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What Author Lee Child Can’t Live Without

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair, but the hand sanitizer and the electric toothbrush. We asked Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher series (which includes Killing Floor, Die Trying, and new book The Midnight Line), about the slim-fit jeans, writing desk, and light reading he can’t live without.

I have a 30-inch waist and 38-inch leg, and there’s virtually no chance of getting that size in the store (although on the West Coast there’s at least the possibility, even though I can never find them in New York). I’ve tried several brands, and Wrangler’s Slim Fit is just the pair that fits the best. I’m not really a fashionista, but I like the slim ones in the dark wash they call Root Beer or the lighter one called Storm Blue. I always buy six of everything because when I find something I like I panic they’ll discontinue them, so I have 12 pairs of these jeans.

I don’t know how you pronounce Vitsoe, but they make my idea of the perfect office shelves. I love how they look, but they were designed in 1959, which means they’re not totally practical. Back then, you never had to account for wires, of course, but now, I have electronics with wires down the back and nowhere for them to go. I do love the elegant look they have, though, if not their practicality.

My parents died recently, so I inherited a few old pictures of myself as a little kid. But, of course, photos are never exactly the four-by-six or whatever you need for the frames, which means you have to go cut them and head to the store and laboriously tell the guy what size you need. I found Matboard as an online alternative to all that — they do custom mats for photos — and now they just arrive perfectly sized without the hassle. It’s so easy.

I actually ran into a problem with the mat boards, though, because they’re very thick (like an eighth of an inch), so the frames I had on hand were too thin. Pottery Barn has great-looking things at a decent price that blend well with practically anything. They’re just a plain, polished metal that’s silver-plated I believe, which suits an old traditional home as well as a modern one. Now, I can display my photos with mats and with nice frames.

There was something about Restoration Hardware for a long time — maybe ten years — when everything that they sold just was my exact taste. It was like my personal fantasy museum: that slightly old-fashioned, slightly distressed, casual but sophisticated look. I’m actually probably their best customer in the history of the world. I love this desk, where I do my writing, so of course it’s completely essential, but I also have Restoration side tables and clocks and a Sorensen sofa that’s perfectly distressed. I love it all.

Coffee is the second-most traded commodity in the world, but in my house it’s the first-most. Once, I was sent a sample from the Baltimore Coffee & Tea Company, and I liked it so much we went into business. If you read the Jack Reacher books, you know about his love of coffee, and it was kind of a literary decision because most of the guys in thrillers are recovering alcoholics, but I thought it’d be nice to have a guy who just loves plain coffee because I love it so much. I haven’t bought coffee for maybe ten years because people are always sending it to me. Now Jack Reacher Coffee is my favorite blend, though.

When I’m not reading books, I’m reading magazines. I really regret that print magazines are going more and more online. Even though I read a lot of books, I love bite-size magazine journalism. Both New York and The New Yorker get into long-form writing with real depth and coverage.

For a person like me, New York pushes me toward being more hip, while The New Yorker is a bit more serious, so I’m most comfortable between the two. Whenever I read the magazines, I have two or three articles per issue that I want to hold onto. I actually save them in a drawer.

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What Author Lee Child Can’t Live Without