May 31, 2010

Spring Reads: April & May

Below are an array of books I read this spring, each one different from the last.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. This behemoth of a novel won a slew of awards last year and received glowing praise from critics, authors, and book bloggers alike, so naturally I had to see what all the fuss was about. The world Mantel carves out is teeming with detail of what life must be like in the 16th century, which to this modern reader looks very bleak indeed. But to a man like Thomas Cromwell, life is only what you make of it, and Cromwell certainly made a lot out of very little. Wolf Hall is the story of one man's ascent into the ruthless inner circle of King Henry VIII's court. From poor, humble beginnings to the prime position as the king's right hand man in a reign seemingly on the dawn of a new age, Cromwell's cunning, intellect and matter-of-fact maneuvering into the King's confidence commands our admiration (the man was a brilliant wordsmith and legal mind), if not also our sympathy. Mantel is busy writing the sequel to Wolf Hall, which apparently chronicles Cromwell's imminent descent from Henry's good graces. Sounds like another engrossing read.

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin. Sometimes one needs some lighter fare to shake off the heaviness of a meatier book. And this one did the trick. That isn't to say that I found this book lacking in intrinsic value or entertainment, because I thoroughly enjoyed it for its real (read: flawed) characters. I found myself identifying with the protagonist Rachel White in a lot of ways: I, too, have had that shallow narcissist of a friend who proves to be more of a foe than an actual friend; I know what it's like to be under-appreciated and over-worked; and lately I've marveled at just how relentlessly time marches on until sooner or later, your 30's are creeping up on you and you wonder where the hell your 20's went (though, admittedly, I do have some time yet before I get to meditate the mysteries of entering my 30's). But where our similarities end is on one major plot point around which the entire novel pivots: Rachel gets caught up in an whirlwind affair with none other than her best friend's fiance. And yet, I don't hate her, even though I hated and felt exasperated by some of her life choices (the affair being the most obvious one). Interestingly, Giffin presents a rather blurred line between right and wrong, that ultimately life is about making choices and facing the consequences of those choices head-on. Lapses in judgment aside, I couldn't help but root for Rachel, anyway. The sequel to this book, Something Blue, is apparently told from the perspective of the best friend/wronged woman. And so the drama continues....

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Ten strangers are summoned to an island off the coast of Devon, England to stay as weekend guests at the private home of an unknown millionaire. What the guests learn soon after their arrival is that what they all share in common is a wicked past that they'd rather not be revealed. But soon one guest dies, and then another, at whose hand nobody knows. Unable to leave or call for help, each guest begins to suspect the other, and as more guests meet their timely end, it appears that not one of them will leave the island alive. Hands down my favorite Agatha Christie yet.

So....what books have you been reading?

May 24, 2010

Jonathan Adler Loot

I scored these fetching Jonathan Adler dishes at a sidewalk sale about a week ago and I am just as smitten with them now as I was when I got them (for less than the normal sale price, to boot!). I think they're the perfect blend of elegance with a dash of whimsy throw in. I'm actually tempted to go back and get a few more pieces to add to my collection. I do live within a stone's throw away from the shop after all [cue evil laugh].

[Image via Jonathan Adler]

May 14, 2010

It's five o'clock somewhere

I need to somehow work a cocktail bar into my apartment. If there is one thing missing in my abode--and there are, alas, a handful of things missing--it would be a proper cocktail bar. I could saunter over to it after a particularly long work day and wear something fabulous (think Grace Kelly in Rear Window) while mixing T his whiskey & ginger ale and a vodka & water with a side of lemons for moi. I think the one featured above would do the trick quite nicely.

(Image via Apartment Therapy)

May 11, 2010

Girl Crush

Oh lordy, that looks like a lot of fun. I don't think Diane Kruger could look any more adorable in this photo if she tried. You know the saying that so-and-so could wear a burlap sack and still look fabulous? Well, Ms. Kruger is the only person I can think of to whom this saying absolutely 100% applies. She never ceases to look amazing and altogether more interesting than 99.99% of women out there. She just kills it every time. And her life seems positively dreamy. Wouldn't you, too, squeal with delight if you could still look achingly chic while paling around with the boyfriend at a Chanel party in the French Riviera in springtime? Yeah, so would I.

{Image via Garance}

May 8, 2010


A few weeks ago when the Great Volcanic Eruption of 2010 had bungled my weekend plans that were to involve two British friends of mine (who, sadly, never did make it out to California), T and I decided to make the most of a pretty rotten situation and embarked on an impromptu trip up to central California to visit my parents. And I'm so glad we did because it turned out to be a marvelous weekend, replete with lingering meals, long, over-due visits with family, my pointing out to T the places (i.e. mounds of dirt) I used to play in as a wee girl. And did I mention there was a hot tub and plenty of mojito-sipping on my part? Yeah, I'd say it was a pretty smashing weekend all around. Below are a few snapshots of our time on the farm.

That is SOME PIG! Any fellow Charlotte's Web fans out there?

T was sort of enamored with the wheat fields growing up on either side of my parents' house. But with that light, can you blame him?

Home sweet home.