smart is the new pretty

Tag: novels

The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. By and large, I read work that can’t easily be categorized in one genre, but historical novels have a special place in my heart. Daisy Goodwin is one of the foremost historical novelists of recent years. Her […]

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.

fullsizeoutput_3e7e

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 […]

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 movie, and Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant, and Colin Firth are perfectly cast. But there’s no reason to avoid this book just because you’ve seen the movie. The plot is similar, but that isn’t the main draw of Bridget Jones. Since it’s a 20th century adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, the ending isn’t exactly a surprise. The highlight of Bridget Jones’s Diary, rather than the plotline, is Bridget’s acerbic wit.

Bridget Jones's Diary

Bridget Jones is utterly relatable. And when she isn’t being relatable, her antics blow past reality into a realm of unprecedented humor. If you like to read, or even if you aren’t much of a reader, you will probably find this book enjoyable. It’s a bit of a “chick-lit” classic, and if you like chick lit, you will want to have Bridget Jones in your arsenal. However, don’t be wary of the “chick-lit” designation. I’m not usually a chick-lit reader, but I enjoyed every second of this book. I’ve actually read it twice!

If you’re a literary nerd like me, Bridget Jones is a very clever adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. I tracked all of the similarities between the two stories for a project I was working on last semester in my Jane Austen class. Bridget’s parents, friends, and certain plot points are all morphed and adapted for a 20th century audience. Helen Fielding is skillful and clever in her adaptation.

Bridget Jones Diary is an epistolary novel, written in (of course) diary entries. It’s a quick read, so I would highly recommend picking it up!

It’s been a hot minute since I blogged about books, but now that my schedule has calmed down I’m hoping to spend more time reading.  What are your favorite books? Do you have any recommendations for me?

Book Review: Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmonds

Book Review: Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmonds

Tamara Drewe is a one-of-a-kind book, written and illustrated by Posy Simmonds. The story takes place in a sleepy English town, a town that is turned upside down when Tamara Drewe returns to her family home. Tamara is an ugly duckling turned bombshell thanks to […]

Book Review: Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

Book Review: Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

I rarely blog about books that I read for school; although there probably is a niche market for Henry James reviews, somehow I think that the public is more interested in contemporary literature. However, Astonish Me is a 2014 novel that one of my professors used in […]

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Jessica Knoll’s 2015 novel Luckiest Girl Alive bears a quote from Megan Abbott, author of The Fever, raving “with the cunning and verve of Gillian Flynn but with an intensity all its own.” Gillian Flynn’s name is in large print, and sends an obvious message: read this book if you like Gillian Flynn. This marketing maneuver isn’t entirely obsolete; there are many readers of Gillian Flynn who will probably enjoy Luckiest Girl Alive, but the books are not all that similar. Flynn, best known for Gone Girl, writes creepy thrillers, and while there are elements of Luckiest Girl Alive that are both creepy and thrilling, I wouldn’t call the novel a thriller. I also think I read somewhere that Luckiest Girl Alive is a cross between Mean Girls and Gillian Flynnwhich attracted me to the book. However, none of these descriptions fully capture the nature of this novel.

Luckiest Girl Alive is about Ani FaNelli, a newly engaged New York woman who has recently been asked to return to the darkest part of her past. Ani attended the Bradley School, a prestigious high school that serves well-to-do students of old Pennsylvania families. While at this school, Ani endured what the blurb on the dust jacket refers to as  a “shocking, public humiliation.” Well, let me tell you, “shocking, public humiliation” doesn’t even start to cover what Ani endured. The Bradley School is a dog-eat-dog world of sexual predators and social climbers, and Ani is naively sucked into the vicious environment. As events spin out of control, Ani experiences scarring events that affect her entire life.

Knoll is a skillful writer who creates an interesting and believable narrator. However, sometimes Ani’s anger is off-putting. Bring it to the beach if you want a novel that will keep you engaged, but be prepared to think about this book after you are finished. I admit, I was not sure how I felt about the book while I was reading it because I could not figure out where the novel was going, or what it was trying to accomplish. However, upon reflection I appreciate the grittiness and intensity of the novel, which deals with issues facing modern America. Though perhaps not Gillian Flynn-esque, Luckiest Girl Alive is a satisfying and thought-provoking read.

Introducing Bookworm Beauty

Introducing Bookworm Beauty

Hi there world! In case you haven’t already noticed, I really like books. In fact, I like books so much that I’m an English major and a French major, so I can read books in two languages. But there’s something else that I really like, […]