Sunday, May 23, 2010


Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved my books. One of my favorite photos of myself, in fact, I was maybe 9- or 10-years-old, sitting on the ferry to Block Island: pink polo shirt, khaki shorts, white knee socks, grubby sneakers; my dirty blonde, banged hair, pulled back in a barrette to reveal my face, which was fiercely concentrating on the book in my lap. I was oblivious to the camera.

It was in Block Island’s small bookshop—maybe on that trip—that I discovered the Sweet Valley High series. This launched my years-long obsession with Jessica and Elizabeth and their cool high school friends (a prelude to my devotion to Felicity and Carrie and their crews?); a phase post-Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume, pre-Stephen King and V.C. Andrews.

Although I still love books, I don’t spend as much time in bookstores as I did in New York (I lived three blocks from the Strand; it was nearly impossible not to regularly drop in to “browse” and walk out with four titles I had to fit somewhere on my bookshelves). Here, I am trying to live lighter and not accumulate as much. A visit to Village Voice or Shakespeare & Co or Galignani is just too tempting. But every once in awhile, I can’t help myself.

Oh! So! Many! Books! And so pretty!

It took all of my willpower to only buy one book this weekend: Elizabeth Bard’s Lunch in Paris. I have a strange, personal connection to Bard and her memoir, and I’ve heard many wonderful things about the book. I am happy to have it.

Two others that I recently read about are Molly Ringwald’s memoir, illustrated by Ruben Toledo, and chockfull of insights about aging and inner beauty. Sounds like a winner.

And Aimee Bender’s latest about a girl with the power to taste the emotions of the person who’s prepared her food. What a delicious concept!

What are you reading these days?


  1. Are you referring to Felicity Porter?! Wow, I haven't thought about that show in a good while!

    As a child I was, I suspect, much the same as you. I had ALL the Sweet Valley Twins and SVH books, which I would re-read over and over! Much to my poor mother's dismay, she would have preferred I read only Irish books... and at a push, English ones! But American teens were infinitely cooler than 'historical tales' set in 19th century Ireland!

    As for now, I'm re-reading Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh and flipping through Europe On A Shoestring in anticipation of my inter-railing trip in July!

    That Lunch In Paris book looks so great. As great as Shakespeare is, you should check out the San Francisco book shop in the 6th? It's 2nd hand and they're pretty cheap.

    Sorry for the essay!

  2. I used to walk my two Belgian Sheepdogs in the 8 miles of art books at the Strand pre-Amazon days...
    I met Elizabeth at a reading at W.H.Smith in Paris. That place is irresistable.
    It would be very sad indeed if bookstores went away because of the $#@ e-reader...

  3. PS
    I should be painting...
    but I'm reading and loving-
    Deluxe:How luxury lost it's lustre by Dana Thomas
    The Beautiful Fall by by Alice Drake on YSL & Lagerfeld in the naughty Paris of the'70's
    Back to painting!

  4. Oui, Lana, the one and only Felicity Porter! When my friends, Connie and Nina, visited in April, they brought Season 2 on DVD, reigniting my grand passion for the college drama/coming of age sweetness... to say nothing of my obsession for Ben/Scott Speedman. Umm... yeah...

    And PB, I read and *loved* both of those books—both so good, but especially so, together. You would also love 'True Pleasures' if you haven't indulged in that one yet.

    Thanks for all the reading tips!

  5. I read Elizabeth's book - so sweet. But Aimee Bender? Thanks for the tip! I love her! Didn't know she had a new one out.

    I also agree with the comment above - San Francisco Book Shop is way more affordable than some of the others.

  6. Thanks for all the great rec's. I also just started Blink, Malcolm Gladwell's second book, which is a really fun read, too.