21 December 2012

Imprint Friday: Some of My Lives by Rosamond Bernier

Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Picador USA. Stop by each week to be introduced to a must-read title from one of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books to your wish list.

My favorite type of memoir is one that's very light on the inspirational message and instead shares an interesting or unusual life, perhaps led during interesting times. Lecturer, editor, and writer Rosamond Bernier has certainly had a blessed life. In Some of My Lives: A Scrapbook Memoir (now out in paperback), she asks us to join her as she hobnobs with some of the most famous artists of the last century.

Here's the publisher's summary:
Rosamond Bernier has known many (one is tempted to say all) of the greatest artists and composers of the twentieth century. In Some of My Lives, she has made a kind of literary scrapbook from an extraordinary array of writings, ranging from scholarly articles for American publications to her many contributions to the art journal L’ŒIL, which she cofounded in 1955.

Through the stories of her encounters with Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Leonard Bernstein, Max Ernst, Aaron Copland, Malcolm Lowry, and Karl Lagerfeld, we come to understand the sheer richness of Bernier’s experiences and memories. Pithy, hilarious, and wise, Some of My Lives is a multifaceted self-portrait of a life informed and surrounded by the arts.
Bernier is American born, although she was raised in a European fashion and attended an English boarding school from a young age. Her initial introduction to artists and musicians may have came through family connections, but it is thanks to her own hard work, intelligence, sense of style, and personality that she earned her worldwide reputation as a leader in the arts.

The essays collected in Some of My Lives showcase Bernier's gift at storytelling and her ability, as other reviewers have pointed out, to capture the essence of the famous people she has known. This is not a tell-all memoir, nor does it dwell on the negatives (her failed marriages, for example). Instead, each short chapter concentrates on either a specific event ("Now It's London") or a specific person ("Picasso and Antibes").

Because Bernier knew so many of the greats in the art world, her memoir could have easily become a pretentious record of fancy parties and name-dropping. But her intelligence, charm, and kindness shine through her stories, which just happen to be about Picasso, Henry Moore, and the Rothschilds.

Whether you're an art and music aficionado or just a casual fan, you'll be fascinated by the essays in Rosamond Bernier's Some of My Lives. 

If you visit Bernier's website, you can read a short biography, see a video of her farewell lecture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and see a few of the photographs included in Some of My Lives. In her interview with Royal Young for Interview magazine, she talks about her book, getting stage fright, and her place on the world's Best-Dressed list. Her humor, knowledge, and charm are clearly seen in a video of her tribute to Roland Balay, given earlier this year (at age ninety-five).

Picador USA is a featured imprint on Beth Fish Reads. For more information about the imprint, visit the Picador's website. While there, take a look at the Picador book club and reading guides and sign up for their newsletters. For up-to-date news, don't miss their Tumblr site or Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.

Buy Some of My Lives at an indie or at a bookstore near you. (Link leads to an affiliate program.)
Published by Macmillan / Picador 2012
ISBN-13: 9781250013972

Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).

2 comments:

bermudaonion 12/21/12, 7:56 AM  

I'm adding this to my wish list - I love art and memoirs so this book sounds wonderful to me.

Daryl E 12/26/12, 4:36 PM  

interesting .. a friend who only reads non-fiction will love this, i am going to recommend it, thanks!

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