I’ve always had the theory that there is no such thing as a “non-reader”. Those who don’t like to read simply haven’t found that perfect book to hook them in. Book bites is a short column to entice readers with a book (new or old) to try. Never spoiler-y but definitely short and sweet, this column provides an appetizer of a review to whet the appetites of readers both dormant and avid. I’m a fan of all kinds of literature, and this column will attempt to reflect many different tastes for the overall goal of helping recommend books (paper, e-verision, or audio format) to try.
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice
If you’re anything like me, you often daydream of an era where one didn’t leave home without a pair of heels, kid gloves and a dash of lipstick. And if you’re an Audrey Hepburn/Jackie O kind of fancy lady, you’ll find this lovely book quite a delight.
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is a taste of the time of the lady. This book follows one girl as she gets swept up in the wonderful world of Charlotte, a delightfully ritzy socialite. The novel is a whirlwind of swirling romance, crumbling Gatsby-like mansions, and 1950s London debutants. Even the cover just invites you to throw on a floral floor-length and get in on the gossip.
In a way, this book reminds me of Clueless/Emma with a dash of Grey Gardens. It’s a great standalone read for a sunny Sunday with a cup of tea, or a great gift for a mom/sister/friend that digs a great pair of pearls and a floral print
Quote: “There was something in the way that this creature spoke, something in the way that she carried herself, that made me quite certain that no one would ever be able to refuse her anything, regardless of whether they had known her for five minutes or fifty years.”
You’ll enjoy this if: you’re in the mood for fancy, you’re a fan of Jane Austen and/or you’ve got a love for 1950s flair.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Speaking of fancy, there’s no way I can recommend a book that harkens back to Jane Austen without recommending Jane Austen’s fabulous love story. I’m sure you have heard of the book, or you’ve watched the movie enough to feel as though you have. However, if you’re not familiar, Pride and Prejudice is a story about the Bennet family’s trials and tribulations on the search for love (or, well, matrimony).
Austen’s take on love resonates even in today’s time (take a look at Austen’s letter of advice to her niece for some nuggets of wisdom on relationships). This is more than just a gentleman-meets-lady type of story. Pride and Prejudice is full of class struggle, family drama and struggles with wealth.
This is definitely more of a challenging read, so don’t get disconcerted if you find yourself a little lost in the language. I’m actually a big proponent of familiarizing oneself with the plotline before tackling a classic. I know it’s quite a controversial stance (talk about a spoiler!), but I’m all for using tools to aid understanding.
(Protip: You can totally read this book for free via Google Books)
Quote: “Of this she was perfectly unaware; to her he was only the man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thought her handsome enough to dance with.”
You’ll enjoy this if: you haven’t read a classic in a few years, you’re a fan of pen-and-paper letter writing and/or you enjoy period dramas.