Before we dive into this month’s book list, did you read this article? Apparently, with all the time we spend on social media, we could be reading two hundred books a year. Two hundred. That blew me away. As you know by now, I am quite the bookworm. I average about five or six books a month, which would work out to sixty or seventy books a year. WOW. Anyway, I read six books this month… the five I listed below, but also Valley of the Dolls (which I LOVED) but did not include again as it was featured in a previous book list. It’s such a classic – if you haven’t read it, definitely add that to your to-read list as well! And as always, check out our interactive book club page (these have all been added to the page) where you can search for book recommendations by genre… and also, January’s reading list!
* The Dollhouse, by Fiona Davis is probably my favorite book from this month. But you know me, I am a big historical fiction nerd. If you loved The Perfume Collector (from last month’s reading list) as much as I did, you will love this. SO many of you recommended it to me, so thank you for that! Similar to The Perfume Collector, there are two strong women (both in New York, this go-round) and the book tells their parallel stories (taking place in modern day as well as the fifties). It’s set at the glamorous Barbizon Hotel (referred to back then as The Dollhouse, as it was where all of the aspiring models, editors, and secretaries lived back in the fifties… now it’s condos. But anyway, back in modern-day, there is a dark secret and a big mystery to untangle, which happens as the novel progresses. You won’t be able to put it down.
* How to Murder Your Life, by Cat Marnell is probably all that everyone, or at least everyone in beauty/fashion/publishing will be talking about this month. I was lucky enough to be sent an advanced copy and found myself halfway finished with the book after a day. I loved it so much that I had to force myself to slow down. To back up, Cat and I have a history. Well not a real history as we have never actually met, but from the day it launched, Lucky was my favorite magazine. There were no blogs back then so I would page through Lucky pretty much every day until the next month’s issue arrived. My girlfriends and I were obsessed. Anyway, I read Lucky so much that I became familiar with everyone on the masthead. Cat and I are about the same age and I really admired her clever, slightly irreverent writing style and I would always buy the products she featured. Reading the book was especially fun as I also worshipped her boss Jean Godfrey-June (still do – now she’s at Goop), so it was fun hearing what it was like to work for. That part was very fun, but parts of the book were really sad and disturbing. Even through the harder-to-read parts (and there are a lot of them), Cat’s writing style draws you in. She’s relatable and funny, even when recounting addiction, abortion, relapsing, etc. It feels like your best friend is telling you all of this and you just want to give her a big hug. Cat is a brilliant writer and I loved this book. I really hope she figures things out.
* Since She Went Away, by David Bell, is a superbly written thriller. You will definitely get Gone Girl vibes, reading this. Jenna Barton’s best friend Celia disappears from thin air out of her Midwestern town… leaving behind her husband and child. At the same time, Jenna’s son’s girlfriend also disappears. Shady things are going down. Jenna, blaming herself for Celia’s disappearance, dedicates herself to doing everything she can to finding her missing friend. I thought I had guessed the ending three or four times, but as it turned out, I was wrong on all counts. You won’t be able to put it down. If you loved Gone Girl, you will absolutely love this.
* Commander in Chief is the steamy sequel to Mr. President (both by Katy Evans). In January’s reading list I confided that I was a bit embarrassed that I read and enjoyed this so much (the series is basically 50 Shades meets West Wing) but I couldn’t put it down! Not every book I read and write about here is going to save the world. The plot line is pretty implausible (if you can even get past the part where the president is 35 years old and having an affair with a 23 year old), but it really doesn’t matter… it’s fun to read and sometimes that is all that matters.
* Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris is very, very emotionally draining and upsetting. That’s your warning. A few of you recommended it to me and while I really loved it, it made me feel a little bit sick. It’s incredibly twisted. Think of that perfect couple we all know… a beautiful house, movie star good looks, seemingly perfect in every way. It didn’t help that the main character’s name is Grace, either. It may seem as though I am complaining, but I’m not. This book is one of the most horrifying and terrifying psychological thrillers I’ve read in a while. I read it in 24 hours – I had to know what would happen next or I would not be able to sleep!!! Maybe don’t read it if you are about to get married. Or maybe do… just be prepared to be completely freaked out.
What should I read next? I always love your recommendations!
photography by Felicia Lasala