Season's Readings

Curated by Jenn Thornton

A bibliophile's lit picks for your library

Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House

VICTORIA: THE QUEEN  by Julia Baird

This sweeping biography of Britain’s long-reigning monarch reveals her to be not only a sovereign who reveled in the power her position afforded her for more than six decades, but a woman of intense passion too. Pulling discoveries from unpublished papers, New York Times columnist Julia Baird examines Queen Victoria’s enormous reach as a ruler, wife and working mother. Included are insights about the queen’s relationship with her servant, John Brown. The result is, appropriately, a crowning achievement: an exhaustive yet fast-moving tribute to a woman still courting favor. $35, PenguinRandomHouse.com

 

 

Photo courtesy of Regan Arts

Photo courtesy of Regan Arts

THE ART OF THE HOLLYWOOD BACKDROP by Richard M. Isackes and Karen L. Maness

Worthy of its own Oscar, this rapturous monograph about film’s long-overlooked scenic arts—and artists—is truly enchanting. Included are 300 richly illustrated pages featuring the lush, hand-painted backdrops for cinematic epics such as The Wizard of Oz, Cleopatra and The Sound of Music. Brimming with panoramas that pop off the page and transport readers to fantastical and fantasized-about places, this gaze-all-day collection is a vibrant reminder of Hollywood’s golden age. $100, ReganArts.com