Here’s a list of the people who read the audio version of Sheila Nevins’ new book: Alan Alda, Bob Balaban, Christine Baranski, Kathy Bates, Ellen Burstyn, Glenn Close, Katie Couric, John Henry Cox, Blythe Danner, Lena Dunham, Edie Falco, Tovah Feldshuh, Diane von Furstenberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Gayle King, Diane Lane, Sandra Lee, Judith Light, Jenna Lyons, Audra McDonald, Janet Mock, Sheila Nevins, Rosie O’Donnell, Jean Richards, RuPaul, Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl, Gloria Steinem, Martha Stewart, Meryl Streep, Marlo Thomas, Lily Tomlin, and Gloria Vanderbilt.
Some group, huh?
“You Don’t Look Your Age…And Other Fairytales” will be published on Tuesday. It’s a collection of essays by the most powerful woman at HBO, maybe in television, and certainly in documentaries. Nevins, who is beloved in the film world, is the Queen of All Documentaries. Every single such film that emanates from HBO has been under her jurisdiction for an eternity. All their Emmy and Oscar nominees and winners– they came from Sheila Nevins.
So that’s why it’s a little weird that “HBO” is not mentioned in the book. There are no stories about making all those films. Instead, “You Don’t Look Your Age” is a collection of personal statements, poems, and other musings. Nevins talks about her difficult childhood, her mother’s lifelong illness, their strained relationship, and even facelifts. It’s all done in a very humorous way, except when things turn serious. Even then, though, Nevins makes lemonade from lemons.
“I’ve spent most of my life making documentaries,” Nevins starts her book. “The camera is on me now.”
“You Don’t Look Your Age” is like a Hollywood gift bag. Great for the ladies, but not so much for the men. A fascinating read, for sure. But the gift bags are mostly products for women. (Never stereo equipment or even a Phillips screwdriver.) Next book, though, please tell how you made those movies and survived all those HBO regimes. That’s what I want in my gift bag!