Let’s talk about reading. Pumpkin Spice latte in hand, Adirondack chairs on deck, the weird occasional Christmas advertisement on the radio. Sounds like fall.
With summer squared away (see: tan fading), its time to wrap up in not just a sweater (Loro Piana, from $700) but also a new book. After you’re through jumping into piles of leaves, why not jump into this pile of books:
Relentlessly engaging, dip your toes (or drive your minivan) into the world of Eric Eidelstein as he walks you through a personal look at The Suburbs, the Grammy-wining album from Arcade Fire. An elaborate but digestible examination, it’s a story we have somewhere in us, those certain albums that hum and hint in the background. They add an auditory element to a moment or situation, suddenly inseparable by memory. Eidelstein treats the suburbs with a degree of patient celebration that is often neglected in exchange for rampant criticism. Consider it: too many of us grew up in a suburb to deny its existence and value. Of course, maybe the suburbs are made to be escaped. (Amazon, from $9.99)
As its former owner, author Mark Fleischman might know a thing or two about Studio 54, the legendary NYC club that played host to literally anyone that mattered through the late 20th century. Indeed, the club was turned over to Fleischman after Ian Schrager and co. had the place shut down by the state. Fleischman didn’t have much trouble getting people to come back once it reopened: Studio 54 was already globally renowned as the “greatest club of all time” and people streamed in, business as usual. Fleischman details the world of Studio 54 for a generation that still tries to recreate the debauchery created and perfected at Studio 54. The celebrity reviews of this book do the work for me: “This is a great bathroom read [sic] lots of good shit.” Tom Moulton, record producer for Grace Jones. Studio 54 worked because it was oriented toward people only. But a deeper read could credit Studio 54 as the lead innovator in turning rampant drug use into a high-class, performative affair. (Amazon, from $10.49)
Know this: The Beautiful Dream of Life is not technically a true story, but it is a hell of an approximation. Based on the real-life situations celebrated artist Domingo Zapata has managed to find himself in, The Beautiful Dream of Life documents a truly successful artist (for once) consumed by the toils and tribulations (where to holiday, what caviar to eat, which party to attend) of life. It’s not about poking fun: the work gets increasingly surreal as Rodrigo becomes increasingly disillusioned and distant from what he’s familiar with, like where to holiday and what to eat, and most importantly, who to see. Its a problem people-oriented people often face: do you like me, or do you like what I represent? Tastefully written, Zapata’s first book is lavishly detailed and global, Zapata allowing his Spanish heritage to shine through. (Amazon from $7.99)
David Litt was twenty-four years old when he became a speechwriter for Barack Obama. Already sweating from anxiety? Chill out because Thanks, Obama… is a lush and detailed account of eight years in the White House from the point of view of a speechwriter who was nervous, just like you’d be. This is ripe content for anyone who’s a political junkie, fond of the lore around the White House, or just pining for days when Barry could rule this land again. It’s a wide-eyed and wide-ranging account of everything from Air Force One etiquette to the busy inbox of a White House staffer (Oh, you’re upset you have over 1,000 unread emails? How about 1,000 unread emails from the Chief of Staff!). Litt offers a genuinely sincere account of the urgency of his job and the importance of humor in such a ‘serious’ space. (Amazon, from $14.99)
Radric Delantic Davis, otherwise known as Gucci Mane has a vivid, distinct life. While you might not know him or listen to him with regularity, you know his work: he’s perfected the sub-genre of rap known as trap music, which you do know, as all your favorite artists have dabbled in it’s cinematic 808 beats. If anything, Gucci Mane has been responsible for repositioning trap as the new pop music and validating the work of many southern artists. But beyond music, Gucci has had a busy life with remarkably high highs and heartbreakingly low lows. Anyone interested in a triumphant exploration of one man’s life will appreciate the quality of this work, which was written in collaboration with music journalist Neil Martinez-Belkin. It brings a refreshing degree of self-awareness and ego-free forthrightness, coloring this artist in a new way. (Amazon from $12.99)