Alexa Hampton

Interior Designer / United States / Mark Hampton LLC

Alexa Hampton’s Book List

I have always been a big reader. My tastes are far-ranging—from police procedurals to history to biography and even chick lit.

70 books
Willa Cather

I read this as a 13-year-old and petitioned my school to exchange this for George Eliot’s Middlemarch as our summer required reading. It is a beautiful, easy read. I love Cather.

Sigmund Freud

I love this book and it had a huge influence on my academic life.

Jean Leveque Editor

You cannot be a decorator without owning this book.

Katharine Tweed

A book to pore over.

Jane Austen

I don’t understand how a person couldn’t love this book.

Henning Mankell

One in a series of Scandinavian police procedurals about a grumpy, diabetic policeman, Kurt Wallender. Amazing books.

Edmund Morris

See my comments on The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris.

Martin Amis

For me, Amis is hit or miss. I love his books, but he is such a pessimist, I sometimes have to put his books down. But, he is always hilarious.

Oscar Wilde

Witty and farcical.

Elmore Leonard

See my comments on Killshot by Elmore Leonard.

Philippe Jullian

Le Style Louis XVI is part of the series Les Grands Styles (“The Great Styles”), which includes Le Style Louis XIV, and Le Style Louis XV. These are essential reference books for interior designers.

Winston Churchill

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that this man, who has such an amazing command of the written language, was doing anything else besides writing. He’s incredible.

Octavio Paz

A beautiful poetic book with philosophical and political essays.

Stephen Salny

A catalogue raisonné of an important American architect.

Giorgio Vasari

Any art historian, serious or not, must read this book—part history, part fiction and part propaganda.

Michel Foucault

I love reading theory. Whether or not one agrees, theory usually contains great creative thinking.

Billy Baldwin

One of the biggest influencers of American design.

Julian Barnes

A great read. I love British authors.

David Hicks

David Hicks was a family friend as well as one of my favorite designers.

David McCullough

This writer makes everything interesting.

Nancy Mitford

See my comments on Frederick the Great by Nancy Mitford.

Editors of French House & Garden

I love to pore over this book.

Nancy Mitford

What’s better than Nancy Mitford writing fiction? Nancy Mitford’s historical biographies.

Roberto Schezen

A majorly beautiful book that inspires.

John Berger

I read this book as a freshman at Brown University and it introduced me to a new way of looking at images. It’s an interesting text.

Peter J. Gärtner

My favorite architect (along with Schinkel, Soane, and Alberti). A great sculptor and a great artist, too.

Martin Amis

See my comments on The Information by Martin Amis.

Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard is a great American author. His dialogue is snappy and fun.

William Manchester

Among my all-time favorite books. Churchill is so colorful and fascinating

Christopher Hussey

An essential trio of reference books in one set that includes Early Georgian: 1715–1760Mid Georgian 1760–1800, and Late Georgian 1800–1840.

Billy Baldwin

See my comment on Billy Baldwin Decorates.

Håkan Groth

A beautiful, seminal design book. Crisp Scandinavian interiors like this inspire me.

Peter Thornton
Helen Dorey

A great book about a fascinating architect and the contents of his house, which is my favorite museum.

Edmund Morris

Along with Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt is my historical hero. This book—along with Theodore Rex—also by Edmund Morris, is amazing.

Elmore Leonard

See my comments on Killshot by Elmore Leonard.

Adolphe Chanaux
Léopold Diego Sanchez

A must-have book for any designer.

Alexandre Dumas

This is the book that triggered my love of reading. I read it the summer after the fifth grade and, ever after, I was a reader.

Oscar Wilde

Perfect and spooky.

David McCullough

I think we all love this book, along with John Adams, also by David McCullough.

Isabel Allende

Great magical realism.

Roland Barthes

As a film lover, as well as book lover, I love art criticism that focuses on semiology.

Robert K. Massie

Another all-time favorite. The World Wars are so unbelievable to me that I love reading about them and Massie is an excellent author. He just published a biography of Catherine the Great. I cannot wait to read it!

Glenn Andres
John Hunisak
A. Richard Turner

A two-volume tour de force about my favorite city on earth. My parents met in Florence on a blind date!

Edith Wharton
Ogden Codman Jr.

The essential book on design by two huge figures.

Nick Hornby

Hilarious.

Thomas Jayne

Being in the current edition of Finest Rooms in America is a great honor.

Roald Dahl

Perverse, funny, and a little wicked.

Judith Miller

One of my favorite design books. I love the images and the structure of the book.

William Manchester

See my comments on The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Alone 1932–1940 by William Manchester.

Dr. Seuss

With three small kids, I’m grateful I have Dr. Seuss around. This book is a favorite of mine from my childhood.

Nancy Mitford

See my comments on Frederick the Great by Nancy Mitford.

Michel Foucault

See my comments on Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault.

Mark Hampton

A must for any student of interior design.

Anne Rice

What can I say—a really great yarn.

Isabel Allende

See my comment on Eva Luna by Isabel Allende. 

Lee Child

I love all the books in the Jack Reacher series (more police procedurals)  and can’t wait for the next one.

Pat Conroy

I read this book just before my college interviews. I spent most of them making sure my interviewers went and bought this book. I loved it.

Allan Bloom

Great political philosopher writing about morality and ethics.

Joan Smith

A fascinating book of essays on the topic of misogyny. A terrific read despite the gloomy subject.

Thomas Kernan

This book (“New Achievements in French Decoration, 1960-1966”) and Les Réussites de la Décoration Française 1950–1960 (“Achievements in French Decoration, 1950-1960,” also by Thomas Kernan) are two of my all-time designer favorites. I have copies of these at home where they will be safe. They really show how taste in modern decorating has changed over the years.

Marvin Trachtenberg
Isabelle Hyman

A textbook written by a former professor of mine. It’s a must for any student of architecture.

John Richardson

Not as pulpy as Arianna Huffington’s biography—more serious and more in-depth.

Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd
Christopher Simon Sykes

A truly beautiful book with mouth-watering images of important houses.

Andrew Alpern

Horrible title—but an excellent book filled with tons of amazing floor plans of New York’s great buildings.

Jack Basehart
Photographs by Roberto Schezen

I could live in this book. The photography is so delicious.

Nick Hornby

Hilarious.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

This is in my top ten fiction reads. I love the story and I feel for Raskolnikov.

André Gide

Gide is one of my favorite writers.

Thomas Kernan

This book (“Achievements in French Decoration, 1950-1960”) and Nouvelles Réussites de la Décoration Française, 1960-1966  (“New Achievements in French Decoration, 1960-1966,” also by Thomas Kernan) are two of my all-time designer favorites. I have copies of these at home where they will be safe. They really show how taste in modern decorating has changed over the years.

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