Since I don’t always feel like yapping about fashion or celebrity (see: last seven days!) I thought it might be fun to broaden the scope of The Dress Down a little, so up there in the menu you’ll see a brand new category: Stuff We Love! That’s my free pass to occasionally write about random stuff that I’ve taken a shine to, and ask some guest bloggers to write about stuff they love too… from beauty to food to – as the drop down says – books!
With summer officially here it seemed like July was the perfect time to do some summer-themed posts on all of the above, and maybe more! So to kick off I asked my good friend, book worm and pop culture aficionado, Heather, to recommend some good reads.
Heather is my go-to person when I want to know what blockbusters or super hero flicks are worth my time, she shares my love of high school movies, rom-coms, The Mindy Project, and fine, Zac Efron. She opened me up to the Young Adult genre by making me read Eleanor and Park, and she introduced me to my favourite podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour, the archives of which brought me several hundred hours of great entertainment while I was slaving away in my studio last Christmas. So in other words, I know if Heather likes it I probably will too, so even if some of these initially sound like they might not be my cup of tea, I’m already sold!
Enjoy, and feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments!
Hello To The Dress Down readers!
When Carolyn asked me to write a bit about books for her blog I thought she must be crazy, but then I realized a) I love books, b) I love talking about books and c) I love recommending books to others, so here we are!
It’s July 1st – excuse me, where the hell did the first half of 2014 go??? – and since the year is half over, I’m looking back at the books I’ve loved so far this year.
Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige.
As a kid I adored the land of Oz, and this is a very cool twist on the characters we know and love. Dorothy and all of her pals are eeeevil, and rule Oz with an iron fist (or tin, as it were)! Amy Gumm is another girl from Kansas who is transported to Oz in a tornado. She meets the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, a group of vigilantes that includes Mombi. Remember Mombi? She most likely terrorized your dreams if you have ever seen the “classic” Return to Oz, with Fairuza Balk.
Amy is tasked by the Order to infiltrate the palace, and as the title suggests, kill Dorothy.
All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr.
There are many, many, many novels set during WWII, but this one stands out. Set in Nazi-occupied France, it’s about Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, and Werner, a young German soldier with an aptitude for fixing radios. Their stories are very different-Marie-Laure is in hiding with an eccentric Uncle, and Werner is called into service by the Hitler Youth, but ultimately they are both just trying to survive. Doerr surrounds them with such a compelling cast of characters, and even the smallest ones are memorable and often heartbreaking.
You can watch Anthony speak about his inspiration for the book here.
The Quick, by Lauren Owen.
To tell you anything substantial about it would be to ruin the surprises that await. James Norbury is a poet who goes missing in London. His sister Charlotte goes searching for her brother, and a Victorian gothic tale unfolds. There are some seriously creepy and seriously badass characters in this book.
The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, by Heather O’Neill.
I fell in love with the eccentric and charming Little Nicholas and Nouschka, twin offspring of a famous Québécois folk singer. They are promiscuous, bohemian and inseparable at the age of 19, but things soon change. Set in Quebec at the time of the 1995 referendum, Nicholas and Nouschka learn a lot about growing up, growing apart, and the ties that bind.
Landline, by Rainbow Rowell.
This is a novel about adults, not teens as depicted in Eleanor & Park and Fangirl (you’ve read them, yes? What are you waiting for?) but it is still filled with Rainbow’s trademark pop culture references, witty banter and heartfelt moments. Georgie McCool is a television writer who gets a unique opportunity to fix her troubled marriage in the present through a landline phone connected to the past. Full disclosure, I’ve been lucky enough to see Rainbow twice in person, and she’s pretty much the best person on the planet. She is engaging, empathetic and hilarious, and brings all those qualities to all her books. Don’t think too hard about this one, just read it!
All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews.
Toews draws on her own experience with suicide (her father’s and sister’s) to write a realistic portrayal of sisterhood and family and what it might be like when someone you love to their core wants to end their life. Elfreida is the married, world renowned concert pianist, and Yolandi is her sister, the self professed “screw-up” of the family with kids by two different fathers. It is Elf who wants to end her life, and Yolandi who rushes to her aid at every turn. You will need tissues close at hand for this one, but it is surprisingly funny at times as Toews draws on Elf and Yoli’s Mennonite background for some levity.
Hexed, by Michelle Krys.
This book is described as Bring It On meets The Craft, so you’d best believe it shot to the top of my reading list immediately! Indie is a cheerleader just outgrowing her too cool for school football boyfriend and head cheerleader BFF. She finds out she may be a witch, and is tasked to recover a missing book that’s in the middle of a blood feud between witches and sorcerers. Just wait until you meet Bishop, the tattooed, long dark haired, tall drink of warlock who is the pain in the ass/love interest at her side. Your inner 16 year old will be squeeing with joy!