Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Loves of My Life are My Favorite Books

“Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry.”
Mark Strand

This is a bit of a departure from what I've been posting here for, well, to be honest, the last year or so. I don't know what happened to the Things of Happiness, but you know. Sometimes things peter out. So in the spirit of posting about things besides outfits, this is a post about my soulmates—books.

There is nothing I love as much as a book. I love the covers, the pages, bookshelves and bookmarks. I got a kindle for Christmas, and I do not find that this strange object has destroyed the 'real thing' at all for me. I am delighted with it. I can carry around all of my favorite books with me at all times, losing my place is near impossible, and I love highlighting sections to keep in my little clippings folder. If anything, the kindle has increased my book buying habits because if I love a book I read on there, I'll go buy a hard copy of it to place lovingly on my bookshelf.

And so, here are a few books who have (I talk to and about them like they are people—these strange, silent friends who break my heart) burrowed their way into my life in the past few months:

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, Karen Russell
This book made the rounds about a year back—I think—and it seemed all the bloggers in this little niche were talking about reading it, or wanting to read it. My resistance was pointless. With a title like that it was only a matter of time before I snatched this little beauty up, and I've hardly put it down since then. I love these stories, they're so strange, magical, and at times a little bit horrifying (at others, heartbreaking). I wish I had written them (I think one of the blurbs on the back of the books says this, so I can't be the only one!). I think I've read the stories a dozen times, some even more. If I remember correctly, this was one of the first books I read in the past year-and-a-half that reminded me why I love reading. Maybe it's early still, considering the rest of my life, but I suspect this is a book of stories that is really quite important to me. A few weeks ago I learned that the author, Karen Russell, is coming to my school for The Writer's Institute. It's only in a week or so, and I cannot wait! I am so thrilled to bits, I might explode. In the meantime, I will sit in the corner and read it over again, while eyeballing my penny-loafers praying to be chewed.

Pretty Monsters, Kelly Link
I was looking for something that would satisfy my appetite for strange short stories with an element of the magical. It's hard, because I knew the kinds of books and stories I wanted were out there somewhere (essentially I was looking to read more of the first listed above), but finding them seemed and impossible task. I almost would rather not read a book at all that ends up being a disappointment, and so it took a good week or so of hemming and hawing on my part before I snatched this one up. I think I read the description of it on Amazon and the review 47 times. This was unnecessary, because I loved it. The stories were also strange, magical, occasionally frightening, and at times hilarious. The only problem is that I finished it, and while I can read it again, it's never quite the same as the first time.

Of Bees and Mist: A Novel, Erik Setiawan
After Pretty Monsters, I was bereft. I had gone through re-reading everything I already knew I loved, and then read that book, and still hungered for more. Thankfully, a tumblr-friend came to my rescue, leaving this curious title and a a recommendation in my ask box. After reading the description on Amazon I hadn't a doubt in my mind that this was exactly the book, or the kind of book, I was looking for. Not to mention, I love bees (I have a secret desire to keep bees and wear that crazy outfit) and also, I love mist. I read it in just over twenty-four hours, devouring its pages in a mad rush, speed-reading whole sections and being totally heartbroken thinking about the characters every moment of the day. The book isn't without it's faults—at moments I wanted to punch the same oft-used adjectives in their little font-faces—but somehow that hardly matters. It was a book I was happy to become swept up in, like I used to with books when I was younger, to be absorbed into it's universe so much that it seemed tragic to me that I could not literally be a part of it, living it (even though the events in it are horribly).

I have also recently signed up for a Shelfari account. Hopefully I'll keep up with it, and eventually I'd like to have all my books up there, but we'll see how long motivation for that lasts.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Children's Hour

I've been on the lookout for a sweater from the boy's department (specifically, from crewcuts) for a few months now. The tricky thing about it is I'm not exactly boy-ish in figure, and while squeezing myself into child's clothing is a talent I used to be quite good at, these days it's a bit harder. But after months of digging and searching, I at last found a size 12 sweater from the boy's department to call my very own.

This is the kind of thing I've been loafing around in for weeks. I can't be bothered much with accessories--my poor, neglected watch was the most effort I could muster--and I just want to be warm. Generally, it comes down to what looks cute under a coat.

I'm also finding that new hair brings new feelings about clothing. I've been having trouble for a few months with the fussier side of things. I can't help but be drawn in by bows, lace, little collars, chintzy patterns, kittens with bows on their necks and all manner of tea party paraphernalia personified in outfits, but all the same I find that these days it's just a bit too much. I want to pare things down, wear simpler outfits with cleaner lines. It's the trench-coat-and-a-black-dress feeling.

I'm also discovering that bangs grow like the fastest weeds in the West, and have an ever-developing mind-of-their-own. I haven't quite progressed to styling them (I don't know how to blow dry my hair. I just point the thing at my head until it's dry, and then adjust accordingly with hot rollers), and so far the air has been really helpful with all of that.

In the meantime, it's still winter, seemingly forever.

Outfit details:
Sweater: J. Crew, crewcuts
Skirt: J. Crew, circa 2009
Tights: Hue
Watch: Thrifted

P.S. I've been working on cleaning out my makeshift closet, and so far I've listed a few of my less-worn vintage goodies in the old etsy shop. Please take a look if you'd like :) More things will be added throughout the week! Some of them are really lovely, and need loving homes!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Even Legs Get the Blues.

It's been a while since I've been able to take some proper outfit pictures. Most of the time I just want to stay inside, where there is no light, wearing as many blankets as possible and sliding through the house like some weird amoeba. The time spent outside is mostly scurrying from one doorway to the next, with occasional bursts of flinging oneself inside the car to escape the cold (which isn't really so bad as just really uncomfortable).

This is my favorite coat of all time. I don't know what I will do when it gives in and becomes decrepit.

The original plan was to take pictures by the movie theater, but I chickened out when I saw a guy patrolling the parking lot. It's been a while, and I feel like a weirdo posing for pictures like I'm some kind of awesome. So we headed over to one of the local private high schools, since it was Sunday and cold, so no one would be around. I can walk there from my house, but I haven't been in years! Not since track meets and meeting friends anyway.

The real exciting thing though, is my mini meow tote from fieldguided!

I had been secretly pining away for one for weeks, waiting for payday and then forgetting and buying cake and dresses instead. I'm such a sucker for tote bags--I have, I think, given up on actual purses and have thrown myself body-and-soul into tote-bag-collecting--and this one is kitty themed! There are others in the shop as well, so everyone ought to order away, but not too much, because I may need to treat myself to one of the lyric totes, or another meow if I manage to destroy this one.

The problem with tote bags, is they are often large, and I will pack them with extra shoes, cameras, books, planners, pens, cosmetics, a pair of socks just in case, sometimes a different blouse in case I change my mind later, and occasionally an apron if I'm going to work. Also, lunch. I'm trying to carry less, and so a smaller bag seems the best way to do so, and to not sling things on my shoulders. Eventually I will be lopsided if I keep my habits going!

Outfit details:
Coat: H&M, circa 2007
Jumper: Banana Republic, thrifted
Tights: Hue
Shoes: Steve Madden
Blouse: Banana Republic
Tote: fieldguided

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bits and Bobs (and Bangs!)

Just a quick post today!

A few months ago I gave in and made a little facebook page for this blog, and as time goes on I've been posting all the little bits of things that don't seem to go anywhere else there! So far it's cell-phone quality outfit shots, occasionally things I see out in the world that I like, links to new posts, and the occasional stealthily-taken video of something inane, like digging through dresses.

So, if you'd like a gander at any of the above, take a look on over here, and give it a thumbs up as well if you're so inclined!

You'll notice, from a few posts on there, that I went ahead and lopped my hair off!

Alright, not off, but it's considerably shorter and features the (among a little niche of bloggers) ubiquitous blunt bangs! I've wanted them for ages, always longingly looking at catalogs and editorials and tumblrs and blogs where the girls and women in them had that nice, thick fringe. But I had bangs several years ago and was convinced that they were not something that I could pull off, that went along with my face at all.

But I had that itch, and knew I wasn't going to forget them until I had them on my head. They're taking some getting used to--they keep touching me--but it's a nice change for now. I can't say that I'm a lifetime convert, but an occasional dabbler certainly seems an apt title.