Many of us know Bravo’s Andy Cohen as a journalist, host, producer, and friend to many of Hollywood’s famous faces, but there are other titles he’s happy to add to his résumé: writer and, of course, reader. Here is a list of books as dramatic, diverse, and deliciously addictive as the Real Housewives themselves, recommended by Cohen over the past few years.
Cohen has called this book one of the top three he’s read this year, and lots of other readers agree. The novel follows Samuel Andresen-Anderson, who hadn’t seen his mother in years when he learns that she’s been arrested for committing a crime that captured the attention of the entire nation. The media portrays her as a radical activist, but that characterization doesn’t match Samuel’s memories—so which is true? As he embarks on a journey to help her, he learns the secrets of her past and of his own that will change both their lives forever.
If your favorite character is Nancy Wheeler
If you’re a Nancy supporter at the end, you loathe a “traditional female character.” You appreciate Nancy for being a natural gunslinger, choosing the thick-haired hottie over the greasy paparazzo, and not letting her grandma-closet-raiding friend slut-shame her. THE NIX follows a whole gaggle of odd characters but centers on the mystery of a woman who is an intellectual, mother, student, daughter, protestor, lover, and—most of all—recluse.
If you’re an Andy Cohen fan, you’re likely a fan of the other AC—Anderson Cooper, Cohen’s best friend and frequent book tour buddy. THE RAINBOW COMES AND GOES, which Cooper cowrote with his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, is a touching and intimate collection of their memories and correspondences, in which they discuss their shared past, the things that matter to them, the people they’ve loved and lost, and what they still wish to learn from one another.
This evocative and emotional memoir recounts the author’s relationship with his husband, Kit, alternating between their last year together, during which Kit was suffering from a rare and aggressive cancer, and the 13 years that preceded it. It’s a true testament to the strength, resilience, and transcendence of true love and partnership. As Cohen said in his post about it, “sometimes it feels good to just . . . sob.” We agree.
In the New York Times’ By the Book questionnaire, Cohen listed this novel as the one he keeps on his nightstand, simply because he loved it so much. It’s the story of Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker who survives an accident that kills his mother, and is taken in by his estranged father soon after. Consumed with grief, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of his mom: a mysterious painting, the origins of which will take him across the globe. Cohen also suggested that HBO or another network create a miniseries out of it, which we wholeheartedly support.
The novel that took the world by storm and won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is (finally!) out in paperback. A mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, it is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.
It’s common knowledge that Cohen loves baseball, and is especially devoted to his hometown team the St. Louis Cardinals. His dog is named after their pitcher, Michael Wacha, so it’s no surprise that he enjoyed David Halberstam’s riveting account of the 1964 Cardinals and Yankees season that sheds light not only on the sport but on the culture and society of the time as well.
According to his post about this Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, Cohen was so captivated by this book that he finished it in two days. It’s the story of Cora, a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia who decides to take a terrifying chance and escape to the North. As she and her companion, Caesar, are hunted state by state, they encounter different worlds that brilliantly capture the terrors of the journey and this piece of American history.
One of Oprah’s 2016 selections, THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South via the Underground Railroad.
When Cohen served as a judge for the Book of the Month Club, comedian Amy Schumer’s memoir was his personal selection. He praised the book for its humor and the stories for their breeziness, and we couldn’t agree more. As she explores her past relationships, professional ups and downs, and family memories, we learn more about the woman behind the jokes, and the courage it takes to make yourself the butt of one.
Andy Warhol’s iconic collection of his diaries from the mid-1970s to his death in 1987 inspired Cohen’s own tell-all memoir and is an absorbing time capsule of American culture. It’s endlessly fun and fascinating, dropping names like Jackie O, Yoko Ono, Elizabeth Taylor, Salvador Dalí, Patti Smith, Diana Ross, and Frank Sinatra, and providing great insight into the mind and life of one of the most creative and controversial people of the twentieth century.
The latest of Cohen’s must-reads, CHRISTODORA follows a set of diverse and unforgettable characters whose lives collide in the iconic titular building in the East Village over the course of four decades. As they change, so too does the neighborhood and the world around them as it faces protest, plague, and progress. This is a touching, compelling, and vivid novel that Cohen “can’t recommend enough.”