Thursday, June 20, 2013

From Belle's Library: Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

Today we start a new recurring column: From Belle's Library, where we will review certain Disney books we have read. If you have read any of these, we encourage your thoughts and comments. And if you have a favorite book you'd like to review, drop us a line. We'd be happy to have a guest post here at the cottage! There are so many a Disney books to be read out there!

Perhaps the first thing you should know about me is that I am a fan of audiobooks. My life is crazy and if I didn't use audiobooks, I should think I wouldn't have read a book since 2010. That would never do. I love story. And I have always loved being read to; so audiobooks have saved me. If you don't already know about, I highly recommend them. If it's available as an audiobook, they have it. And their subscription service is reasonable. If you're like Belle, you might find it to be just the thing.

So, we begin at the beginning, with a biography of Walt Disney himself, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination. A most thorough biography. I have to say, I'm glad I was listening to this book, because at times, it was tedious and I am afraid I might have put it down for good. I loved all the personal information about Walter E Disney, his family, and his creative process. That was quite interesting. I was not, so much, into the business details, as much as they played into the overall story of who Disney became. But the arc of this story was exactly what I had hoped for: insight into what made Mr. Disney the Mr. Disney. The good and the bad, the relationships he forged and broke, the reasons behind his actions, his visions, and his persistent need for order and creation. I loved finding out about Mickey Mouse and how he came to be, why his was so obsessed with trains, who the 9 old men were, and the stories behind so many of the names in the credits of those classic Disney films. It seemed like a retelling of a familiar story, but one I hadn't ever really known.

Reading this book was not just insightful, but it has made watching Disney films more delightful. And seeing the way Walt's visions have taken on a life of their own is interesting as well, knowing the backstory. It certainly has given me a larger appreciation of what it took to make these things happen and what it meant to be Walt Disney. It was NOT an easy job.

Overall I recommend reading this if you are a Disneyphile. I'm not sure the average reader would find it interesting enough to stick with. It's a long book. But if you are a lover of Disney magic and want to bring as much of that into your life as possible, this book should definitely be on your reading list.

Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

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