The Celebrity Bookshelf Detective Is Back

The Celebrity Bookshelf Detective Is Back

The Celebrity Bookshelf Detective Is Back

The Celebrity Bookshelf Detective Is Back

Zoom happy hours are far less exciting now than they were in March. So is sourdough starter. A lot of the early preoccupations of our lockdown life don’t quite have the same charm anymore. (Remember the night we all made lasagna together?) But the chance to speculate about the minds and proclivities of the famous by gawking at their bookshelves never gets old. So after a first foray into bookshelf sleuthing, we’re back for more.

1. The Presidential Recordings of Lyndon B. Johnson, Volumes 1-3: Transcripts of 700 hours of telephone conversations that Johnson secretly recorded that include his dealings with the Kennedys, cursing about Vietnam and his push to help the cause of civil rights.

2. “St. Marks Is Dead, by Ada Calhoun: This close-up look at the history of an idiosyncratic New York City street where both Emma Goldman and the Beastie Boys partied is also a meditation on all that changes in urban spaces and all that stays the same.

3. “The History of Manned Space Flight,” by David Baker: A very complete history of the early space missions — Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and onward — for the NASA geek.

1. “Waiting to Exhale,” by Terry McMillan: The 1992 hit about the friendship of four women in their 30s supporting each other through the frustrations of looking for love.

2. “Tupac Shakur Legacy,” by Jamal Joseph: Curated by a family friend, this “interactive biography” of the rapper includes photos of Shakur’s home life and reproductions of handwritten lyrics.

3. “Barack Like Me,” by David Alan Grier: A memoir by the comedian best known for his work on “In Living Color” that muses on politics and race in the age of Obama.

1. “French Riviera: Living Well Was the Best Revenge,” by Xavier Girard: Glamorous photos of the creative rich and famous — like Picasso and Coco Chanel — who lived on the Mediterranean coast in the 1920s and ’30s.

2. “Louis Vuitton: Art, Fashion and Architecture”: A look at the luxury brand’s most high-end collaborations, from Zaha Hadid to David LaChapelle to Annie Leibovitz.

3. “Defining Decadence: The Legacy of Gustav Klimt”: The complete catalog of Klimt’s paintings, including the extravaganzas in gold leaf like “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I,” also known as “The Lady in Gold.”

1. “Can Art Change the World?,” by JR: A retrospective of the French street artist famous for clandestinely pasting large black-and-white photographs of people’s faces in public places.

2. “Julian Schnabel,” by Julian Schnabel: The complete work of the swaggering neo-expressionist painter whose star burned brightest in the 1980s.

3. “My Life,” by Bill Clinton: The post-presidential memoir that told the story of the leader whose hardscrabble life began in a place called Hope.

4. “Mexico Illustrated 1920-1950,” by Salvador Albiñana: Mexican illustration and poster work from the first half of the 20th century, including all the great artists of the era who made beautiful propaganda.

1. “Sweat the Technique: Revelations on Creativity From the Lyrical Genius,” by Rakim: This writing guide from the legendary rapper offers tips on how to get the lyrics flowing.

2. “Raw,” by Lamont “U-God” Hawkins: One of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan tells the story of his rise from the streets of Brownsville in New York City to the world’s biggest stages.

3. “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” by Malcolm X and Alex Haley: The classic about the radicalization of Malcolm Little and how he turned himself into one of the most powerful thinkers on Black identity in the 20th century.

4. “Civil War Battlefields,” by David T. Gilbert: Maps and archival photos of more than 30 Civil War battlefields, from Antietam to Gettysburg to Shiloh.

1. “The Black Count,” by Tom Reiss: The true story of General Alex Dumas, the son of a Black slave who inspired “The Count of Monte Cristo” and other swashbuckling tales written by his son, Alexander Dumas.

2. “With Your Own Two Hands,” by Seymour Bernstein: A best-selling guide from the early 1980s that advertises itself on the cover as a way to “overcome stage fright and nervousness” and “realize your full potential.”

3. “Play It Again,” by Alan Rusbridger: How Rusbridger, who was the editor of the Guardian, decided to solve his midlife crisis by attempting to master, within the span of a year, Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 in G minor, a notoriously challenging piano composition.

1. “All the Little Live Things” and “Wolf Willow” by Wallace Stegner: Two of Stegner’s sweeping novels about the joys and quirks of life out West.

2. “Unity Mitford,” by David Pryce-Jones: Unity was the Mitford sister who became an unabashed fascist and even went to Nazi Germany. The review of Pryce-Jones’s 1977 biography in The Times noted that her “rabid anti‐Semitism, no less than her striking Nordic appearance,” allowed her to charm Hitler.

3. “My Life in Art” by Konstantin Stanislavsky: The 1924 autobiography of the great Russian actor and theater director whose “method” came to define acting as an art for many generations.

4. “Stage Left,” by Jay Williams: A history of the radical theater movement of the 1930s when the Depression brought left-wing ideas to the stage, by a man who lived through the era as an actor and stage manager.

1. “Slave Nation,” by Alfred W. Blumrosen and Ruth G. Blumrosen: On the role of slavery in the drafting of the United States Constitution, and especially the concessions made to the South to keep them part of the new nation.

2. “Bloods, by Wallace Terry: An oral history of 20 Black men who were drafted to fight in Vietnam that covers their experience of war and return to America.

3. “Black Spark White Fire,” by Richard Poe: Poe drew on new research in linguistics, archaeology and anthropology to propose that it was Black Egyptian explorers who planted the rudiments of Western civilization in Europe 3,000 years ago.

4. “Warriors of Color,” by Harold Ray Sayre: Not much is known about Black soldiers who served in the military just after the Civil War, but this book gathers the available military records of 63 members of Troop H of the Tenth Cavalry, stationed at Ft. Davis, Texas, in the spring of l884.




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