My first introduction to Tina Brown came when Googling, surfing the web on a break; Orion were about to release The Vanity Fair Diaries. (Bear in mind this was near the end of last year.) It appealed to me instantly; the personal diaries of an editor, glossy figures, and the challenges of turning around a failing brand? Check.


I think it should be noted that this book is a thick volume; at over a decade, these diaries have been edited before being printed. It also makes me wonder; what has been left out?

Content and plot.

The introduction instantly sets the scene, with the first few entries elaborating further; Brown is barely thirty when arriving in New York as a consultant for Vanity Fair. The sense of frustration is also palpable from the beginning, in the sense of actually getting the editorship. Then: just how to save a magazine? 

Journalistically, the content is also interesting. There’s a lot about the editorship, the daily choices, moving in what seems to be a man’s world.As one publication put it in their headline, it was a supreme balancing act.  However, I’m not sure it would necessarily appeal to a wider audience; in this respect, the book is very ‘niche’.

In terms of style, I think Brown has a novelists pen coupled with a journalistic sensibility; she makes people instantly memorable.

I also like how the book has a wider sense of the time; there’s a sense of being on the edge, technology speeding things up, going at a quicker pace.

A note on the characters.

I think this memoir was timely in one sense, given today’s politics. For instance, Boris Johnson appears in the book, albeit briefly. (With my interest in politics, I was smiling at this particular entry.) There’s also Donald Trump-the domineering, overbearing character who appears at various times in the book. It’s slightly eerie in a way.

Should you read it?

If you remember the eighties, this is a book for you. (I don’t-being born well after-so at times I was left wondering “Who is x, y, z?”) If you also enjoy magazines, then this is also the book for you-it recalls what could be coined as a ‘golden age’ for journalism. I enjoyed it, although I had to plod through a little bit; I would have loved to have worked for Brown at this time.


Buy The Vanity Fair Diaries on Amazon. 

I’m a millennial. I. Am. A millennial. And I will always be a millennial.
When Ann Shoket, then the Editor in Chief of Seventeen (USA version), needless to say I was surprised, as well as a little bit shocked. (That was back when this blog was in a different incarnation-Noted In Style. ) Since she stepped down from her role, Shoket has been writing a weekly newsletter-something of a Badass Babes movement. Realitive to the weekly news, it has great appeal for people like me.

You want to go where the adventure is, go where the heat is. I can’t wait to see where my next adventure will take me!
-Ann Shoket, Mademoiselle Interview. 

Since then, Shoket has written a book. Entitled The Big Life, it is finally out today!

At just over two hundred pages, it’s a little bit short, but still quite an ambitious manifesto.  What is ‘The Big Life’? I guess a new concept meaning that you can make your mark on the world in whatever manner you wish-for example, be a stockbroker, and work the long hours for a future position, or even just to be happy. Whew!

Be curious and never stop looking for adventure.
-Ann Shoket, Mademoiselle Interview. 

What makes this idea seem far more tangible than most is that, apart from being based on Shoket’s own research, is that she quotes real women. There are imbedded quotes throughout, even interviews-such as with founder of Rent The Runway. 
I also love the unique selling point that for millennials, this is essentially a new world-owing to the 2008 Recession, and other factors, we can make this our own. And some are already doing it! (Rent The Runway being a significant case study here!) We are not necessarily the stereotyped version of ourselves-lazy, entitled, etc. (I’m sure we’ve all probably heard these all before.) It also makes me very excited to be entering into the workforce.

My only piece of real feedback is that there should be a transatlantic version; I don’t identify with my American counterparts is this respect, yet the idea could be something needed in the UK. (With Brexit, surely there’s a chance for business, etc?) But our economies are vastly different.
For the last line of today’s post: I am a badass babe. And we will be the ones to watch. 
Rating: 13/15

Click here to buy The Big Life. 

Ann Shoket is one of my ‘editorial icons’-somebody who has worked in Journalism that I look up to. It has been a pleasure to interview the lady herself; now you can read what she has to say.
When growing up, did you aspire/want to be a Journalist?
 I thought I would be a doctor for a long time. Then I thought I would be a novelist. I landed on being a journalist when I realized that 1) I had to pay the bills out of college 2) I liked talking to people and asking nosy questions!
 As a media expert, do you think that print will eventually fade or not?
 The important part of the work I do is having conversations with young women about what matters most in their life. We can do that on any platform.
 Is it vital to read a variety of texts, if anyone wishes to become a Journalist?
 If you want to be a good writer, read good authors. Right now I’m obsessed with Ann Friedman!  But my all time favorite book, that taught me about storytelling and voice, is The Bell Jar.
What do you think about Bloggers influence on the publishing industry?
See below!
Is it important to have ‘dynamic ideas’ on a magazine?
You want to inspire, dazzle and delight your readers. They are smart and they will know if you’re not giving them your very best.
 You’ve created media outlets before-such as Tagmag.com. Do you think that media skills-whether online, or with print software-are important?
The important thing about tagmag.com, the website I created in 1996 (!), is that it was a chance for me to be the master of my own domain. I could write what I wanted to say, publish the people I thought were smart/funny/cool/weird. I got to see how it felt to be the boss when I was just an assistant in my day job. When you’re young and trying to get the world to listen to you, you need a side-hustle, so you can prove to yourself how capable you are.
What made you want to work at The American Lawyer?
When I got out of college, I just wanted a job—any job! But it turned out to be a master class in media and journalism. The American Lawyer was run by the legendary Steve Brill. So I learned how to be a reporter and writer from the best in the business. But he was also such a role model in how to build a multi-platform media business—before that was the thing that everyone was talking about! Steve continues to be an innovator—I’m inspired by his hunger to change the world with journalism.
In the next five years, what do you hope to achieve?
I’m not a fan of making big plans. I find it so much more interesting to follow the opportunities that pop up. You want to go where the adventure is, go where the heat is. I can’t wait to see where my next adventure will take me!
What essentials could we find in your bag, for ‘a day at the office’?
iPhone 6 plus, an engraved leather notebook that was a present from my husband, Pilot Razor Point Pens—I’ve used them since 1994 because my first boss used them—and she inspired such respect in the people around her. I call them my Power Pens
Do you have any advice for anyone who wishes to follow in your footsteps?
Be curious and never stop looking for adventure.
And finally, one random question: Do you prefer lipstick or lipgloss?
I’m using Nars chubby pencils these days!

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Recently, I’ve been reading “Reading Jackie” by William Kuhn- hence the reason for the review:
At 353 pages, it’s quite an in- depth book about the publishing career of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. After the death of John.F.Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis, Jackie- over two decades-bought out over a hundred books at two different publisher’s.
This is the story of the editorial career of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, begining when she was twenty- one, when she entered Vogue’s Prix De Paris, and ending at the age of Sixty Four as a respected Editor.
Over the duration, Jackie bought out books at two different publisher’s ; relying on her taste, the books she published were beautiful, and attuned very much to its visual image.
Before reading this, I didn’t know that Jackie and her sister Lee published a book in 1974: it’s called “One Special Summer” and is about there 1951 trip round Europe. I also didn’t know that Jackie had worked wwith Micheal Jackson on the book Moonwalk.
Jackie, noted by Nancy Tuckerman, ” liked things of a scholarly nature” . This was reflected in her choices of books- such as Secrets of Mary Antoinette, Indian Courtly life, and Allure.
In this book, you can see the reader Jackie- not just the wife of President Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis.
I like this book as it’s a very in- depth and interesting read;  it shows Jackie in a very different light, and is very well articulated. I give it a 9/10. For any Jackie fan, I’d recommend it…