Think you know everything about one of the most literate first ladies in recent history?
Not until you've picked up Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books by William Kuhn, about the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and her life as an editor and bibliophile.
Thanks to this book, I have added several new titles to my "must read" list this year with the hope that I may crack into Jackie's elusive, yet beautiful mind.
The books I have selected, many of them bestsellers and classics, were produced by Jackie during her career as an editor for Viking and Doubleday and reflect her interests, passions, and, according to Kuhn, major themes in her life such as sexual scandal, privacy, being a political spouse, cultural iconography, and of course, elegance and high style.
These are all available on amazon.com.
1. Sally Hemings ( 1979) by Barbara Chase-Riboud
A romantic novel rife with controversy, this was one of the first publications to expose the relationship between Jefferson and his slave.
2. The Raven's Bride (1990) by Elizabeth Crook
Yet another novel edited by Jackie based on a historical love story tainted by scandal. Eliza Allen was the young bride of Texas icon Sam Houston who mysteriously leaves him days after their wedding.
3. The Power of Myth (1991) by Joseph Campbell
An illustrated book based on the teachings of renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell. The "Queen of Camelot" could have written her own chapter.
4. Allure (1980) and 5. In the Russian Style (1977) by Diana Vreeland
Jackie collaborated with her long time friend and style mentor Diana Vreeland on these two must reads for any follower of fashion, art, and photography. I was surprised to learn that Jackie did not object to Vreeland's inclusion of Marilyn Monroe and Maria Callas in Allure as examples of the power of female beauty.
6. My Book of Flowers (1980) by Grace, Princess of Monaco
Jackie helped her old friend Grace Kelly break free from her expectations as a royal wife by assisting with the publication of her first book on the artistry and history of flowers and gardening.