Book Club

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 202: On Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet and Grief.

By: Jen Shoop

My Latest Snag: Les $30 Blue Heart Earrings and Les Blues Nikes.

I couldn’t resist these $30 corded heart earrings to pair with my heart print blouse (also available — in more sizes! — in pink).

If hearts feel too frou-frou for you, check out this similar (and discounted!) top from Loretta Caponi for 60% off here.

P.S. More shirred/smocked/peplum tops along these lines here.

I also bought myself a third (!) pair of these Nike Infinity React sneaks since they were on sale and in the best shade of blue. (More cute pastel fitness finds I discovered yesterday here. I also ordered this earwarmer and I already own many of the other items linked, including this jacket, which I did not realize came in the prettiest shade of pink!)

You’re Sooooo Popular: Le Chic Maternity Dress.

The most popular items on le blog this week:

+Most gorgeous maternity dress for all my expecting Magpies!

+Lululemon shorts, on sale!

+Most gorgeous summer dress/cover-up.

+Half-zip pullover for little ones (on sale!)

+Love the color of these Vejas.

+My new bag strap (under $10)!

+Sweet homecoming outfit for a newborn.

+Darling wicker bag.

+Toile face mask!

+The Valentine’s Day jammies I bought for Hill (under $20 and just restocked!)

+The Valentines I bought for mini to pass out at school.

+$30 corded heart earrings. (I bought them in blue.)

+Many of the items in my roundup of European pharmacy favorites, including this addictive toning spray, Nuxe lip balm, and homeoplasmine (for a whole manner of irritations, abrasions, dry skin, etc).

Weekend Musings:

I was profoundly moved by Maggie O’Farrell’s novel Hamnet and specifically by the acute portrait of a mother’s grief over the death of her young son. The passage below read exquisite and unbearable to me — so powerfully evocative of loss and the way a loved one’s death can feel irreconcilable with instinct:

“She, like all mothers, constantly cast out her thoughts, like fishing lines, towards her children, reminding herself where they are, what they are doing, how they fare. From habit, while she sits near the fireplace, some part of her mind is tabulating them and their whereabouts. Judith, upstairs. Susanna, next door. And Hamnet? Her unconscious mind casts, again and again, puzzled by the lack of bite, by the answer she keeps giving it: he is dead, he is dead. And Hamnet? The mind will ask again. At school, at play, out at the river? And Hamnet? And Hamnet? Where is he?”

The visual of her catch-less casting lingers, corrodes.

Oh, it is beautiful and truthful work! Please read it!

We chatted on this front recently, but what are you reading now? Anything else good?

Post-Scripts: Les $20 Heart Overalls for Littles.

+These heart-front overalls for toddlers! (Under $20!) And more Valentine’s Day finds here.

+The sense of an ending.

+You know how I feel about SZ Blockprints — and I love this latest print!

+I wore this Pam Munson bag (with white leather straps) all of last summer. I’m eyeing a second — possibly this one with the frayed blue, on sale!

+More pastel blue and white finds here!

+This artfolio is such a cute idea for car trips with little ones.

+Love these cute monogrammable pouches!

+Under-$61 scores you must know about.

+Just added this gorgeous tablecloth to my basket as a possible starting point for my Easter tablescape. It’s on crazy sale for only $59!

+Speaking of Easter/warm weather — this hydrangea print dress is so beyond gorgeous…

+This $118 white linen shirtdress is the stuff of my Grace Kelly dreams.

+These floral shorts are super fun. (More warm weather finds here.)

+Adorable pearl and bow earrings for under $60!

+Are you in the midst of outfitting your workspace? Or are you in more of a perch-where-you-can situation working from home?

+Darling embroidered floral dress for a little lady.

+Memories of navigating flirtations in college

+The classiest loafer for a gent.

+These look wonderful paired with your favorite fancy sneaks and a striped tee.

+Fun taper candles.

+Do you rock a phone sling?

+Love this frilly white top.

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9 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 202: On Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet and Grief.

  1. Hamnet is intriguing! Adding it to my list … I’m reading Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener and finding it interesting so far (I’m maybe 50 pages in? Ha!)

    I’m debating between Leave the World Behind and The Heir Affair for my next read … I own both already, so I’ll have to close my eyes and pick! Excited to dive in, hopefully tonight …

    P.S. Agree with you (and Mia) — that SZB dress is too gorgeous! May have to add it to my collection!


  2. I have “Hamnet” on my TBR list and now will have to bump it to the top! Just started Anxious People by Fredrik Backman for my bookclub and so far am enjoying it.
    Wishing you a restful weekend! xo H
    PS – SO many cute things in this post – our 2nd granddaughter is due in 3 weeks so let the shopping begin! 🙂

    1. Oh I’m SO excited to hear what you think about “Hamnet.” My mom was something like 1,700th in line for it from the public library and I loved it so much I bought a copy and sent it to her!! Please keep me posted.

      An early congratulations on your second granddaughter!!! Will be thinking of you guys!


  3. Oh wow, definitely adding Hamnet to my list! Sounds like one of those books that will stay on my mind a long time after reading it.

    Have you tried Bookbub as a source for ebooks? I haven’t myself, but was curious to know if you (or anyone else in the Magpie community) have!

    Oooh looking ahead to spring with the pastel finds! That SZ blockprints dress is so good.

    Love that NB heatloft jacket! Speaking of which, did you see the sweatshirt version? I just recently ordered it, but it appears to be the same fabric/quilted construction as the jacket. I love the funnel neck (I’ve come to be extremely uncomfortable in tighter turtlenecks lately) and the somewhat cropped cut. So excited for it to arrive! There’s a tunic version too but I’m trying out the cropped one for a different look.

    1. Hi Mia! I don’t use bookbub, but have heard great things and actually my mom used it to discover the deal on the Kristin Lavrensdatter trio! (Thanks, mom!). So maybe I need to start using it.

      I love all things NB heatloft and the cropped style is SO cute!


  4. I added Hamnet to my list as soon as I read your earlier post this week – I know just from reading this short passage that it will be an emotional read! It’s the sort of book I want to read now and then return when I’m older and (hopefully!) a mother myself.

    I just finished Nine Perfect Strangers by Lianne Moriarty, ahead of the novel’s tv adaptation coming later this year. I was pleasantly surprised to find it more substantive than I assumed it would be. In fact, the loss of a son/brother is a major theme throughout the novel and I was pleasantly surprised that it did not feel kitsch or too sappy, just real. Overall though, the book is a fun romp/thriller lite. Highly recommend!

    Looking forward to more of your great book recs and reviews in 2021!

    1. Typing fast on my phone and meant to edit that comment – embarrassed I said “pleasantly surprised” twice in one thought! ‍♀️

      1. No worries! I do the same thing all the time, including in posts I’ve edited multiple times…AHH

        I did read “Nine Perfect Strangers” and had no idea it was coming to TV! Fun! I agree with your assessment on its treatment of grief — as soon as you mentioned it, I had a powerful flashback to the father’s perspective on his son’s death and…wow. I loved (!!!) Moriarty’s “What Alice Forgot” but I found “Nine Perfect Strangers” a bit uneven. I felt like it was a long wind-up and a little messy on plot and character development. That said, I remember enjoying it at the time — thanks for adding it here for other Magpies to consider!!


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