Reading is a great past time for me, especially at the moment when I am trying to reduce time spent on social media and really try to engage with activities that stretch beyond a screen – yes you can read on your phone/ipad but I just don’t think you beat the experience of a paperback copy sat in your hands with its crisp pages, inviting you to dive into an extraordinary tale.
Usually I am a full on novel girl – I never usually go for non-fiction/ biographical pieces, however, I have really been enjoying lifestyle/ motivational self-made stories of successful people with interesting stories to tell, and the fact that they are real stories really put me into a productive mindset.
With that being said, I’ve put together a personal summer reading list with books that I am either in the process of reading or would like to get my hands on soon. These books will tend to have a fashion focus, or similar lifestyle appeal, simply because that’s my current preferred genre.
“The sizzling diaries of Tina Brown’s eight spectacular years as editor in chief of Vanity Fair paint a riveting portrait of the flash, dash and follies of the eighties in New York and Hollywood.
The Vanity Fair Diaries is the story of an Englishwoman barely out of her twenties who arrives in Manhattan on a mission.
Summoned from London in hopes that she can save Conde Nast’s troubled new flagship Vanity Fair, Tina Brown is immediately plunged into the maelstrom of the competitive New York media world and the backstabbing rivalries at the court of the planet’s slickest, most glamour-focused magazine company.
She survives the politics, the intrigue and the attempts to derail her by a simple stratagem: succeeding. In the face of rampant scepticism, she triumphantly reinvents a failing magazine.
Here are the inside stories of Vanity Fair scoops and covers that sold millions: the Reagan kiss, the meltdown of Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles, the sensational Annie Leibovitz cover of a gloriously pregnant, naked Demi Moore.
In the diary’s cinematic pages, the drama, comedy and struggle of running an ‘it’ magazine come to life. Brown’s Vanity Fair Diaries is also a woman’s journey, of making a home in a new country and of the deep bonds with her husband, their prematurely born son and their daughter.”
*Although not directly related to fashion in the slightest, the subject does seem to appealing.
“The compulsively readable, behind-the-scenes memoir that takes readers inside the Obama White House, through the eyes of a young staffer learning the ropes, falling in love and finding her place in the world.
In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein was just scraping by in Washington DC when a posting on Craigslist landed her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers.
She joined the elite team who accompanied the president wherever he went, recorder and mic in hand.
On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forged friendships with a tight group of fellow travellers – young men and women who, like her, left their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president.
But as she learned the ropes of protocol, Beck became romantically entangled with a colleague, and suddenly, the political became all too personal. Set against the backdrop of a White House full of glamour, drama and intrigue, this is the story of a young woman making unlikely friendships, getting her heart broken, learning what truly matters and discovering her voice in the process.”
“For decades, Grace Coddington’s personal touch has steered wildly imaginative fashion spreads in Vogue magazine. Then came The September Issue, the behind-the-scenes documentary that turned the spotlight on a woman with a no-nonsense attitude and an unerring visual instinct. Overnight, the flame-haired Grace became a heroine for fashion insiders and the general public alike. Witty and forthright, and illustrated throughout with vintage photographs and exclusive line-drawings, Grace: A Memoir shares the excitement and vision that go into producing so many unforgettable fashion images. Here are the designers, models, photographers, hairstylists, make-up artists and celebrities with whom Grace has created her `stories in pictures’ – whether it be Jerry Hall conquering the USSR or Tom Ford falling down a rabbit hole in Annie Leibovitz’s version of Alice in Wonderland. Grace’s own life has been as dreamlike as one of her madcap fashion spreads. Brought up in windswept wartime Anglesey, she arrived in London, aged eighteen, and quickly became a face of the Sixties. The muse behind Vidal Sassoon’s Five Point Cut, she posed for Bailey, Donovan, Duffy and Norman Parkinson in Swinging London and jumped into a pool in Saint-Tropez for Helmut Newton. Surviving a serious car-crash, she later became a fashion editor at British Vogue and during the Seventies and the Eighties started to create the fantasy travelogues that would become her trademark. Friendships bloomed – with Bruce Weber and Calvin Klein, whose offer of a job took Grace to New York. While two early marriages to restaurateur Michael Chow and photographer Willie Christie were brief, her romance with the hairstylist Didier Malige has endured. And her professional partnership with Anna Wintour – with whom she has collaborated for over twenty years – continues to have an astonishing influence on modern style.”
*again not related to fashion, but a must read for those interested in self-care/ travel and taking time for yourself.
“It’s 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She’s in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they’re trying for a baby – and she doesn’t want any of it. A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance. So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds, an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor, and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile. And slowly happiness begins to creep up on her.”
“How To Be Parisian brilliantly deconstructs the French woman’s views on culture, fashion and attitude. Bohemian free-thinkers and iconoclasts, Anne Berest, Caroline De Maigret, Audrey Diwan and Sophie Mas cut through the myths in this gorgeous, witty guide to Parisienne savoir faire. These modern Parisiennes say what you don’t expect to hear, just the way you want to hear it. They are not against smoking in bed, and all for art, politics and culture, making everything look easy, and going against the grain. They will take you on a first date, to a party and through a hangover. They will tell you how to be mysterious and sensual, make your boyfriend jealous, the right way to approach weddings and the gym, and they will share their address book in Paris for where to go at the end of the night, for a birthday, for a smart date, for vintage finds and much more. Full of wit and self-deprecating humour, How To Be Parisian explains those confusing subjects of clothes, makeup, men, culture and lifestyle as only a true Parisienne can.”
Not only was it mentioned in Gossip Girl as Serena’s favourite book. but it is also a book written by a fictional master, and one of my personal favourite authors – Fitzgerald.
“Exploring the decadence of Jazz Age New York through a fictionalised version of his own marriage to Zelda Fitzgerald, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and the Damned includes an introduction by Geoff Dyer in Penguin Modern Classics. Anthony Patch and his wife Gloria are the essence of Jazz Age glamour. A brilliant and magnetic couple, they fling themselves at life with an energy that is thrilling. New York is a playground where they dance and drink for days on end. Their marriage is a passionate theatrical performance; they are young, rich, alive and lovely and they intend to inherit the earth. But as money becomes tight, their marriage becomes impossible. And with their inheritance still distant, Anthony and Gloria must face reality; they may be beautiful – but they are also damned.”