smart is the new pretty

Tag: reading

The Girls by Emma Cline (Review)

The Girls by Emma Cline (Review)

The Girls by Emma Cline is the type of book that is so exceptional, I almost feel like I’m doing it a disservice by blogging about it. I don’t usually place too much emphasis on the literary versus the non-literary (e.g. genre works, or “just […]

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 […]

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 to France, Sedaris explores relationships and friendships with his signature humor.

Admittedly, Sedaris’s greatest gift is his ability to make people laugh out loud while reading, but his stories probe deeper than pure comedy. Me Talk Pretty One Day is a scrambled coming-of-age story, a sort of künstlerroman about the development of a writer. Sedaris chronicles his adult struggle to learn French, anecdotes of his tanorexic sister and summers at the beach, and bizarre moments of his life as a conceptual artist.

Sedaris has a bizarre charm that pervades his work. He talks about his stint with speed as if it were mundane, satirizing the humiliation of addiction while acknowledging its tragedy. His chapters have titles like “Jesus Shaves” and “Giant Dreams, Midget Abilities,” which showcase Sedaris’s irreverent humor and creativity.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (Review)

I blew through Me Talk Pretty One Day, because it was pure fun to read. Sedaris’s language is luminous, his logic zany, and his prose fluid. I am convinced that he is a uniquely talented author, with a signature brand of wit. I rushed out to purchase his other books immediately after finishing Me Talk Pretty One Day, and I can’t wait to start reading them! Though I generally gravitate more towards novels than memoirs, Sedaris may convert me to a devoted nonfiction reader.

 

What have you been reading this summer? Be sure to follow me on Bloglovin’ and Instagram.

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 […]

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: Obviously, I’m a makeup addict, but being a bookworm I also adore the history of makeup. This book has beautiful photos and a lot of information; I find that cosmetic history can sometimes be hard to come across via the internet, but this book is rife with stories and examples. The history is interspersed with images of old advertisements, historical paintings, and more. Eldridge also outlines makeup icons throughout the ages, from Audrey Hepburn to Queen Alexandra. I love reading about history, and this book is fascinating and fun.

The Bachelors by Muriel Spark: This pseudo-mystery is a novel unlike any other I have read. I received it as a gift from my cousin, who purchased it upon recommendation at an independent bookstore (definitely a good way to go about getting a book for a loved one). I’m intrigued by the unconventional plot, which centers mysteriously around a medium and four other men. I’m only halfway through the book, and it’s a little slow, but I’m interested to see where it will go.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: Coincidentally, my sister and I all ended up reading this book around the same time (and once my sister and I read it, our mom had to be in, too). This 21st century work of literary fiction is both chilling and heartbreaking, but also thought-provoking and touching. While I can’t say much else without spoiling the whole book, I would say that it is an intriguing take on science fiction, which closely examines interpersonal relationships through a somewhat gothic lens. Though the pace of the novel is a little slow, it is still somehow a page-turner because of the mystery and suspense Ishiguro creates.

The Meat and Spirit Plan by Selah Saterstrom: Okay, so I’m cheating a little because I actually just finished this one, but because I was reading it at the same time as the other books on this list, I decided it made the cut. The Meat and Spirit Plan is an unconventional, raw coming-of-age story about a small-town girl from the the South. I read it for a creative writing class, but it didn’t feel like I was reading it “for school.” It is at once hilarious and devastating. While the writing is more traditional, the structure of the narrative falls on the experimental side. The book is broken into short segments, which sometimes are centered on the page. For this reason, the book is just as physically and visually beautiful as it is interesting.

The Meat and Spirit Plan by Selah Saterstrom

What have you been reading as of late? Have you read any of these books? Be sure to comment and follow me on Bloglovin’ and Instagram. Also share this post if you enjoy it!

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 […]

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.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Robert Galbraith’s debut novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, is among my favorite books of 2016. The Cuckoo’s Calling is a detective novel; it isn’t a thriller, so it doesn’t rely on scare tactics to advance the plot. Galbraith builds suspense instead of fear, creating compelling characters […]