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My Favorite Things

A digital glimpse into a rare reading room, Durga Chew-Bose’s Instagram feed abounds with snapshots of the first-edition cover of Hilton Als’s Women, say, or a page from Jonas Mekas’s A Dance With Fred Astaire, which is among her most treasured possessions, as seen below. Here, the Montreal-based author of Too Much and Not the Mood, who has recently penned essays for MoMA’s Wolfgang Tillmans catalogue and Pace Gallery’s Agnes Martin monograph, shares more of her essentials, from an Indian bar soap to the loafers that suit all sartorial standards



Sandal Soap, Pack of 5

“Growing up, I imagined all linen closets smelled like sandalwood. Whenever my mother would return from Kolkata, her suitcase would have bars of Mysore soap. I asked Farrar, Straus and Giroux to try to replicate the Mysore rose for my book’s title page.”



Pembrey 5W Leather Loafers

“I have a couple pairs of these loafers, which meet every pant length with approval. They are the most compatible shoe.”

Jonas Mekas


A Dance with Fred Astaire

“This book reads like a Filofax. Or like a catch-all with photos and letters and very funny anecdotes. There are memories of Anaïs Nin, Andy Warhol, Andrew Sarris, Joan Crawford, Maya Deren, and so many others. I love the parts that mention Jonas’s daughter, Oona.”



Picasso Playing Cards

“A good small gift option that feels personal and uncomplicated. Playing solitaire with a deck that’s illustrated with a still life is so satisfying. This Picasso one is very playful.”

Dr. PawPaw


Multipurpose Balm

“I have tubes of this in every drawer, bag, and jacket pocket. It does the trick!”

Jamaica Kincaid


Talk Stories

“Fun, sharp, wonderfully sneaky and absorbing, Kincaid’s ‘Talk of the Town’ pieces are a clinic in tone and spirited accuracy. Her sensitivity to mannerisms makes for such a pleasing reading experience. I love a clear snapshot. I love a confessional mood that isn’t too profound.”

The Row


Banana Leather Shoulder Bag

“I go on long walks with my son (in his stroller) every day. I’m never thinking about this bag when I wear it. Having one less thing to think about is my version of well-being.”



Tack-It Adhesive Putty

“The photographer Marcelo Gomes suggested I use this putty because it doesn’t leave a mark. I recently used my Tack-It to put Luigi Ghirri postcards on a wall in my son’s playroom.”

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