We Asked 10 Wise People to Choose 10 Wise Books


Working with the curated bookstore, One Grand Books, with branches at BlackBarn in Chelsea Market, NYC, at the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood, as well as in the Catskills town of Narrowsburg in upstate New York, we put together a list of ten books selected by ten luminaries to help us all find meaning into today’s scrambled world.


1. The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Selected by Michael Pollan)
“Sentence by sentence, some of the most stimulating thoughts anywhere.”
2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
(Selected by Gabrielle Union)
“The first book I read as a young adult that truly spoke to me about egocentric beauty ideals and white supremacy. I saw myself clearly in these pages as Pecola searched to be seen. A powerful, powerful book.”


Books selected by Michael Pollan, Gabrielle Union, and Greta Gerwig


3. The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
(Selected by Greta Gerwig)
This book doesn’t fit neatly into a category. It’s personal but also global. It doesn’t prescribe anything; it raises questions. It allows the reader to feel as if they are watching this brilliant woman think in real time. It seems as if you are inside her mind with her. It’s funny and sexy and made me cry. And it is one of the best books on being a stepmother I’ve ever encountered.”
4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
(Selected by Rose McGowan)
“The hopelessness of character assassination and being trapped by evil people’s lies is something I know a little about. I fell in love with Dàntes and his quest for justice long ago. Dumas’ writing helped form me. I wish I could thank him in person, but this’ll have to do.”
5. What Are People For? by Wendell Berry
(Selected by Alice Waters)
“Berry puts that stake in the ground. He’s a poet as well as a wonderful writer, and his message is simple: Nature is our teacher. We just need to listen and feel it, and try not to get in its way.”


Books chosen by Rose McGowan, Alice Waters, and Roxane Gay

6. We are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby
(Selected by Roxane Gay)
“I can’t, nor do I want, to unsee the essays in this collection. Irby is well known as a humorist, and the essays in “We Are Never Meeting in Real Life” are, indeed, very funny. They are also poignant, and incredibly honest. Humor makes way for vulnerability and by the end of this book you will have cried as much as you laughed about what it means to be a black woman, what it is to live with chronic illness, how poverty marks you, how love always finds a way.”
7. My Prizes: An Accounting by Thomas Bernhard
(Selected by John Waters)
“Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth! The Austrian intellectual sourpuss hilariously rejects every literary award he was ever given. Refusal as an art form.”
8. Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
(Selected by Chelsea Handler)
“Rebecca Solnit goes deep with statistics, personal stories, and others’ accounts of how brutal this world can be for women, the history of how we’ve been treated, and what it will take to change the conversation: MEN. We need them to be as outraged as we are and join our fight.”


Books selected by Chelsea Handler, John Waters, and Dev Hynes


9. The Last Interviews: James Baldwin
(Selected by Dev Hynes/Blood Orange)
“I’m a sucker for this morbid yet informative series which chronologically prints interviews from deceased artists ending with their last interview. Baldwin’s words could be applicable today.”
10. But What If We’re Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman
(Selected by Trevor Noah)
“A question the architects of apartheid should have stopped and asked themselves at the start, and a question I try to ask about my own deeply held convictions every day.”


From Nightlife Awards to CMJ: It’s Going to be a Busy Week of Parties

I’m very excited about the 9th AnnualPaper Nightlife Awards—which, on paper, looks like a hell of a good time. They’re stepping up big time with talk show heroine Chelsea Handler hosting and Ciara, who graces the September cover, will perform . The gala is this Thursday October 17th at Marquee (289 10th Avenue.) DJ Kitty Cash will fill in the blanks.

The categories include: Best Party, Best Club Night, Best Bar, Best DIY Space, Best Restaurant with a Nightlife Scene, Best Club Song, Best Hotel With a Nightlife Scene, Best New Club, Best Indie Designer with a Nightlife Influence, Best DJ, Best Nightlife Personality and Best Night To Go Out. That last category confuses me—is it the same as Best Club Night? Do they give an award to …Thursday’s? Who accepts the award? Paper has always been around—like 29 years now. The nightclub scene can be seen like flash cards by exploring the covers of the hundreds of magazines that they have put out with pride and that Paper vision. They have always remained true to their school and have been rewarded with viability over decades.

Their press release says it so eloquently I decided not to change a word: “Over 29 years of experience has made PAPER one of the most credible, authentic and organic brands in the business. As a style leader, PAPER aims to explore pop culture just beyond the scope of the mainstream in order to expose our readers to the groundbreaking ideas that will influence the trends of tomorrow. PAPER is an indispensible style, cultural and entertainment guide catering to our highly influential audience. For the past 17 years, PAPERMAG.com has been the online source for those leading a lifestyle that revolves around music, fashion, nightlife and the arts.”

Friend of the family Rudy Temiz, and his band Bushwick Hotel, will be performing a CMJ showcase at the Bowery Electric Tonight at 9:30 P.M. There will be lots of other acts, but I don’t know them and this CMJ thing doesn’t really interest me all that much. Rudy will also have an event on Thursday, which conflicts with the Paper event and my DJ gig at Hotel Chantelle after—but is certainly worth mentioning. His art collective will have an opening reception called “Kevin Loves Catherine,” featuring the work of Kevin Marcell and Cathrine Westergaard at c24 Gallery (514 W 24th Street between 10th and 11th.) Actually, I’ll just sneak around after or during Marquee.There’s lots of stuff going on at this opening, including a screening of Catherine’s  never-before-screened “Graffiti of the Young Man’s Mind.” Rudy rolls deep. Wherever he is, I know there will be lots of bright and beautiful people and cool stuff to see. I’m there.

The world seems to be tilting me towards the mid-twenties a lot. Pernod has me heading to the NoMad Hotel (1170 Broadway at 27th Street) tonight. They’re teaming up with fashion/music label Maison Kitsune, releasing a limited addition Pernod Absinthe bottle. There will be cocktails and stuff, and a crowd I’m sure that will be unbeknownst to me. Me and the gal watched a bunch of Dracula movies last night for real and I’m totally in an Absinthe frame of mind, plus, I wanted to use unbeknownst in a sentence.   Last but not least, is the opening party for Bristle + Creme—a cool, cool hair and such salon (416 Third Avenue @ 30th Street.) They have a coffee bar as well. My old club friend, the beautiful Kin Vu, has toiled to make this happen, and she is wonderful, so it will be so.  The party has a live performances and DJs, and figures to be hot. However, it’s a private affair, so you may have to pull some strings. Try “Steve Lewis sent me.” That used to work.

Jessica Simpson Is Still Pregnant (Seriously)

Last week, we expressed concern for Jessica Simpson’s eternally expanding midsection–how on earth hasn’t she given birth yet?!–so at the end of another one, we revisit the topic. But this time we’re not the only ones perplexed!

Yes, in the last couple of days, two other major names have also wondered how, exactly, Simpson hasn’t yet given birth. On Thursday, Katy Perry tweeted, "Has Jessica Simpson had that baby yet?! I’m getting anxious."

Also this week, comedienne Chelsea Handler wrote, "How has jessica simpson still not given birth to this baby? I’m getting frightened."

Us, too, girls. Us, too. [via ONTD]

Friday Take-Off: Zombies, Beer, & Chelsea Handler

San Francisco: Pack some fake blood in your briefcase and get ready to join the first annual Zombie Crawl meeting at Civic Center Plaza early Saturday night, followed by a pub crawl through the city. October 22. ● Dallas: The legendary Texas State Fair has its grand finale for 2011 this weekend, so go and enjoy 277 square acres of fried foods, Ferris wheels, and festivities while you still can. Through October 23.

Boston: Fans of Chelsea Handler can get their fill at the “Comedians of Chelsea Handler” show at the Wilbur Theater on Tremont, featuring the lady herself as well as a big group of her favorite colleagues. October 22. ● Atlanta: For the 10th year, the city’s best restaurants gather together for “A Taste of Atlanta,” including chef demos, special sponsors tents, live music, bartenders’ competitions, and more. October 22-23. ● Albuquerque: Hopheads, rejoice — this is New Mexico’s largest craft beer event, with over 40 breweries participating and 9 bands entertaining. And better yet, the event benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation. October 22.

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Watch Chelsea Handler Review Kim Kardashian’s Song ‘Turn It Up’

Last week, Kim Kardashian premiered her first single, the awfully titled and awfully bad The Dream-produced “Jam (Turn It up)” on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show. Seacrest, who (in his defense) clearly has an inhumane tolerance for shitty pop culture, gave the song a positive review, saying, “I want to be in a convertible right now with that cranked up!” Right. Thankfully, Chelsea Handler, unlike Seacrest, isn’t the producer of popular E! shows such as Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami, Kourtney & Kim Take New York, and the upcoming Khloe & Lamar. In short, Chelsea kept it real.

After being kind enough to spare her audience the torture of actually listening to the song, Handler enlisted the help of her “cousin” to read the song’s lyrics with a straight face. Sure, we delivered Kim’s key lines to you in text form last week, but spoken word simply adds another dimension.

Links: The Miley Cyrus Big Bong Cover-Up, Pete Doherty to the Big Screen

● Miley Cyrus’ “people” traded at least two Mac Book Pros with college students in exchange for their computers, which each contained a copy of Miley’s bong-smoking salvia video. This plan failed. [TMZ] ● Disney’s neo-golden couple, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, have split. Each actor is now required by contract to either come out or date Taylor Swift. [E! Online] ● Eminem has plans for a new movie, in which he will be angry. [Deadline]

● Pete Doherty will star opposite Charlotte Gainsbourg in a new biopic of Alfred de Musset, the 19th century French poet. With his usual ambivalence, Doherty said, “I don’t know if I’m a good actor, but they say I am.” [HuffPo] ● Dexter stars Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter, a married couple who play siblings on TV, are getting a divorce. It’s hard to say what’s most awkward here. [EW] ● A photo of Chelsea Handler and 50 Cent in bed together is just gross. [HuffPo]

Links: Miley Cyrus Rips a Bong on Video, Salma Hayek Was an Illegal Immigrant

● Miley Cyrus celebrated her 18th birthday by taking a hit of (supposedly) salvia, the semi-psychedelic herb that is legal in California, from a big bong. The band Bush plays in the background and she is wearing red lipstick. And it is on camera. On. Camera. [TMZ] ● Ryan Gosling and Blake Lively were “inseparable” at the premiere of his new film, Blue Valentine, but let’s go ahead and say they look too much alike for this thing to ever work out. [People] ● Chelsea Handler says Jennifer Aniston is “irreverent and hilarious, and she sends me really, really funny e-mails.” Probably with cats. [Glamour]

● Salma Hayek told a magazine that she lived in the United States to study acting after her visa expired, making her a dreaded stealer of American jobs, but she’s beautiful so no one really needs to be mad, not even Republicans. Or they could boycott or whatever. [E! Online] ● James Franco watched a gigolo have sex with a man to prepare for the movie Sonny, and also to continue to play with gender roles and sexual norms so that people keep writing about him. Also, rabbits turn him on. [HuffPo] ● Taylor Swift’s 21st birthday will be Christmas-themed, duh. [People]

Links: Katy Perry Is Changing Her Name, Brad Pitt Grabs Angelina Jolie’s Butt

● Katy Perry told Ellen Degeneres that she is “in the process” of changing her name to Katy Brand, taking her husband’s surname and thereby squashing those pesky rumors about “K. Diddy.” [HuffPo] ● Chelsea Handler says her profane rips on Angelina Jolie date back to when she “made out with her brother,” so don’t be surprised that she’s not funny now. [E! Online] ● Celine Dion’s new twin babies are now the public’s new twin babies. [Hello!]

● The most fun thing about being married to Angelina Jolie is that you can touch her whenever you want. Well, presumably, though she’s also thought to be a wonderful mother. [Page Six] ● Lindsay Lohan is allowed to drive again, making way for her next trick, in which she’ll drive the wrong direction on the freeway. Wait, Nicole Richie did what? [TMZ] ● Double standards about oral sex plague the ratings of Black Swan and Blue Valentine. [LAT]

Links: Sarah Palin & Kate Gosselin Go Camping, Chelsea Handler Lashes Out at Angelina Jolie

● TLC is flexing their cross-promotional muscle, sending Sarah Palin and her kids camping with Kate Gosselin and her bunch for the sake of reality television. The world did not implode, though Gosselin did say she was “miserable.” [HuffPo] ● In other Palin-related news, Kathy Griffin called Bristol “the white Precious” while deriding her weight-gain, leading to boos from the Salute the Troops audience. [Fox News] ● Actress Amanda Heard has come out publicly, appearing at a GLAAD event with her partner Tasya van Ree, thereby doubling her own fame. [EW]

● Chelsea Handler cemented her Team Aniston status over the weekend with some stand-up jokes that lacked a punchline, calling Angelina Jolie a “fucking bitch” and a “fucking cunt.” [Hollywood Life] ● Kelsey Grammar is now engaged to his 29-year-old mistress-turned-girlfriend Kayte Walsh, while his divorce from Camille Donatacci is still pending. Efficiency is key. [HuffPo] ● Willie Nelson will not face felony charges for marijuana possession, thank Jah. [Popeater]