It’s been awhile since I’ve sat down with a good book which makes me so sad because it’s one of my favorite things to do.
It sounds cliche, but reading really is the best way to try on another way of life for size. I chose three books to dive into this September (I started a little bit early this week): a classic, a tell-all, and a fiction book.
Here are my picks.
Read with me: Heidi by Johanna Spyri
The Rifle Paper Co. illustrated version of this Heidi book enticed the living daylights out of me. These beautiful classics with re-imagined covers (the series also carries A Little Princess, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, and more) all run under $15 for hardcovers which totally blows me away.
I had ordered Little Women for my mom last Christmas and when the book came in I was super impressed by the design and craftsmanship, so I sprung for my childhood favorite. By favorite I mean that I watched the movie Heidi dozens of times and even had hamsters named Heidi and Clara (RIP furry critters). When I got older I dug around thrift shops and antique stores looking for a vintage copy – which I eventually obtained – but this was too pretty to pass up.
I’m so excited to dig back into an old favorite!
Reality TV fans out there may be cringing at this next pick. Courtney Robertson is infamously known as the villain of all villains in the Bachelor empire for her ruthless tactics in getting the guy (spoiler alert: she won) and, most notably, a scandalous skinny-dip with Bachelor Ben Flajnik. I have to admit – I totally HATED her. In all caps. HATED. Women like that make me want to curl into a ball in a cave and never come out. Naturally, I had to read her book.
This pick was the perfect storm of a few things: I was immersed in Kaitlyn’s season of The Bachelorette (she should have picked Nick), our team was working on an article on The Bachelor runner-up Becca Tilley (read that here), and I got really into the show UnREAL.
UnREAL, starring Shiri Appleby (Roswell) and Constance Zimmer (Entourage), is a fiction series that’s gaining a lot of traction for exposing the truth of how producers bait good TV scenarios and play up contestants’ downfalls to allow for them to crumble on-air. It’s exceptionally clear that they have serious “ins” with The Bachelor/Bachelorette production team and it really got me thinking about how much of what we see is actually true.
Cue giving Courtney Robertson a second chance.
I’m not saying she’s perfect or that her book doesn’t twist a bunch of reality in her favor, but I’m 67/529 pages into this and I already feel like I could sit in a room with her and not claw her eyes out.
The most hard-hitting (as deep as it will get with a light read) moment so far was learning about what happened in the span of Courtney receiving her $80,000 (!!!) engagement ring on camera until she left Switzerland sans Ben/ring to avoid spilling the beans to viewers. Juicy stuff, folks!
Read with me: A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable
I received a copy of A Paris Apartment to review and was immediately drawn to the plot line of the novel and the fact that the author lives right here in San Diego. This is the perfect “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” book that I was talking about before. The main character, April Vogt, a Sotheby’s continetal furniture specialist who hops on a plane to Paris to rifle through an old apartment filled with antiques. While there she discovers a portrait of a woman named Marthe de Florian along with her letters and journals that send April into an obsessive quest to learn more about the Marthe. The story wouldn’t be complete without a saucy Parisian love interest. The best part is that the story was based on real events!
Sarabeth’s Choice: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
I asked for the book Thirteen Reasons Why for Christmas 2007 right after the book came out. I unwrapped it on Christmas Eve and read through the night until early Christmas morning when I was done. I could not put this book down. Not even for a bathroom break.
The book centers around main character Clay Jensen, who receives a package on his porch from his classmate and crush, Hannah Baker. Two weeks earlier, Hannah had ended her life. Inside the package Clay finds cassette tapes that Hannah recorded before her death explaining the 13 reasons why she decided to end her life. To his surprise, he is one of them.
The story follows Clay through his journey in getting down to the bottom of Hannah’s struggle. It will truly make you feel something.
This particular book is actually classified as a teen read because the theme – bullying and suicide – is so prominent among the middle and high school crowds. That fact did not, in any way, shape, or form, diminish the way I felt reading this novel or the lessons that I took from it.
Send me your recommendations! I’d love to add more books to my reading list.