Summer Reading List

First off, not one of these has been published this year.  I just these are books worth reading.  Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s begin…

Everything by Peter Mayle is incredible, but definitely read “Hotel Pastis” (my personal favorite of all his books). But by the end of any of his books, you’ll be on booking a trip to the South of France and packing white pants and espadrilles into your bags!

Jet Set” by William Stadiem – Really long, but really interesting. It wasn’t what I was expecting. Probably one of the better books I’ve ever read. It’s about the people in the Jet Set society, the people who covered them, the world in which they lived, the beginning of the celebrity culture (those damn Hiltons. None of them have been able to keep it in their pants!), the competing IT restaurants in Paris, and of course, the story behind the birth of the Boeing 707! Plus, who knew Sinatra was afraid of flying. SHOCKING considering that his songs were the anthem for that era.

Empty Mansions” by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. – This book is about the very nutty Huguette Clark, a woman whose family was once as rich as the Rockefellers. She was a total recluse who never left her Fifth Avenue penthouse for years and then insisted on staying in a series of New York hospitals for the last 20 years of her life. HUGE fight over her estate! The nurse was given over $30 million in gifts; her relatives are in a mega fight over the $300 million estate! The whole thing is insane! I couldn’t put it down!

Party of the Century” by Deborah Davis – As if this book about Truman Capote’s legendary Black and White Ball needs an introduction…

Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan – Really silly, but funny. It was 2013’s summer book and just 50 shades of ridiculous. The book shows wealth on a level that only exists in Asia. It’s a shame that the ending sucks when the rest of it is so well written and witty.

The House of Outrageous Fortune” by Michael Gross – His book about 740 Park Avenue is on my Kindle List. This one is about 15 Central Park West and is just interesting. I never knew much about the history of Columbus Circle. The stories about who bought and what they paid…just insane! I’m in the middle of phase in which I’m reading about buildings in New York so this might not interest you at all. I’m currently reading the sequel, “China Rich Gilrfriend” and it’s about the same level of crazy.

This Town” by Mark Leibovich – It talks about how Washington is just batshit crazy and focuses on everything changed after Tim Russert of “Meet the Press” died back in 2008. It’s a bit out of date now that David Gregory was sacked as Russert’s replacement, but still good.

The Billionaire’s Vinegar” by Benjamin Wallace – The middle is so boring and bad that you’ll want to throw it out, but if you get over the hump, it’s a great book about this wine scam involving this wine that Thomas Jefferson bought when he was living in France and then left there.

The Widow Clicquot” by Tilar J. Mazzeo – It’s about Madame Clicquot, as in Veuve Clicquot, and the company itself. Veuve is French for widow. Really good, especially when enjoying a nice glass (or bottle) of Veuve while reading it!

The Imperfectionists: A Novel” by Tom Rachman – Possibly one of the best books I have ever read. It’s about an American newspaper in Rome and revolves around this group of people who work for the paper and the history of the paper. I cannot say enough good things about this book. He came out with a new book last year that I’m reading next. Some of the best writing I’ve ever read in my life.

The Bonfire of the Vanities” – by Tom Wolfe – DO NOT WATCH THE MOVIE! It’s horrifyingly bad. One of the best books ever written. He coined the phrase “Masters of the Universe” with this book. It’s 80’s New York’s high society at its best. The writing is so detailed that’s almost like you’re there with Sherman. The last page of the book has always stayed with me.

Charlotte Simmons” by Tom Wolfe – If you forget that Tom Wolfe was Father Time old when he wrote it, it’s fantastic. Otherwise, you spend the entire time thinking about an old, horny guy writing about a girl losing her virginity in her first semester of college (Wolfe for years has said the school isn’t Duke, but it’s Duke). My mom read it right before I went to college. We mutually agreed to never discuss this book…

-John David


  1. Currently reading “The Fortune Hunter” and it is rather enjoyable.

    Peter Mayle became a favorite author of mine after seeing A Good Year then reading all of his books.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.