Two Classics, One Summer

Like the best classic novels, red nails will never get old. We paired them together for the ultimate summer inspiration.

Whatever the summer occasion, or ensemble, there's a shade of red nail polish to match. Picnics in the park or hikes by the beach? Denim cut-offs or vintage halter-dresses? Check, check, check, and check. But whatever you're doing, and whatever you're doing, you should always have a good book with you.

So, to celebrate our current manicure obsession, and one of our favorite activities, we decided to combine the two one recent afternoon in New York City's Washington Square Park. We think you'll agree that classic red nails are even more striking against beautiful, scarce editions of classic titles such as Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood and Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's, which we borrowed from B & B Rare Books, in Manhattan.


Here, find your ideal shade, then add some books to your summer reading queue!

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The Red: One of OPI's most popular classic reds, with a pearlescent finish.

The Read: The only novel ever published by Zelda Fitzgerald, F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife, this book is widely considered to be a semi-autobiographical account of her tumultuous relationship with the iconic author.

Nails: I'm Not Really a Waitress by OPI, $10, ulta.com. Book: First-edition of Save Me the Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald (with the original jacket), $400, bbrarebooks.com.

The Red: Grunge-y with a subtle twinkle

The Read: This book is a collection of writings from Gertrude Stein, who was one of the most important figures of the modernist movement in Paris during the early 1900s, where she hosted regular salons attended by Picasso, Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Henri Matisse.

Nails: Black Metal Dahlia, $10, occmakeup.com. Book: The 1922 first-edition printing of Geography and Plays by Gertrude Stein, $65, bbrarebooks.com.

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The Red: As sweet as cherry pie

The Read: The final book in Willa Cather's pioneer-focused trilogy, My Ántonia is considered by many to be the author's masterpiece. (But that's no reason to skip the first two.)

Nails: Really Red, $9, essie.com. Book: The 1918 second edition of My Ántonia by Willa Cather, with an inscription from the author to writer Oliver La Farge, $1,500, bbrarebooks.com.

The Red: Light-bodied, like a good Pinot Noir

The Read: O'Connor's debut novel may not be her most famous work, but it is an essential read for all fans of dark, Southern literature.

Nails: Veronica, $10, zoya.com. Book: First edition and first printing of Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor, $1,000, bbrarebooks.com.

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The Red: Shimmery and just translucent enough to let the light shine through The Read: In this novel, Bradbury dreams of capturing the beauty of summer in a bottle—he certainly comes very close to doing it in book form.

Nails: Pics or It Didn't Happen, $15, trustfundbeauty.com. Book: First edition of Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury, $1,500, bbrarebooks.com.

The Red: A bright, punchy primary

The Read: Big Sur is an unforgettable dispatch from a Northern California cabin by one of the Beat Generation's preeminent writers.

Nails: Gangsta Boo, $8, flossgloss.com. Book: The first edition hard cover of Big Sur by Jack Kerorac, $750, bbrarebooks.com.

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The Red: Deep, dark, and complicated

The Read: If you want this summer to be something special, consider kicking it off with the most daringly experimental work of Woolf's career.

Nails: Le Vernis in Rouge Noir, $28, chanel.com. Book: First edition and first printing of The Waves by Virginia Woolf (one of 7,000 copies), $1,500, bbrarebooks.com.

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