19 July 2011

What is JAMES Reading?


Reviving the idea of summer reading inquiries is purely selfish-though that's not to say I didn't think of my readers. 
I did and I do. 
I couldn't think of anyone I'd rather pose the question - 
What is James reading? than to James Andrew of

On Man about Town James Andrew's list we find The Great Gatsby- considered by many to be the greatest American novel. It is a perfect pick for JA- though the great Jay Gatsby's demise is inevitably predictable, it is Gatsby's allure, elegance and perfectly rolled out appearance that are indicative of our own JA.

"Recovering himself in a minute, he opened for us two hulking patent cabinets which held his massed suits and dressing-gowns and ties, and his shirts, piled like bricks in stacks a dozen high.

“I’ve got a man in England who buys me clothes. He sends over a selection of things at the beginning of each season, spring and fall.”

"He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one, before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel, which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher — shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange, and monograms of Indian blue. Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily."

“They’re such beautiful shirts,” she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such — such beautiful shirts before.” from Scott Fitzgerald's Gatsby
(photograph of James by Ludget Delcy )

What Books are on your Summer reading list?

I have so many favorites, my favorite might be architecture and interior design and gardens, but food, art, travel, fashion all peak my interest as well.
I am always reading several books at the same time, currently I am enjoying:

A Gourmet Tour of France - Legendary Restaurants from Paris to the Cote d'Azur 
by Gilles Pudlowski & Maurice Rougemont

How To Be A Man- A guide to style and behavior for the Modern Gentleman

James says the book comes highly recommended by Tom Ford as well: “..a brilliant guide for the modern gentleman. Funny, informative, and written with great style and wit.”
Uncle Mame - The Life of Patrick Dennis ( creator of Auntie Mame) by Eric Myers

Where do you read and When?
Does the genre you are reading dictate the place you read- in other words, Do you take just any old book to bed?


I typically will read in my living room- books on style,design,etc --

in the Living Room

Another of JA's picks is Billy Baldwin Decorates-(more on this in the interview.) Of this photograph by Jory Clay Sutton- James says "I’m channeling a Horst portrait of Baldwin, with a painting that actually once hung over Baldwin’s own sofa!"

A man of his word- the Horst portrait of Billy Baldwin and the painting shown here in Baldwin's apartment

more of JA's Living Room

"I have so many books- I doubt I will get to read all of them, although I have perused and read bits of most of them."


 I do read in bed every night before I go to sleep. Usually books with more meta-physical topics -Discovering the Power WIthin by Eric Butterworth, Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain- to name a few. There is the concept that reading such empowering and enlightening books with their very powerful messages just before we sleep can work on our sub- conscious mind.

My bed side table has a stack of books on top of it, then on the lower shelf it is filled with books , as well as a Karl Springer "Duchess" phone table stacked with books and magazines."


What is you all time Favorite Book for its sense of place?

I would have to say  F.Scott Fitzgerald's - The Great Gatsby.  

"I love New York on summer afternoons when everyone's away. 
There's something very sensuous about it - 
overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands."  The Great Gatsby

photograph from What is Jame's wearing? here

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. 
It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... 
And one fine morning-- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." The Great Gatsby

James in Gustavia, read more here

What is your Security Blanket Book?


I think some of the titles that have to do with empowerment and enlightenment , I find a great sense of peace and security knowing that I create my reality , so regardless what is happening in the world - my reality is up to me.

image of James from his Berlin post here

What is the seminal book in your field or your passion that you would recommend to young would be(s) of the same?


There are a few - Billy Baldwin Decorates -is a course in interior design and living well.
A must read!

 Parish Hadley - Sixty Years of American Design by Christopher Petkanas

  Albert Hadley by Adam Lewis

Albert Hadley Drawings and the Design Process

and All the David Hicks titles- David Hicks on Decoration, etc as well as the books by his son Ashley Hicks-

 read more about Jame's visit here

"Riches have never fascinated me, unless combined with the greatest charm or distinction." Scott Fitzgerald in a letter to E. Hemingway

Book covers can be art- Do you have a favorite cover in your stacks?


Some of my favorite books covers are - David Hicks - A Life of Design by Ashley Hicks (just above) and the book from the Alexander McQueen -Savage Beauty exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum. 

the cover-a McQueen portrait that changes into a the image of a skull

Going out on a limb here –define LIBRARY in the nontraditional sense?

I think a library can be defined as any room where one gathers together a collection of books.

James Andrew at The Frick Museum's Art Reference Library-
the Frick is well known to readers of his blog

 "As with every other aspect of the Frick, the library, along with its internationally renowned collection of art related reference material, is a truly spectacular thing to behold." ( & more on the library from James here)

Books are everywhere in his apartment- James in his Dining Room-standing in front of just one of the filled bookcases.


I have always loved fashion. It far intrigues me beyond interior design these days-as I've said many times.

 It is a part of our world whether people like it- or not- or whether they do it well or dreadfully!  


One of the reasons I always check in on James- and what he is wearing is because that's not just IT with James.  


Coco Chanel said:


"Fashion is in the sky, 

in the street, 

fashion has to do with ideas, 

the way we live, 

what is happening.” 


It's the clothes for sure-but it is much more--- it's the Man wearing them.


more about Savannah here
James on another Billy Baldwin book here
photographs of James Andrew's interiors from the NYSD here



  1. What a wonderful collaboration, tres raffiné! Good books too.

  2. He is one sharp man! Love his style!

    Also, he is reading Eric Butterworth and Shakti Gawain. How interesting. Susan and I are both reading Butterworth's "Life is for Living,"
    a classic.

    I love Gatsby and usually read once a year. Right now I am just starting Bill Bryson's "At Home," which James might well enjoy.

  3. so excellent! i'm purchasing "how to be a man" today, i've heard only great things about it.

    what a fantastic posting..

    all the best,
    david john

  4. Fantastic post and I too, check in with James for the same reason. Perfect Chanel quote to summarize WIJW! Must read Uncle Mame. ox

  5. Bruce, Gatsby is worth revisiting! There are some we have to get back to aren't there?

    Debra- Great all round I agree. I love Jame's list and style.

    David- I might even read that one! Knowledge is power.

  6. Dog-eared, I would love to globe trot like JA. I thought that quote was fitting too. I always like to think of myself as a little bit Auntie Mame-as do you know doubt-It should be a great read. pgt

  7. I have most of the design books on the list----which means I need to get to Amazon now to get a copy of Gatsby. This is a great post. Thanks.

  8. I always enjoy seeing the spaces that interior designers create for themselves. One can certainly see the influence of David Hicks (one of my favorite designers) in James Andrew's living room.

  9. What a marvelous post, Beautifully done. i just loved it.



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