Monthly Archives: June 2013

Grace: A Memoir by Grace Coddington

Grace coverLike most of the people who know who Grace Coddington is, I first became aware of her when I watched The September Issue, a documentary about the creation of an issue of Vogue magazine. Anna Wintour was intended to be the focus of the film (thanks to her becoming a household name after the success of The Devil Wears Prada) but it was Coddington, the creative director of the magazine, who stole the show by stomping around in her sensible shoes, rolling her eyes at Photoshop abuse, and going head-to-head with Wintour whenever something was cut from one of her photo spreads. She seems like an incredibly cool person, and the fact that she’s been working constantly in the fashion industry since the 60’s is nothing to sneer at.

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Bookstore Haul: Eagle Eye Bookshop, Decatur GA (2nd visit)

My second trip to Eagle Eye wasn’t intended to be a book-buying excursion. I was there just to pick up my ticket for the Neil Gaiman reading on Saturday – obviously I’m super excited about this, and am only sad that I couldn’t get an advance copy of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, because if early reports are to be believed, it’s goddamn amazing. Anyway, my plan was to get in, pick up my ticket, get out, and continue running errands.

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Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed American by Erik Larson

White City cover

Poor Erik Larson.

He wanted to write an extensive, in-depth look at the 1893 World’s Fair, which was a collaboration of some of the greatest creative minds in the country (including the guy who designed the Flatiron building in New York and Walt Disney’s dad) and gave us, among other things, the Ferris Wheel, the zipper, shredded wheat, and Columbus Day. The entire venture was almost a disaster, with delays, petty fighting, bad weather, and more delays, but it was ultimately a massive success and helped make the city of Chicago what it is today.

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Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar

Hadrian cover

Of the creation of Memoirs of Hadrian, Marguerite Yourcenar writes, “The idea for this book and the first writing of it, in whole or in part, and in various forms, date from the period between 1924 and 1929, between my twentieth and twenty-fifth year. All those manuscripts were destroyed, deservedly.” Over almost thirty years, Yourcenar kept returning to the idea – writing a fictional memoir of the Roman emperor Hadrian, written as a reflection on his life and his rule – and writing little bits here and there, before the finished product was finally published in 1951.

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