Notable: Lights, camera, read

With the Oscars being handed out tonight, here are three new books about Hollywood's glory days.

Joseph P. Kennedy Presents: His Hollywood Years (Knopf) by Cari Beauchamp takes a fascinating look at the political patriarch's career as a pioneering movie mogul and his notorious affair with sultry star Gloria Swanson.

Marilyn Revealed: The Ambitious Life of an American Icon (Taylor) by Ted Schwarz is the umpteenth bio of the eternal blond bombshell, this one drawing on extensive interviews and FBI files for its claim to uncover the "real" Monroe.

She Always Knew How: Mae West, a Personal Biography (Simon & Schuster) by Charlotte Chandler is — speaking of blond bombshells — the story of one of the originals, an always surprising mix of exuberant sexuality, feminist independence and canny business sense.

Colette Bancroft, Times book editor

Notable: Lights, camera, read 02/21/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 21, 2009 3:30am]

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