May 22, 2020

“Celebrity Book Curator” throws shade at superstar shelves; brains boggled


If you thought that decoding a blog written by the Federal Reserve—as we did in this space last week—was weird, you ain’t seen nothing yet! We nearly fell out of our collective seats when this article from Town and Country, titled “What a Celebrity Book Curator Really Thinks of A-Listers’ Bookshelves,” was brought to our attention by our alert marketing director.

This artifact, like some kind of postmodernist verbal nesting doll, seemed to accrue new and mysterious layers of indeterminate meaning almost in front of our eyes. First off, Town and Country? How is it even possible that this periodical still exists? In the last year we have seen a half dozen of the hippest, quickest, smartest digital media companies in America go down, and yet this bizarrely retrograde 70s-era dinosaur still totters along, spewing deranged articles like (not the Onion) “Duchess Camilla Celebrates World Bee Day”?

Our deep sense of existential confusion deepened when we saw that the article was written by a journalist named Olivia Hosken, who looks like this. Holy tartan skirt and Fair Isle sweater! But wait … there’s more! We almost collapsed when we learned that the soi disant “book curator” is named … Thatcher Wine.

THATCHER WINE. Is this real? Is this some kind of delayed-reaction chemical fallout from choices made in our unwise youth? Does the onset of COVID-19 cause disturbing hallucinations of this sort? We shook ourselves and, after a long draught of off-brand flavored seltzer, pushed grimly on. After making the now-obligatory comment about how Zoom has exposed personal spaces to wider examination than ever before, Ms. Hosken goes on to cite Mr. Wine’s judgments on the bookshelves of a variety of celebrities, ranging from Stanley Tucci (a “crisis”) to Andy Cohen (“fascinating, but there’s too much there”).

The article promises “a few recommendations” from Mr. Wine intended “to ensure your shelves are ready for their debut,” but we must have missed those. Maybe a print-only feature? In lieu of Mr. Wine’s advice, we will offer our own suggestion, one of unparalleled aesthetic elegance and true literary merit.

Lavez les mains!




Michael Lindgren is the Managing Editor at Melville House.