Service of the Latest Fashion Accessory: A Book

May 5th, 2022

Categories: Uncategorized

Rachel Kramer Bussel’s New York Times article caught my eye: “Looking for a Wedding Favor? Try the Best-Seller List–At a time when they have become a popular accessory for celebrities to carry, books are also gaining appeal as a takeaway for wedding guests.”

The part about celebrities carrying books as accessories reminds me of a woman I knew as a child who invited me to see her redecorated home. There were exquisite antique leather-bound books in the living room and when I picked up one she said, “Yes, they go so well with the decor.”

So why my interest in an article about books? I’ve been knocking on media doors to announce this year’s Christopher Award winners–a dozen authors, 10 creators of TV/Cable and feature films and special award winner, the PBS series Masterpiece: All Creatures Great and Small, honored with the Christopher Spirit Award. They all exemplify the Christopher motto, “It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”

Are all the winners Catholic? Nope. But they have a few things in common: They remind audiences/readers from tots to seniors, of all faiths and of no particular faith, of their worth, individuality and power to make a difference and positively impact and shape our world. They also affirm the highest values of the human spirit. Tony Rossi, Christophers’ director of communications said “After the hardships we’ve endured in the last two years, we need stories of hope, light, and unity to lift our spirits and guide us toward a brighter path.”

Just a few of the books:

  • On her website Amanda Ripley wrote this about High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out (Simon & Schuster): “When we are baffled by the insanity of the ‘other side’—in our politics, at work, or at home—it’s because we aren’t seeing how the conflict itself has taken over. That’s what ‘high conflict’ does. It’s the invisible hand of our time. It’s what happens when discord distills into a good-versus-evil kind of feud, the kind with an us and a them. In this state, the brain behaves differently. We feel increasingly certain of our own superiority and, at the same time, more and more mystified by the other side.”
  • If you don’t know about Ernie Barnes, you might want to take a gander at  Don Tate’s second Christopher Award for Pigskins to Paintbrushes: The Story of Football-Playing Artist Ernie Barnes, (Abrams Books for Young Readers), for children aged 8 and up. You’ll enjoy it even if you’re not a kid. As Ernie had two talents so does Tate: He’s both illustrator and author.
  • It didn’t happen often–and my school didn’t have a father/daughter dance–but when I danced with my dad, more than standing on his feet as he’d walk around the room, it was so special that I was drawn to Anitra Rowe Schulte and illustrator  Ziyue Chen’s Dancing with Daddy, (Two Lions), for children aged 6 and up.
  • Four time Christopher Award winner Father James Martin shares his wisdom in Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone (HarperOne/Harper Collins). His books have been translated into 22 languages and sold in 25+ countries. In his practical handbook, the Jesuit priest explains what prayer is, what to expect from praying, how to do it, and how it can transform us when we make it a regular practice. He wrote that there is not one secret formula, but like any relationship, each person can discover the best style for building an intimate relationship with God, regardless of religion or denomination.
  • The family of Australian author Eddie Jaku, who died recently at 101, was thrilled that his book was selected by the Christophers to win an Award in the young adults category for The Happiest Man on Earth: The Beautiful Life of an Auschwitz Survivor, (Harper Collins), because of the importance that his message of love and positivity reach young people. In his memoir Jaku recalled his teenage years in a concentration camp and his subsequent commitment to living with gratitude and kindness to honor all those who died in the Holocaust. Born Abraham Jakubowicz in Leipzig, Germany, in WWII he was imprisoned in Buchenwald and Auschwitz concentration camps, sent on a ‘death march’ in 1945 but escaped and finally was rescued by Allied soldiers.

The other books include Dorothy Wickenden’s The Agitators (Scribner/Simon & Schuster); Daniel James Brown’s Facing the Mountain (Viking/Penguin Random House); Retired New York City Fire Department Chief Joseph Pfeifer’s Ordinary Heroes (Portfolio/Penguin Random House); The Boy Who Loved Everyone by Jane Porter, illustrated by Maisie Paradise Shearring (Preschool and up, Candlewick Press); 10 Hidden Heroes by Mark K. Shriver, illustrated by Laura Watson, (Kindergarten and up, Loyola Press) and The Elephant in the Room by Holly Goldberg Sloan (ages 10 and up, Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House).

Would you carry a book as a fashion statement or buy one because the cover coordinated with your decor?  What good books have you read lately?

5 Responses to “Service of the Latest Fashion Accessory: A Book”

  1. EAM Said:

    Very interesting blog post. I usually carry magazines more than books with me but my Mom, who’s an avid reader, often totes books around with her. When I worked in publishing, I often gave books for gifts (which was, in part, due to a paltry salary)–most enjoyed receiving them. Thanks for the interesting recommendations!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Books are a wonderful gift. But not everybody reads them. I wonder how many books will sell to coordinate with a person’s clothes?

    I discovered that I can’t open the e- books I download to my iPad borrowed from the public library when I’m not at home. That means when I go somewhere by train I will have a book with me.

    When I commuted by subway I usually had a book or a newspaper. I miss that reading time.

  3. Martha Takayama Said:

    I did not know that celebrities are carrying books as fashion accessories. Do they coordinate them with their outfits or choose easily legible covers that relate to their performances or person? I find the Christopher Award motto lovely and heartwarming. In my house carefully chosen books were most often the choice for a present for birthdays, graduations or other special occasions. They ranged from Caldecott award winners to classics with the choices reflecting our ages and interests.

    I always made sure to have a book with me when taking public transportation. I liked their companionship if I stopped for a snack alone. Right now I am putting aside George Orwell’s “Burmese Days”, which I’ve had forever and have been reading off and on. I am going to start on High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out in the hope that it will be interesting and instructive. I love any book that makes art appealing to children so want to check Don Tate’s “Pigskin to Paint Brushes” for future presents.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The cover of “High Conflict” would spruce up my look when I’m all in black and I have scarves that would pick up the colors of “Pigskin to Paintbrushes” and “Every Deep Drawn Breath.” Ha ha.

    If you wanted to give my husband the best gift it was always a book. He loved biographies, history and anything Churchill.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    My choice is to keep guests’ interest(s) in mind, not what’s fashionable.

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