|Faves, Raves & Picks
Waiting for Daisy by Peggy Orenstein: Simply terrific. One woman's path to motherhood. Honest and wise, you're sure to gain some wonderful insights, even if you haven't suffered from infertility and for that matter, even if you've never been—or wanted to be—on the path to motherhood yourself. Ultimately, Orenstein's book is about life in general.
The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown: Well worth it for for the story within the story within the story: Diana...her equally polarizing blonde biographer...and the reviewer who was unpublishable. Wherever you came down in The War of The Waleses (if you cared at all), read this for its priceless zingers.
The Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale: Unbelievable. My new best friend. The best thesaurus I've tried. An unorthodox choice, but what can I say? It saved me during my most recent manuscript deadline.
But Enough About Me...: A Jersey Girl's Unlikely Adventures Among the Absurdly Famous by Jancee Dunn: Journalist and Rolling Stone contributor Dunn intersperses her memoir with interviewing tips and celebrity dish for a combination that's hard to beat and impossible to put down. By turns hilarious and nostalgic, but always insightful, this is a frequently, and sometimes unexpectedly, tender look at the world of the rich and famous from the eyes of someone who's still "just folks."
it!: 9 Secrets of the Rich and Famous That'll Take You to the Top by Paula Froelich: Fascinating! Part insider dish, part PR how-to, this is the book for you if you're a devotee of celebritainment. Written by a New York Post Page Six gossip columnist (go, Paula!), it's guaranteed to inspire a whole new, marketing-savvy you. Having written about a gossip columnist in Tycoon Takes Revenge, you know I couldn't put down this breezy read!
Cracks in My Foundation by Marian Keyes: After reading Marian Keyes's latest collection of essays and short stories, I had cracks in my foundation from laughter. From her failed attempt at meditation ("…oh Christ! I never rang that woman back about the insoles. I'll do it as soon as I finish this.") to setting upon the buffet at a movie set, to winning against bingo game sharks, Keyes is always entertaining.
Pride & Prejudice (2005) starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen: Loved it! I have to admit I wondered whether this newest screen adaptation would be eclipsed even before its debut by the 1995 version with Colin Firth, but it does an admirable job of being equally good by being different. Expect more of an emphasis on the disparity in wealth between Elizabeth and Darcy and less on her boorish relations.
Flirting with Pride & Prejudice: Fresh Perspectives on the Original Chick-Lit Masterpiece edited by Jennifer Crusie: A great read for any die-hard Jane Austen fan! (And, with a new screen adaptation of P&P coming out soon starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, I'm sure the numbers will be only growing.) In this fun collection of essays and short stories, romance authors, chick-lit writers and others offer their own perspectives on one of English literature's most enduring and influential works.
A Visit from Sir Nicholas by Victoria Alexander: Christmas in July! I recently finished this wonderful early Victorian historical romance, and the words textured and nuanced come to mind, to say nothing of the snappy dialogue. Nicholas Collingsworth tosses away Elizabeth Effington's budding affection in order to avoid repeating family history and snatching away the woman that the man he considers a brother is destined to marry. Ten years later, Nicholas returns to London after making his fortune and realizes he's made a terrible mistake. The book is about Christmas past, Christmas present and Christmas yet to come. But more than that, it's about (misguided) sacrifices for love, searching for grand passion and returning to a first love.
Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman: This non-fiction book about native Manhattanite Gilman's growing up years from the late 1960s onward got a rave review in People magazine, not to mention an intriguing cover plug by Frank McCourt, so of course I picked it up. I laughed my pants off. It touches on all the issues of being young, single and female today: finding a career, finding happiness, and, of course, finding yourself. Not to mention the Pouffy White Dress. Great.
Mean Season by Heather Cochran: It's rare that a book makes me laugh and brings a tear to my eye. Put out by Harlequin's chick lit imprint, Red Dress Ink, this book is unlike most other chick lit I've read. For one thing, it's set in West Virginia instead of an urban jungle. For another, the heroine has a very unglamorous job at the county clerk's office. Slowly but surely, however, this book sucked me in. Leanne Gitlin’s life is transformed during the ninety days that movie star Josh Reed spends under house arrest at her home. Cochran's use of similes, subtle foreshadowing and motifs is fantastic.