As a fourteen-year-old with plans of becoming a journalist or a publishing professional and a love for Anne Hathaway, it’s not surprising that I watched “The Devil Wears Prada” many, many times. Then, as is my habit, once I discovered it was based on a novel, I bought what is now an incredibly beat-up movie tie-in edition with Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep’s faces on the back cover.
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA by Lauren Weisberger is still the book I turn to when I need an amusing, lighthearted read with quirky, entertaining characters and a side of dish.
In the mid-1980s my new assistant came to Simon & Schuster from a law firm in Atlanta that specialized in entertainment law. Together, we went over the firm’s list of clients and agreed that one we most wanted to sign up for Simon & Schuster was Miles Davis. I had long been a fan of Miles’s music. As it turned out, Miles was ready to tell his story. Before long we had his autobiography under contract, pending a meeting in person.
You can officially call yourself obsessed with all things Tudor when you buy a book about the six wives of Henry VIII in middle school. Since then, I’ve read many more books on the subject (both fiction and nonfiction), but have enjoyed none so much as those by Philippa Gregory. A noted English historian, Gregory has the magical ability to dress the facts with fictional color and educate while entertaining. It is that special talent that keeps me coming back to her stories again and again.
On my shelf is a tattered, well-loved movie tie-in edition of Stephen King’s The Green Mile. I don’t remember when I got this copy, and I don’t remember my first time reading this stunning novel. Instead, this haunting story of a Depression-era death row where good and evil mix and miracles happen seems to be an ever-present fixture in my life, requiring regular rereading, as it continues to stand as one of my favorite books.
Over the past three years, I was told multiple times that I needed to read and watch Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I wasn’t sure I wanted to dedicate my time to a series of five books that are each more than seven hundred pages long, so I continually put it off. Then, with the airdate of the sixth season quickly approaching on April 24, I borrowed the DVDs for a cross-country flight. Two months later, I find myself five seasons and one book into Martin’s incredible creation. The television series definitely enticed me, but I’ve enjoyed the novel much more.
I missed Roald Dahl’s The BFG when it appeared in 1982. Perhaps, being eleven, I thought I’d outgrown such things, busy instead with Judy Blume and L. M. Montgomery who wrote Anne of Green Gables. It would be thirty-three years before I read it—last year, at the behest of my Dahl enthusiast seven-year-old—and I loved it utterly and immediately. There’s often something completely pleasurable about reading a book written for young people as an adult.
If any writer has mastered the art of finding humor in the grotesque, it’s Augusten Burroughs. Really, he had no choice. If he had taken to heart every trauma of his childhood, he would never have made it to adulthood—much less to his status as a New York Times bestselling author. As my grandmother always tells me, ‘If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry’—and Burroughs’s memoir, Running with Scissors, exemplifies this philosophy.
As the sixth and final season of Masterpiece Classic hit “Downton Abbey” comes to a close, we can’t help but dread missing the drama and heartbreak play out in the domestic quarters, the Edwardian garb and decor of the Yorkshire elite—and of course the Dowager Countess’s unfailing quick wit. But the Crawley family isn’t the only one with intriguing secrets and awe-inspiring family drama. Here are eleven books that will ease your approaching “Downton Abbey” withdrawal.
Though I spent most of my high school and college years writing for newspapers, I never wanted to be a journalist after graduation. I do, however, like reading journalists’ memoirs, which is how I landed on The Taliban Shuffle. This high-octane memoir has been made into a film starring Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, and Billy Bob Thornton called Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and will be in theaters March 4.