Living Columns & Blogs

This week at the library: Celebrating William Holden’s 100th birthday

William Holden starring in the film “The Wild Bunch”
William Holden starring in the film “The Wild Bunch”

The Fresno County Library’s Bookshelf column shares suggestions for books, music, and other items, and provides information about library programs.

Happy 100th birthday, William Holden

All three films profiled below are listed on the Library of Congress National Film Registry, reserved for “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant” movies.

▪ 1950: “Sunset Boulevard” (DVD). Faded silent screen star Norma Desmond enlists a down-on-his-luck, aspiring screenwriter to help her stage a comeback. Joe Gillis plays along at first, but rapidly realizes her pursuit is futile. Stars William Holden, Gloria Swanson and Erich von Stroheim. Directed by Billy Wilder.

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“Sunset Boulevard: A Hollywood Story” directed and co-written by Billy Wilder and produced and co-written by Charles Brackett PARAMOUNT PICTURES

▪ 1957: “The Bridge on the River Kwai” (DVD). Allies in a World War II Japanese POW camp become opponents when the inmates are forced to build a strategic bridge and assist the enemy cause. Stars William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins and Sessue Hayakawa. Directed by David Lean.

▪ 1969: “The Wild Bunch” (DVD). In 1913 Pike Bishop, head of an aging outlaw gang, is looking to commit his final big robbery but is frustrated at every turn by bounty hunters and Mexican army troops. Stars William Holden, Ernest Borgnine and Robert Ryan. Directed by Fresno native Sam Peckinpah.

Top 5 Most Requested Books

▪ “The Disappeared,” by C.J. Box.

▪ “Red Alert,” by James Patterson.

▪ “The Punishment She Deserves,” by Elizabeth George.

▪ “The Flight Attendant: A Novel,” by Chris Bohjalian.

▪ “Accidental Heroes: A Novel,” by Danielle Steel.

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“Accidental Heroes” by Danielle Steel DELACORTE PRESS

New Arrivals

▪ “Census,” by Jesse Ball. A terminally ill surgeon is hired to perform obscure government work, interviewing and tattooing subjects scattered across the country, while accompanied by his son who has Down syndrome. Their journey combines weirdness with philosophical insight.

▪ “Women in Sunlight: A Novel,” by Frances Mayes. The author of “Under the Tuscan Sun” returns to the same territory to tell the story of four older expatriate American women reinventing themselves and reigniting their passions amid the Italian hillsides.

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“Women in Sunlight” by Frances Mayes CROWN

▪ “The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life,” by Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson. An exploration of why we do the things we do, often for dark and purely selfish reasons.


▪ Evening Yoga at the Library: All levels and abilities welcome. Wear comfortable clothes and bring water. Bring your own yoga mat, or we’ll lend you one. Please refrain from eating two hours before the session. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Betty Rodriguez Regional Library. Details: 559-600-9245.

▪ Vic Weatherly Plays Country: Hear this talented Caruthers resident play country music. 6-7 p.m. Thursday, at the Caruthers Branch Library. Details: 559-864-8766.

▪ Bookwyrm Gaming Convention: A unique, free role-playing event that will include Pathfinder, Dungeons & Dragons, Vampire and many other games. For more information, visit Bookwyrm’s Facebook page at A full event schedule is posted at All day Saturday-Sunday, April 21-22, at the Woodward Park Regional Library. Details: 559-600-3135.

This is a weekly column written by the Fresno County Public Library staff. Events are usually free. Visit, or call 559-600-6227 for details.