Stocking stuffer alert! Two new clothbound handbooks, Movies: The Ultimate Insider's Guide and Books: The Essential Insider's Guide, are page-turning compendiums of overlooked great works, the latest from the coveted City Secrets series of guidebooks. Curated by architect Robert Kahn, whose clients include Wes Anderson, Daniel Day-Lewis and Rebecca Miller, Mary-Louise Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow, Frank Stella and David Mamet, his books are indispensable road maps to obscure masterpieces. Each guide is packed with essays by filmmakers, writers, actors, musicians, architects and historians who plead the case for their favorites. In Movies, Martin Scorsese is passionate about Frank Borzage's largely forgotten Living on Velvet while Mario Batali rhapsodizes over Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900. In Books, I was pleased to see that two of my own little-known favorites were singled out. Graydon Carter and I have the same taste when it comes to the captivating Act One: An Autobiography, by Moss Hart, and Patricia Marx and I share an affection for The Big Love, a crazy tale by Mrs. Florence Aadland, who gleefully chronicles her 15-year-old daughter's "love" affair with the 48-year-old Errol Flynn. Even though Mrs. Aadland was later convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and lost custody of her daughter, she swore she'd do the same all over again. Both books are $19.95 and are published by Fang Duff Kahn Publishers.
Robert Kahn Gives Us an "Insider's" Guide to Books and Film