Creating lists about the film industry presents problems because so many books have been written about it. I’ve read around 175 books dealing with movies That’s a lot but way less than the 1,200 presented by Anthony Slide in The Hollywood Novel. True, his survey extends to 1994, while mine stops in 1960. But my reading is still not close to comprehensive. For example, he lists seventeen books published in 1951. I've only read four of them (and don't intend to read the rest). Ignorance, however, is not going to stop me. So I'm starting with a tiny subset of Hollywood novels, those written by women that have women as the main characters. It's a pretty varied list, not only in characters depicted but also in theme, style and overall attitude. I've put the books in chronological order by the year they were written.
1. Reckless Hollywood by Haynes Lubou. A fan-magazine writer learns some painful lessons about love when she takes up with a movie stunt pilot.
2. Ideal by Ayn Rand. A famous movie star discovers what her screen image means to her most dedicated admirers.
3. I Lost My Girlish Laughter by Jane Allen. The secretary to a big-time film producer describes her work with droll astonishment.
4. Remember Valerie March by Katherine Albert. A movie director recounts the career and personal relationships of the actress who was once his protégé.
5. Married at Leisure by Virginia Lederer. The wife of a screenwriter quietly lampoons the Hollywood social scene while ignoring the pointlessness of her own life.
6. Memory and Desire by Leonora Hornblow. A well-heeled Hollywood divorcée falls for a married screenwriter with a wife and child in New York.
7. Passion Is a Woman by Kate Nickerson. A beautiful bit-player keeps control of her love life while promoting her movie career.
As we know, seeing a book title on a list is not the same as actually acquiring a copy. Ideal, just published in 2015 though written in 1934, is the easiest to get. It's in print, available on Kindle and stocked by hundreds of libraries. Books 3 through 6 are similar in availability -- a few copies for sale online, plenty obtainable through interlibrary loan. The first and last books on the list, however, have pretty much disappeared from American culture. Two libraries but no internet booksellers have copies of Reckless Hollywood. Four booksellers but no libraries have copies of Passion Is a Woman. That's American libraries. If you have nothing better to do the next time you’re in Paris, you could drop into the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and look up the French translation, La Passion de Femme.