The Best Accessories on the New Gossip Girl Aren't the It Bags — They're the It Books
As I stalked the internet for more photos of the hyperstylish Gossip Girl reboot this weekend, one particular accessory caught my eye. Could it be? A copy of Eve Babitz's short story collection Black Swans resting under the manicured hand of one of the show's worldly high-school students? It could! It was!
Babitz, for the uninitiated, was a rock-and-roll and literary scene queen in LA in the '70s and '80s. While she's somewhat of a recluse all these decades later, rarely giving interviews or producing new writing, she's enjoyed something of a resurgence in popularity over the last 10 years. That's when reissues of her books and a new biography, Hollywood's Eve ($26), penned by Vanity Fair contributor Lili Anolik, hit the shelves. (Notably, Black Swans ($16) was also in a stack of literary-cool-kids-approved books gifted to Kendall Jenner by her agent, which the model shared on Instagram Stories back in 2019.)
As a book lover, I was elated by the photo, which I interpreted as a subtle hint that the characters on the new Gossip Girl might have active reading lives in addition to, you know, their sex ones. And then a coworker alerted me to the fact that there were more photos of the Upper East Siders reading on set. Some of those pictures featured Carmen Maria Machado's stellar 2017 short story collection Her Body and Other Parties ($15). Emily Lind is seen reading the book during a scene as Audrey, and her costar, Jordan Alexander, was snapped spending some time in its pages between takes. How happy was I to see a major pop-culture institution like Gossip Girl featuring the work of Machado, a queer, feminist, critically lauded author whose writing melds sex, science fiction, horror, and fairy tales? Extremely.
Upon further digging, it seems Lind's Audrey might be the resident literary feminist of the new bunch. She also appears engrossed in a copy of Ornament and Silence: Essays on Women's Lives from Edith Wharton to Germaine Greer ($19), a 1998 collection by Kennedy Fraser, in another scene.
If you're already adding some of these books to your to-be-read pile, let me say that as a Babitz fan, my favorite of hers remains Sex and Rage ($16). It was the first Babitz novel I read. And like everything from her one-of-a-kind brain, it's escapist and cosmopolitan, witty and snide, somewhat trashy and certainly glamorous. Which, now that I think of it, is exactly what I expect from the new Gossip Girl.