What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg
Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D
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What Makes Sammy Run?
By Budd Schulberg

"I'm a cat guy," Franco says, "and I name them after figures in literature. Right now I have two cats: Zelda [Fitzgerald] and Sammy [Glick]." Sammy must be some cat, if he's anything like his namesake, the relentless newspaper copy boy described in the Schulberg classic as "a little ferret of a kid," who careens up the ranks, launching himself into Hollywood by stealing a screenplay. First published in 1941, the novel has the pace of a thriller as it contends with larger questions of individuality and the collective good. "It's difficult to find books about the movie industry that have the depth of literary fiction, aside from classics like The Day of the Locust and They Shoot Horses, Don't They?," Franco says. "The fact that Schulberg achieved that in What Makes Sammy Run? is impressive to me."

Franco's next pick: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

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