Left: Wendy Goodman, in 2011, at the book launch for Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, photographed by Joe Schildhorn/BFA.com

As New York Magazine’s longstanding Design Editor, Wendy Goodman regularly sends her readers on an inspirational journey, pulling back the curtain on one spectacular interior after another: an artist’s brownstone in Brooklyn, a costume designer’s closet-cum-trompe l’oeil theater, Ruben and Isabel Toledo’s cactus-friendly abode… We wondered, what sort of books gets her creative spark going? Which turn of the page elicits a moment of awe in the very same way her features do (cue Exhibits A, B, C)?

To our delight, there are plenty. As our special Book Issue continues, Goodman — who authored The World of Gloria Vanderbilt (Abrams) — gives us a sneak peek into her own home library, from the design must-haves to the novels that send her imagination soaring.

The books every design lover should own…
1. The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
2. The Best of Flair by Fleur Cowles
3. Albert Hadley: The Story of America’s Preeminent Interior Designer by Adam Lewis
4. Vogue’s Book of Houses, Gardens, People by Valentine Lawford, photographs by Horst P. Horst
5. Diary of a Century by Jacques-Henri Lartigue
6. David Hicks: A Life of Design by Ashley Hicks
7. Ashcombe: The Story of a Fifteen-Year Lease by Cecil Beaton
8. The Artist In His Studio by Alexander Liberman
9. The Artists Of My Life by Brassaï
10. The Art and Technique of Color Photography by Alexander Liberman
11. Jean-Michel Frank: The Strange and Subtle Luxury of the Parisian Haute-Monde in the Art Deco Period by Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier
12. Jansen by James Archer Abbott
13. Elsie De Wolfe: The Birth of Modern Interior Decoration by Penny Sparke, edited by Mitchell Owens
14. Class Act: William Haines Legendary Hollywood Decorator by Peter Schifnado and Jean H. Mathison
15. House and Garden’s Complete Guide to Interior Decoration, 1970, by the Editors of House & Garden

And my personal favorite from the above…
That is impossible to answer as I love them all, and many more, if I had the time and space to list!

Books on my coffee table…
It’s an ever-rotating assemblage. Today I have:
1. The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
2. Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer by Arthur Lubow
3. George Stacey and the Creation of American Chic by Maureen Footer
4. Jean Howard’s Hollywood: A Photo Memoir by Jean Howard
5. The Isaac Mizrahi Pictures: New York City 1989–1993 by Nick Waplington

And on my nightstand…
It’s a book tower, now consisting of:
1. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
2. Paris Vagabond by Jean-Paul Clébert
3. Listening to Stone: The Art and Life of Isamu Noguchi by Hayden Herrera
4. Letters from Liselotte: Elizabeth-Charlotte, Princess Palatine and Duchess of Orleans, translated and edited by Maria Kroll
5. My Mrs. Brown: A Novel by William Norwich
6. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
7. Dynasty by Tom Holland
8. The Noël Coward Diaries, edited by Graham Payn and Sheridan Morley
9. History of My Life by Giacomo Casanova, translated by Willard R. Trask

Rizzoli’s New York flagship in its previous home on West 57th Street, photograph courtesy of Rizzoli
The book that changed my life…
Out of Africa, by Isak Dinesen. I went to Africa after reading it. James Baldwin’s Another Country is one of my favorite books, ever, and also Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion haunts me to this day.

The authors I love the most and why…
1. Isak Dinesen: She opened up the world for me, and introduced me to the mysteries and glorious beauty of Africa.
2. Henry Miller: He gave me a sense of life in Paris at a time I so wish I could have experienced it. His writing is so rich and funny and crackling with life.
3. Edith Wharton: I love getting lost in the history of New York and its characters at the turn of the century.
4. Charles Dickens might be top of the list as A Tale of Two Cities is a book I can read over and over again. The tenderness in that novel is profound for me.
I know I am forgetting zillions of authors I love!!!

Book I like to give as a gift…
I give different books to different people, and try to find a surprise on the subject of something I know they like.

The most beautiful bookstore I’ve been to…
I still mourn the loss of Rizzoli on 57th Street. It was my haven.

Apartment whose bookshelves I would most want to raid…
1. Nancy Dine and I seem to have been separated at birth in our literary/photo journal, tastes.
2. Kitty Hawks and Larry Lederman have a library in their home in Chappaqua that I would need a U-Haul for in order to abscond with the myriad books I covet.

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