David Mamet Names the Books That Explain the Real Hollywood

“One must read between the lies,” he suggests, putting his own “Everywhere an Oink Oink” at the top of the list.

Jan 26, 2024
Dimitris Passas

NOTE: This article is a republication- Source: The New York Times.

What’s the last great book you read?

“A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States,” by Frederick Law Olmsted. Also note: “The Life of George Brummell, Esq., Commonly Called Beau Brummell,” by Captain Jesse, and “A Diary in America,” by Frederick Marryat. Enjoy.

Can a great book be badly written?

If it were badly written how could it be a great book? Perhaps if it contained Great Ideas? According to whom? The writer? Who died and left him boss? In the estimation of the reader? If I am he, nope, for why should I credit any ideas of a lox who didn’t realize he couldn’t write? Reading great prose is one of my chiefest joys. When I find myself rewriting the book I’m reading, I not only throw it away, I do not recycle it.

What’s your favorite book no one else has heard of?

“The Wallet of Kai Lung,” by Ernest Bramah.

Which novels or novelists do you admire for their dialogue?

George V. Higgins.

Which books best capture Hollywood and the challenge of making movies?

The best book about Hollywood is my “Everywhere an Oink Oink: An Embittered, Dyspeptic and Accurate Report of Forty Years in Hollywood.”

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