It’s a week for welcoming the new and clearing out the old here on A Style Study, as today I’m following up my December Manifestations with another one of my favorite series, Bookshelf! As some of you might remember, I kicked off this series last spring as a way to catalogue and share all the books I finished over the past several months. To me, the literature and other written media one consumes and enjoys is a huge part of their personal style, so I love giving you guys a peak at what’s been on my mind lately. Also…who doesn’t love a good book chat? I certainly do…
With all that said, the past few months were definitely more of a “quality over quantity” time for me as reader. Even though reading always takes up a huge chunk of my life, over the course of the season schoolwork and other activities had eroded my bibliophile time to a spare twenty minutes here and there. About a month ago, I was staring at my Goodreads counter thinking I’d barely have any material to talk about! God bless Thanksgiving break, though, because I was finally able to finish some long-term reads as well as pick up a few new goodies. All in all, I ended up with eight books completed, most of which I thoroughly enjoyed. Scroll below for a complete list with star ratings and brief reviews to peak your interest!
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The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar is a dark, hauntingly composed story of a young woman in the throes of a mental breakdown. Although set in the mid-20th century, the novel touches upon many issues that continue to plague our present society, such as class stratification and stigma surrounding mental health. It’s not the most cheerful book, but if you’re in the mood for an intriguing read I’d highly recommend it.
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
Ruth Ware’s debut novel is a quick, easy read for whenever you need to loose yourself for a few hours. While elements of the plots definitely play on a number of suspense tropes (hello, Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train), there are enough twists and turns to keep you reading into the wee hours.
Heyday by Ben Wilson
This book literally took my months to get through, but not because it wasn’t good. On the contrary, Heyday offers a really interesting look at how the dawn of globalization played out in all corners of the globe, from the Australian outback to London and California. While definitely a dense read, all the incredible stories and little-known history is worth it.
Daphne du Maurier by Margaret Forster
Daphne du Maurier is one of those author’s whose novels and stories (ahem, Rebecca and The Birds) are world-famous, but whose personal life is something of a mystery. This biography published a little over a decade after du Maurier’s death aims to remove the iron curtain by providing an incredibly detailed look at her life. It starts off interesting, but after a couple hundred pages I found myself a little bored by the painstaking recount of what felt like every minor occurrence in Daphne’s (albeit fascinating) life. It’s still a well-written read, though, and if you’re looking for more info on this famous author, these pages are all you need.
Audrey at Home by Luca Dotti
I’ve had this beautiful book for an embarrassingly long time, but only just picked it up over Thanksgiving break. I subsequently devoured it in two days, as I was postively enchanted by Audrey’s son’s recount of his childhood with his mother in Europe and all the stories and recipes that defined her post-Hollywood. Learning about Audrey’s wartime childhood in Belgium was totally unexpected, and I loved flipping through the pictures of her gardening and relaxing with friends. Oh, and the food? I’m planning on whipping up Audrey’s chocolate cake sometimes soon. As for the penne with ketchup (yes, a Hepburn-approved comfort food)…we’ll see about that.
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
I ordered this book on a whim a few months ago, and had high hopes once I started reading. True, the arguments and truths presented in here about the history of eating and the how food has changed over the years were insightful and totally unique from anything I’d heard before. But I also found myself getting lost in the nutritional jargon (which, oddly, was used to argue against nutritionism) and sheer wordiness of the text. So while I sticky-noted quite a few passages in here, I doubt I’ll ever revisit for a proper re-read.
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
I bought The Vegetarian as a sort of present to myself, and oh. my. gosh. Definitely one of the most intense, whirlwind books I’ve read in a while, this book deserved all the hype it got over the past several months. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Han Kang, the author, is a true artist when it comes to creating a slow, agonizing plot line that unfolds beautifully in a mere 188 pages. This one, my friends, is simply a must-read.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Last but not least, The Picture of Dorian Gray. I picked this up at random because I couldn’t resist the cover (see above), and had no idea what to expect from the story itself. Even looking back, I’m not even sure how to describe it except to say that it’s a book about vanity, pride, toxic relationships…it’s quite the ride. I’d recommend this book to pretty much anyone, but especially those who are perhaps hesitant about reading “classics.” The prose is some of the best I’ve read in a long time, but it’s also extremely readable and literally keeps you on the edge of your seat!
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And there you have it: my autumn bookshelf. To keep up with what I’m reading in real-time, be sure to follow me on Goodreads. I update pretty much daily, so I promise it’s worth it ;). Also, be sure to share…what’re you reading/recently read? I’m always out for recs, so toss ‘em my way below!