1) M-G-M Hollywood's Greatest Backlot. This is an impressive picture book about the historic (and sadly former) backlot and film studio in its heyday. Fascinating. It does not concentrate so much on the films made as on the movie making factory town itself. Great B&W photos. And maps! For a set designer, views of the Art Department, film sets, carpentry dept., and the legendary prop dept. are especially interesting. If you're interested in the inner workings of Old Hollywood or in film production, this book's for you.
HERE's a good website for it, with more good pictures.
Illustrations borrowed from MGM Hollywood's Greatest Backlot
2) And a new romance novelist: Christina Bartolomeo. New to me anyway. I'm not much of a romance reader (outside of Georgette Heyer, who's in a class of her own), but Bartolomeo is well worth reading. Her novels that I've read so far, Cupid and Diana, The Side of the Angels, and Snowed In, are set in the present day with real seeming people as characters - which is darn rare. The romance is understated and sometimes humorous.
I don't mean to sound snobby about romances, but the truth is I am a little... There tends to be a little too much sloppy writing, mindless repetition, and either soppiness and/or soft-core porn lurking under those pink covers. I get impatient with it.
Bartolomeo's novels, however, are simply good novels which emphasize emotion, affection, and love... with maybe more comment on shoes and clothes than, say, Moby Dick does. I'm hoping she's written more.