Autumn: Arts & Letters
While most publish summer reads, I hew towards autumn and winter for literary sustenance or what I think of as “cozy” reads since in most parts of the world the weather provides its own sweet accompaniment. I ask you — what is more pleasurable than idling in a big overstuffed chair or reclining like the king’s favored odalisque on a long luxuriant chaise with a log smoldering in the fireplace, a mug of warmth tempered with a dash of spirited fortitude and a tumultuous wind billowing through the rafters sending the last of the season’s dying leaves skyward.
Readers often talk of the ‘guilty pleasures’ of reading, bemoaning its addictive qualities that seemingly prevent you from living a life, any life, including your own. I have lost whole days following another’s tale of woe and/or wonderment and am the better for it, although our culture of achievement can, oftentimes, admonish for the simple joys of reading for reading’s sake. But evidence mounts that all is changing.
I just learned, for example, NPR now has a feature called My Guilty Pleasure, where writers are free to talk about the books they love without ridicule or embarrassment. Case in point: Real Men Read (And Love) Stephenie Meyer’s ‘Twilight’ series. Authors are interviewed not only about books they have written but about what they like to read for their own pleasure. It’s eye opening. Especially to discover they like to read the same things we do.
My choices are combed from everywhere. Other blogs I read, reviews I scan in newspapers, topics of interest I’m drawn to from posts I create here. There is no theme as my tastes in books are as eclectic as my interests in life. I can readily enjoy a well written memoir like Manhattan Memoir by Mary Cantwell to a Gothic classic, The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins to the impressively researched Capote: A Biography by Gerald Clarke. When it comes to literary pursuits, I’m easily captivated; “A cheap date,” my beloved might say.
Maybe you’ll find something here to spend a little time with in the days and weeks ahead or, if you’re of a mind, maybe you’d like to suggest a few discoveries of your own.
The Private World of Yves St. Laurent and Pierre Berge
Robert Murphy and Ivan Terestchenko
Vendome Press, 2009
The Letters of Noel Coward
Noel Coward, Edited: Barry Day
Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead
Memories of Montparnasse
NYRB Classics, 2007
The Beautiful Fall:
Fashion, Genius and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris
Back Bay Books, 2007
A Short Walk from Harrods (Autobiography)
Lucile: London, Paris, New York and Chicago
Valerie D. Mendes
V&A Publishing, 2009
La Foce: A Garden and Landscape in Tuscany
Origo, Olin, Hunt and Livingston
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001
A Day with Picasso
MIT Press, 1999
In This House of Brede
Rumer Goddin and Phyllis Tickle
Loyola Press, 2005
Down and Out in Paris and London
Memoirs of a Bastard Angel
The Worlds of Lincoln Kerstein
Northwestern University Press, 2008
The Marchesa Casati
Scot D. Ryersson and Michael Orlando Yaccarino
Clouds: The Biography of a Country House
Dr. Caroline Dackers
Yale University Press, 1993
Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne