This month’s Must Reads are almost all of the coffee table variety…and I’m cheating a bit because two of them aren’t even out for a few weeks. But they’re lovely enough that you’re going to want to pre-order. Take my word for it.
I’m in the mood for Paris, as I almost always am. This month, I was lucky enough to find two utterly charming literary specimens to whisk us off to the Left Bank – at a price infinitely more reasonable than a first-class Air France ticket. Both are sketchbooks, both are entirely transporting, and I suspect that the contents of at least one will end up deconstructed and framed somewhere in my house.
Paris Line By Line (Universe), by Robinson, is packed with intricate line drawings of scenes from Paris life. Cafés, museums, shopping, people-watching…everything you go to Paris to do is here, in beautifully-illustrated detail. It feels almost like a coloring book for adults.
And then, of course, there’s Paris Sketchbook, by Jason Brooks (Laurence King). This has an easier, more casual feel to it, but it’s no less stunning (or wanderlust-inducing). With sketches of my favorite boutiques, chic Parisian women out and about, and vignettes of typically Parisian treats (Chanel No. 5, macarons…), I’ve been spending more than my fair share of time leafing through this and figuring out which pages would look best on my walls.
And of course, you’re going to need something fabulous to wear while you’re galavanting about town. When I heard Andre Leon Talley had edited a book, I didn’t really need to hear more. He’s an undeniable force, and has such a strong personality and point of view, it’s impossible not to love him. Little Black Dress (Skira Rizzoli) is his take on the best of that iconic style throughout fashion history, with tips, styling tricks, and his trademark heavy-handed advice strewn liberally throughout. It’s a delicious read, but it’s also a spot-on emergency reference to keep on file when you’re wearing your LBD and can’t decide how on earth to style it.
But of course, coffee table books don’t curl up at a coffee shop with you, now do they? If you’re in need of a little fictional escapism, I should tell you I just roared through the second installment in T.J. Brown’s Summerset Abbey series I told you about back in January. It came out earlier this month, I read it in 2 days, and I’m already anxiously awaiting Book 3 (due out in August). Shakespeare it’s not, but they are pure fun, and utterly perfect for this time of year.
Next on my list? Claire Messud’s latest. But tell me: what are you reading?