I didn’t have my act together at the last convening of our Magpie Book Club (digital and in-person both), so I am excited to now share our January Book Club pick: Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. This book was initially published in 1940 by a 23-year-old McCullers, and it took the literary scene by surprise. How could a 23 year old write with such depth and finesse?! My brother has raved about this book for the better part of the last decade (he’s a literature professor, so you should trust him), my father and sister — both avid readers — loved it, and it was more recently touted by the Oprah Book Club and various other literary organizations recognizing the book’s power some 70 years after its debut. The book is about the deaf-mute John Singer, who “becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small town life. When Singer’s mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book’s heroine (and loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music.”
Let’s finish the book by January 14th. Local Magpies: I’ll send out an email on the in-person convening shortly. (If you’re in NYC and want to join, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Runner up for this month’s book club pick was Kamila Shamsie’s HomeFire (for the second month running — sorry, Kamila! We’ll get to you!) We’ll likely read this one in February if anyone is looking for something else to read.
Finally, I am currently reading — and enjoying — Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers (she wrote Big Little Lies). I had heard that the book was not as good as her earlier work; a few readers suggested that maybe the success of BLL had gotten to her and that she was now more concerned with writing for a potential screenplay adaptation. But — I am finding it delightfully easy to read. Her word choice often surprises me (in a good way) and elevates what might otherwise be pedestrian chick lit into something in a different stratosphere. I’m only 20% through, but the pace is strong and the characters archly-drawn.
What else are you reading?!
+Everlane very generously sent me this gorgeous waffle-knit cashmere sweater (in ivory!) and I have been wearing it everywhere. I love the slightly boxy fit and of course the luxurious cashmere. I have actually been wearing it with winter white denim and my TB bow flats (I own them in the taupe / “goan sand” color) — though I think the look would look equally fab paired with these gamine loafers.
+I cannot stop talking about this Ouai leave-in conditioner. I actually should have added it to my Christmas gift round-up — it’d be a solid gift for a girlfriend or a gift exchange among colleagues or what have you. This stuff is INCREDIBLE. My hair tends to get dry in the winter between the heat, the static, and the fact that I highlight it a few times a year. I apply this to damp hair and it serves as a detangler and glosser while keeping my hair smooth and…hydrated? Not sure what the right word is there. And it smells.like.heaven. Do yourself a favor if you suffer from dry winter hair and snag a bottle.
+While on the topic of hair, I am uber curious about Goop’s Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub. The editors at Into the Gloss raved about it: “I have unruly hair and have always dreaded shampoo nights—until someone gave me the Goop Scalp Scrub. Now washing my hair is an ACTIVITY. It’s a soft, whipped cream-like mousse with Himalayan salt in it—really satisfying to dip your fingers into. It turns into a cloud when you rub-a-dub your scalp with it, and strips the lengths of buildup as you rinse it off, leaving your head squeaky clean and smelling of essential oils. It’s a clean, color friendly formula, and I love that I only need to shampoo once, yet my hair stays clean longer than with other shampoos I’ve tried. I wish I wasn’t hooked on $42 shampoo, but not being worried about aligning my hair washing schedule with my workout schedule makes it worth it.”
+Also beauty-related: has anyone tried Glossier’s Lash Slick mascara? I consider myself something of a mascara expert (ha), having tried about two dozen over the course of my career as a lash-obsessed gal. This stuff keeps coming up in conversation with ladies who know a thing or two about cosmetics. Intrigued.
+The best class I ever took. (What was yours?)
+This faux fur beige vest is, in 90s lingo, all that and a bag of chips.
+Ordering this holiday book for mini — set in Manhattan!
+Gap has some chic new finds, including this velvet dress, which looks a lot like the style of a Rhode Resort dress, this cashmere beanie, and this pearl embellished sweatshirt, which I’d pair with light wash jeans.