NEW YORK — With beach reading season in full swing, no magazine editor worth his or her zinc oxide would board the Hampton Jitney without a couple of galleys and a magazine or two. In the second installment of an occasional media feature, we asked several editors what books and articles they’ve gotten wrapped up in this summer.
Kim France, editor in chief, Lucky
“Everything is Burning,” by Gerald Stern. Stern, a National Book Award winner and all-around big-deal poet, creates the most evocative of scenes with the simplest language. They’re funny, wise, kind little starbursts, often in 10 lines or less. I am the world’s biggest hater of poetry readings, but you must check this guy out: The digressions alone are a scream.
Motomanual for my new Razorphone. The most multilayered and daunting 104 pages I have attempted in my entire life. As I read on, I see new meanings, interpretations. Rough sledding. But I see the satisfaction on the faces of those who have mastered this slim-but-weighty volume. I press on.
“Death of a Fish,” by Adam Gopnik, in the July 4 issue of The New Yorker. There are about five people alive who could write about their kid’s pet fish dying and actually be enlightening instead of cloying. Adam Gopnik is three of them.
Cindi Leive, editor in chief, Glamour
I’m reading “Lipstick Jungle,” by Candace Bushnell. Light as a feather, for sure, but it’s pretty unputdownable and I’m finding the female characters much more relatable and likeable than in her past books. Next, I’m going to read Andrea Mitchell’s biography, which we have galleys of in the office. I think she’s an amazing woman, and plus, you can always hope that she drops in some tasty tidbits about marriage to [Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan] Greenspan! (Or maybe we don’t want those.)
Magazine-wise, for pleasure, I read The New Yorker, New York, Real Simple and Gourmet (I basically barbecue from Gourmet recipes all summer — the lemon chicken from the last issue was amazing). And even though I’m not a music freak, I’ve developed a minor obsession with Blender, just because it’s fun and so few magazines are.
This story first appeared in the July 8, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Jason Fine, assistant managing editor, Rolling Stone
“Out,” by Natsuo Kirino. It’s a dark Japanese crime novel about a group of women who work in a boxed-lunch factory.
“Dream Boogie,” by Peter Guralnick. An upcoming bio of Sam Cooke. A meticulously researched account of Cooke’s life and black music and life in the Fifties and Sixties.
“Levels of the Game,” by John McPhee. The best book on tennis I’ve read.
Jim Nelson, editor in chief, GQ
I mostly read old novels these days, mainly British from the first half of the 20th century, because they give me a sense of balance against the relentless nowness of what I do, and because I think those novels deliver better than most — denser plots, sharper characters, more cohesive worldviews. I’m guessing the darkness in these books has to do with the fact that Britain’s colonial power was fading in the world, perhaps as ours is now, and the Brits felt doom in the air. (That’s the upside if the U.S. loses its imperial power: Great books to come!) Right now, I’m reading George Orwell’s “Burmese Days.” Orwell was a cop in British Burma, and evidently he saw a lot of Brits hanging desperately and tenuously onto power. The book reads like a morality play for the Iraqi occupation, and I’m sorry to say, it does not end well.
I love this art bookstore in Paris called Florence Loewy. Every time I go there, I discover a new artist or photographer. Last week when I was there, I picked up Charles Fréger’s great and slightly freakish books of portraits. I think everything he does — kids in school uniforms, pained and goofy athletes, aging Legionnaires — is about social indoctrination, which is why it’s interesting.
I love The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Believer, British music magazines, and geeky things like the Wine Advocate, mostly for the sick thrill of watching someone have to come up with new adjectives to describe wine.
I’m dying to read and am waiting for galleys of David Rakoff’s new book, “Don’t Get Too Comfortable,” and “Slow Man” by J.M. Coetzee, because I still think about his book “Disgrace.”
Kate Betts, editor, Time Style & Design
- Bob Woodward’s book [“The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate’s Deep Throat”]. It’s all about that book this summer. I’m going to buy it the second I get off the plane from Paris [where she was attending the couture shows].
- Tina Brown’s column in the Washington Post. She’s smart and funny and she can write.
- Ruth Reichl’s new book “Garlic and Sapphires.” I love an editor in chief who can write.
- “Down Came the Rain” [Brooke Shields’ memoir on overcoming postpartum depression]. Thank you, Tom Cruise, for making this a must-read for new moms and moms-to-be.