Monday, June 16, 2008

Summer Reading

Photograph from I Suwannee's brilliant "Bookcase of the Day" collection.

I am not exactly an avid reader (thanks to my debilitating reality television addiction), but I do manage to enjoy a few good books a year. I am looking for summer reading suggestions if anyone has a good read.

In exchange, here are a few of my favorites. You may notice a running theme in my reading choices, which I generally refer to as "mo' money, mo' problems". I find the ilk to be an inexpensive way to satisfy the materialistic hunger brought on from subscriptions to multiple shelter mags and Vogue.

Auto-Biography
Oh the Glory of It All by Sean Wilsey.

I read this Wilsey family memoir and tell-all of San Francisco society on my trip to Costa Rica. (Funny how being in the middle of the rain forest without a TV can inspire a lengthy read). Most of the book is funny, but I was sobbing hysterically by the end.

Non-Fiction
Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas

I learned about this book from Coterie Books who has many more great recommendations. If you are the only one in the blogosphere who has not yet read this one, you are missing out. I find it particularly helpful to read about the sham that is the "luxury market" during this time of economic reconsideration.

Classic
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Anyone who loves descriptions of opulent interiors and New York history, will love Edith Wharton, the original Julian Fellowes.

Fiction
Snobs: A Novel by Julian Fellowes

Speaking of Julian Fellowes, the author also penned the screenplay for one of my all time favorite films, Gosford Park. Like the Oscar-winning movie, the premise for Snobs is English manor life as seen through the eyes of the common folk. However, this novel brings the class war to modern day.

Happy summer reading!

24 comments:

Katie Lake said...

I am a HUGE reader so I can definitely send some good ones your way. I am currently reading Pride and Prejudice. You should definitely check out A Confederacy of Dunces - it's hilarious and brilliant! Anything by Cormac McCarthy - I love everything of his!

mamacita said...

For summer reading I like Jane Stanton Hitchcock's novels. Set in NY Society, they are a notch above everything else in the paperback thriller genre. Plus it's fund to guess which socialite/decorator/industrialist each character is based on.

michelle {lovely.little.things} said...

OK I am a teacher & a big reader, let's see if I can give you any suggestions. Based off of your book likes...
autobiography - "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls
classic/foreign - "The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri (pulitzer prize winning)
fiction - "Something Borrowed" and the sequel "Something Blue," very shopaholic esque (cute guys, fashion, sex, etc.)
non fiction... "Devil in the White City."

Happy reading!

girl meets glamour said...

Wow, you've got some great picks here!! I'm picking out some books to read this summer as well!

~Kate

Pigtown-Design said...

I am a huge reader, too. I can go through a book a day sometimes. I just got Deluxe and can't wait to read it. We have a free book store in Baltimore and you can have as many books as you want. That fuels my book addiction!

Brilliant Asylum said...

Thanks for all of the great suggestions. I am glad to have something to do now that Top Chef is over.

katiedid said...

Thanks for the list! I was looking for some good reads. And I like Michelle's suggestions too, most of which I have read. Except for "Something Borrowed"...I'll look into that as well! :)

teaorwine said...

love the "wall of books" photo. The Devil in the White City is a fascinating story...after reading, take a trip to Chicago and visit all the locations in the book!

Barb McMahon said...

Try The City of Falling Angels and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - two memoirs by John Berendt, based in Venice and New Orleans. Lots of gorgeous old buildings and high-society scandal. Gorgeous writing with great characters.

Laura said...

The Beautiful Fall is so good--karl lagerfeld vs. YSL and paris in the 70s. talk about drugs, sex, and rock and roll...best beach read ever.

Also, The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant, and the Josephine books by Sandra Gulland, if you are into historical fiction.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

"Everybody Was So Young" fits into your 'mo' money, mo' problems" genre if you haven't read it already. An incredible book about incredible people.

By the by, Mr. Fellowes does a splendid turn as "Fitzwilly" in "The Monarch of the Glen" (BBC, available on Netflix.)

Robin said...

I've read #3 and 4, but not #1 and 2 so I just added them to the half.com wishlist. Also agree with Barb re: John Berendt, City of Falling Angels made me want to pack up and go to Venice immediately. A Much Married Man is another good (modern day) English Family Saga. Empire Falls is another good summer read, it is long, so it will take all summer!

a. said...

Love the shot of the bookcase!

"Everybody was so Young" is definitely one of my favorites and John Berendt is always a great read as well.

For something fun try Bringing Home the Birkin. I loved it!

coco+kelley said...

i've been looking for some good summer reading to stock up on - thank you!!

Style Court said...

Welcome back. Love the Wharton suggestion.

alis said...

If you haven't read it yet, do read Thomas Hardy's classis Jude the Obscure. It's been years since I read it but I still think about it often. Very strikingly beautiful.
At the moment I'm reading Watership Down by Richard Adams. It's beautiful if you are into fiction, adventure and bunnies Read the reviews at amazon, it's much more than these.

alis said...

*classic, sorry.

pinkstilettos said...

Looks like a good book- I will have to check it out. I like reading this chick lit books

Mademoiselle Frou-Frou said...

i agree about the Edith Wharton books - anyone who loves gorgeous design & fashion will enjoy her novels.

Alkemie said...

That living room with the HUGE book case up top is INCREDIBLE!! Thanks for the inspiration!
Karen

Anonymous said...

I met Julian at a wedding I went to recently (it was straight out of Snobs) very funny ... and ironic.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Try The House At Riverton, by Kate Morton. I just finished it and it's a wonderful read! Also, The Uncommon Reader,by Alan Bennett. Enjoy!

halcyon said...

Thanks for the suggestion about Deluxe, I snagged it off amazon for $5. It's great. I'm only a quarter through it, but it really shines a light on what "passes" for luxury. To me "luxury" is something that REALLY pleases ME...not somone else.

Speaking of Edith Wharton, Eleanor Dwight's book on EW, Edith Wharton: An Extroardinary Life, is a good read, but her best book by far is DIANA VREELAND. That's full of stories.

Balsamfir said...

This was the best book recommendation I've had in a while. Although it's all about the Brits, I find it applies surprisingly well to life over here as well.