Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Best of 2011

One of the many items [old and new] enjoyed and recommended by Burbank Public Library staff during 2011 for your consideration:


My favorite book published in 2011 is Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, by Susan Orlean. I picked up the book because I’m a dog lover and a baby boomer who fondly remembers watching the 1950s Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin television show as a child, but this book surprised me by being so much more than I expected. In addition to being the saga of an orphaned puppy who became a movie star and an international icon, the book also offers a fascinating look at the evolution of the film and television industries, the rise of American pet culture, and the cultural history of the 20th Century. I discovered that “Rinty” saved Warner Bros. Studios from bankruptcy in the 1920s, was the top box office star during the silent film era, and actually won the most votes for best actor in the first Academy Awards in 1929 (although the Academy decided it was best to give the award to a human). The book also touches on interesting sidelines such as the history of dogs in the military. Who knew, for example, that shortly after Pearl Harbor thousands of people donated their family dogs to the military for the “Dogs for Defense” program? The world mourned when the original Rin Tin Tin died in 1932, but his bloodline and his legacy live on. This book is well researched and well written, and I found it to be thoroughly enjoyable.

Reviewed by Patrice

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