Recent Reads

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend! It’s time to announce the winner of the Diptyque Baies miniature candle giveaway, and that is……….the lovely Tabitha, of My Cliffnotes. Tabitha, your candle is on the way, and I hope you enjoy it! To everyone who entered, a big giant THANK YOU! I hope to have more fun giveaways in the future for all  of my fantastic readers.

Today I’ve got a few recent reads to share:

When She Woke, by Hillary Jordan, is a dystopian take on The Scarlet Letter. (Dystopian=a future similar to ours, but which has taken a turn for the scary-a la 1984, The Giver, The Handmaid’s Tale, etc.). When She Woke takes place in a future where in lieu of jailtime, criminals are “chromed” based on their crime-murderers are turned red, petty thieves yellow, etc. Our main character Hannah wakes up red, and we follow her as she navigates through the ultra-conservative, patriarchal society as an outcast.
As many reviewers on Amazon pointed out, this book is basically a cross between The Handmaid’s Tale (feminism, dystopian society which abuses women) and The Scarlet Letter (themes of adultery, religion). Interesting questions are brought up concerning morality, feminism, religion, abortion, and more-so if you’re not interested in these themes, you’re not going to like this book. It was a major page turner that you’ll finish fast-it keeps you pretty glued to the page. Truth be told it started off with a real bang and sort of petered out as it went on (and got a little wierd at the end, not gonna lie)-but I still really liked it overall.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics was interesting and different from anything I’ve read before, mostly due to the very unique writing style of author Marisha Pessl. Featuring a unique narrator, an eccentric cast of characters, and a mysterious teacher with something to hide, this novel keeps you turning the pages and desperate to find out what the heck is going on! All the while, you’re entertained by the interior mind of Blue Van Meer, the erudite and wry high school girl through whose view the story unfolds.

The Perfectly Imperfect Home is one I’m sure most of you have heard of, and all the hype is beyond justified. It’s not just the beautiful illustrations that make it worth your while, it’s the wonderful writing and fantastic advice doled out by author Deborah Needleman (of Domino fame). The whole concept of the book is great-how to craft a warm, comfortable, elegant, but entirely livable and realistic home. It’s about making a REAL home, not the out-of-the-realm-of-reality type homes you see in mags. At the same time, it’s still aspirational, inspiring you to make the most of your space. Some of the advice I loved included adding “cozifications” (throw blankets, etc), seating that encourages conversation, a writing desk, scent that you love, and so, so much more. Needleman encourages readers to craft a space that feels lived in, reflects who you are, and feels alive and REAL-but clean, free of clutter, and beautiful.

I gave in and bought a Kindle, after years of scoffing at the impossibility of EVER having or wanting an e-reader. I was actually really inspired by Rachel from Heart of Light. She wrote about the great idea of linking her e-reader up to her local library-this way, the whole endeavor is free. Then, if one of the books you wind up reading is really fantastic, you can just buy the print version. I’ve bought many a hardcover book that turned out to be majorly disappointing, so having a Kindle is actually going to save me money and get me to patronize my local library! Win-win. Another cool thing is that classics are free on this baby (are you sensing  a theme here?). So this will encourage me to read all of those classics I’ve always been meaning to get to-starting with The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James (liking it so far!). The Kindle is just so dang convenient and tiny-I mean, it fits in my pocket! I’ll never, ever (ever) stop loving real books, but this is a welcome addition to my reading repertoire. Gotta stay current!

Anyone read any of these books? If so, what’d you think? Anybody read anything else fantastic lately? If so, please share! Always looking for great new reads. Any recent Kindle converts out there? Any Kindle haters?

11 comments

  1. Leslie says: February 13, 2012

    I'm a total Kindle convert. I really resisted for as long as I could, but I was won over by the convenience and economic nature of the Kindle for my commute. Of course I will always love physical books, but the Kindle is truly rocking my world!

  2. Sam [The Peak of Tres Chic] says: February 13, 2012

    Love good book reviews! I have the Perfectly Imperfect Home on my reading list.

    Thanks for sharing, Jackie! 🙂

  3. Rebecca says: February 13, 2012

    I love my Kindle. It actually froze and stopped accepting charge and Amazon sent me a replacement next-day delivery!

  4. Laura says: February 13, 2012

    Im always on the lookout for new reads! Thanks for sharing :

  5. lacoquettedelamode says: February 13, 2012

    Looooove the Perfectly Imperfect Home! That will be a delight to read 🙂

    XX kathryn

    http://lacoquettedelamode.wordpress.com/

  6. Kate @ Daffodils says: February 13, 2012

    Ill have to try that first book, The Handmaid's Tale is one of my all time faves!

  7. Lisa @ Elembee, Etc says: February 13, 2012

    When She Woke sounds really interesting — definitely adding it to my list! I was a slow convert to Kindle, but I absolutely love it. I prefer reading on Kindle now, especially since I always have books with me on my iPhone app.

  8. Brooke Shemwell says: February 13, 2012

    I'm still holding out on an e-reader. Ahhh, I feel like I'm one of the last converts, but I don't want to see bookstores, hardback books, and bookcases disappear. I already hate that I can't find cool music stores anymore.

    I enjoyed the good book review post though! I'm a book lover (if you couldn't tell from above) and am reading the Girl Who Played With Fire (great), I (Heart) Your Style by Amanda Brooks (old, but I got if half off at Urban O. so couldn't resist. It's a good fashion reference book), Then Again by Diane Keaton (it's different, but enjoy hearing about her past love life!). Nothing like reading 3 books and 5 magazines at the same time. 🙂

    Sorry for long post – jeez!

  9. Nuha says: February 14, 2012

    i never knew you could link up with your local library! oh my goodness…i'm doing this asap!

  10. polkadotsandpracticality says: February 14, 2012

    I thought the same thing about getting a Kindle, but I got one and I love it! It's so convenient and I find myself reading more than ever. And you're right – if you like it, you can always buy the real book. 🙂

    Scarlet Letter is in my cue, so after I'm going to have to read When She Woke! It sounds so interesting. Thanks for the recommendations!

    -Lauren

  11. Karla says: February 14, 2012

    I dont have a kindle but enjoy very much staying away from the screen while reading.. however, I may soon or later get one! lets see! your readings are very interesting. I am not really into classics but never read one, I like real and actual stories that could help me someway or teach me something, I am sure there are great classic books that could do that to me, so later you can recommend one for me to start.

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