smart is the new pretty

Tag: books

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (Review)

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (Review)

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris is one of the best books I have read in a long time (and I read a lot of books). Sedaris’s acerbic wit recounts stories of his life that are once foreign and familiar. From North Carolina […]

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis (Review)

The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis (Review)

Fiona Davis’s first novel, The Dollhouse, weaves together two stories: the story of Darby, an aspiring secretary, and Rose, a journalist who becomes obsessed with Darby’s mysterious past. Davis links these two women and their respective experiences of New York City, portraying both the glamorous world […]

My Summer Reading List

My Summer Reading List

I’m done with school (for now) which means that there’s no such thing as summer reading– in fact, I’m probably enjoying my final free summer, which means that I want to fill it with as much reading as possible. I took a trip to the bookstore to compile my summer reading list.

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The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis: I’ve already started this one, and though I’m less than 100 pages in, I’m already hooked. The story follows two characters, Darby and Rose, who are separated by over half a century. Darby moved to New York in the 1950s, and Rose (in 2016) becomes fascinated by a crime in which Darby was implicated. It is part mystery, part love story, and I just can’t wait to read more of it.

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler: Another book about New York, this stood out to me because it is a story about a girl who is the same age as me. Admittedly, I don’t know much about the plot: but I know it is about a 22 year old girl working in an elite restaurant in NYC, and the “education” that follows. I suspect it will tug at my heartstrings, and I’m excited to read a coming-of-age story about a character in her twenties (as such stories often feature teenage protagonists).

 

fullsizeoutput_3e81The Fates and the Furies by Lauren Groff: The back says this is a “deeply satisfying novel about love and art,” so I’m looking forward to diving into this novel (which was a National Book Award finalist). The story centers around Lotto and Mathilde, a glamorous married couple who appear to have a dynamite relationship (but the back cover suggests that there is more to their marriage than meets the eye). I’m sure this novel will be beautifully written.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett: I’m interested in this novel, because it deals with the challenges of writing a story about somebody you know. Franny Keating tells her lover, author Leon Posen, about the unusual circumstances of her childhood. Posen writes a successful book based on Franny’s life. I don’t know what comes next, because I haven’t read the book, but I’m curious to read about how Patchett portrays the complicated issue of selling a personal story.

 

I love having so many crisp new books to read this summer! What are you hoping to read? Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin’ and Instagram.

Currently Reading

Currently Reading

I’m not usually juggling multiple reads at once, but because of my busy school year and traveling, I currently have multiple books on my shelf, so to speak. Here are the books that I’m currently reading. Face Paint: The Story of Makeup by Lisa Eldridge: […]

My Ranking of Jane Austen’s Novels

My Ranking of Jane Austen’s Novels

Last semester, I took a single-author course for my English major on Jane Austen. I’ve read most every page Austen has written (okay, that might be an exaggeration, but I studied a whole lot of her works, even some obscure ones and partial drafts.) They’re […]

The Rebel Pirate by Donna Thorland (Book Review)

The Rebel Pirate by Donna Thorland (Book Review)

The Rebel Pirate by Donna Thorland was a random read for me. I picked it up at Barnes and Noble because it was on sale. There are so many great books for tiny sums on sale at B&N, and this one caught my eye. I’ve always been fascinated with the American Revolution (did anybody else out there grow up watching the PBS show Liberty’s Kids?) and thanks to my pre-teen obsession with Pirates of the Caribbean, I love pirates too. Hence, my decision to read a book about revolutionary-era pirates.


This book is sort of a romance masquerading as historical fiction. A historical romance, per se, but honestly I didn’t mind.  I like romance novels, particularly historical ones (or ones that have a family drama plot outside of the romance itself). The Rebel Pirate held my interest. It was fun and easy to read, but smart. Donna Thorland, the author, is actually well-versed in the historical period when the book is set. Her book jacket bio reveals that she has a degree from Yale as well as an MFA from the University of Southern California. Plus, she worked at the Peabody Essex Museum. As an art museum junkie, I love the ties to a museum.


The book is about Sarah Ward, a swashbuckling heroine whose time in dame school did little to stop her from falling into trouble with the law. It’s 1775 and smuggling is rampant, and when the Ward’s ship, The Sally, is boarded by a naval officer named James Sparhawk, a succession of troubles follow. Sparhawk is a swoon-worthy love interest. When a chest of gold goes missing from The Sally, Sparhawk is implicated as a thief, and Sarah is determined to save him.

Honestly, this book isn’t going to win the Nobel Prize, but it was fun to read. It was the type of book that made me excited to snuggle into bed and read, and I would say if you are lucky enough to find it on the sale table like me, go ahead and pick it up.
What have you been reading? Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin’ and my other social media channels!

Why I Love Bridget Jones’s Diary

Why I Love Bridget Jones’s Diary

Bridget Jones’s Diary is one of my favorite books of all time. It stands out on my bookshelf as a novel guaranteed to make me laugh-out-loud. Like many people, I saw the movie adaptation of Bridget Jones’s Diary before I read the book. I love the […]

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

I mentioned how much I was loving Robert Galbraith’s mystery novels in my August favorites, but it took me all of September (and most of October) to get through The Silkworm. That’s not to say that this book isn’t engaging: in fact, it’s a page-turner. […]

Revisiting Pride and Prejudice

Revisiting Pride and Prejudice

The first time I read Pride and Prejudice, I was fifteen. I carefully selected the title from a reading list for school, curled up in my favorite reading spot, and immersed myself in Jane Austen.

This month, I re-read Pride and Prejudice for a class about Jane Austen. Now that I’ve read the book with a trained eye and the help of a professor, I have a much better grasp of the text. At fifteen, I wasn’t able to fully understand Austen’s sense of humor. Pride and Prejudice is best known for its romance, but the tone is largely satirical. I now appreciate Austen’s mockery of the snobbish Caroline Bingley, her portrayal of the pompous Mr. Collins, and her narrator’s witty commentaries. Though a close reading of the book may reveal some mildly unflattering traits of Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennett, the story ultimately has a fairytale ending. Elizabeth Bennett defies social expectations by marrying for love, but still gets to marry young, handsome, and rich Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth comes to understand herself, Mr. Darcy turns out to be a gentleman, and they all live happily ever after.

It’s easy to think of Pride and Prejudice as a 2005 movie starring Kiera Knightley, and while I like this film adaptation, it doesn’t fully encompass Austen’s work. In many ways, the film adaptation is what we want Pride and Prejudice to be: a timeless rags-to-riches romance about a strong-willed woman and a painfully shy man. However, Pride and Prejudice is actually much more than that: it is a romance, but it is also a satire of 18th century English society and a discussion of social values.

Pride and Prejudice is clever and romantic, but what I love most about this novel is its beautiful construction. Jane Austen has impressive mastery over the text, from her subtle narrative voice to her vibrant characters and her precise placement of each scene. Pride and Prejudice is simultaneously thought-provoking and entertaining, the kind of book that is worth revisiting.

August Favorites

August Favorites

August was a busy month for me. I visited friends, drove across the country, and started back up at work and school. During such a busy time, I was happy to have favorite makeup products to start my mornings and favorite books to read before […]