The Reading Room
A Self-Interested Gift Guide
In the spirit of supporting bookstores the holidays, I’m putting a word in for books by my friends, family and even myself.
I’m linking to Amazon because that’s the easiest way for you to see pages and read samples, and certainly that’s the easy way to order them. The not quite as easy way (but still pretty easy!) is from your local bookstore. If they don’t have it in stock they can usually order it and get it in within two days. I order from Three Lives here in New York, they wrap books beautifully and can send them anywhere.
Paris in Winter. David Coggins.
Did I suddenly develop a way with ink and brush? I did not. This is is my dad’s book about our family’s time in Paris, full of wonderful drawings. There’s a fair amount about the our rituals (eating, drinking, museum-going). But there’s also a lot of wonderful history of the City of Light. If you’re missing warmer climes consider Blue: A St. Barts Memoir.
20th Century Boy. Duncan Hannah.
A portrait of the artist as a naught young man. The hilarious, profane, outrageous adventures of the painter, as he moves around a very different New York City in the late 1970s. Delightful.
Everybody Behaves Badly. Lesley M.M. Blume.
Engrossing history of Hemingway et al. and how The Sun Also Rises came to be. Not sure anybody comes across well, but that doesn’t matter. Lesley’s new book Fallout, about John Hersey’s reporting on Hiroshima is also amazing and getting justly celebrated.
Anything by William Boyd.
I’m not sure we’ve discussed one of my favorite writers. I recommend all of his novels, but am feeling more in the mood for historical fiction these days. You might start with The New Confessions. Any Human Heart is also great, that’s been described as Forrest Gump for smart people, which is a discussion for another time.
Men and Style. Yours truly.
I wanted to learn how interesting men arrived at their point of view. Includes some of my favorite paintings and photographs. Designed by the great John Gall. You always feel tenderly toward your first book (unless your J.D. Salinger).
I tried to make the case for behaving well in public, in a lighthearted way. There are wonderful illustrations from Christopher DeLorenzo. And hopefully this is a good gift for any young person in your life.
My new book comes out in May, so we’ll be doing events then, and am happy to sign any of these copies when we make it to the other side.
David, I wholeheartedly endorse a little self interest… No harm in that at all. Your father’s books are favorites of mine… After I bought Paris in Winter I sent your dad a copy of one of my documentary films... he gave me a lovely reply. He is such a creative spirit and settling in with one of his books is a wonderful way to let oneself go on a rainy afternoon… Michael Maglaras