If you’re looking for a blueprint on big-time studio film making, or if you’re just curious as to what the hell a production designer actually DOES…look no further. Sidney Lumet, the luminary director behind classics like 12 Angry Men and Dog Day Afternoon, peels back the golden curtain and gives you a tour of the typical Hollywood production. While some elements may have aged (film photography has been mostly supplanted by digital since the production of Making Movies), the roles and responsibilities have not. With a wry and knowing voice, Lumet is the perfect tour guide through the world of studio film making.
Despite the progression of sexual politics over the past few decades, there’s still a heady stigma surrounding kink and/or fetish. Jillian Keenan, a Shakespeare fanatic who happens to inhabit that particular identity, is still working through that stigma both externally and within. Sex with Shakespeare is the story of that journey, as she uses the Bard’s work to interrogate her sadomasochism while also putting a fresh lens on some of fiction’s most iconic characters. Equal parts compelling memoir, Shakespeare analysis, and treatise on kink, Sex with Shakespeare isn’t only the most surprising book of 2016, it’s also my favorite.
The Prestige, as directed by Christopher Nolan, is one of my favorite films of all time. As it turns out, the book from which it’s adapted isn’t too shabby either. The story of two magicians trading pranks, tricks, and attacks is almost Biblical in its treatment of the concept of the rivalry, and is so incredibly compelling in its perspective switches that I barely stopped reading before I finished it. Fellow fans of the film adaptation need not worry—you’ll know some of the twists, but the two products are so different that they’re nearly two separate works of fiction.