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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Book Haul: Strand New York

When I travel it is very uncommon for me to return home without a new book. So when I went to New York this last weekend I knew that I wanted to explore a local bookstore and Strand was at the top of my list. I encourage any book lover to wander in the next time you're in the city, but be prepared to spend some time and maybe go with a list to narrow down your search. There are 18 miles of books (used and new) on shelves far higher than my outstretched arms and tiptoes could reach. Basically, it's a little overwhelming in the best way possible.

I think my favorite section was in the basement – multiple shelves lined with new release books for half off the cover price! I found one that I've been really wanting to read and I couldn't say no. Like I suggested above, I keep a wish list on my Amazon account that I can access on my phone when I'm at a bookstore. That way I can see the author's last names and titles without trying to remember them and search through the store with ease and without getting overwhelmed (something I feel often)! 

So all of these books were stashed away in my wish list and are now at home on my shelf!

Plot Summary from the Publisher: 
Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.

Why it was on my list: 
I love any story about New England colleges, boarding schools, etc. I find the whole lifestyle interesting and the scenes beautiful. This book interests me because not only have I heard rave reviews from everyone who's read it, but also because I love a good mystery. Tartt won a Pulitzer for The Goldfinch, so I know this book will be wonderfully written!

Plot Summary from the Publisher: 
Writer Nate Piven's star is rising. After several lean and striving years, he has his pick of both magazine assignments and women: Juliet, the hotshot business reporter; Elisa, his gorgeous ex-girlfriend, now friend; and Hannah, "almost universally regarded as nice and smart, or smart and nice," who holds her own in conversation with his friends. When one relationship grows more serious, Nate is forced to consider what it is he really wants. 
In Nate's 21st-century literary world, wit and conversation are not at all dead. Is romance? Novelist Adelle Waldman plunges into the psyche of a flawed, sometimes infuriating modern man--one who thinks of himself as beyond superficial judgment, yet constantly struggles with his own status anxiety, who is drawn to women, yet has a habit of letting them down in ways that may just make him an emblem of our times. With tough-minded intelligence and wry good humor The Love Affairs of Nathaniel an absorbing tale of one young man's search for happiness--and an inside look at how he really thinks about women, sex and love

Why it was on my list: 
I love a good rom com and this book caught my eye a few months ago because of the interesting take on the traditional love story. Not only is a female writer writing from the perspective of a male character, but she's also diving into the 21st-century dating scene and social norms. I think this will be a really great and interesting read. I am definitely hoping for a happy ending for our character, but even more so for the promised wit!

Plot Summary from the Publisher: 
The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything--instead, they "check out" large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele's behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore's secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.

Why it was on my list: 
In one sentence: because it's about a bookstore. Oh, and because the cover is supposed to glow in the dark. This is another book that I've heard quite a bit about, but with mixed reviews. I just really want to know what the secret is and learn about the seemingly interesting characters that frequent the store. Also, it's based in San Francisco, which has some of the coolest used bookstores I have ever seen. 

Plot Summary from the Publisher: 
Sophia Amoruso spent her teens hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and scrounging in dumpsters for leftover bagels. By age twenty-two she had dropped out of school, and was broke, directionless, and checking IDs in the lobby of an art school— a job she’d taken for the health insurance. It was in that lobby that Sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on eBay. 

Flash forward ten years to today, and she’s the founder and executive chairman of Nasty Gal, a $250-million-plus fashion retailer with more than four hundred employees. Sophia was never a typical CEO, or a typical anything, and she’s written #GIRLBOSS for other girls like her: outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success, even when that path is windy as all hell and lined with naysayers. 

#GIRLBOSS proves that being successful isn’t about where you went to college 
or how popular you were in high school. It’s about trusting your instincts and following your gut; knowing which rules to follow and which to break; when to button up and when to let your freak flag fly.

Why it was on my list: 
Obviously if you follow my blog you'll know that I am obsessed with fashion. I am also deeply interested in the fashion industry, its inner workings, and the process people have taken to find success there. I also just love biographies about strong women and I am always looking to be inspired by them! is where I got a pair of my favorite sunglasses, so I can't wait to read Sophia's story.

Plot Summary from the Publisher: 
James “Whitey” Bulger became one of the most ruthless gangsters in US history, and all because of an unholy deal he made with a childhood friend. John Connolly a rising star in the Boston FBI office, offered Bulger protection in return for helping the Feds eliminate Boston’s Italian mafia. But no one offered Boston protection from Whitey Bulger, who, in a blizzard of gangland killings, took over the city’s drug trade. Whitey’s deal with Connolly’s FBI spiraled out of control to become the biggest informant scandal in FBI history.

Black Mass is a New York Times and Boston Globe bestseller, written by two former reporters who were on the case from the beginning. It is an epic story of violence, double-cross, and corruption at the center of which are the black hearts of two old friends whose lives unfolded in the darkness of permanent midnight.

Why it was on my list: 
I am a huge history nerd, and ever since I watched Gangster Squad (I also want to read the book) I've been extremely interested in learning more about the history of American mobs. It's pretty fascinating once you dive in! This book was also written by two journalists who covered the events, and as a journalism graduate that really piqued my interest. 

Plot Summary from the Publisher: 
When Sara Wiborg and Gerald Murphy met and married, they set forth to create a beautiful world together-one that they couldn't find within the confines of society life in New York City. They packed up their children and moved to the South of France, where they immediately fell in with a group of expats, including Hemingway, Picasso, and Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald. 

On the coast of Antibes they built Villa America, a fragrant paradise where they invented summer on the Riviera for a group of bohemian artists and writers who became deeply entwined in each other's affairs. There, in their oasis by the sea, the Murphys regaled their guests and their children with flamboyant beach parties, fiery debates over the newest ideas, and dinners beneath the stars. 

It was, for a while, a charmed life, but these were people who kept secrets, and who beneath the sparkling veneer were heartbreakingly human. When a tragic accident brings Owen, a young American aviator who fought in the Great War, to the south of France, he finds himself drawn into this flamboyant circle, and the Murphys find their world irrevocably, unexpectedly transformed.

A handsome, private man, Owen intrigues and unsettles the Murphys, testing the strength of their union and encouraging a hidden side of Gerald to emerge. Suddenly a life in which everything has been considered and exquisitely planned becomes volatile, its safeties breached, the stakes incalculably high. Nothing will remain as it once was.

Why it was on my list: 
I love, love, love reading about the '20s and the amazing artists and writers that lived during that time. This book basically combines all of that with a vacation story mixed in. I can't wait to dive into the decade and the world Liza Klaussmann has created. 

Plot Summary from the Publisher: 
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France … but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne's sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can … completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.
With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women's war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France--a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

Why it was on my list: 
I have picked this book up so many times and this trip just gave me the excuse to grab it. If you haven't picked up on it yet, I love historical fiction. I got a history minor in college and have never wanted to stop learning about it. My favorite time period is easily the early 20th-century, when this book takes place! I can't wait to read this book after reading so many about the front lines, concentration camps and government bodies in place during the war, because I've never read a story told from the point of view of those who were left in the cities in Europe while the war raged on.

I hope you found one of these books interesting! If you read one please let me know what you think, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Also, definitely check out Strand's website because when you search a book they tell you where it's located in the store and you can shop online.

I have a few more trips planned, so now I have plenty to read on the plane. And I won't be buying any more books until after Christmas because I am a sure there will be a few on my Christmas list! 

Love you lots,

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