Sunday, March 15, 2009

What I'm Reading

A recent Amazon shipment arrived, just as I finished Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton. So, here's what's in process, and what's on deck:

Hotel du Lac, by Anita Brookner. I was motivated to seek out this book thanks to a blogger's review here. It's okay: well-written but perhaps a little slow-moving and I'm not really intrigued by any of the characters. I will finish it, though.

The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. Encouraged by the beautiful The Daily Connoisseur, I first borrowed this book from the library, read half, and determined that I needed to own it and keep it by my bedside for inspiration. Really entertaining and seemingly useful...but I should note that I haven't written any good stuff personally OR professionally recently. Maybe when I finish the book!

When I like a mystery writer I LOVE mysteries. I'm pretty picky, though, so it's not like I have to read every mystery on the best-seller list. In my youth, I read a great deal of Agatha Christie. Now, I tend to be more interested in her biography. If you haven't read her autobiography, you should: an amazing trip chronicling a woman's progression from a hugely traditional Victorian youth to First World War wife to professional success and world travel with her famous second husband, archaelogist Sir Max Mallowan. Her country home in Devon, Greenway House, was recently restored and opened to the public, and I'm dying to see it. Anyway. In high school my boyfriend's mother turned me onto PD James, and I've read almost all of her work except for Children of Men (but I did see the movie!). Now 89, she just released another mystery, the wonderful The Private Patient, last fall, which I of course immediately devoured. So I am excited that another of my favorite mystery writers, Frank Tallis, just published a third book in his Mortalis series featuring Freudian psychiatrist Dr. Max Liebermann, called Fatal Lies. Max practises medicine in turn-of-the-century Vienna, but his friendship with local police Inspector Rheinhardt lures him into analysis of the city's twisted criminal minds. Tallis contrasts the sordid investigations with Liebermann's love for the aesthetically high-minded pursuit of music: along with the violence we get a lot of Strauss and Mahler. It's great. If you're intrigued by the setting and the perspective of the early psychological study of crime, start with the first book in the series, A Death In Vienna.

Everytime I place an Amazon order I try to purchase something that's been on my Wishlist for awhile. (Don't you find that your list grows faster than items fall off? Troubling.) In this case, it was Jessica Powell's Literary Paris. As my long-time readers know, I've never been to Paris but I remain a determined Francophile nevertheless and I'm looking forward to wrapping up college tuition (3 years and 2 months to go!) and then making my Grand Tour. However I decided I could at least afford to read about it in the meantime and put Literary Paris in my cart. But I couldn't of course leave well enough alone and I had to search to see what other options were available. I found Writers in Paris: Literary Lives in the City of Light by David Burke. Both Literary Paris and Writers in Paris received great reviews, and I couldn't decide. So, giddy with the knowledge that I had $50 worth of Amazon Visa coupons in hand, I ordered both.

Yesterday we drove up to Chicago; my youngest son happily decided to surprise us and come home from Los Angeles for spring break, so we were able to fit in a visit to my oldest son, Josh, before we picked up Max at O'Hare later in the evening. I had already sent ahead the book I just finished, Seven Days in the Art World. Josh majored in Industrial Design in college and will likely continue onto his MFA in the near future, so I thought he would enjoy it as much as I did. In turn, he sent me away with the graphic novel Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. I doubt whether I will see the movie, but my son thought I should at least try the book. I've never read a graphic novel before; I'm looking forward to giving it a try! (I have just been warned by my youngest son that the author tends to "objectify women" and that it will probably "piss me off." I'll let you know.)

I will also add that I've had Proust's Swann's Way on my nighttable for months. As much as I want to be able to say "I've read Proust," I am really doubting whether I'll ever get through it.

That's what I'm up to. Now that I've moved three books off my Amazon wishlist, I'm ready to add! Any recs?

Here's what remains:
Weekend Retreats by Susanna Salk (Author) $29.70

Quiet Nights ~ Krall, Diana $9.99

The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957 by Claire Wilcox (Editor) $26.37

The Wonderful Weekend Book: Reclaim Life's Simple Pleasures by Elspeth Thompson (Author)

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking by Jeff Hertzberg (Author), Zoe Francois (Author) $16.77

Sting - All This Time DVD ~ Sting $16.97

Mr & Mrs Smith Boutique Hotel Collection: The Global Shortlist by Rufus Purdy (Editor), Lucy Fennings (Editor) $16.47

High Society: The History of America's Upper Class by Nick Foulkes (Author) $45.50

Nantucket: Island Living by Leslie Linsley (Author), Terry Pommett (Photographer) $26.40

L.A. Modern by Nicolai Ouroussoff (Introduction), Tim Street-Porter (Photographer) $47.25

But That's Another Story: A Photographic Retrospective of Milton H. Greene by Amy Greene (Author), et al. $47.25

Edith Bouvier Beale of Grey Gardens: A Life in Pictures by Eva Marie Beale (Author), et al. $47.25

Jean-Michel Frank: The Strange and Subtle Luxury of the Parisian Haute-Monde in the Art Deco Period by Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier (Author), et al. $59.85

The L.A. House by Ruthie Sommers (Author) Currently unavailable

Inspired Styles by Assouline (Author) $45.50

Biedermeier: The Invention of Simplicity by Laurie Winters (Author), Milwaukee Art Museum (Other Contributor)

Houses of Los Angeles, 1920-1935 (Urban Domestic Architecture) by Sam Watters (Author) $69.78

Ralph Lauren by Ralph(Author) Lauren (Author) $85.05

Best Garden Plants for Illinois (Best Garden Plants For...) by William Aldrich (Author), Don Williamson (Author) $16.95

Beethoven: Violin Sonatas "Kreutzer" & "Spring" ~ Ludwig van Beethoven $10.99

Bach - Brandenburg Concertos / Lamon, Tafelmusik ~ Johann Sebastian Bach $31.98

Chanel: Collections and Creations by Daniele Bott (Author)

Grace Kelly: A Life in Pictures by Pierre-Henri Verlhac (Editor), Yann-Brice Dherbier (Editor) $30.40

The Ultimate Rat Pack Collection: Live & Swingin (CD & DVD) ~ Sinatra, Frank $22.99

Chanel: The Couturiere at Work by Amy de la Haye (Author), Shelley Tobin (Author)

Chanel by Francois Baudot (Author) $28.27

Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home by Martha Stewart (Author) $29.70

Grace Kelly: Icon of Style to Royal Bride (Philadelphia Museum of Art) by H. Kristina Haugland (Author) $15.64

ABC for Book Collectors by John Carter (Author), Nicolas Barker (Author)

In the Pink: Dorothy Draper--America's Most Fabulous Decorator by Carleton Varney (Author) $59.85

A Dress for Diana by David Emanuel (Author), Elizabeth Emanuel (Author) $22.76

Margaret Bourke-White: The Photography of Design, 1927-1936 by Stephen Bennett Phillips (Author)

Best of Flair by Dominick Dunne (Foreword), Fleur Cowles (Editor) $176.34

Art Deco New York by David Lowe (Author)

The Ultimate Collection ~ Holiday, Billie $39.98

Chanel (Metropolitan Museum of Art Publications) by Harold Koda (Author), et al.

The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings ~ Davis, Miles

Classic Cottages: Simple, Romantic Homes by Brian Coleman (Author), Douglas Keister
(Photographer) $26.62

C'Était Ici ~ Tiersen, Yann


M.Lane said...

Wonderful post. Try Dorothy Sayres' Lord Peter Whimsey for a classic British detective. And anything by Alan Furst for intrigue.

The Writer's Paris is a great book. "Live & Swingin" is also a very good Rat Pack set.


Rachel said...

I love PD James, so now I'm excited to start on Frank Tallis. I love finding new authors to get obsessed with.

Kelli said...

Wow! What a great list!
I love ordering books and I have quite a lengthy wishlist as well!

Bee said...

Tallis' Mortalis series really intrigued me. I rarely read mysteries, but I might give these a try.

As for Paris, I've been reading the Chocolate and Zucchini cookbook; also loved Capturing Paris and Paris to the Moon.

Petunia said...

Oooh--I want so many of the books on your wishlist!
I LOVE biographies, too! Is the Agatha Christie one very good? And I totally understand being a Francophile even before you have visited France. Finally being in Paris was like euphoria for me (and I cannot wait to bribe my hubby into taking me there again). I'd rather go there over & over than visit someplace new--haha!

And, yes, I was utterly astonished at those women's reactions to a CLOTHING LINE. Geez. That's why I think it is more than that. A little envy mixed with misunderstanding of the Lilly way of life. I wear my J Crew way more than my Lilly, but I'll always treasure my Lilly moments with my daughter!

Belle said...

I'm moving from "Belle in Bloom".


Pink Maple said...

I am going to have to look for the Agatha Christie biography. I only recently learned that her husband was a famous archaelogist during a museum tour and her life sounds fascinating!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

I am so happy you picked up the WAR of Art- it has worked for me (as you can tell) I've been working so hard I haven't had time to read my favorite blogs! xo

miss cavendish said...

Hi Cashmere Librarian--Thanks for visiting my blog!

I'm not a keen mystery reader, but I love anything by Patricia Highsmith and like Jane Smiley's one-off, *Duplicate Keys.* It's set in Brooklyn and has oodles of NYC flavor!

Am enjoying looking through your posts . . .