Summer Reading to Catch Up on From Spring

I  try not to read (or eat) more than I can lift, but sometimes it’s a challenge, particularly with the tons of great spring books that will take me the summer to get through. Here are a handful of my faves. Something here for everyone. Everyone like us, I mean. You know what I mean.

Linens – For Every Room and Occasion, by Jane Scott Hodges, is a jewel. Among its sumptuously illustrated pages is a short piece by moi on dinner parties (- they’re good – have one -) and a photo of my bedroom at Bee Cottage featuring the author’s company’s wonderful Leontine linens

Linens, by Jane Scott Hodges – all those stickies sticking out are  mine. Lots of wonderful info and details.

I’d intended to write about each book independently, but life kept happening, you know? Hope I’ll get around to it, but  JIC I don’t, and you want to read more, I’m giving you a link here to a good article or post about each book. Here for Miss Jane, who is also my friend, is  The Style Saloniste, superbly penned by Dianne Doraen Saeks, who is also my writer-idol.

Along the loveliness lines is also Nina Campbell, who never fails. I cannot go to London that I don’t stop by her shop in Walton Street. And her daughter Rita Konig is adorable and a talented writer with great style and wit. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Here is a lovely post with great pics from Nina Campbell Interiors in the UK blog

Nina Campbell Interiors

Here’s a fun one, by a fun, smart, stylish gal, artist, and friend, Deborah Buck. It’s her first, but I bet not her last. Read a review in The Atlantic here. Entitled The Windows of Buck House which you may have figured out from the photo, it is a collection of photos of the, well, windows of Buck House, which is the swell antiques-and-what-have-you shop Deborah used to have on Madison Avenue in New York. (video here), We all miss it, too, but no grass grows under this girl’s feet, trust us. This is a fun one to have on the coffee table or in a guest room, as it is  highly browsable. I’ve seen many of the images and they’re fab.

All these books would be good hostess gifts, too, now the travel and house party season is upon us.

Another one I have tried to thumb through and find myself 20 minutes later  still standing there reading is New York Transformed – the Architecture of Cross & Cross, by immensely talented architect Peter  Pennoyer with Anne Walker, celebrating the dramatic and inventive architecture that, as per the title, did indeed transform the city at the turn of the last century – the city that arguably transformed the world. So there.

New York Transformed – Architecture of Cross & Cross

It also has lots of those old early 20th century photos one finds fascinating – of places and people. Peter, btw, is also husband of designer Katie Ridder, whom we love. Proud to call them friends.

Whatever you do, don’t miss George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic, by designer Maureen Footer, because you will read  it and go, wow, so that’s where that comes from. Like Diana Vreeland’s “garden in hell” sitting room, and Grace Kelly’s conservatory. And Maureen is just so smart and insightful in putting together so many elements and influences that you feel smarter by reading her writing. I’ll take all the help I can get. 

George Stacey by Maureen Footer – with yet more stickies of pages I want to return to

I could say the same thing about Reggie Darling, whose post about Maureen’s book party at the D & D in New York is chatty and fun to read. But shoot, I am sorry I missed meeting him there. My favorite article about the book, and there were many, was in The Wall Street Journal, here.

When I left home (follow my travels here, on Instagram), I still hadn’t received my copy of One Man’s Folly – The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood, by Julia Reed. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. And my eyes. About an eccentric Southerner by an eccentric Southerner. 250 pictures! Every one of them a painting (from what I can gather).  Terrific piece on Garden& here. Funny profile on Julia from website, here, for which Julia also writes. Like Dianne Saeks, above, Julia is another of my writer-idols. 

One Man’s Folly – Image via Garden & Gun

John Thackett’s wonderful also had a great piece on all things Furlow. James Andrew’s post on his own (always delightful) What Is James Wearing on Furlow Gatewood is a must-read, too.

And finally is the fantastic-what-took-them-so-long The Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits – A Handbook of Etiquette With Recipes, by Suzanne Pollak and Lee Manigault. We cannot hear enough about How To Do, if only the people who needed to read it would read it. Just sayin’. Anyway it is sophisticated, well-written, fun to read, and right up all our allies. I hope they sell a bazillion copies. Mine arrived with a note from co-author Suzanne, remarking on the inclusion in the book of onion-ring recipe. That alone is worth the  price of the book – seriously.  (Just FYI, here is  Caroline’s fab recipe for Frogmore Stew – a yummy summer supper – I posted a while back)

Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits

(Co-author Lee’s ex -husband Pierre, btw, is one of the backers of the wildly successful and I-wish-I-wrote-for-them Garden & Gun magazine, which my friend Julia Reed does write for, when she is not writing books, like the sublime Furlowe Gatewood tome, above.) Oh, I almost forgot the post-reference – I was delighted to discover The Naptime Chef, who wrote a super bit on Domestic Pursuits, here. And count me as  a new Naptime Chef fan!

This started out to be a book post and turned into a quasi-gossip column what with all the he’s-married-to and  she-used-to-be-married-to and her-daughter-this- and what-all. My mama used to say be nice to everybody because you never know who somebody is. Or who they used to be married to.

Happy Summer and Happy Reading…. Coming soon are Postcards From Provence and Travels in Italy with His Grace … Hooo-boy, just when you thought life could not get any more interesting! A Bientot! Ciao-Ciao!


  1. Thanks for the recommendations, i actually ordered the Charleston book last nite. Hope you got around to Frances Mayles’ new book; i really did enjoy it. Send us lots of postcards from your travels so we can dream!

    1. Hi Sonya, and you are most welcome! Thank you for he recommendation on Frances Mayes’s new book Under Magnolia. I haven’t read it and I don’t even think I realized she was from Georgia. I love her writing and will order it toot sweet! Thank you! And yes, postcards to come. xo Frances

      1. sorry, I did mean Frances Mayes not Mayles! Turns out she’s from Fitzgerald not too far from Mr. Furlow in Americus. I attended his book signing in Thomasville last week with Julia Reed. Sorry to run on but I was SO excited to meet him!

      2. I am jealous, Sonya! And guess whose name I misspelled – Furlow’s! ACK! No stones being thrown from this glass house! šŸ˜‰

  2. France first & now Italy…. if I didn’t know better I might think you are are actually in Europe attending Kimye’s wedding with HG??? Love this list! Can’t wait to read your dinner party tips. One Man’s Folly is the bomb & is actually inspiring my new arboretum. Now….. any chance you might be able to get Furlow Gatewood’s cheese straw recipe from Julia Reed or Bunny???

    1. Lord child not going to Kimye wedding – but yes is in the south of France neck of the woods if I recall… Will see about that cheese straw recipe but something tells me you have a good one already – if not several! xo F

  3. Frances
    Thanks for all the summer reading suggestions….have started giving nice books to brides. They always need a coffee table book as you say… Furlow Gatewood’s home in Americus Georgia is in our part of South Georgia …loved Julia Reed’s book about her own house in New Orleans..
    Have a great trip…send us lots of photos
    Xo Becky

    1. Hi Becky, and you know, you are so right about books being nice gifts for brides. Nothing makes a house a home like books. They reveal much about its inhabitants (and their family and friends!), while providing hours of pleasure and companionship – and of course they are decorative, too! Tell Furlow hello for us! Love, Frances

  4. Thanks for these great book suggestions. I’ll certainly be the Charleston Academy of Domestic Pursuits . I can never get read enough “How to Do” and do agree about those who need to…I love gifting these type of books too. Never hurts to suggest:).

  5. Oh Frances, I have started to write a post with the almost identical title and many of the same titles! What I can say – we are on the same wavelength. I’ll continue with mine for sometime hopefully next week because there are a few different titles. But needless to say – great write up and loved all the links!

    1. Ha! How funny! Well bring it! Everyone will want your take on them – and they are all such good books – they deserve to be known! PS am flattered to be anywhere NEAR your wavelength! xoF

  6. It’s going to be a busy Summer with all of these wonderful new reads. Linens is at the top of my list as Leontines are a favorite, and I can hardly wait to read your dinner party tips and see once again the beautiful Bee Cottage linens. Enjoy your trip – can’t wait for the postcardsā€¦.

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