“My apartment is crowded with books. Sometimes I wish they would all go on vacation and give me a break,” says the British writer, who began her career as a playwright before focusing on prose fiction; her novels include Swimming Home, Hot Milk, and, most recently, the Booker-nominated The Man Who Saw Everything, out now from Bloomsbury. “There are some books that make me think more about the writer than the writing. This is somehow critically forbidden, but I find it very enjoyable,” Levy says. Here, three books that invite readers to gossip about their authors’ “hairstyle rather than their prose style.”
The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again), by Andy Warhol
Warhol’s deadpan tone is rather comforting after a busy day. “People have so many problems with love, always looking for someone to be their Via Veneto, their soufflé that can’t fall.” Obsessed with beauty, he nevertheless prefers conversation: “Talkers are doing something. Beauties are being something.” Warhol is not judgmental; he just doesn’t know what it is the beauties are being. When I read Warhol, I think about who Warhol is being while he writes about himself. My mind wanders excitedly to his collection of wigs. At one point a company was interested in buying his “aura” and was willing to pay a high price for it. I suppose I bought Warhol’s aura quite cheaply in the bookstore.