Thursday, October 4, 2012

October's Reads...and a Giveaway!

Oh October, you are absolutely perfect!
Not just for the 'sweater and wellies' friendly weather, the apple picking (and apple pie eating), two of my fav holidays in one month (in Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving in October and of course, there is Halloween, need I say more!) but October with its cool winds and evening chill has always given me a cozy feeling. This warm coziness whispers to me, 'slow easy-peasy night spent indoors with nothing much to do is okay'.
As if I need one more reason to hide away with a good book!
(Find more information about this month's reading list giveaway at the bottom of this post!)

I have a thing for New York City and the golden era of the '50s and '60s (my obsession with Mad Men can attest to that!) so when I came across author Janet Groth's witty and engaging memoir of her time spent at the New Yorker starting in 1957, I picked it up right away!
"Revelatory dispatches from 21 years as a receptionist at the New Yorker—1957 to 1978—expose more about Groth’s own sense of writerly inadequacy in that pre-feminist era than about the famous writers she worked for. Fresh out of the University of Minnesota, armed with a writing prize and an entrée to interview with the New Yorker’s legendary E.B. White, Groth secured a receptionist job on the 18th floor of the midtown Manhattan building—the “writers’ floor”—with every expectation of moving on to fact-checking or reporting within a year or two. While answering their phones and messages, watering their plants, babysitting their kids, and housesitting, Groth secured mentoring relationships (and regular lunches) with numerous writers like John Berryman, Joseph Mitchell, and Muriel Spark, whom she delineates in touching tributes, yet the simmering subtext to this deeply reflective, rueful memoir is the question why she did not advance in two decades at the magazine...As the magazine weathered tumultuous events of the 1960s and ’70, Groth chronicles the many dazzling personalities whose lives touched, and moved, hers."
(Publishers Weekly)

One of the few things that rival my interest in NYC circa 1960's just so happens to be my never- ending fascination with the French and their way of life. After racing through (and loving!) 'Paris in Love' by Eloisa James last month, I was very eager to get my hands on another 'American in Paris' memoir, this one complete with recipes, just another delicious dimension to Elizabeth Bard's Parisian journal!
"In this pleasant memoir about learning to live and eat à la française, an American journalist married to a Frenchman inspires lessons in culinary détente. Bard was working as a journalist in London and possessed of the wonderful puppy-dog enthusiasm of young Americans when she first met her husband-to-be, Gwendal, a computer engineer from Brittany. Soon he had the foresight to put her name on the gas bill of his Parisian apartment in the 10th arrondissement, and they were destined to marry—and cook together. Her memoir is really a celebration of the culinary season as it unfolded in their young lives together: recipes for seduction (onion and bacon); getting serious over andouillette; learning to buy what's fresh at the Parisian markets (four and a half pounds of figs); surviving a long, cold winter in an unheated apartment; and warming up their visiting parents over profiteroles. Bard throws in some American recipes that feel like home, such as noodle pudding, and comforting soups for a winter's grieving over the death of the father-in-law. Bard carefully observes the eating habits of her impossibly slender mother-in-law for tips to staying slim (lots of water and no snacking)...and as a Jewish New Yorker, even prepares a Passover Seder in Paris, in this work that manages to be both sensuous and informative."
(From Publishers Weekly)

They say that many of us will experience a mini 'mid-life' crisis after attending our first college reunion. Reunions have a way of bringing back to light all the dreams and goals we had for ourselves at a time in our lives when anything and everything seemed possible and of course the realization that the path we set out for ourselves is not always the path we follow. 'The Red Book' chronicles this 'rude awakening' of four Ivy Leaguers, Harvard grads who prove that it doesn't matter who your daddy is or where you come from, growing up is not all its cracked up to be.
"Coming from wildly diverse backgrounds, Clover, Addison, Jane, and Mia have continued on divergent postgraduate tracks. From one woman’s dreams of an independent art career stifled by her husband’s writing job to another’s acting ambitions overshadowed by the demands of motherhood, the women take this opportunity to realize how their college dreams have slowed, shifted, or disappeared entirely while new opportunities have opened up."
(From Booklist)

I don't watch alot of TV but when I do, one of my fav shows to tune into is TLC's 'What Not To Wear'. I wasn't initially convinced that I would not enjoy it as much as I adored the original BBC show (with the superb Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine) but TLC did a fantastic job winning me over, mostly due to their choice in hosts. Stacy London (and her dashing co-host Clinton Kelly) not only know how to dress the masses to perfection but Ms. London seems to have a knack at digging a little deeper into issues that might be causing certain sartorial slip-ups. 'The Truth About Style' gives us a glimpse into Ms. London's life pre-WNTW and the emotional issues she dealt with on a personal basis, highly relate-able for anyone who has ever 'second guessed' (and over-obsessed with) what looked back at them from their mirror.
"With her unique talent for seeing past disastrous wardrobes to the core emotional issues that caused these sartorial crises, style savant Stacy London has transformed not only the looks but also the lives of hundreds of guests who have appeared on What Not to Wear....Like the women she’s transformed, London has plenty of emotional baggage. At eleven, she suffered from severe psoriasis that left her with permanent physical and mental scars. During college, she became anorexic on a misguided quest for perfection. By the time she joined the staff at Vogue, London’s weight had doubled from binge eating. Although self-esteem and self-consciousness nearly sabotaged a promising career, London learned the hard way that we wear our insecurities every day...In The Truth About Style, London shares her own often painful history and her philosophy of the healing power of personal style—illustrating it with  a series of detailed “start-overs” with eight real women, demonstrating how personal style helps them overcome the emotional obstacles we all face."
(From Viking)

As a long time reader and ardent admirer of Andrea Linett's blog, I Want to Be Her, I was ecstatic when I read that her new book (based on her blog) would be released this month. As much as I love her blog, I have a feeling I will race through this book as fast as my eyes can take me! 
"I Want to Be Her! is part memoir and part illustrated fashion guide, written by one of fashion’s most accessible, trusted, and inspiring writers. Andrea Linett, the co-founder of Lucky magazine, shares her personal story of growing up and finding her way to fashion, and the figures who guided her along the way. Through short descriptions and memories, we meet 50 women across five eras of her life—some passing strangers, some casual friends, some close confidantes—who each made a lasting impression and helped her form her own personal style. In addition, each woman is captured in an illustration by Linett’s longtime collaborator, Anne Johnston Albert, and fashion tips accompany each entry."
(From Abrams Image)

As a gal who has long studied the elements of timeless style and the truly chic, I could not have found a better subject to study than my very own style icon, the legendary Diana Vreeland and the fabulous life she created for herself. Having read every book ever written about Mrs. Vreeland, I am very curious to see what new bits one can garner from The Eye Has to Travel since it promises a bit more of an insider's view. The lusciously illustrated biography was written by Lisa Immordino Vreeland (wife of Diana Vreelands's grandson) who although never actually meeting Mrs.Vreeland before her passing, was privy to family files and research not available to others. 
"Called the “High Priestess of Fashion,” Diana Vreeland (1903–1989) was an American original whose impact on fashion and style was legendary. Beginning in 1936, when she became a fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar, Vreeland established herself as a controversial visionary with an astonishing ability to invent and discover fashion ideas, designers, personalities, and photographers. She was a memorable writer with a vivid personality and a talent for coining aphorisms. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel chronicles 50 years of international fashion and Vreeland’s rich life. With more than 350 illustrations, including original magazine spreads and many famous photographs, this intensely visual book shows fashion as it was being invented, and how Vreeland shaped American taste through her superb vision."
(From Abrams)

Now onto our giveaway!
We will be giving away one book from this months reading list to a lucky winner.
Our winner will be randomly chosen from all the submitted entries and the winner will receive one book of their choice from the featured books on October's Reads (see above for reading list) 

How to enter:
1. Leave a comment below telling us what is on your reading list this month.
2. Become a GFC follower of this blog for one entry. (Find Google Friend Connect in the right sidebar. If you are already a follower, mention it in your comment to be counted as an entry)
3. 'Like' us on Facebook for one entry.
4. 'Follow' us on Twitter for one entry.

Contest ends on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 11:59 pm EST and the winner will be announced on Friday October 12, 2012.
Good luck!


eas said...

My reading list this month:
1. Gone Girl
2. Into the Woods
3. Kitchen House
4. Olivia and the Fairy Princesses (daughter is four ha ha)

Thank you.

eas said...

I'm a follower. Thank you.

suburban prep said...

I have a few books such as
1. How Lucky Are You
2. last Summer
3. Sea Change

suburban prep said...

I am a follower via GFC.

Lena at A Crimson Kiss said...

What a fabulous reading list–and giveaway! I'm finishing the Poisonwood Bible this month, and after that The Receptionist and Tigers in Red Weather!

Carole said...

First, thanks for sharing your book recommendations. I love to read.

Currently reading Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

Carole said...

I follow your blog via GFC.

Carole said...

I already follow/like you on Facebook.

Carole said...

Yep, follow you on Twitter. @cspod

JudyMac said...

This follower is currently reading "Sacre Bleu" by Christopher Moore. If you like the Impressionist artists, you like this one. I'm really on a Paris kick as I will be heading there in about a week. Travel reading along for the ride will be a biography of Nancy Mitford (one of the famous Mitford sisters) by Selena Hastings. Mitford, who wrote the very witty "The Pursuit of Love," loved Paris and died at her home in Versailles. Also recently read "Therese Raquin," written by Emile Zola and published in 1867. More Paris! Enjoy reading your blog!

HelOnWheels said...

I follow you through my Google front page (whatever that means). And my October reading list is:

1. Seductress
2. The Honest Courtesan
3. A Conspiracy of Paper