Gore Vidal Reading List

Gore Vidal's now infamous debating style; full of wit, charisma and acerbic asides often leads us to forget his first and foremost talent - writing. His career spanned several decades and included over 25 novels, five Broadway plays, numerous essays spanning subjects from literature to politics, television plays, film scripts and a collection of short stories. 'Best of Enemies' is the choice film at Picturehouses' Discover Tuesdays on September 1 - we have compiled a list of the best books about the man whose colourful personal life was as fascinating as his impressive back catalogue. 



 I told you so: Gore Vidal Talks Politics: Interviews with John Weiner

Vidal was once described by Dick Cavett as 'the best talker since Oscar Wilde', and this book is a record of him doing precisely that. It follows a series of conversations with John Wiener which took place over a 20 year period, from the 1980's to near the end of his life in the millenium. Vidal's gift for zingy one-liners is much publicised but this book attempts to go a little deeper as Vidal eloquently discusses all manner of topics from the American 'Empire' to his admiration for his Grandfather the blind Senator from Oklahoma. These interviews gave Vidal the scope to illustrate his arguments and opinions, and the process he goes through to reach them - and of course he never misses the oppotunity for an acerbic one liner. 

In Bed with Gore Vidal

Never one to shy away from the topic of sexuality,Vidal once claimed there is no such thing as gay only gay sexual acts.Teemans book examines this uncharacteristically mysterious side to Vidal, and attempts to investigate the reasons behind the stars sexual ambiguity; did it all relate to that infamous comment from Bill Buckley and the ongoing legal feud that followed? Made up of interviews with friends and family he explores Gore's personal life and discover what lay behind the formidable facade of the man who said 'some writers turn to drink, others turn to audiences'. 

Gore Vidal: Snapshots in History's Glare

For a man whose life was defined by words, pictures play second fiddle. In this book Gore himself gives us an insight into the reality of life in one of America's most powerful political families, from the Kennedy's backyard to military service in World War Two. Candid snapshots of a life lived alongside some of the most famous faces of the early 20th century are accompanied by Vidal's personal reflections of the time, and thus provide a thoroughly personal guide to the social circles that grew to define post war America. 



 Gore Vidal: History of National Security: Includes Vidal on America

This book follows a series of in depth poltitical discussions between Paul Jay the senior editor of the alternative news site The Real News Network, and acclaimed polemicist Gore Vidal. They examine and discredit many common perceptions about America politics and uncover the reality beneath; a national security state with a corrupt political culture that has culminated in an "Imperial Presidency". Ever the anti-disestablishmentarian this book is a must read for anyone interested in seeing Vidal's alternative take on the politics of this century. 

Vidal vs Mailer

Almost as infamous as the battle between Vidal and Buckley was Vidal's ongoing spat with Norman Mailer. Much like Buckley this rivalry climaxed in a vicous on screen onslaught and was constantly bubbling with the threat of violence, (it is rumoured that Mailer headbutted Vidal before the Dick Cavett show). After Mailer took Gore's bad review of Prisons of Sex to heart the battle began and Carole Mallory's book recounts a rivalry between two of America's literary greats in all it's glory.  

Gore Vidals Last Stand: Part One: My American Initiation

An intimate tale of Gore Vidal's final years told by Fabian Bouthillette, Vidals 'personal naval attache', pupil and assistant. This is the story of a young man's disallusionment with the American military and how this leads him into the presence of Vidal, the wise old sage of the American Left. Fabians story is a deeply personal one, and invites the reader into Vida'ls home at a very delicate and largely unreported point period in his life - Fabien's is a tale of compassion and care that crosses generations. Draw together by disenchanment with the establishment and a desire for peace, part one of three introduces us to the relationship of Fabien and Gore and allows you to witness the beginning of this unlikely friendship. 



 The Delaphine Gore Vidal: His essential quotations

Vidal's greatest skill was arguably his ability to formulate pithy soundbites that have earned him an enviable place in the history books. At times vicious, occasionally damning, often witty and always incredibly intelligent; Gore Vidal's quotes stand the test of time and are interesting enough to write a book about, and that is exactly what Delaphine have done. Peruse it's pages for more fascinating aphorisms from the man who famously said, 'Never pass up the chance to have sex or appear on television'. 

Empire of the Self: A Life of Gore Vidal

A friend of Gore Vidal for thirty years and the only author on the list to have been made Vidal's literary executor, this book is the product of endless dinners, in depth discussions and everyday conversations. Jay Parini puts the life of the colourful intellectual and friend to the stars into a historical context making him relevant and relatable to another generation. Made up of conversation, Parninis own diary extracts and Vidal's writing, this book presents an honest yet affectionate portrayal of an intriguing man and all his affectations. Parini masterfully seperates the fact from the fiction and presents a biography worthy of Gores own literary brilliance.

The book wil be released on the 13th of October.

Find all the cinemas showing Best of Enemies on 1 September as part of Discover Tuesdays