For the uninitiated, staying at a luxury hotel can be a little intimidating. On top of the exotic amenities and premium services, you encounter shiny people at every turn, like extra utensils at a fancy place setting, ready to do things for you that — no, really — you’d much rather do yourself. Do you tip the doorman? Can you keep the Swiss lotion? What, exactly, is “turndown service,” and why on Earth would anyone ever need it?
Front desk raconteur Jacob Tomsky is here to help. His sharp-witted, candid new book, “Heads in Beds,” demystifies the world of high-end hospitality so effectively that you’ll start looking up rates at the Ritz. (Of course, at those prices, the fantasy might die there.)
Near the end of Sylvia Plath’s novel The Bell Jar, Esther Greenwood recalls how her mother, mortified by Esther’s recent stay at an asylum, recommended they simply carry on as if nothing—the fits, the hallucinations, the suicide attempt—had ever happened. “Maybe forgetfulness, like a kind of snow, should numb and cover them,” Esther thinks. “But they were part of me. They were my landscape.”
Unlike Esther, New York Post reporter Susannah Cahalan says she remembers almost nothing of her terrifying brush with madness, but she’s no less haunted by it. Using evidence gathered from interviews, medical records, journals, and hospital video cameras, she delivers an intense, mesmerizing account of survival in her new book, Brain on Fire.