The Family of Man by Edward Steichen and Carl Sandburg

The book was tied to a 1955 exhibition at New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Jennifer: "I first saw this book when I was a little girl. It creates the cycle of humanity starting with birth, chronicles the good and the great and the not-so-great, the difficult and universal elements of what it is to be human."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coincidences by Sarah Moon

Jennifer: "She started as a fashion photographer, and the images are really dreamlike. There's a sensation that something just happened and is about to happen, and you're in that transitional gap. The technique is astounding."

 

Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art by John Szarkowski

Jennifer: "I encountered it in college. The pictures in this book made me more aware of how we exist within our environment."

 

Teenage by Joseph Szabo

Jennifer: "This is a great book. It's this amazing document of what it is to be in high school at that time, for almost anybody. Even though it's from the '70s to the late '80s, you recognize people you went to high school with."

Henri Cartier-Bresson, the Early Work by Peter Galassi

Jennifer admires Mr. Cartier-Bresson's "ability to hold two opposites with the same photograph, of struggle and joy and alienation and belonging. "It jibes with me now as an actor, in terms of being interested in paying attention to life"

 

 

Men/Women before 10 A.M by Veronique Vial

"Imagine being let into the bedrooms and bathrooms of 96 of the world's most beautiful actresses and models to photograph them while they're still sleepily themselves, without makeup, defenses or clothes. These heavenly creatures loll in expensive sheets, smoke, drink coffee, play with their dogs and children and let it all hang out." "Intimate, messy, revealing - photos of fabulous females in their precaffeinated state." Women Before 10 a.m., Veronique Vial's first powerHouse monograph, exploded in bookstores the world over - selling some 29,000 copies to date, and garnering the author two appearances on Oprah! Now we have its companion volume, Men Before 10 a.m. Too, featuring delightfully intimate moments Vial shared with scores of stars, including never-before-published photographs of Antonio Sabato Jr., Seth Green, Stephen Dorff, Laird Hamilton, Brennan Braga, Jim Harbaugh, Jackie Chan, Emmanuel Ungaro, Jason Biggs, Michael Rappaport, Patrick Dempsey, Keenan McCadell, and Isai Morales along with Gary Oldman, Peter Falk, Arthur Miller, Robert Altman, Billy Zane, Edward Burns, Brendan Fraser, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Philippe Starck, and many, many more.

 

Jennifer appears on Women Before 10 AM and she also introduces Men Before 10 AM. Click here to read it

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

This is among the most influential works of psychiatric literature since Freud. The book begins with a lengthy, austere, and deeply moving personal essay about Frankl's imprisonment in Auschwitz and other concentration camps for five years, and his struggle during this time to find reasons to live. The second part of the book, called "Logotherapy in a Nutshell," describes the psychotherapeutic method that Frankl pioneered as a result of his experiences in the concentration camps. Freud believed that sexual instincts and urges were the driving force of humanity's life; Frankl, by contrast, believes that man's deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. Frankl's logotherapy, therefore, is much more compatible with Western religions than Freudian psychotherapy. This is a fascinating, sophisticated, and very human book. At times, Frankl's personal and professional discourses merge into a style of tremendous power. "Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is," Frankl writes. "After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord's Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips."

 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The exemplary novel of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgeralds' third book, The Great Gatsby (1925), stands as the supreme achievement of his career. T. S. Eliot read it three times and saw it as the "first step" American fiction had taken since Henry James; H. L. Mencken praised "the charm and beauty of the writing," as well as Fitzgerald's sharp social sense; and Thomas Wolfe hailed it as Fitzgerald's "best work" thus far. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when, The New York Times remarked, "gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession," it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s that resonates with the power of myth. A novel of lyrical beauty yet brutal realism, of magic, romance, and mysticism, The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

 

 

 

 

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

One of the great innovative figures in American letters, Walt Whitman created a daringly new kind of poetry that became a major force in world literature. Here is the definitive collection of his work, from his solemn masterpiece "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" to the joyous freedom of "Song of Myself".

 

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.

 

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Plath was an excellent poet but is known to many for this largely autobiographical novel. The Bell Jar tells the story of a gifted young woman's mental breakdown beginning during a summer internship as a junior editor at a magazine in New York City in the early 1950s. The real Plath committed suicide in 1963 and left behind this scathingly sad, honest and perfectly-written book, which remains one of the best-told tales of a woman's descent into insanity.

I'm Down: A Memoir by Mishna Wolff

Humorist and former model Wolff details her childhood growing up in an all-black Seattle neighborhood with a white father who wanted to be black in this amusing memoir. Wolff never quite fit in with the neighborhood kids, despite her father's urgings that she make friends with the sisters on the block. Her father was raised in a similar neighborhood and—after a brief stint as a hippie in Vermont—returned to Seattle and settled into life as a self-proclaimed black man. Wolff and her younger, more outgoing sister, Anora, are taught to embrace all things black, just like their father and his string of black girlfriends. Just as Wolff finds her footing in the local elementary school (after having mastered the art of capping: think yo mama jokes), her mother, recently divorced from her father and living as a Buddhist, decides to enroll Wolff in the Individual Progress Program, a school for gifted children. Once again, Wolff finds herself the outcast among the wealthy white kids who own horses and take lavish vacations. While Wolff is adept at balancing humorous memories with more poignant moments of a daughter trying to earn her father's admiration, the result is more a series of vignettes than a cohesive memoir.

 

 

Eclipse, The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyers

Isabella Swan's move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife, between desire and danger. Deeply sensuous and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Fynn by Mark Twain

A masterpiece of American literature and one of the most enduring tales of freedom. It comments on racism and prejudice prevalent in society through the story of a boy and his friendship with a runaway slave. Twain delves into the psyche of his characters to offer an in-depth and true portrayal of life. The use of local dialect and vibrant descriptions make this novel unforgettable.

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey by Walter Mosley

At ninety-one years old, Ptolemy Grey is one of the world’s forgotten: by his family, by his friends, by even himself. Marooned in a cluttered Los Angeles apartment overflowing with mementos from his past, Ptolemy sinks deeper into lonely dementia and into a past that’s best left buried. He’s determined to pass the rest of his days with only his memories for company. Until, at his grandnephew’s funeral, he meets Robyn and experiences a seismic shift, in his head, his heart, and his life.
Seventeen and without a family of her own, Robyn is unlike anyone Ptolemy has ever known. She and Ptolemy form an unexpected bond that reinvigorates his world. Robyn will not tolerate the way he has allowed himself to live, skulking in and out of awareness barely long enough to cash his small pension checks, living in fear of his neighbors and the memories that threaten to swallow him. With Robyn’s help, Ptolemy moves from isolation back into the brightness of friendship and desire. But Robyn’s challenges also push Ptolemy to make a life-changing decision that will affect both of them: to recapture the clarity and vigor of his fading mind and unlock the secrets he has carried for decades.