Tag Archives: design

Ruby Tuesday

An Object of Beauty: A Novel by Steve Martin (Grand Central Publishing; $26.99; 295 pages)

“In addition to her normal inquisitiveness about a work, who painted it and when, and a collegiate hangover necessitating a formulaic, internal monologue about what the painting meant – which always left her mind racing with static – she now found she had another added task:  she tried to estimate a painting’s worth.   Lacey’s internal wiring had been altered by her work in Manhattan.”

Lacey Yeager is herself an object of beauty and she is mesmerized by the notion of possessing beauty in the form of paintings.   Her training at Sotheby’s auction house is the launching point for the morphing of a clever girl just out of college into a conniving woman years later.   Her story is told by a college friend whose profession is closely aligned to Lacey’s.   Daniel Franks is the narrator who allows himself to be drawn into her magnetic field for years.

Crisp, dry prose that has the power to embed itself in the reader’s memory; exquisite examples of fine art illustrating the plot twists and turns; a white cover reminiscent of art gallery walls; and a journey through the inner workings of an impressionable mind make this book a sensational read.   Never mind that this reviewer was a design major with an art history minor and volunteered as an art museum docent!   A reader with lesser credentials will surely come away with the same sense of the personality quirks, self-absorption and greed that fueled the Manhattan art scene in the 1990s.   Someone who does possess knowledge of art history can be assured that Steve Martin has gathered spot on examples for his illustrations.   Martin has succeeded in avoiding the obvious, over-exposed works in favor of others by the artists being featured.

Martin’s emphasis on the spare use of adjectives, ample use of specific details and well-researched facts place the story solidly in the time and places he has chosen.   Lacey’s movements around Manhattan serve to define her values.   She aspires to possess the best and has a great set of assets that provide her with what she wants.   There is a bit of mystery that, while not particularly central to the novel, does serve to deepen the reader’s engagement with the story.

Frequently at casual gatherings the question, “Who would you choose to sit with at a dinner party?” pops into the conversation.   After reading An Object of Beauty, I know my immediate answer would be, “Steve Martin.”   Although dinner party conversation would not allow me to plumb the depths of this brilliant man’s mind and character, it would be a wonderful start.

Highly recommended.

This review was written by Ruta Arellano.   A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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Love the Place You’re In

At Home With Laurie Ann – A Decorator’s Guide:  Turn the Place You Live Into A Home You Love

Hardcover, 224 pages, $29.95 (Laurie Ann Publishing Inc.)

At a very early age, professional Interior Designer Laurie Ann McMillin Ray developed her skill for analyzing personal style and combining it with a winning selection of design elements.   Her father was a home builder in southern California.   Laurie Ann realized that her ideas for decorating his subdivision model homes surpassed those of the seasoned professionals in the business.   To her dad’s credit, Laurie Ann was turned loose to express her ideas which enhanced the quality of the product he was selling.

Fast forward more than a few years and we encounter a businesswoman who truly knows her stuff.   Laurie Ann’s book is part expert advice, part girlfriend sharing and a whole lot of warm comfort that the reader will want to adapt to his or her own house in order to make it a home.   As Laurie Ann sees it, a home is a gathering place where every day is ideally celebrated in an environment conductive to fostering calm, joy and/or energetic sharing among friends and family.

This reviewer was most appreciative of the luscious color schemes and the thoughtful use of fabrics that create cohesive settings.   Don’t be misled by the amount of detail within each photograph.   The idea is to come away with a sense of what you like and how it might enhance your own design creativity.   By the way, Laurie Ann operates several retail establishments in southern California that are sure to spark a reader’s nesting instinct.

Most enjoyable.   Highly recommended.

This review was written by Ruta Arellano.   A review copy was provided by Author Marketing Experts (AME).

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