Books To Read, Lipsticks To Wear


Here’s what I’d like to know. Why is nobody selling book-and-lipstick duos? Before you come at me with a millennial startup that’s actually doing that, let me tell you why it’s brilliant. A person like me reads books for the same reason she wears lipstick: hopeless romanticism. Every time I apply Nars Red Square lip pencil to my mouth, I do so in the hope that it will turn me into a fictional heroine worthy of Godard's 35mm. My secondary reason is that both things are educational: Every time I apply Nars Red Square, I learn how to do it just a little bit better the next time. What this all boils down to is that my winter reading list includes a similarly themed list of lipstick because, to me, it makes complete sense. Yes, these are mere suggestions—any shade will do the trick. And you'll be that much more well-read for it.

Andy Warhol: The Series

by Hilton Als
Instead of watching another television series, why not read this instead? A script written for a potential series on Andy Warhol’s life by New Yorker staff writer Hilton Als, it’s as good as anything on TV, only you can fit it into your smallest carry-on.
Suggested lipstick pairing: Le Marc Lip Crème in Georgie Girl 214 because it's a pale version of the cover font and therefore good for photo ops.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

by Joan Didion
Not only was the title of this book named for Yeats’ “The Second Coming,” but Joan Didion was also born in December. Happy birthday! Vague religious affiliations aside, it’s a classic Didion work about beauty’s favorite decade. Follow it by watching The Center Will Not Hold.
Suggested lipstick pairing: Lancôme Color Design Lipstick in 190 Red Addiction because it's red, but not too red. Joan might actually wear it.


by Yaa Gyasi
Thanks to my iconic colleague (and friend!) Kim Johnson, this book is at the top of my To Read Next list. “It’s not new, but it is so good,” she tells me. Plus “it’s a captivating read so I recommend for anyone as a holiday snuggled on the couch book.” Note, too, that I gave this book to Editorial Intern Utibe to read over the holidays, and she ended up binge reading the entire thing on the flight home.
Suggested lipstick pairing (per Kim): "Can I suggest a gloss?" Marc Jacobs Lip Gloss in French Tickler, “but I want my lips to be lined with Essence In The Nude #11

A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing

by Eimear McBride
I haven’t read this one! But since I found it on the Staff Picks shelf at McNally Jackson on Prince, it’s taken up residence on my nightstand and I’ll hopefully have read it by the end of the year.
Suggested lipstick pairing: Winky Lux Flower Balm in Green Flower because it is a half formed lipstick.

Blood And Guts In High School

by Kathy Acker
By the legend. If you’ve got the stomach for it, this art-era 1970s novel is cozy in a I’m-drunk-at-a-bar-and-it’s-December-in-New-York kind of way.
Suggested lipstick pairing: MAC Lustre Lipstick in Cockney because I could see Courtney Love, Siouxsie Sioux, Blondie, Donna Summer and Kathy Acker herself all killing this shade.

Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays

by Zadie Smith
No matter her thoughts on spending time in front of the mirror, it’s a fact that Zadie Smith looks great in a bold lip. In her honor I’d gladly don one to read her musings about everything from Zora Neale Hurston to Kafka to Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Hopefully the radiators in my apartment will be working by that time.
Suggested lipstick pairing: Maybelline New York Color Sensational Lipstick in Plum Perfect for its ability to be sophisticated without committing.

Another Country

by James Baldwin
Such a good read. Longer, but crackles and burns like a fire. Make sure you have one in your vicinity.
Suggested lipstick pairing: Fenty Beauty Starlit Hyper-Glitz Lipstick in Supermoon. Because you are wild but you are warm. A true peach.

Promise At Dawn

by Romain Gary
Did you know that Romain Gary, née Roman Kacew, AKA Émile Ajar, renowned French philosopher and writer was secretly married to the iconic beauty Jean Seberg? Written and translated to English by himself in ‘61, Promise At Dawn is a little sad, a little dreamy, and a perfect memoir to read in the winter.
Suggested lipstick pairing: Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in La Secrète in honor of the pseudonyms and the secret marriage.

The Lover

by Marguerite Duras
Despite its being awarded the Prix Goncourt in ‘84, Marguerite Duras herself called The Lover “A load of shit. It’s an airport novel. I wrote it when I was drunk.” It would be an insult to her memory, then, not to be drunk wearing a Tom Ford lipstick at the airport while reading.
Suggested lipstick pairing: Tom Ford Lip Color in Vain. I do not know why. Please put on the lipstick and stop asking me questions.

—Anna Jube

Prefer magazines? Here are some of Tom's best picks.