Tag Archives: best beach reads 2014

Mazel of the week goes to “The Andy Cohen Diaries”

If you wanna know what it’s really like to hang in the celebrity crowd– from the Vanity Fair Oscar party to weekends with the Seinfelds and Fallons in the Hamptons– late night Bravo host Andy Cohen’s new book, “The Andy Cohen Diaries,” will be your new guilty pleasure.

the-andy-cohen-diaries-a-deep-look-at-a-shallow-year cover on carpoolcandy.com

The book is a take off of “The Andy Warhol Diaries,” a gigantic tome of the artist’s daily activities and bitchy impressions of all the celebrities he encountered partying nightly in Manhattan in the late 80’s.

andy warhol diaries cover on carpoolcandy.com

Cohen was fascinated by Warhol’s commentary and thought it would be fun to detail a year in his life at the epicenter of pop culture in New York today.

It is fun.

The book’s subtitle,” A Deep Look at a Shallow Year,” suggests Cohen knows that some of the minutia– daily weigh-ins and workouts, two-hour massages, selfies galore– is frivolous.

But it’s all real, and if you want to know if stars are really like us, this is your book.

Andy Cohen and Kim Kardashian selfie from Instagram

A pop culture moment: selfie with Kim Kardashian’s ass on the set of his show,   “Watch What Happens Live” (Instagram)

In many ways, Cohen is still a fan and gets excited and even nervous to interview and hang with his childhood idols like Cher and Madonna, but he’s also an insider who finds himself in some crazy situations that bear sharing. He’s chatting at a party with Malala Yousafzai and Lady Gaga, he’s pigging out at Sasha Seinfeld’s bat mitzvah, he’s hitting the beach with Sarah Jessica.

Here’s an excerpt from my review:

Cohen — host of a late-night talk show on the Bravo network and executive producer of “The Real Housewives” series franchise — worked hard to get where he is, but he makes it look easy. A typical day in his downtown Manhattan playground includes a workout with his personal trainer, a romp at the dog park, lunch with friends, a meeting or conference call, a nap, hosting his show and drinking with pals until the wee hours.

His writing style is conversational and tight, infused with snarky and self-deprecating humor. He sticks to a diary format, which includes everything from activities to weigh-ins, to random thoughts and dream analysis. But he often uses only first names, and no explainers, so an index or family tree of his Algonquin round table of pals would be helpful.

An engaging storyteller, he creates a narrative with reappearing characters, including his hilarious, bossy mother, Evelyn. Other players range from the famous — talk-show host Kelly Ripa, actress Sarah Jessica Parker and musician John Mayer — to the amusing — his loyal doorman Surfin, an overly chatty flight attendant and his butt-kicking personal trainer, affectionately called “the Ninj.”

Cohen addresses the obvious risk in recording his every move and mood in the book’s subtitle, and in the introduction. He owns the name-dropping and navel-gazing, but has the honesty, wit and confidence to pull it off, striking a balance between being self-involved and self-aware. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, and isn’t afraid to point out behavior gaffes and personality flaws.

You can read the rest here.

Andy Cohen's dog, Wacha, new book on Instagram

Andy fell in love with a rescue dog this year he named Wacha, after a player on his
beloved St Louis Cardinals (Instagram)

Cohen’s been promoting the book all over. Here’s a funny interview he did with Stephen Colbert this week.

I loved the book. Not only is it a gossip fest and a peek into the lives of the rich and famous,  it also captures a moment in pop culture and in New York, like Warhol did. Maybe Cohen’s book will inspire some young kid watching Bravo tonight to dream big. I’ll look for his diaries in 2039.

 

From Jagger to Jay Z: new book gives readers backstage pass to music history

You don’t have to be a die-hard or wonky music fan to enjoy rock journalist, Lisa Robinson’s new book, There Goes Gravity. If you love music, or ever fantasized about what it would be like backstage, hanging out with your favorite rock star, you’ll live vicariously through Robinson’s 45 years covering rock royalty up close, and often very personal.

there goes gravity cover on carpoolcandy.com

The book is a career memoir– not a personal one– so all the juicy details– from groupies on the road with the Stones to Lady Gaga’s private home life– are about the artists. Robinson started writing in 1969, touring with the Stones and Zeppelin, and has interviewed every big name in the business while writing for several music magazines, the New York Post, and now as the music editor for Vanity Fair.

She was a central figure in the punk rock scene in both New York and London, claiming she got The Clash and Elvis Costello their first record deals after hearing them live.

lisa robinson head shot

The book has only 10 chapters, honing in on only a dozen or so major stars who Robinson thinks have been the most influential. She shares fascinating interviews with artists including Keith Richards, David Bowie, George Harrison, Patti Smith, and Eminem. In many ways, she’s telling the story of American culture through music.

Here’s an excerpt from my review:

Even the most media-wary artists come to trust Robinson because she’s more fan than a critic, able to keep secrets, and industry savvy. One of the few journalists to sit down with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, she offers fascinating quotes, but her rose-colored glasses are off when describing their reclusive, self-centered life in New York.

Robinson has a knack for getting subjects to share revealing personality traits that speak volumes. After interviewing Michael Jackson several times in his rise to stardom, she notices he has two voices: one high and soft for the public, another normal and commanding for his inner circle.

When she asks U2’s Bono how he handles home life after being on tour, he answers candidly. “In a very, very, very deep place I’m secure. And on the surface, secure. But somewhere in there, I need 20,000 screaming people a night to feel normal.” Tracing the evolution of U2, Robinson shows how, despite talent and good intentions, a band can lose its way in the tornado of success. In the group’s ’90s “Popmart” phase, they let celebrity and philanthropy get in the way of the music.

Robinson writes affectionately about most rockers but does get in a few jabs. She describes Lady Gaga as a gifted singer and musician who’s connected to her audience, unlike Madonna, whom Robinson calls driven, humorless and lacking passion.

Ouch!

You can read more of the review here.

Robinson wrote the cover story for last November’s Vanity Fair on the media-wary Jay Z, whom she called “the new Chairman of the Board.”

jay-z-november-2013-cover

In this modern era of publicists and celebrity overexposure, her stories seem even more extraordinary because they came from a simpler time when covering rock was about the music, not the image.

Robinson is a terrific writer whose access and insight make There Goes Gravity a great read. It’s sure to be a staple in many beach bags this summer.