Blanche’s Book Club: ‘I’ll Have What She’s Having’.

Made it to Wednesday! I have been so busy with work this week (read: staying up late and getting up early) that it seems like it should be much later in the week than it is, but I’ll take it!

I was taking a little break on my patio yesterday, it was around lunchtime, but I was still drinking coffee and still in my pajamas with my hair completely piled up on my head — the same way I had it the night before to wash my face.

I was reading, but out of nowhere walks about eight people dressed in professional clothes just walking through the parking lot of my apartment complex… and they were all looking up at my balcony! I don’t know where they came from (I don’t live within walking distance of any professional offices, but the entire time they walked by, I just kept trying to act like I didn’t see them.

The book I was reading was the latest read from Blanche’s Book Club: “I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved The Romantic Comedy” by Erin Carlson. Here is the book’s description from Target.com:

A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron’s revered trilogy–When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle–which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham.

In I’ll Have What She’s Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Rob Reiner, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and Billy Crystal, Carlson takes readers on a rollicking, revelatory trip to Ephron’s New York City, where reality took a backseat to romance and Ephron–who always knew what she wanted and how she wanted it–ruled the set with an attention to detail that made her actors feel safe but sometimes exasperated crew members.

Along the way, Carlson examines how Ephron explored in the cinema answers to the questions that plagued her own romantic life and how she regained faith in love after one broken engagement and two failed marriages. Carlson also explores countless other questions Ephron’s fans have wondered about: What sparked Reiner to snap out of his bachelor blues during the making of When Harry Met Sally? Why was Ryan, a gifted comedian trapped in the body of a fairytale princess, not the first choice for the role? After she and Hanks each separatel balked at playing Mail’s Kathleen Kelly and Sleepless‘ Sam Baldwin, what changed their minds? And perhaps most importantly: What was Dave Chappelle doing … in a turtleneck?

An intimate portrait of a one of America’s most iconic filmmakers and a look behind the scenes of her crowning achievements, I’ll Have What She’s Having is a vivid account of the days and nights when Ephron, along with assorted cynical collaborators, learned to show her heart on the screen.

This book has been on my list for awhile, for two reasons. 1., I love “When Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle” and 2., I have an interest in screenwriting.

I don’t talk much about it here because I’m embarrassed I have done very little to feed my interest; it’s one of those things that gets put on the back burner. But, I’m glad I finally got to read this book!

I didn’t really know much about Nora Ephron before reading this, and I was surprised to learn that she had three fairly high-profile marriages and had a versatile career in writing, although she pissed off a lot of people in her early writing gigs. She spoke her truth, and it rubbed people the wrong way.

I also didn’t know that so much of what’s in these three movies — she wrote and directed many other movies, but these were some of the most successful — were exact things that happened in her life. They say write what you know, and she sure did!

The book also talks about another movie, “Julie & Julia”, which Ephron helped write and direct — I love that movie!

I really enjoyed this book and it’s inspired me to watch these movies again — I realized I’ve only watched “You’ve Got Mail” on TV, so when I returned this book to the library, I picked up the DVD to watch (hopefully) this weekend.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves Nora Ephron and/or romantic comedies. The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Bowlaway” by Elizabeth McCracken.

I am heading to the University of Texas at Austin campus tonight for a new semester of my Informal Course, Blogging for Beginners. If you live in the Austin area, there are still a few available seats (register here) — I’d love to meet you and help you start a blog!

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