Amazon Calling

My father has always been an advocate and the largest sponsor of my reading habits. We often fought about trips to Toys R Us, but he was always willing to give me a check for my Scholastic Weekly Reader (who remembers that?).  Books remain our shared language as any visit includes a conversation about new bookshelf additions.

Separated by many miles, he sends gift certificates for every member of the family, for every occasion to HIS favorite place…you guessed it Amazon.  I can’t tell you the number of Amazon boxes that have graced our doorstep. Our mailman used to ring the bell and say “Amazon calling”. Our gift certs have purchased everything from Halloween costumes to birthday party supplies, but my fave splurge of “Daddy Dollars” is to design my own big book haul.  Because my book list runneth over, I always have books that I didn’t get a chance to buy at release, or I can find those older, more obscure, gems I’ve sourced from the back of a recent read. Yes, I actually use end of book notes and references as a reading list (don’t judge). My latest delivery featured the following great reads, feel free to grab a copy for yourself as well.

Fifth Avenue, 5AM by Sam Wasson

After tackling the great filmography of director Blake Edwards, Wasson turns his attention to the role that solidified Audrey Hepburn as America’s original sweetheart, exploring the impact of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Truman Capote’s book is much darker than the sweet and frilly movie and was  originally considered unadaptable.  Sharing anecdotes from the set, Wasson gives light into the movie that almost wasn’t, including that Marilyn Monroe was the author’s original choice for Holly. If you like the book or love the movie,  you will enjoy a tour into the culture of America that managed to swallow the theory of the not-so-virginal Holly Golightly as a heroine.  If like me, you enjoy fashion or movie history, Wasson drops plenty of great names like Edith Head, Givenchy and Henry Mancini.

Roots of Style  by Isabel Toledo

The world at large took notice of designer Isabel Toledo when First Lady Michelle Obama stepped her Jimmy Choos into political and fashion history in that lemongrass dress/coat combination on inauguration day 2009;  but to fashion insiders Isabel has been considered a “designer’s designer since her first collection in 1985.  With help from her illustrator husband, she shares the influence of her homeland Cuba on her style and the themes that have become a major part of her unique aesthetic.

The Vogue Factor by Kirstie Clements

A behind the scenes gabfest is always a good read. This book features a look into Australian Vogue as Kirstie Clements begins as a receptionist, moves to the head office as editor in 1999 and her 13 years at the helm.  Is the magazine and fashion industry in the land down under as cute as a koala or as punchy as a kangaroo?

Beauty Queen:  Inside the Reign of Avon’s  Andrea Jung by Deborrah Himsel

Former VP Deborrah Himsel had the catbird seat into the rise, ascension and departure of Andrea Jung, the stylish and charismatic leader that brought Avon into the new century.  Jung was a polarizing figure in her Chanel suit and trademark pearls, changing the image and style of 21st century business woman. A case study in leadership, Himsel explores what made Jung’s time at the helm of a Fortune 500 company great and what eventually led to her departure.  If you love a good girl boss story wrapped in a fashionable bow, then add this read to your bookshelf as well.

Assholes:  A Theory by Aaron James

So, I walked around this book at the bookstore for weeks.  Obviously, the title is provocative.   I did not buy it then, so when a first edition at a unreasonably cheap price appeared in my email, I pounced.  It’s a fun romp into the persona of that pejorative term we have all wanted to call someone and puts this pompous personality into succinct categories.  If you think you know one of these people-and who doesn’t, you’ll enjoy learning more about what makes them tick and tick you off.

The Woman I Wanted to be by Diane Von Furstenberg

I love a dress and anyone who knows me is aware that I worship at the altar of DVF.  I love the fashion, the lifestyle, the image and the woman that used a wrap dress as a cape for women that wanted to be serious and sexy.  I collect her dresses and her books.  I’ve read them all and although I read this book when it was released last year, I bought another copy.  I’m not good at loaning out my books, so I bought another copy “just in case”.  Guests have a habit of seeing a book on your bookshelf and then asking you sweetly “Oh, I always wanted to read this-may I?”  Now, I don’t have to act gracious when someone walks out with this book.

The Power of Glamour by Virginia Postrel

I may be one of the few people that actually reads the contributor section of the magazines.  I discovered this book when the author Virginia Postrel contributed an article to a magazine I was reading.  I noted the upcoming release, thinking it sounded interesting but never saw it in the bookstore.  Does anyone else have an extremely long wish list on Amazon?  Well, I dropped this book into my list and Amazon kindly reminds me of that list.  Postrel explores the idea of glamour as a seductive cultural force, influencing decisions on what we buy, where we work and even how we vote.   It seems philosophical, but it’s still a fashionably fun read.

The Pursuit of Style by The Council of Fashion Designers of America

I wrote a while ago about the great books in the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) library. As I went through the list, I couldn’t locate my copy of this book.  Had it been lost in the move, did I lend it out, did someone abscond with it??   Well,  whenever I can’t find something, I become obsessed, so another copy had to be ordered. It’s a cute little bon bon of stylish bon mots and a great resource with Twitterable fashion quotes galore.

The Fashion House:  Inside the Homes of Leading Designers by Lisa Lovatt-Smith

The opportunity to peak into the homes of top designers is a temptation too sweet to resist.  Author Lisa Lovatt Smith has written at least 13 books on fashion and design including this grand tour of apartments of twenty international designers.  This book is a little older, with old guard like Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass and Gianni Versace sharing pride of place. In my mind, great style is timeless so itt’s a big oversized coffee table book perfect for inspiring new home redo.