Reading with . . . Caitlin Kelly of Broadside

April Peveteaux

An award-winning journalist, Caitlin Kelly has written (prolifically, I might add) for the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and many other print giants.

However, I became addicted to Kelly's open, searing, insightful and witty words through her blog, Broadside. Read her Food Fight! Why We Love to Hate Fat People post and you'll be hooked as well.

Kelly covers the gamut in her writing from women's issues to war and everything that falls between. (Perhaps combining the two in her book, Blown Away: American Women and Guns.) She is also a voracious reader, and here's what she's cracking up right now.


I never leave home without a fat stack of things to read. The car can get stuck in traffic or I’ve got a long subway or bus ride or a wait at the bank. Most of the time, I’d rather read than do almost anything.

The Papers:

I still read newspapers, in print and on-line: The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and New York Post, every day.

We read the British Financial Times every weekend and love it. It’s witty, sophisticated and covers the world. I like its columnist (and author) Susie Boyt a lot. You have to love its glossy magazine, clearly aimed at the hedge fund boys, called How To Spend It, with $100,000 bracelets and advice on how to stock grouse at your country estate.

On the www:

I often read British and Canadian newspapers on-line, from The Guardian to The Globe and Mail. I speak French and Spanish, so sometimes read in those languages, in print or on-line, like Le Point or Liberation from France.

I was reading the Washington Post on-line and in print for years and also sometimes read The Los Angeles Times.


I read a lot of non-fiction -- I just finished eight books as background for my own -- and try to read fiction when I can squeeze it in.

I love social history; two recent favorites are histories of Paris and London, two cities I’ve lived in and know fairly well, like London, A Social History, by Roy Porter. Where else would I learn there were icebergs in the Seine a few centuries ago? I’m eager to read David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers about the Iraq War.

I just read John Irving’s A Widow for One Year (liked it) and bought Colm Toibin’s newest novel, Brooklyn. I’m reading The True Deceiver, a novel by Tove Jansson, author of the wonderful kids’ books about the Moomin family – if you haven’t discovered them, they’re lovely. I loved Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Two of my favorite books, ever, are both memoirs of African childhoods by two Britons: Don't Let’s Go To The Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller and When A Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin. I’ve been to Kenya and Tanzania, and they capture Africa well.

I like biography and would recommend Hayden Herrera’s  portrait of Frida Kahlo. I like to read older stuff, so have a copy of Journey Among Warriors, a 1943 book by Eve Curie, a collection of her work; she was a journalist whose mother was Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie, who discovered radium’s use for Xrays.


I just bought my first copy of Lapham’s Quarterly and look forward to reading it. I read the women’s magazines (not the ones for moms, as I have no kids), like More, Glamour, Vogue. I sometimes read Vanity Fair, rarely read The New Yorker (can’t stand its elitist tone and dominance of male writers.)

I read all the (remaining) shelter magazines, for pleasure and inspiration. I studied interior design and planned to leave journalism, so I lap these up. My favorite is The World of Interiors, a British magazine. I like Country Living, the UK version and Marie-Claire Decoration. The April issue of CL has a feature on a woman on the Isle of Mull; we love to travel so this gives me ideas for design and trips we might enjoy. The French magazines Cote-Ouest, etc. are gorgeous. I prefer European design and colors, so these give me ideas, fresh sources and inspiration.

I read National Geographic, Smithsonian, Fortune, Forbes,  Bon Appetit (after Gourmet was killed) PDN (a photography trade magazine). PDN is a great magazine with lots of terrific advice on how to run a business; much of it is applicable to writing, and I began my career as a photographer so I love to see what’s happening in that world.  I occasionally read GQ.

We like Monocle, which is quirky and elitist and sometimes far too much a mirror of editor Tyler Brule’s tastes, but it’s filled with news and tidbits and people you usually won’t find elsewhere. It’s $10 a copy, but gorgeous -- thick, matte paper; great photography and reports from places as far flung as Curacao, Mallorca, Micronesia and Auckland.

Read more from Caitlin Kelly at True/Slant's Broadside. And keep an eye out for her upcoming book out about working retail on Penguin Books.

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