The Fashion Magpie Where the Crawdads Sings

What to Read Right Now.

I have had so many friends text and email me for book recommendations in the past few weeks that I thought I’d share a list of frequent suggestions here. (I think a combination of new year’s resolutions and beach getaways may partially explain the influx of queries — ha!) I recognize that my book club picks are not for everyone and every occasion; I tend to skew towards heavier fare in pursuit of meaty discussion. So here are a range of recommendations for all kinds of palates and situations. Caveat emptor: I have not read all (or even most!) of these books; they have either been heavily recommended to me by people I trust, or are earning a lot of press and praise for one reason or another. And who doesn’t love a buzzed-about book? (P.S. — Loved your thoughts and insights on speed-reading. Do you do it?)

Thrillers: If you like Girl on a Train type books…

+The Other Woman by Sandie Jones.

+Watching You by Lisa Jewell.

+The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantin. This was all abuzz about a year ago and I still recommend it to folks looking for a thriller with a weird and wild twist. SO FUN. And also really gross. AND FUN.

+Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. An oldie but a goodie.

Frothy Beach Reads: If you liked The Royal We…(and who didn’t?)

+The Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory.

+One Day in December by Josie Silver. (N.B.: I did read Silver’s book and found it sorely lacking in character design, plot depth, and especially quality dialogue. BUT. It did tick some boxes when it came to wanting an easy-to-read rom-com in book form. I could almost see Hugh Grant in some of the more cinematic moments of the book. If I’m being honest, it was fun to crawl into bed at 9 p.m. and read this vapid book.)

Cooking Memoirs: If you like Ruth Reichl and Molly Wizenberg…

+Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin.

+Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton.

Page-Turning Non-Fiction/Autobiography: If you live for documentaries…

+Bad Blood by John Carreyrou. Completely absorbing and shocking. Reads easily. One of a few books I could NOT put down last year.

+Educated by Tara Westover.

+Becoming by Michelle Obama. Everyone I know is reading/raving about this book.

More Substantive Fiction: If You Liked Little Fires Everywhere

+Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been asked whether I’ve read this yet.

+Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie.

+Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

+Exit West by Mohsin Hamid.

Canonical.

+Circe by Madeline Miller. One of my all-time favorite books.

Post-Scripts.

+My favorite beach reads…ever. To be accompanied by musings on highbrow versus lowbrow culture.

+10 books that will change your life.

+These are back in stock. Jump while you can, if you’re on the train.

+Thinking of ordering these for Valentine’s Day.

+Intrigued by these razors/blades after hearing about them on a Goop podcast. I like that they’re attempting to reduce the “pink tax,” i.e., the higher price on products when marketed toward women. How are Gillette women’s razor blades so, so expensive?

+This gown is the stuff of dreams.

+I really like the look of a boxy, logo-less hoodie these days, layered under a trench or wool coat, paired with chic pants, like these.

+Intermix is offering an extra 50% off select sale items and OMG — this Saloni blouse, these culotte jeans ($50?!?!), this pretty and nearly universally flattering polka dotted dress, and these polka-dotted slides ($60!!!)

+Love Tuckernuck’s inexpensive scarves. I own one in pink already and love tying it to handbags, using as a belt, or wrapping around my head as a a headband.

+Love this recipe book. Would be a thoughtful gift for a recent college grad or a burgeoning cook, filled with a couple of your favorite recipes.

+This wundertool just dropped to $43 and I am *thisclose* to ordering to see what all the fuss is about.

+My dream jeans right now. Love how they are styled on the site, with white slingbacks and a voluminous top. #postbabygoalz

Shop Le Post: Les Books.

Shop Le Post: Les Post-Scripts.

25 Comments

  1. I really want to read Becoming by Michelle Obama and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. They are both on my TBR pile. I will check out the other books though..

    1. Both are HEAVILY well reviewed!! Looking forward to reading myself. Let us know what else is in your tsundoku pile 🙂 xo

  2. I signed up for a Billie razor subscription (priced similarly to Flamingo) around a year ago and have not looked back since! Love the razor, love their shaving cream….and I was happy that the aesthetically-pleasing Instagram ad that caused me to sign up did not lead me astray 🙂

  3. I’ve had the Revlon dryer for years and absolutely love it. Definitely cuts down on drying and styling time. The older model I had stopped working but Revlon prompted refunded me so I could order the newer model, which I’ve had no trouble with.

    I loved Little Fires and just finished Crawdads. You hit the nail on the head with the “substantive fiction” genre. Crawdads reminded me a lot of Little Fires with themes of motherhood and mystery woven in to a captivating storyline. Both are awesome books. I am planning to read Eleanor Oliphant next, so I’m happy to see it made the list as well!

  4. I bought the Revlon dryer and I have to say, it’s pretty great for $40. I am a DryBar addict and am TERRIBLE at doing my own hair and this thing dried it (and it looked presentable) in about 5 minutes. I say give it a shot! Hope you are feeling well! Xoxo

  5. Fun and gross is the perfect description of The Last Mrs. Parrish! I’m teaching Pride and Prejudice right now and delighting in my return to Austen. Next up we are reading Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (it’s a class on adaptations), which is polarizing but I love it. Circe is next on my list to read for fun based on your recommendation!

    I have a brush/dryer similar to the Revlon one but John Frieda brand. I recently cut my hair shoulder length and it works really well as long as I let it air dry a bit first. Runs about $30 on Amazon.

    1. I want to take your class! What else is on the syllabus? What are the major topics of conversation when moving from original to adaptation? So cool.

      You will love Circe, especially in the context of “rewritings” and “reimaginings.” The writing is exceptional.

    2. We are reading and discussing some articles about the “cult of Jane Austen” and the distinctions we make between reading for pleasure and reading as literary critics. We are also addressing the shift from historical context in Eligible—how do you make Mrs. Bennet grossly inappropriate in the twenty-first century? (I think Sittenfeld manages this deftly!). We are also reading Longbourn by Jo Baker so we can talk more about class distinctions and the silent, invisible servants in JA’s books.

      Also on the list is Mary B. by Katherine Chen (another polarizing novel on Good Reads) which retells the story from Mary Bennet’s perspective (not so flattering to Lizzy, which many P&P fans cannot abuse!).

      And we are wrapping up with Bridget Jones at the end of term for something light while they work on final projects— their choice between a literary analysis essay or a creative adaptation project of their own.

      And we are watching a couple films (including Bride and Prejudice) too! My students are probably talking about what a dork I am, but I’m having so much fun with this class!

    3. Um, love this course and its syllabus! Sounds like a dream. I bet you’ll get some creative submissions at the end of the semester. xo

  6. I purchased the Revlon thing -one for my daughter (who has long hair )and one for myself (shoulder length). She loves it and I really like it too. I am trying not to use a straightener and this is a great option. I set it on low heat and cool only. Don’t let the size of the brush be a deterrent – it allows you to smooth the hair while drying. It took a little adjusting to but I am really happy to have it as an option.

    Also- do you need a discount code for intermix? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi! Thanks so much for writing in! Ok, back in my cart. Thank you!

      For intermix — SHOOT, they must have ended the extra 50% off promotion. But don’t worry; they run these regularly. I’d check back over the next week and see if the prices drop again. I’ll keep my eyes peeled too!!

  7. Ok, I love to read and must remind you to read one of my ALL TIME favorite books: By Myself!!! You are missing a great book (and romantic love story too between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall). Stop and read!!!! Do not pass GO!
    Ok, moving on…

    FYI: I ordered the classic scarf print headband from ASOS I sent you and love it!

    Just a heads up: I was at Target and stopped to look at the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer because I have been eyeing it for over a month. I was surprised at the huge size of the round brush. It was probably too large for my shoulder length hair.
    Enough said….

    Love your blog and look forward to it everyday! It’s part of my “morning routine” and don’t start my day without you. Thank you!

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Cynthia! This means so much to me. Thanks also for all the tips — book, headband, dryer included! xoxoxo

  8. You know I love a good discussion about books! I’m still reading Becoming (and it’s so, so good) as well as Rebecca Solnit’s Call Them by Their True Names, which is also amazing (and the first book by Solnit that I’ve really read, aside from Nonstop Metropolis). Think I might veer towards something lighter after I finish these two books, but I’ve also been hankering to read Anne Helen Petersen’s Too Fat Too Slutty Too Loud — could strike a nice balance, since, as I understand it, it’s largely about the perception of women in pop culture. We shall see! On the other hand, I organized my tsundoku pile and I own a shocking/embarrassing number of unread books. I think I’ll be “shopping my shelf” for a while before I buy anything else!

    Also, I know we’ve discussed this, but I completely agree with your “fun but vapid” standpoint on One Day in December. I enjoyed picking it up but it’s not a quality read by any stretch. Ha!

    For others who might want reviews of some of the books you mentioned: Exit West is 1000% worth a read; such beautiful language and a timely topic. The only other one I’ve read (aside from the ones I discussed above) is The Last Mrs. Parrish and it was a fun/dishy/crazy romp, if not exactly the most challenging book I’ve ever read. 🙂

    Those AGOLDE jeans are perrrrfect! I love their jeans, find them to be just as good quality as other, more expensive brands, and you can often find them on sale for under $100 at Aritzia or Shopbop. I’ve gotten a few pairs on those sites for around $50 a pop!

    1. UGH I am dying over those Agoldes. The wash and fit are SO right now…I love Rebecca Solnit! So sharp! What do you think of the one you’re reading?

      xoxo

    2. Yes, Solnit is sharp! That’s a perfect word to describe this book; it is also powerful, timely, and important. Solnit definitely has a specific political viewpoint (that more or less aligns with my own, just to be candid), but her writing allows me to see certain issues with more nuance than I might have otherwise.

      I like to read about politics, but often doing so provokes anxiety for me. Most of the time, it’s enough for me to keep up with the news by sticking with my one newspaper subscription. That said, I find Solnit’s style of writing to be soul-nourishing, even (and especially) when she’s discussing political/societal issues that are usually distressing to ponder. She’s an exceptional writer.

  9. I recently purchased the Flamingo Shave set that comes with the razor, suction cup holder, 1 extra blade, foaming shave gel, and body lotion. I also added on the face wax kit and the body wax kit – I have not used the wax kits yet as I’ve been too afraid!

    I am actually pretty disappointed with the razor and the shave gel (haven’t tried the lotion yet). The gel just kind of, watery? I’m not sure how to explain it but I didn’t like it. The razor blade head is HUGE. You can kinda-sorta-if you know what you’re looking at- tell on the website that it’s large but basically the top half (1/3?) of the head is just plastic, it doesn’t even have a moisturizing strip on it. I found that the extra bulk made it a little difficult to use because the actual razor blades are not in the natural place.

    Here’s hoping the wax kits work out better!

  10. I ordered the Revlon thing! It arrives today. Lauren D RAVED about it – funny how going from $60 to $43 made me immediately buy it …I cannot wait to try it. Thanks for all the picks! I love being up to date on everything out there from books to clothing from the comfort of my home 🙂 Also – ended up with an IRO blazer for my interview (I had never heard of this brand…Micaela of course had and encouraged me to keep it.) Round two coming up – sisters decided I need the Rag & Bone Simone pants.

    1. Yay!! You will have to let me know what you think of the Revlon thing — another reader commented that the barrel is huge for those of us with shorter hair. IRO BLAZER!!! SO chic and such a fantastic investment piece. Of course Micaela knew about the label!! And I bet those trousers look SO good on you!! Sending you good vibes. xo

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