I’ve got an interesting mix of books for you today! One about beauty, a fictional story set in early 20th century Moscow, fictional post WWII letters and the island of Guernsey, poetry for depressives and a cookbook using ingredients from Trader Joe’s.
I love how such a strange mix of books made it into my life at precisely the same time!
The French Beauty Solution
by Mathilde Thomas (nonfiction) – worth a read
Thomas is the co-founder of the French cult beauty product company Caudalíe. You can expect that she’ll mention her company’s products in the book, but she mentions those of other brands as well. And while I probably won’t be trying her grape-cleanse anytime soon, I did learn a few things like the best and worst ingredients that go into beauty products. And also that most beauty treatments (except for mani-pedis) are much less expensive in France. I’ve never really done a spa weekend, but I think France would be just the place to do it!
Another tip I learned to keep skin from losing its moisture: After showing, apply coconut oil to your skin. Then blot (instead of drying) with a towel to seal in moisture.
A Gentleman from Moscow
by Amor Towles (fiction) – worth a read
Even though I adored Towles’ Rules of Civility, the sheer size of this book daunted me. I had it in my hands once and when it took me a week before I opened it, I realized there were hundreds of people on the waiting list, so I best just return it. I finally checked it out again and it kept me glued to my anti-gravity lounge chair on our deck on many summer afternoons. I was a bit confused by the ending; but as I found out, not in ways that other people were when I did a search online. I understood who the woman was in the final scene, but I guess I had too many questions about what happened next and why. While there was a conclusion, it wasn’t wrapped up neatly with a little bow. But maybe that was what Towles was looking for… he got us talking.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer (fiction, audiobook) – MUST READ/LISTEN
Just like the book The Help, I am behind the times with this work of art! Also published in 2009, many readers of the blog Modern Mrs. Darcy commented that they had trouble keeping all of the characters straight so they thought the audiobook was much better to do so.
And much like The Help, I don’t know how or what could make this book any more perfect than what it is!
It’s written (almost) entirely of letters to and from the protagonist Juliet, but still forms a complete and beautiful story situated just after WWII in London and on the island of Guernsey. While I was reading it, the movie adaptation was released on Netflix!
I watched it almost immediately after finishing the book because I had no idea how they could adapt these letters onto the screen. Truth be told, many of the details were changed… but they worked for their purposes without detracting too much from the heart of the book. (Plus you’ll see a few fave actors from Downton Abbey!) I still highly recommend reading the book or listening to it on audio.
Depression and Other Magic Tricks
by Sabrina Benaim (poetry) – worth a read
I don’t normally read poetry. It’s probably because it takes so much to understand and decipher it. I’m just not that good at it. Still, I can appreciate this little book of poems for what it is. Some of it is way over my head and sometimes it is a little much — like “Get over him already!” when reading about break-ups and heartache. But in the same vein, I know the power in releasing the emotion in the moment.
There is creativity in the style of poems as well, styles that may be well-known to the poetic world, but which were new to me, including:
- Erasures – taking a song and then blacking out all the lines accept the few words that you want to form a poem with in the order they appear in the song
- Taking a poem from earlier in the book and adding lines within it to create an entirely different poem with an entirely different meaning and feeling
- Speaking about herself in the third person
While Benaim’s writing is beautifully thick and syrupy with lyrical meaning, much was over my head. Still, there were some great nuggets and lines from certain poems that I really enjoyed. For example:
We cannot control what we remember, but we can control how we remember. (~ How to Fold a Memory)
My favorite poems from this book:
- explaining my depression to my mother: a conversation
- seven small ways in which i loved myself this week
- on releasing light
- another plain truth
- magic trick 004
- follow-up: a prayer / a spell
The Eat Your Way Healthy at Trader Joe’s Cookbook
by Bonnie Matthews (cookbook) – worth a flip
I love Trader Joe’s, but it isn’t quite convenient enough to get there that often. I loved that the author was able to change her lifestyle by eating healthy all by using and adapting specific ingredients she shopped for at Trader Joe’s. While I loved her story, I found myself just flipping through this book more overwhelmed than inspired. I think there are some great recipes suggested here; they just didn’t arrive in the right season in my life.
What kind of books are you reading right now?
Do you read different kinds of books at different times during the year?