It’s 1912 in Hollywood, the birth of the Movies, and Mabel Normand, beautiful and funny, the model of the modern comedy star, was shocking the world. This intimate novel takes us inside the earliest days of motion pictures, and together with the Queen of Comedy—a flapper a decade before flappers, the first to have her name in the title of a picture—we become obsessed with motion pictures, in love with their mesmerizing power. As sharply observed as it is historically accurate, Mabel and Me is the tale of a young man’s coming of age with the Movies, and his passionate, destructive, and ultimately liberating love for the queen of slapstick—Mabel Normand. Their story is the birth of our media age.
Praise for Mabel and Me:
“Mabel and Me may be a work of fiction but it is impressively detailed in its portrayal of early 20th century Los Angeles, along with the birth and development of moviemaking in Hollywood. The language is often crude, as I imagine it must have been among the uneducated, rough-and-tumble characters he describes. But like Mack Sennett, and an impressionable boy who read his memoirs years ago, he has an abiding love for Mabel Normand. That clinches the deal. Mabel and Me is a wonderful book.” — Leonard Maltin
“Mabel and Me is the raucous, rowdy, randy, ribald, rat-tat-tat prospect of early Hollywood as seen in the meeting of Mabel Normand, little miss marvelous and mysterious, and Jack Smith, who is a cross-section of the American id.” — David Thomson, Los Angeles Review of Books
“The golden age of silent film is Hollywood’s most exciting era and a personal favorite of mine. Jon Boorstin’s vivid Mabel and Me has brought it to life with conviction and passion." — Kenneth Turan, film critic, NPR, Los Angeles Times
"Boorstin captures with authenticity the language and color of the silent film era." — Kevin Brownlow, film historian and filmmaker
Click here to purchase Mabel and Me from Angel City Press.
The Newsboys’ Lodging-House
About The Newsboys’ Lodging-House; or The Confessions of William James:
William James, psychologist, philosopher, and one of the founding fathers of modern American thought, was thirty years old when he suffered a devastating mental collapse. Suicidal, unable to work, eat, or sleep, James became obsessed with the question of evil. Months later, he emerged from the hospital with a surer sense of self and a profound clarity of purpose. No one knows what happened during that time as forty-two pages had been cut out of his diary. In his enchanting historical novel, filmmaker and novelist Jon Boorstin imagines what perils befell James during those missing months and what saved him.
Praise for The Newsboys’ Lodging-House; or The Confessions of William James:
"Boorstin’s diverting, well-balancing mix of the cerebral and the visceral will please historical fans." — Publishers Weekly
"The author’s glowing affection for this bygone world illuminates every page." — Boston Herald
"…brilliantly extrapolates on the missing [diary] pages to form a cohesive and believable account of what led James to become the renowned modern thinker and progenitor of pragmatism and the will to believe." —Charleston Post and Courier
Awarded the Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” Award and the New York Society Library 2003 Award for Historical Fiction.
Click here to purchase The Newsboys’ Lodging-House; or The Confessions of William James on Amazon.
Making Movies Work
About Making Movies Work: Thinking Like a Filmmaker:
What happens in the dark between the screen and the audience that makes movies so exciting to so many? Jon Boorstin believes that every movie is really three movies running at once: the “voyeuristic” movie (the logic of the film), the “vicarious” movie (the emotional hold of the film), and the “visceral” movie (the primal thrill the film elicits). Here he examines these elements using his own experiences as well as those of well-known filmmakers — from Hitchcock to Spielberg — to demonstrate how the moviemaking process works. He shows how filmmakers use light, space, and sound to create a world; tells what makes an actor a star; explains why he thinks Citizen Kane is a great film and what he feels is wrong with the ending of Fatal Attraction. The book — illustrated with stills from films and line-drawings of film techniques — is a fascinating and accessible guide for both filmmakers and serious film fans.
Praise forMaking Movies Work: Thinking Like a Filmmaker:
"Through thoughtful examination of the filmmaker’s art, Jon Boorstin enhances our sense of enjoyment and appreciation of the results." —Robert Redford
"A rare book on film: both accessible and highly informed, it brings together what I have been thinking about movies for twenty years." —Paul Schrader
"I always wonder how we did all this. Jon’s book explains it perfectly" —Gordon Willis, cinematographer (The Godfather, Annie Hall, All the President’s Men)
"Boorstin mesmerizes us with behind-the-scenes filmmaking phenomena that make movie buffs of us all." —San Francisco Chronicle
Click here to purchase Making Movies Work: Thinking Like a Filmmaker on Amazon.
Pay or Play
About Pay or Play:
In Jon Boorstin's first novel, a filmmaker presents a satirical novel about Hollywood that follows the career of a young screenwriter whose script attracts a star and a top studio head, which turns out to be a mixed blessing.
Praise for Pay or Play:
“Boorstin’s Hollywood satire, his first novel, is so good it reads like a documentary even when events are patently absurd and incredible. That's the fun. And that's Hollywood…heaping equal scorn on pretentious aesthetes and big-business blusterers, using wild hyperbole in the service of genuine insight, Boorstin has written the definitive send-up of Hollywood.” — Publishers Weekly
“Convincing and compelling precisely because Boorstin has been there and done that.” — Los Angeles Times
"A fine send-up of Hollywood Folklore… Boorstin is a very good writer, whether he’s describing particular vibes you get from living too close to an LA freeway, or what it’s like to slog through the jungle muck of New Guinea.” — Washington Post