Blanche’s Book Club: ‘The Vanity Fair Diaries’.

Before I went to Baton Rouge a few weeks ago, I was scouring the library shelves for a good audiobook to listen to on my drive. I found two, and was so excited to listen to them. But, the listening length of both books was more than the time I’d be in the car.

I randomly saw a sign in the library that said they’d recently received a donation of several portable CD players and boom boxes that were available to check out. So, when I got my audiobooks, I asked if there were any left. There were, so I got a little boom box that you could plug in or use batteries. Perfect!

The best part of this story is that when I picked up my rental car, there was no CD player in it! I know CD players are going out with newer cars, but I always look forward to a good audiobook during a road trip — and no, I don’t have audible. I know I am behind the times.

But anyway, at least I had the boombox to listen to the audiobooks and it’s actually been pretty fun to listen to them while doing things around the apartment. The first audiobook I listened to is the latest pick from Blanche’s Book Club, “The Vanity Fair Diaries” by Tina Brown. Here’s the scoop:

The Vanity Fair Diaries is the story of an Englishwoman barely out of her twenties who arrives in New York City with a dream. Summoned from London in hopes that she can save Condé Nast’s troubled new flagship Vanity Fair, Tina Brown is immediately plunged into the maelstrom of the competitive New York media world and the backstabbing rivalries at the court of the planet’s slickest, most glamour-focused magazine company. She survives the politics, the intrigue, and the attempts to derail her by a simple stratagem: succeeding. In the face of rampant skepticism, she triumphantly reinvents a failing magazine.

Here are the inside stories of Vanity Fair scoops and covers that sold millions—the Reagan kiss, the meltdown of Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles, the sensational Annie Leibovitz cover of a gloriously pregnant, naked Demi Moore. In the diary’s cinematic pages, the drama, the comedy, and the struggle of running an “it” magazine come to life. Brown’s Vanity Fair Diaries is also a woman’s journey, of making a home in a new country and of the deep bonds with her husband, their prematurely born son, and their daughter.

Astute, open-hearted, often riotously funny, Tina Brown’s The Vanity Fair Diaries is a compulsively fascinating and intimate chronicle of a woman’s life in a glittering era.

It should be said right off the bat that the book was read by Tina Brown, which on the one hand, is always pretty cool, because the author knows their work best. On the other hand, I felt like she was yelling at me for approximately 14 hours.

The other thing that I was a little disappointed by was that… this was not something Brown wrote recently or thought about and added additional commentary to. These were simply her diary entries from those years.

Don’t get me wrong, the diary entries were impressive — they are detailed and full of amazing little bits of pop culture. But I would’ve liked to hear something new, about her looking back, thoughts on how times have changed, etc.

It’s still a good book, especially if you’re interested in New York City socialite life in the late 80s.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Campaign Widows” by Aimee Agresti.

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