What to Read This Spring

James T. Murray

Three books that go behind the scenes, backstage and back home.

The Selected Letters of Elia Kazan

Few entertainment figures had the particular combination of passion, feistiness, diligence and longevity that made Anatolian-born director and Actors Studio cofounder Elia Kazan such a prodigious letter writer. The Selected Letters of Elia Kazan is a history of the golden age of Broadway and Hollywood as seen through the eyes of a man who irrevocably transformed both industries, even as he ran afoul of them by naming names in the McCarthy hearings in 1952. It charts Kazan’s long, rocky friendship with Tennessee Williams, his beef with Clifford Odets and John Steinbeck, his battles with the censors over A Streetcar Named Desire and with Marlon Brando over On the Waterfront, all the while displaying an artistic integrity and social consciousness so rare in film today. (Knopf, April 22)

There Goes Gravity, By Lisa Robinson

Robinson’s memoir—an epic account of her 40-plus years of writing about music—is an all-access pass to rock ’n’ roll history, with interviews of everyone from Mick to Eminem to Kanye. (Riverhead, April 17)

Every Day is for the Thief, By Teju Cole

A Nigerian expatriate returns to Lagos and takes stock of a chaotic metropolis. First published in Nigeria in 2007, it is a deeply felt companion piece to Cole’s triumphant 2011 novel, Open City. (Random House, March 25)