The January Book List

This January saw the return of the written word. Here are the books I couldn’t put down…

This year sees the return of…dum dum dum…READING. Yes I know, it’s mind blowingly ordinary but it’s something I’ve been neglecting. And in the spirit of becoming a better writer I figured it was time to see what my colleagues in the field were getting up to. And they did not disappoint. January has seen me turn more pages than I did in the whole of last year.

I’ve packed the Kindle away because I’ve realised that I actually much prefer the satisfaction of seeing how far I am in a book, getting excited about the ending or realising exactly how far a book has taken me in a space of time. This does mean that my books suffer. I get hand cramp stretch spines, there are shriveled pages from reading in the bath, chocolate smeared corners and torn covers from quickly shoving them in my bag on the train. But the stories they tell are treasured and I wanted to share them with you in the hopes that they will bring as much joy or inspiration to your life as they did mine.

Please send me recommendations or comments – I love hearing about new books or old ones that have been enjoyed!

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

Sweetbitter: Now a major TV series (Paperback)

Read it: if you want to be surprised

I kicked off the year with this whirlwind ride into New York’s restaurant scene by Stephanie Danler. I won’t lie, the very pretty cover might have something to do with me picking it up (I know I’m bad like that) but the write up on the back intrigued me. In theory it’s an easy enough story – girl quits small town America, moves to New York in search of a dream, any dream, and falls into a rabbit hole of food service, frennemies, drugs and self discovery. Sounds simple enough but its so much more than another Devil Wears Prada (which for the record I am a huge fan of). The writing is evocative and vague, sometimes things are spelt out with eye watering clarity in other chapters you have to read between the lines. There are some beautiful quotes and descriptions about food and the changing seasons in New York. Make no mistake this is not an easy read, it’s quite a ride and will leave you quite breathless.

Black Water Lillies by Michel Bussi

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Read it: To appreciate the fragility of life

Ordinarily I would put this down as a typical holiday easy read. One I would steer clear from even if I was holiday (which at the time of reading I was!). But a recommend from a friend and the fact that I had just finished a course on the history of art theft made me give it a go. It did not disappoint. Three main characters, each living a life in the little French town of Giverny, ex-residence of the French impressionist master Monet. The book opens with a murder that impacts or involves them in different ways. This is not just a ‘who done it’ although I couldn’t work out who had done it until Bussi pointed it out to me). There is a delicate undercurrent of sadness and despair throughout each character’s life and the oppressive nature of the little town they live in makes you realise that in a picture perfect town, there is so much more than meets the eye.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (Hardback)

Read it: To see life from a completely new perspective

This is one book where the write up did nothing to attract me. It sounded depressing, ordinary and self absorbed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Eleanor is one of the most hilarious heroines I have read in a very long time. Her perception of the world is pure literary gold but the reasons behind her way of being are dark beyond words. This book made me laugh out loud wherever I was reading it. Eleanor’s day-to-day social interactions with the world around her and observations about life are hilarious and completely poignant. I was invested in her happiness from the very first page. This is a gem.

Mid Week Motivation

It’s about this time every week when we start losing the will to live. Take a break and enjoy my mid week motivation round up…

It’s about this time every week when we start losing the will to live. The weekend seems so far off and the gym now feels so hard to get to and those food prep lunches sooooo hard to prep. Generally we are drowning in the mid week dead zone. So I’m going to try do a weekly post to take out minds off the workload and onto fun things to do/watch/go to or generally get involved with.

If you have any suggestions please do send them to me. I always feel like half the joy of finding something exciting is sharing it with other people. So bring and come! Otherwise make a cup of herbal tea (oh who am I kidding – a coffee and a doughnut) take a break and enjoy this random selection…

Running in Heels Book Club

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Now honey I don’t like book clubs. I never have. The fact that they are made out to be a female only institution where a group of women sit discussing the latest chick lit (Fifty Shades- vomit), while getting drunk on cheap wine, is something I desperately want to avoid for oh so many reasons (equality, hangovers, sanity – the list goes on).

Which is why I’m intrigued by Running in Heels – the latest, lifestyle forward subscription book service. Every month they deliver a lovely modern fiction paperback masterpiece (NOTE NO CHICK LIT) to your door for £12.50 including packaging (they also deliver to North America and Europe!). Now I can hear all the millenials rolling their eyes, thinking, “But I can download kindle books for £1.” Well the answer to that my friend is that this lovely company delivers a beautiful marbled box to your door every month, containing 1x paperback AND a selection of treats that can be enjoyed alongside aforementioned masterpiece. Think mini Diptique candles (sold), organic chocolate and beauty product testers which you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home sans deadline.

And you can then cleverly log onto their site to leave reviews and comments when you’ve finished reading. So if you hate the book you will be happy to know that you have options.  You don’t have to finish it, just enjoy the added goodies and move on with life. And there’s something so self indulgent in gifting yourself with a monthly package. I’m calling it the perfect modern book club – ideal for that anti social woman who doesn’t have time to get drunk on cheap chardonnay and discuss two dimensional characters who she wished she hadn’t wasted her free Wednesday night reading about. Your are most welcome.

Check it out here >

 

Mozart in the Jungle

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I was trolling through Amazon Prime recently and spotted this series which couldn’t be more random if you tried. A Spanish conductor who sees dead musicians and joins the New York Symphony Orchestra. That antics that ensue are odd and the plot line has more twists than a day on Trump’s Twitter feed, but the link to classical music is beautiful, the characters quirky and there are some thought provoking moments with brilliant one liners. Need more reasons to commit? Some of the episodes have been directed by Roman Coppola and lead actor Gabriel Garcia Berel has won a Golden Globe and rightly so, he’s brilliant.

Check it out now > 

 

That Wedding

So Megan married Harry and bells rung and the Queen wore lime and purple (seriously bold move), they had black people singing in Windsor Chapel (probably a first) and the British public will have nothing else to talk about for the next month apart from who wore what and the meaning behind that lip biting episode. The joy in events like these is the tongue-in-cheek criticism of the world’s beautiful, wealthy people. It’s jealousy disguised as hilarious sarcasm and no one does it better than Fashion Critical, a Facebook page commenting on who wore what at big celebrity studded events. The wedding commentary had me in stitches. Perfect for a Wednesday afternoon tea break.

Enjoy it here >

 

“I can’t leave the house Charlie, my mobile has run out of battery.”

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Must leave house. Must have phone and purse. Damn, phone battery is dying. Don’t want to carry gigantic, phone charger which weighs more than an actual power plant in my bag. What to do, what to do? Enter Mighty Purse! A ridiculously named bag brand that features a range of wallets, purses and bags all housing a super useful in-built power charger (with mini adaptor for iphone). So you can now leave the house safe in the knowledge that your obsession with shooting photos of your food won’t mean that you then can’t order an Uber for the trip home. Stylish technology hack sorted.

Shop the collection here > 

 

Think Pink

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Enough with the minimal tones. This summer pink is the new black. It’s time to commit head-to-toe. I’m talking pink suits. It’s THE thing and Sheer Luxe has done a really good round up. It’s exciting. I’m REALLY excited! I think I might have to do a separate post on pink…can you tell I’m excited?

Sheer Luxe pink suit round up >

image credits: running in heels / amazon / pinterest / style du monde