Retroist 2023 Reading List
Time Enough at Last
In 2023, I read and re-read a bunch of great books. Many of them were to assist in creating posts for the site or the podcast, although some were just for fun. I mention some of these books in the podcast notes, but I thought I would compile a list of my favorites.
If you wish to purchase these books on Amazon and support the site, please refer to the “Support” section of the Retroist and click on the Amazon link. Note that none of the links in the email version of this post are affiliate links.
Whenever possible, consider checking out physical copies of these books. While many are compatible with e-readers like Kindle, those with illustrations offer a better experience in print.
I picked up this book on a recommendation, and it’s a must-have for any fan of the show. I wish I had it when I did my podcast on the TV show. It has inspired me to redo the show after learning so much.
When I decided to do a Columbo Podcast, I picked up this book, and it proved to be a real page-turner. Filled with details about the show’s production and information about each Columbo episode, it kept me reading late into the night. It's a great motivator for anyone planning to rewatch the show or just interested in Columbo.
I was curious about what Peter Falk would reveal in his autobiography, and I was not disappointed. In the book, he shares engaging anecdotes from his life, focusing on his creation and portrayal of the iconic Columbo character. He details his thoughts on the character, including the famous raincoat and the old Peugeot he drove. Falk reflects on his life experiences, encounters with notable figures like Orson Welles, and his professional relationships with actors like Patrick McGoohan and John Cassavetes. He also mentions his roles in films such as "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." The book, filled with photos and Falk's sketches, is a quick and enjoyable read.
I haven’t done many podcasts about individuals, but I did one for John Candy. Growing up, I knew little about Candy’s personal life, but his humanity and kindness always seemed evident in his work. This biography confirmed all my favorable thoughts about him, leaving me smiling throughout the read.
I was eager to record a podcast on Orca and decided to read the film’s novelization. If you enjoy pulpy books and can suspend disbelief, this one will be enjoyable.
I can’t recall who suggested I pick up this book, but I did and then completely forgot about it. A few months ago, I rediscovered it and began reading. Its layout and style made it a suitable read for when I had brief moments of free time. It didn’t have a profound revelation but prompted me to reflect on the movies I enjoyed as a child.
This is another novelization, but a short one. Fans of the film can get through it quickly. Like the movie, it features relatable and realistic characters that are easy to root for.
For fans of Rankin/Bass and their specials, this book is essential. It leans heavily on recap, but author Rick Goldschmidt clearly has a passion for the subject. If you’re ready to elevate your fandom, this book is an excellent starting point.
When Halloween approaches, and I want to get into the spirit, I try to watch some horror films. I often rewatch favorites, but when I need inspiration, I turn to John Kenneth Muir’s decade-themed horror film books. They offer great movie suggestions and are enjoyable to read to set the mood.
This book delves deeper into the mythology of Zelda than required for my podcast, but its quality kept me engaged even after completing the show. It’s a striking work, with magnificent art that explores the lore, timelines, and creative process behind the games.
This book is challenging to find, but worth the effort. It’s not an in-depth dive into the company’s intricacies; rather, it’s a celebration of the history by its founding family, the Carneys. Like the Zelda book, the design and images are half the fun and very inspiring.
If you enjoy the works of the comedians who rose to fame on Saturday Night Live in the late 1970s and early 1980s, you will love this book. It features great anecdotes and interviews about figures like Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, John Belushi, John Candy, and Rick Moranis.
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