Yes, I know it's 'Gangham Style', not Gingham style. It's called a pun. I like puns so there you go. I went to a Nanette Lepore Vintage Sale a few weeks ago and got a great Gingham blazer that has just been itching for some pictures. Then last week I went to Loft because I got a $20 reward and they were doing 50% off and I got a great pencil skirt. I needed a fun graphic tee to finish off the outfit so I fished out a cropped sleep shirt from the bottom of my drawer, grabbed a silver clutch and called it a day.
Oh yeah, and the Empire State Building is my favorite building in the world because its lights change colors according to events and holiday going on around the world. Also, the lights used by the ESB are Philips lights. Philips is a Dutch company my dad used to work for (and my grandma's maiden name). So, beautiful lights provided by the Dutch. You're welcome. I'm just kidding, I had nothing to do with it but my countrymen and women did and I think that's pretty great.
So this book challenge (I probably should have called it a reading challenge instead but it's too late now) has been really great and surprisingly attainable. Sometimes I do have to plan my weekends around finishing book but it's been manageable so far. I really like the variety of books I'm reading and while I do not love all of them, i'm having fun and learning a lot. I've been doing this challenge for 9 months now! I could've had a baby in that time! Just kidding guys, not for like five years. Anyway, only 3 months left!
Week 1 (June 1st - 7th)
Horns by Joe Hill
Synopsis: After Ig wakes up with a hangover and discovers he has grown horns, strange events start to unfold. Under the mysterious influence of his horns, Ig ventures to learn the truth about the night his girlfriend was murdered.
Opinion: An unconventional and mysterious thriller, I enjoyed this intriguing novel. While intense and somewhat abhorrent, the story was also poetic and compelling. I was hooked early on and did not want to stop reading. It was an emotional thrill ride and while it was almost too much for me, I did appreciate the air of dark devious mystery and the daring plot.
3.5 out of 5 hearts
Week 2 (June 8th - 14th)
The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
Synopsis: Following the adventures of cousins Sam Clay and Joe Cavalier, this novel takes place before, during and after World War II. Having narrowly escaped the turmoil of his home city of Prague, Joe arrives at his cousins' house in Brooklyn with a goal to make a lot of money in order to get the rest of his family to America as well. Sam soon convinces Joe to seek roles in the comics industry and the cousins embark on several adventures as a result.
Opinion: This was a surprising and diverse novel. I had no idea what it was about before I started reading so the comic book angle took me pleasantly by surprise. I liked the different angles of stories explored and the unique approach to what it means to fight the nazis during World War II and its effects. While it is not a super grappling story that, the attention to detail and symbolic uses of certain themes gave profound meaning to the story and I enjoyed it immensely.
4 out of 5 hearts
Week 3 (June15th - 21st)
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
Synopsis: In this book, Sophia Amoruso provides insight into her journey on becoming the founded and CEO of Nasty Gal, a successful e-commerce clothing company. Putting her shoplifting days behind her, Amoruso started an eBay shop in her studio apartment that started her on her path to owning a multi-million dollar company. Offering encouragement and advise, Amoruso combined her life experiences with business savvy to motivate the reader to become her own #GIRLBOSS.
Opinion: This book definitely got me pumped to be a confident business woman and work hard to achieve my goals and dreams. A guy reading this might just roll his eyes and dismiss this as a book not worth finishing but, as a girl, it was a fun and encouraging book to read because it is written a lot like a conversation instead of just a business textbook. I cringed and I chuckled and I was encouraged by Amoruso's experiences.
3 out of 5 hearts
The Curious Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Synopsis: Revolving around strange occurrences involving a sinister man named Mr. Hyde and a reputable gentleman named Dr. Jekyll, this story explores the struggles of the battle between good and evil within one's self. Having discovered that the use of certain chemicals could separate out Dr. Jekyll's evil side form his good side, he inadvertently creates his other persona, Mr. Hyde, who grown stronger and more dangerous over time. This leads to mysterious circumstances investigated by a lawyer and a close from of Dr. Jekyll, Gabriel John Utterson.
Opinion: The fact that I was already familiar with the story of Jekyll and Hyde pretty much took the fun out of this short book because I already knew the ending. However, I could still appreciate the sense of mystery and climax of the story and the fact that this is one of the first times the concept of dissociative identity disorder is explored.
3.5 out of 5 hearts
Week 4 (June 22nd - 28th)
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Synopsis: A story about a whaling ship going after a notorious white whale named Moby Dick.
Opinion: I seriously kept falling asleep when I read this book. It mostly feels like a textbook and just a little bit like a story about whale hunting. It The book was a flop when it was published in 1851 and only started being called a great book in the 20th century we'll after the author' death. I do not understanding why this novel all of a sudden became known as such a great work. If you have a great interest in knowing the specifics of whaling, this is the book for you. If not, hard pass.
1.5 out of 5 hearts
You've probably notices that along with lemons, donuts and pineapples, popsicles are a fun trend right now. I went to H&M yesterday and found this fantastic men's tee for $4! No joke, it was awesome. Needless to say I couldn't wait to get some pictures of it. Naturally I had to buy some popsicles as a prop but i don't mind because popsicles are delicious. I wanted to do something different with the tee so I paired it with a big necklace and some silver pumps. Live a little, right? I also don't know why I never put several ties in my ponytail before but after this shoot I am definitely going to start. in conclusion, popsicles rule.
My boyfriend recently got me a Guava colored Kate Spade bag and I thought it was deserving of some fun pictures. I love mint and peach together and, off course, orange.
Week 1 (May 4th - May 10th)
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Synopsis: This is a humorous, satirical novel about a pontiac dealer names Dwayne Hoover and a fiction writer named Kilgore Trout. Trout ends up hitchhiking to a convention where he will end up meeting Hoover. Hoover is slowly losing his marbles and Trout ends up making matters worse.
Opinion: This was a fun read. The sarcasm and absurdity were refreshing and the underlying political themes were interesting. I enjoyed this style and the ridiculous story that went with it.
3 of out 5 hearts
Week 2 (May 11th-17th)
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Synopsis: Set in the 1400s and spanning over several generations, the book revolves around the building of a cathedral.
Opinion: Most awful book I have ever read. I hated it. I have never had such a strong aversion to a book. It started out all fine and dandy but some awful things happened that were just not okay by a long shot and bothered me so much people at work asked me what was wrong because my mood was seriously affected. I honestly wish I never read it. It was clearly written by a man and not only did I not care for the awful things that happened, I also did not care for a lot of the crudeness of the writing. All in all, it had no business being on some 'best 100 books to read'. I don't know why anyone would intentionally subject themselves to awful acts of inhumanity. All this book did was upset me and piss me off. Hard pass. The back of the book had a quote that called this book "wonderful" - Bullshit.
Recommend? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Stay far away.
.5 out of 5 hearts for the same reason you get a few points for just writing your name on an exam in school.
Week 3 (May 18th-24th)
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Synopsis: A man wakes up one day as a bug. That's pretty much it.
Opinion: It was okay. It was a bit dull and while I know there is supposed to be a lot of symbolism and hidden meaning and such, I honestly did not take the time to dissect (haha, get it?) the story. It was interesting enough but nothing to rave about.
2.5 out of 5 hearts
Week 4 (May 25th-31st)
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Synopsis: After a tragedy befalls Theo when he is young, his whole life changes drastically. Ranging from the time he is 13 to his late 20s, the Goldfinch tells the story of Theo's struggles, triumphs and secrets as he tries to find his way in the world.
Opinion: I was impressed with this book because the story was very original to me. The mixture of fiction and nonfiction makes the story seem more real. The fact that parts of the story take place in The Netherlands and NYC (The place I am from and the place I love now) also make it more relatable for me. It was also rich with emotion and dynamic characters and spoke to the importance of art as a conduit of emotion. I liked the fact that the story was unpredictable and complex and while it was pretty lengthy, the novel was easy to read and very well written.
4 out of 5 hearts.
About the Author
Born and raised in the Netherlands, I now work as a designer in NYC. I love trying new things, candy and the color orange. In this blog, I will post about things I've learned and things I love. Veel plezier!