Oscar weekend is here, and we’ve got movies on the brain – and on our Kindles, iPads and nightstands. Aside from watching Hollywood, we’re reading about it, and catching up on some of the books that have inspired it.
Look below to see some of our recent staff favorites, and let us know what you’re reading in the comments. After all, a book club’s no fun without a good conversation.
Kim Hubbard, Books Editor
Her pick: Rita Moreno: A Memoir (out March 5)
Just about every star writes a memoir eventually, and I read most of them for my job. It’s great when they surprise you like this one does: Who knew that West Side Story star (and Oscar winner) Moreno had a long affair with Marlon Brando in his hunky days – and dated Elvis to make him jealous? The King, by the way, wasn’t much of a lover – he’d grind those hips while dancing with her but avoided anything more. Turns out there’s way more to Moreno than “I like to be in America…”
Catherine Kast, Writer-Reporter
Her pick: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright
I almost missed my subway stop this morning because I was so into this book! It’s got seamen marooned in foreign countries, dramatic marriages, black magic, and it’s not even fiction. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the controversial religion that makes some of the stars we cover at PEOPLE so fascinating. Plus, it’s a nice break from all the fashion magazines piled in my office.
Mary Green, Assistant Editor
Her pick: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Like every American kid I learned about Honest Abe in school, but the movie Lincoln made me curious about who he really was. Goodwin’s biography, which inspired the film, brings him to life. He was so brilliant at persuading people, and such a romantic figure: tall, brooding, always the smartest guy in the room. I wish I’d known him (even if he wasn’t as handsome as Daniel Day-Lewis).
Check back next Thursday for another round of staff picks, and see more book reviews each week in PEOPLE, on newsstands now.