50 Novels by Ladies Under 50 That We Should Read

Friends, I think I read a lot. A whole lot, actually. I was texting with my brother the other day and realized I read six books in the month of June… one of which was Bonfire of the Vanities, which is really long. Maybe it doesn’t seem like that many books – but it is a lot when you work full-time! And like TV! (Suits and Black Box for summer, anyone?)

However, I just stumbled across this list via Flavorwire: “50 Excellent Novels by Female Writers Under 50 That Everyone Should Read“, and I haven’t read that many! (What is Flavorwire you ask? I’m not entirely sure, but a lot of the content looks interesting!)

In fact, I have read two or 2.5, if you will-

Special Topics in Calamity Physics – which I wholeheartedly recommend!

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Also love her second book, Night Film. Although it actually gave me nightmares… very dark.

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The History of Love is a great one – although really unexpected. Very sweet to read and experience but probably not what you’re expecting after judging by the cover.

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And, The Flamethrowers is at least on my Kindle wish list.

So now I just have to finish All the Light We Cannot See (currently reading) and Creativity Inc. (leading work discussion)… but I wanted to share this because I think it’s a great one to check out / use for a fall book club lineup. More on that later…!

 

 

 

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2013 Reads

I have tried on at least two occasions to keep a “book log”, or reading journal, or really any sort of record of the books I have read in a year, but I always taper off after a few books / weeks. Since I enjoy blogging about books I have read, I think I’ll try my hand at a book log here, and I’ll update this post as I read more books. Also, it might serve as a quick way to know what books I would recommend, if you decided to ask me.

Ideally I will link the below titles to their corresponding post on the blog. Of course, this means I have to blog about all, or almost all of the books I read, but that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

So to start –

January

Sweet Tooth, Ian McEwan – Recommend. 

More of a character piece than a plot piece, but those might be my favorite. I really liked the heroine, Serena, and for McEwan fans, I would say this is nowhere near as dark as Atonement.

Winter of the Worlds, Ken Follett – Recommend, but read Book One first.

Because it is part of “The Century Trilogy”, the who/what major historical event / where is a bit contrived, but it’s worth it. It’s a wonderfully intricate character web, if you will.

Grace: A Memoir, Grace Coddington – Indifferent on the reco.

As I wrote in my post on this book – it was interesting, and I learned from it, but as far as memoirs go, it was lacking the and this made my life feel ____, or XYZ happened and I was never the same. It was more of a play-by-play than my favorite memoirs – but if you love fashion (check) and pretend to know things about photography (check), you should read it. It won’t take too long.

February

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Book Store, Robin Sloan – Recommend Passively.

Book club book that surprised me by its current-ness. More mentions of Google, Twitter, different generations of Macs than most fiction (that I read), but it was good storyline and a quick read. Perfect for a 3 hour flight.  Apparently, the hardback cover glows, but I read it on my Kindle, so I had no idea!

The Paris Wife, Paula McLain – Wouldn’t really recommend…

Also, a Book Club select, and it was a fiction book that teetered on non-fiction with the thoroughly researched dialogue. The most interesting part of the book – learning about the trip and obsession with Spain that inspired The Sun Also Rises. Mostly, The Paris Wife, made me want to read more Hemingway (not necessarily more Paula McClain).

March

Salt Sugar Fat, Michael Moss – RECOMMEND! 

Salt Sugar Fat is a fascinating nonfiction book I have forced onto almost everyone I know… but the book tells the story of the evolution of the packaged food industry. Written by a former investigative reporter, you can count on lots of facts, substantiation, details… definitely worth reading.

A Song of Fire and Ice, George R. R. Martin – Recommend 

Finished! Finally! I won’t say anything until the TV season wraps – but you should read it. In order.

I know I normally just post the cover of the book, but I found this picture of George RR and thought it was worth posting. He’s so Gandolf/Dumbledore/Peter Jackson-esque, I had to post it.

March

The Imperfectionists, Tom Rachman – Recommend

The Kindle

For Christmas, Hewitt gave me a Kindle in my grab bag / Happy Birthday bag of gifts. And I love my Kindle, but sometimes I’m conflicted about it.

I love books, so for a long time, I didn’t even want a Kindle. I actually never even asked for it. But when my carry on is weighed down by approximately three 800 page books before our honeymoon… I think Hewitt knew my book habits did not make for sustainable travel.

Kindle Pros

It is light. It is small and easy to travel with. (These are obvious benefits.)

I think I might actually read faster on it for some reason – this is unsubstantiated because I don’t know how I would justify this claim, but it seems the pages melt away more quickly.

I can read the Kindle on the treadmill. I’ve always tried to flip through a book or magazine on the elliptical, but only the Kindle allows you to increase the font size so it’s legible while actually running, and it doesn’t require any form of book holder/page holding down device. It lays flat.

The books costs a bit less.

I feel pretty appropriate reading The New Digital Age on it.

It prevents me from filling our apartment to the brim with books.

Kindle Cons

It isn’t a real, traditional book.

I would remember when a character was introduced or an event occurred based on the thickness / page number. I could refer back to passages or confusing sections as needed pretty easily. I haven’t figured out how to do this with the Kindle. The highlighting feature would only work if I knew in advance that I would want to remember something later… and this isn’t always the case!

It prevents me from filling our apartment to the brim with books.

Overall– I love having a Kindle. It was a great gift I could probably have never managed to bring myself to ask for or buy on principle. But I love having it.

And when we have a bigger apartment or home, I’ll probably have to buy some of the e-books I’ve been reading to fill the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves I’m dreaming of…

Advertising and Mustard

I work in advertising at a great agency in New York. We aren’t on Madison Ave, but I do like Mad Men. I do not drink at my desk or condone adultery. If you watch the show, I know those are the first questions you would have for me.

But because I work in advertising, you can expect that sometimes I will blog about it.

Case 1 – The Society of Good Taste

Grey Poupon and Crispin Porter + Bogusky have launched a new mass-market campaign – a first for Grey Poupon in a while.  The theme is perfect – “Spread good Taste.” Much of it currently hinges on a Facebook page where fans “apply” for membership, their page is scanned to evaluate tastes, refinery, culture… etc., and they are either welcomed into The Society or not.

As a recent convert to mustard- I now realize I only dislike yellow mustard – I of course thought myself an easy accept. I don’t like the plebian yellow mustard, I much prefer the spicy brown or coarse deli mustard. Of course, Grey Poupon will find my Facebook interactions and honeymoon photos and “hi! phone date soon?” wall posts to be more than enough to realize I have tastes for the finer things in life, including mustard. Furthermore, I have had at least one “conversation” with my dear husband about how Grey Poupon is one thing that simply shouldn’t be replaced by a store brand. (Another point for refinery.) My logic for this is that one Barefoot Contessa claims it is the best ingredient to always have on hand for sauces and vinaigrettes. So I believe her, and I buy the real thing.

All of this build up is to admit that I was not in fact admitted to The Society. I was deemed normal. The feedback from The Society was actually, “Try perusing a good book!” (Ha.) So while my enthusiasm has diminished in light of my rejection; I have created a self-serving rationale for my exclusion. I simply don’t detail all the fabulous books I’ve read, food I’ve sampled and places I’ve seen on Facebook. I know it’s silly, but this way, I can still like the campaign and maintain that I am somewhat well read and cultured. (Much more to come on books, by the way.)

The feel of the campaign is great – it makes me think of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Graham Memorial building at Carolina for some reason. The copy is witty and endearing and it all feels warm, anglophilic and like tufted club chairs in an oak paneled room. Certainly, this is the intention. Next time I think of reading a book by a roaring fire in a cozy chair, I’ll envision a jar of Grey Poupon on the end table.

I’ll let you know if I apply again for membership.