June 07, 2011


While maybe not as prolific (or poetic about it) as Karl Lagerfeld, we lovelovelove collecting books.

We also love to read our acquisitions. Carving out space in our lives for this pleasure-filled act is always our desire, and quite the coup! Planning vacations so as to attack the growing pile on our nightstands is usually a good plan. Summer time also affords us a great excuse to explore these portable journeys.

What does the studio have top-of-the-stack for Summer 2011? Find out after the jump.

Chelsea has some late-summer travel plans. Vancouver baby! What a great way to beat the relentless Texas heat. In addition to Fodor’s guide to the Pacific Northwest, in her carry-on will be Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. This original print of the 20th century classic was handed down to her by her dad, who closely related to the main character as an “uncool” teenage boy in prep school. And ever the connoisseur of beautifully crafted things, Chelsea is also quite taken by the first edition’s cover.

Chelsea is also drawn to beautiful book covers from more contemporary novels, such as Rantby Chuck Palahniuk. “(Rant) takes its title from the noise made by children as they retch and vomit. The beautiful anatomical drawing on the book’s cover depicts a heart, since a cow’s heart appears in the novel as something used to make kids throw up.” Well, well then, Janet Maslin.

David has already gotten a jump start on his summer reading. Only 6 chapters into David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, a review would be premature. The Thousand Autumns is a historical novel set in Japan at the turn of the 18th century, when the island nation was almost entirely cut off from the West except for a tiny, quarantined Dutch outpost. Jacob, the protagonist, is from the former province of Zeeland (WHICH, as an aside, David visited with Gert Dumbar when he worked for him in The Netherlands) and who is described as a “pious but not unappealing prig… whose self-driven duty to blurt the truth in a corrupt and deceitful trading culture, along with his headlong love for a local midwife, provides the early engine for the story.” Nice.

Mitchell’s latest book made it into David’s summertime queue as he very much enjoyed Mitchell’s previous novels, Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten. Many readers have said, that every other Mitchell novel is good, and The Thousand Autumns is an every other! Things are looking promising for a positive review.

What does violating the english language and Maira Kalman have in common? C’est moi! Strunk and White’s classic The Elements of Style asserts that one must study literature and know the rules of composition to break them. Oh, that’s it! I’ve been going at it backward. And while my emails request you “kindly forgive brevity and/or typos”, now that it is delightfully packaged, I am extra interested in retaining the principal requirements of plain English style.You’re welcome.

The same day I heard author Dan Buettner’s interview with Lynn Rosetto Kasper on NPR’s Splendid Table, where he shared the scientific reasons oatmeal with walnuts literally makes you happy, I went to pick up his latest book Thrive. Buettner employs cross-cultural research with economists, psychologists, sociologists, politicians, writers and other experts to discover the root of happiness and how to get more satisfaction out of life. Ironically, one thing I know for sure that doesn’t make me happy is having to retrieve a book from the self-help section.

On my iPad is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I won’t waste your time explaining the book’s premise since I am sure you have read it yourself (Thanks, Oprah!). Yup, I’m both late to the game and taking my sweet ass time to complete, 8 months and counting. However my snail’s pace defies its seduction. BUT! this is my summer to discover all the secrets embedded within.

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Images: Chelsea Fullerton (dot com)