest their words had not appeared on Be More With Less before. In the case of Leo Babauta though, his chapter was about Focus—incidentally, the name of one of his ebooks.

One thing I really like about the better minimalist books, including Simple Ways to Be More With Less, is that they are worth returning to again and again. On first read, the chapter about dream-killing tickled my fancy the most. Perhaps by the end of the year, I’ll return to the chapter about gift giving. The book can meet you where you are at a given point and still offer you something. I’ve had a print copy of Leo Babauta’s The Power of Less for two years now, and  I’ve revisited the book a number of times for a minimalist perspective on specific conundrums.

If you’re new to minimalism and dying to buy your first ebook by a minimalist blogger, this would be a pretty fair choice! If you’re an avid reader of Be More With Less and the other major minimalist blogs, you may discover a couple more voices in here you hadn’t know about before. At any rate—worth a read if you are so inclined.

Thanks to Courtney Carver for the review copy of her book! Find it here: Simple Ways to Be More With Less.

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Think Different: A Review of the Steve Jobs Biography

At one point in my life, I thought if I ever got a tattoo, it would be of the rainbow-hued Apple logo.

Those days are in the distant past.

At the time, Apple was the underdog of the tech world, at a time when Bill Gates and Microsoft were ubiquitous, undisputed kings. Apple stock was just over $13 per share. Few companies bothered to write their software for Macintosh because it required licensing that didn’t pencil out financially.

And then Steve Jobs returned to the company.

Things have changed! In 2011 Apple’s revenue was $108 BILLION dollars. Apple’s stock (AAPL) closed yesterday at $663.87 per share. Crowds regularly line up at Apple’s retail stores to nab the latest iPhone release. Apple is huge—regularly referred to alongside Google and Facebook as the current giants of Silicon Valley. An Apple product announcement has even been parodied on television!

As an Apple devotee since the early 90s, I naturally wanted to read Steve Jobs, the biography by Walter Isaacson. At 630 pages, the book is almost as giant as its subject—but I plowed through it in just over a week. A pretty easy read given such a fascinating subject tackled by a great writer!

Once Jobs knew he was not long for this world, he called upon famed biographer Walter Isaacson to get to work. Jobs offered generous access to himself without being nosy about Isaacson’s portrayal. Jobs died on October 5, 2011, and the release date on the book got pushed up to October 24—two and a half weeks after his death.

Isaacson clearly has a sense of humor about his subject. He editorializes in small ways throughout the text, such as imploring younger readers to ask their parents about the Atari game Pong, and when he writes about Jobs’ habit of not showering as a young adult:

Jobs clung to the belief that his fruit-heavy vegetarian diet would prevent not just mucus but also body odor, even if he didn’t use deodorant or shower regularly. It was a flawed theory. (p. 43)

Stories of Jobs’ boorish behavior are everywhere, and Isaacson makes no attempt to cover this up. It is a huge part of Jobs’ character, and Isaacson cites it as one of the main themes of the book. Ex-colleagues tell stories of Jobs parking in the handicapped spaces at Apple, yelling “it’s shit!” in response to carefully prepared designs, and his abhorrence for PowerPoint slides. Even worse, Jobs essentially refused to acknowledge his first child for many years, because it didn’t fit in with his “reality distortion field.”

The character study also includes his sensitive artist side. Jobs attended Reed College (my neighborhood university!), where he was known for his collection of Bob Dylan(!!!) bootleg recordings. His experiences in Oregon gave him an artistic foundation that later came to fruition in his product philosophies and elsewhere. Whether the crying jags at Apple came from Oregon, I don’t know—but the name Apple was partially inspired by a farm he lived on near Eugene. (Yup, that’s a Reedie for you.)

At least for me, the latter half of the book dragged a little as the narrative basically became a series of pissing matches between Steve Jobs and executives at other companies. Unlike the early years, the years since the release of the iMac has more or less played out in the public eye. More interesting was studying Jobs’ character during this period—how the man who was clearly a pill to work with handled having a wife and children. How Jobs cultivated his best working relationships, including those with Tim Cook and Jony Ive. How not even a reality distortion field or money can make pancreatic cancer go away.

In this later period, Isaacson makes an attempt to counter-balance all the Apple cheerleading with some significant criticism. A favorite example was about the iPad:

His main reservation, a substantive one, was “that while it’s a lovely device for consuming content, it doesn’t do much to facilitate its creation…The iPad shifts the emphasis from creating content to merely absorbing and manipulating it. It mutes you, turns you back into a passive consumer of other people’s masterpieces.” (p. 496)

And Isaacson adeptly describes the Apple cult:

With the launch of the original Macintosh in 1984, Jobs had created a new kind of theater: the product debut as an epochal event, climaxed by a let-there-be-light moment in which the skies part, a light shines down, the angels sing, and a chorus of the chosen faithful sings “Hallelujah.” (p. 354)

Before I finished the book still unsure of how I felt about Steve Jobs, one short paragraph won me over to his side. Jobs spent his school years in Cupertino, California, when the area was still primarily comprised of farmland. As he designed the new Apple headquarters,

One of his lingering memories was of the orchards that had once dominated the area, so he hired a senior arborist from Stanford and decreed that 80% of the property would be landscaped in a natural manner, with six thousand trees. “I asked him to make sure to include a new set of apricot orchards,” Jobs recalled. “You used to see them everywhere, even on the corners, and they’re part of the legacy of this valley.” (p. 536)

Having lived in Clackamas County, and having regularly visited Washington and Clark Counties over the past 30 years, I’ve seen plenty of bucolic farmland and greenspace get bulldozed for strip malls, large apartment complexes, and McMansions (I’m lookin’ at you, Mount Scott!) A development project that could also honor the area’s history and make such an area less of an eyesore, while potentially providing opportunities to feed the hungry, would be a great idea indeed. Let’s hope people up here follow his lead.

Isaacson’s biography certainly had me thinking different about Steve Jobs. While I may not have been such ardent Apple fan had I know him while he was alive, the book painted a picture I could live with after his death. Sure, he was a jerk, but there was more to him than that. As a tortured genius, he was pursuing a greater good—and as hokey as it is to say this in summary, he changed the world.

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Happy 100th Birthday, Gene Kelly!


Today is Gene Kelly’s 100th birthday (born August 23, 1912), and I’ve been waiting for a year to talk about it!

One thing that you just don’t see today is a lot of movie musicals. Sure, Chicago is pretty fabulous and started a pretty minor movie musical revival. But I’d argue that nothing comes close to the MGM musicals of the 1920s-1940s in any way: performers, material, costume design, set design, direction, or historical/artistic significance. And in my opinion, one of the greatest triple (quadruple? quintuple?) threats to come from that era was Gene Kelly.

What’s so great about Gene Kelly?

Um, really? Have you never seen any of the guy’s work? There’s his dancing—from the Broadway Melody sequence from Singin’ in the Rain (that’s right, I didn’t go with the obvious choice there), to his groundbreaking work with Jerry Mouse in Anchors Aweigh. There’s his roller skating prowess, which included tap dancing in skates. Clearly he had a sense of humor, given his starring role as Serafin in the “marizpan dream” that is The Pirate. And combining roller skating and his sense of humor, the curious mashup musical Xanadu. (He was 68 at the time—skating, dancing, and singing beside costars decades younger than him. Nothin’ funny about that!)

Then there are the little details that make my heart (closed to many these days) go pitter-pat. How his dancer thighs look in 1940s-era trousers. An expressive face that can go from furrowed brow to intimate smile in two seconds flat. Stories from his costars, from slipping a 19 year old Debbie Reynolds the tongue in the last shot of Singin’ in the Rain, to Cyd Charisse’s claim of his strength: “when he lifts you, he lifts you!” Knowing that he choreographed and performed in what is probably my all-time favorite movie musical number: “Prehistoric Man” from On the Town. Sigh!

Unfortunately I don’t know a lot about the real life Gene Kelly, but I’ve heard several anecdotes that lead me to believe he was by and large a swell guy. The only reason I haven’t already read more about him is that I enjoy his film persona so much and don’t want to find out any ugly secrets, like that his tap shoes were made out of kittens or something. A girl sometimes needs to keep hope alive, especially when it comes to people who make your heart go pitter-pat.

When I do face my fears about reading Gene Kelly biographies, I suspect I’ll be aiming to read Gene Kelly: A Life of Dance and Dreams by Alvin Yudkoff or Gene Kelly: A Biography by Clive Hirschhorn. There don’t seem to be a plethora of biographies on the market, or one that is more well-reputed than others though—so if you have any recommendations, suggest away!

On the web, there is a lot to like about Gene Kelly Fans, a site run by Kelli Marshall, a film professor. Marshall often posts articles about some little-known facets of Kelly’s career, including his hairpiece and how he got the scar on his cheek. In fact, Gene Kelly Fans has been celebrating all year with 100 Reasons to Celebrate Gene Kelly.

Celebrate with me today by leaving a comment and sharing why you love Gene Kelly! Christopher Walken is away from his computer today, but wanted to share this tribute:

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