Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer Reading 2014

After I saw my friend Adrienne’s terrific post about her summer reading list I started thinking about what’s on my own reading agenda for the season. Here are four books I hope to finish this summer:

Rainier and Grace: An Intimate Portrait, by Jeffrey Robinson.

My mother gave me this book for Christmas one year back when it was new (it came out in 1989) and I was young, really young, just 20 years old! I never finished it so I’m starting it again. I want to see the movie Grace of Monaco, despite bad reviews, because it’s interesting to me that the new trailer shows Grace (Nicole Kidman) as a woman trying to find her way again after a few years of marriage and a couple of kids. Is there any truth to that or is the movie more of an allegory? Maybe this book will have some answers. Or maybe not, it was written with the cooperation of Prince Rainier III so will probably present his marriage to Grace Kelly in a flattering and soft-focus light.

Completely unrelated side note: Grace of Monaco may be straight to video, it’s not playing at even one theatre in NYC (practically unheard of), but I won’t be surprised if the costume designer, Gigi Lepage, is nominated for an Oscar next year for her work on the film, the costumes are that good.

#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso.

My mother told me about this book, by Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso and I’m about 10 pages in. So far, so good, though it is definitely geared toward readers in their 20s and under. I will admit I don’t like the title—Amoruso is a 30-year-old woman and the head of her own very successful company, does she really need to refer to herself as a girl?—however, I’m curious as to what points of business savvy she may be able to impart as well as how (and why) she started Nasty Gal, the online retailer of vintage women’s clothing. I wish Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx and self-made billionaire, would write a book like this. I would love to read it.

Just got it back from the library. I have to read it faster this time!

Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod.

My friend Heather of Vintage French Chic is the one who told me about this book. I think have reached my saturation point with books about ladies who are either obsessed with or long to give up everything and move to Paris—when are we going to see a story of this kind about, say, Rome, or Tokyo?—but there is something else at work in this book: MacLeod wanted to find out how much money she would have to save in order to quit her job as a copywriter in LA, a career she found deeply unsatisfying. I started this book, but had to return it to the library before I was done because someone placed a hold on it (damn it all), but from what I’ve read so far I can tell you MacLeod has some great tips on how to live on a tight budget and even generate income when you are saving for something big, a theme that is close to my heart.

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf Goodman by Sara James Mnookin.

I have read a few pages of this book and it is so fun, a mix of the history of the famed Manhattan department store and the recollections of people who have either worked there, shopped there, or got their start in fashion there, little vignettes from people as different as real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran to Michael Kors. There are also terrific old advertisements inside and pictures of windows through the years. A unique book on a unique store!

Love this picture of a Bergdorf window from 2006 called “Subway Twister.”

What are you reading this summer?


Anonymous said...

Great list, Jill. I'm working through my summer reads right now, but Ranier and Grace sounds like one I'd enjoy too.
I reached my saturation point with books and blogs obsessed with French living LONG ago. It's always been Italy for me...or a beach cottage anywhere in our beautiful country.

PinkCheetahVintage said...

I wish I could just lay around the beach or a pool all summer reading...
I didn't even know the move to France idea was a thing! lolzzz

rosie said...

I also have become underwhelmed with the subjects of French women & French living. Next book on this may be "How French Women Breath".

I will be reading Ranier & Grace and; since; I live right outside NYC, I think the book on Berdorf's
will be perfect

Jill said...

Ladies, glad to know I am not the only one who thinks the market is over-saturated with books on the style of French women. That being said, Tish Jett's book 'Forever Chic' was an enjoyable read and I am also loving 'Paris Letters' but that seems more like a woman who is trying to figure out how to become an artist and it just happens to be set in Paris. There are a few chapters about Rome, which I have thoroughly enjoyed!

And Rosie, you HAVE TO get the Bergdorf book, it's really charming, and I love how they tell you the history of the site the store was built on and show past window displays and vintage advertisements. I know you love the BG windows as much as I do, I really think you'd like this book! XO, Jill

rosie said...

Paris letters was a light, fun summery read. Janice goes all minimalist (loved that part) quits her job and goes to Paris. Some good tips on the minimalist part, and downsizing.

This is not a book on how to dress, cook or groom French style. I really like the artist angle in this book.

Have ordered the Berdorf Book, and can't wait to sink into it.

theduchessofh said...

I'm actually half way into #Girlboss on my Kindle.
I will by the Bergdorf book in hard copy.

I actually met Prince Albert in New York during Hurricane Gloria. It was a very bizarre and mysterious circumstance; and I would love to know what he was doing there.