This is a bit of a coffee table book and one that combines my interest in books and clothes. It’s also a bit… hipsterish, if I’m honest- there are no massive surprises in here: Didion, Plath, Woolf, Twain, Wilde. I would have liked to have seen someone like, oh, Terry Pratchett and his voluminous hat or Philip Larkin and his darned socks, or Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her fabulously colourful wardrobe. A lot of these choices feel very safe and very trendy.
That’s not to say that this isn’t an interesting book- it is, and there’s some gorgeous photos that accompany the essays about each subject (although some authors merit a paragraph. Hemingway is featured in a section about hair, Joyce Carol Oates in a small section about authors who wear… glasses.) At points, the ‘fast facts’ began to read a bit like a Smash Hits listicle about long-dead authors. I was also slightly puzzled when the author said that Scarborough was near the Peak District- but I digress.
I felt like this book didn’t quite know what it wanted to be. It felt like the author was more interested in the clothes, which is fair enough- and a lot of these authors have clothes as part of their brand. But it felt a bit more superficial than I would like. There’s no real exploration of the link between what people wear and what they write.
Overall, this is an interesting read and a beautiful book to look at- but it won’t change your life.