Simon Doonan

Admired as the longtime Creative Director of the department store chain Barneys New York -- and as one of the fashion industry's sharpest wits -- Simon Doonan this month dons a genre tailor made for him: memoir.  In The Asylum, Doonan presents "a collage of couture reminiscences... and hysteria," rich with hilarious and provocative insights into the clothing game and its most renowned moguls, designers, and gadflies.  The Asylum's sharp prose suggests that Doonan is also a savvy reader, as do his superb selections for this week's edition of Guest Books, which he declares to be a trio of The Weirdest Books He's Ever Read. 


Appleby House
By Sylvia Smith

"This is the must hilariously mundane book I have ever read. In excruciating detail, Miss Smith describes time spent in a rooming house in London in the 80's. The bickering and minutiae make it as compelling as War and Peace."



The Slaves of Solitude
By Patrick Hamilton

"This might be the most dismal book ever written. Just when you think it cannot get any more depressing, something even more turgid happens. It's also sad and beautifully written."


The Girls of Slender Means
By Muriel Spark

"Spark's novels are all pretty bitchy, but this just might take the cake. These girls might share a Schiaparelli dress... but when fire breaks out, it's every bitch for herself."


April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.