Not literally of course (there’s a treatment for that), what I mean is picking up a book and not being able to put it down until you’ve read the whole thing? Reading is one of my favorite pastimes. One might even say that I read A LOT. It’s a habit I picked up when I was a kid, we would go to the library and I would take out around 20 books every visit. I often get asked how I can read so quickly – the simple answer is that I have done it thousands and thousands of times. There are a few books in recent years that I can remember quite vividly as being books that absorbed me for days, even a week sometimes.
Some of the notable ones that stand out in my memory include The Time Traveller’s Wife – I remember reading it in the early summer, outside in the yard, on a blanket for hours. It probably took me 3 days to read it. Another one was the most recent Christopher Reeves biography – it was one of those weekends where I was stuck in bed (once a month) and basically read it cover to cover in one day. Last year, a friend of mine got me hooked on the Harry Dresden series of books (there are 11 books right now) – I had to be very careful about when I chose to read one as I would not want to put it down until it was finished. This can be distracting, especially when you work from home!
This weekend, I came across an interesting book at the library. It’s called You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried – The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation, by Susannah Gora. It was such a trip down memory lane, that I read it in less than 2 days. If you grew up in the 80s, you know exactly what we’re talking about: Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Buller’s Day Off, St. Elmo’s Fire and Say Anything. Our favorite Brat Pack actors including Rob Lowe, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Esteves, John Cryer, John Cusak, Demi Moore and Andrew McCarthy. The book is very well put together, it talks about the evolving genre on the teen film, starting with Cameron Crowe’s Fast Times at Ridgemount High. Then she moves into the beginning of the John Hughes era with Sixteen Candles. Anyone else remember taping it from the TV when it was on, and then watching the video over and over again? We used to do that when our favorite movies were on TV. I think I still have a tape of Sixteen Candles somewhere in a storage box.
It really reminded me about how these movies spoke so clearly about our generation that was going through high school at the time. Our musical choices were influenced by these themes, some of my favorite 80s tunes are directly from these movie soundtracks. Who can forget the scene in Say Anything where Lloyd Dobler is holding up the boom box outside his true love’s window, with Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes blaring? I still think of that moment when I hear the song. The amazing thing is that the themes are universal – and the movies are just as applicable in today’s world as they were 30 years ago. Sure, there may be more challenging issues today – but at the heart of it, being in highschool and not fitting in or the unrequited high school crush – that still hasn’t changed.
So if you’re looking for a trip down memory lane – try renting or buying some of the 80s classic films, such as this high school flashback pack. Or take the day off with Ferris Bueller – Bueller …. Bueller? Or take a look at Demi Moore before she was a superstar, in St. Elmo’s Fire.