So I didn’t read as much as I would have liked to this month. Between the move, two trips to Charleston and this press trip to Mexico, I have been a busy bee! But now here we are, at the end of the month, and I haven’t shared what I’ve been reading yet! This month I read two (really great) fiction books, a book about design (trying to teach myself the fundamentals) and my friend Hitha’s book – about packing (also very useful as I’ve had so much travel going on!!!) All four are wonderful… enjoy! For more book recommendations check out my March Reading List as well as my Book Club Page where you can filter and find books by genre!
As always, if you have a minute – please comment and tell me what you are reading – your suggestions are always my favorite (and usually cause me to spend all of my money on Amazon… oops.
* First up was Slightly South of Simple by Kristy Woodson Harvey. I knew when I saw that Elin Hilderbrand had called her “the next major voice in Southern Fiction” that I was in for a treat, and I was. This is the story of three sisters (all in very different stages of life) who return home to their mother’s home in a little town in Georgia. It’s part of a series of three books and I cannot wait for the next one to come out. All of the characters are very endearing (and relatable) and you really do fall in love/invest in each one of their stories. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in a few days. This is your perfect vacation book/beach read.
* Next we ventured into design! Emily Henderson is one of my all time favorite interior designers (do you follow her blog? It’s amazing!!! I had picked up her book, Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves ages ago when it first came out but when I moved apartments. If you are looking to really hone in on your design aesthetic, this book will help you do that. There is a rather lengthy quiz at the beginning of the book… it will help you think about the things you love, how you live/occupy your space, and your overall “vibe.” I wasn’t surprised to learn that my own personal design style is a mix between old school glamour and mid-century modern. The other helpful part of this book is that it helps you to master the art of the vignette. A perfectly styled console table… your entryway… stuff like that. I learned a lot of helpful tips and tricks that have been really helpful as I start to design my own space!
* Next up was Sweetbitter, by Stephanie Danler. I love love loved this book. It was so real and I could relate to it on so many levels. No, I did not move to New York and get a job waiting tables but I did grow up in a restaurant and work every single job a person could do (from busing tables to waitressing to even yes… dishwashing!) So I related/felt very nostalgic to that part a lot, but also the feeling of what it’s like being really young in New York (not the case anymore) and living in Brooklyn (the main character lived in Williamsburg which is where I just moved). It’s gotten mixed reviews amongst my friend circle but I could not put it down. It’s so real and raw and just wonderful.
* And last but not least, my friend wrote a book! Hitha Palepu (the voice behind Hitha on the Go) wrote How to Pack and it is chock full of useful information… information I know I should be using but information I constantly fail to use… like her packing timeline which will guarantee you a stress-free trip (except I packed at 1am for this recent trip to Mexico). From picking the perfect carry-on, to packing your suitcase (and everything in between) it will have you covered. Hitha is a true expert in this space… she’s traveled over 500,000 cumulative miles in her lifetime and knows her stuff. And at under $10, this book makes for the perfect gift for that friend who travels a lot.
I’m actually rereading my favourite series, HARRY POTTER, at the moment. It’s not a new suggestion, but hey if you’re a Potterhead, there’s no “too many times”! 😉
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
Haha I love love love Harry Potter… no shame in that!
I just read 4 books while on Spring Break last week — more than I’ve read in a long time! One of the books was Sweetbitter and while I thought I would love it — I’m a total foodie and lived in NYC for 12 years throughout in my 20’s and early 30’s — I ended up being underwhelmed. I liked the idea of it, but the writing style was not for me. I felt like the author was trying to use too many multi-syllable words and unnecessary prose in order to sound like a more serious writer. It was just a bit too much for me.
I did read a few others that I simply loved though — The Dollhouse (a historical fiction about the Barbizon Home for Women in the 1950’s) and The Last Days of Night (another historical fiction/suspense about the epic battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse re: the invention of the lightbulb). Both were fantastic and such fun reads!
Enjoy your Mexico getaway!
That’s so funny because one of my girlfriends had the EXACT same reaction to it as you did. I think I was just really nostalgic about the restaurant biz… I loved it! The Dollhouse was one of my favorite books from this winter – it’s so good!!! I have to check out The Last Days of Night – I love historical fiction and that sounds great! Thank you for the recommendations – have a lovely weekend! xx
Grace! Thank you so, so much for including How To Pack in your reading list. You made my day 🙂
I just finished Cork Dork and it was excellent. “Who Thought This Was A Good Idea” is a hilarious memoir written by Obama’s deputy chief of staff. And I re-read A Discovery Of Witches because it’s just so good.
Did you read My Lady Jane yet? I loved it.
Of course – my pleasure!
I am excited for Cork Dork – it is on my list and on my bookshelf, waiting to be read! xx
Thank you SO much for including Slightly South of Simple in your April Reads List! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it 🙂
You are so welcome Kristy!!! Can’t wait for book #2!
I ADORE Emily Henderson and have been waiting to pick up her book – but her blog is a daily must-read for me.
I didn’t initially love Sweetbitter (although couldn’t relate to it as much as you likely can), but enjoyed the writing style and I did find myself thinking about the characters a lot afterwards, so maybe there’s something to it! (I really just found myself wanting to yell “no don’t do that!!” so….. that’s when I know I’m 31 not 21.)
I just started reading How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson and I am tearing through it. A little bit modern Gatsby, a little bit Gossip Girl…. really easy to get into, and really vivid characters. Next up after that is A Man Called Ove.
I felt the same way… I wanted to shake her a lot of the time but I also remember what it’s like to be young. Thank you for the recommendations!
And I LOVED A Man Called Ove – it was one of the best books I read all summer – Hope you love it as much as I do!
I hated Sweet Bitter so much, it felt so self-indulgent. Just finished All Grown Up which was also meh. Reading Amy Schumer’s book now which is both moving and laugh aloud funny.
Dying to read her book – she makes me laugh so hard!!!
I loved Sweetbitter too – it made nostalgic for my college days working as a server in a fancy restaurant.
I just started reading the Handmaid’s Tale. I feel like everyone’s reading it right now because of the Hulu series. So far it’s really good but super disturbing. For recommendations, I recently read and enjoyed Lilac Girls (WWII story about three very different women during the war), When Breath Becomes Air (wonderful memoir but really really sad), and the Paris Wife (about Hemmingway’s first wife).
The Handmaid’s Tale sounds so disturbing. I don’t have a lot planned this weekend and have been thinking of starting it. Thank you so much for the recommendations – I loved The Paris Wife! xx
I’ve been waiting to read Slighly South of Simple, can’t wait! I just read The Dinner by Herman Koch and just started The Girl Before by JP Delaney! Love all of your recommendations!
I loved The Dinner! It was a little weird but good!!! Will have to look into The Girl Before. xx
I have always wondered about Sweetbitter as it gets such mixed reviews. Definitely adding Slightly South for a Cape beach read this summer. I recently grabbed a copy of Styled but have yet to take the quiz!
I just finished Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things – she never disappoints! I can’t remember if you’ve read it yet? I really enjoyed.
Huge bookworm and I have to conquer with this. My book club just read Small Great Things and it was so great that a few of my friends and I are having another separate, smaller meeting so we can discuss it in more depth!
Concur** lolz got a little excited typing
I looooooved Small Great Things! I read it when I was at home for Christmas with my family. It took me all of two days. It really makes you think about race.
My favorite posts, from any blogger, are your book club ones! I downloaded the Kindle app to my iPad a few years ago because going to the library was now an ordeal with kids and a drive, plus spending too much money on Amazon was not going to be sustainable! The bonus is there’s zero guilt if you don’t connect with a book because there’s no money wasted, just return it and move on. Definitely was one of those people who swore to only read physical books but the convenience won out!
I’m going to start The Handmaid’s Tale, since it’s trendy right now.
I just started watching the Handmaid’s Tale. It’s really terrifying… but really well done. x
I’m currently reading 2 books, both of which coincidentally deal with time travel/parallel universes. I’m reading “All is Not Forgotten” and listening to “Dark Matter.” I get most of my recommendations from The Skimm or blogs but don’t think either of those were recommend by you, so I had to share. All is Not Forgotten is good, but Dark Matter is so so so good that I just got back from a 2 hour walk because I could not stop listening to it! They’re both a little sci-fi-y, but in such an interesting way. Highly, highly recommend!
Hahaha, thank you for the recommendations!!! I haven’t heard of either and need to check out as I LOVE sci-fi! xo
Love these monthly reading posts! I have found great books to add to my “want to read” in goodreads app – lots of reading to do!!
aw good!!! i know, my goodreads is overflowing as well! xox
It’s funny, I thought Sweetbitter was very well written, but felt like the story didn’t really go anyway, so I was slightly disappointed at the end.
I just started reading Startup by Doree Shadrir, and so far I’m really enjoying it.
I am going to have to check that out – thanks for the rec!
Read Sweetbitter and Slightly South of Simple on your rec, loved them both 🙂 The latter was the perfect vacation read.
Thank you so much for letting me know on both of these, Crawford! Makes me so happy you are enjoying!!