5 Books That Will Change Your Mood

After the last few weeks, I've been craving a bit of a mood change. Call me crazy, but with everything going on lately I've wanted – needed – a wee bit of an escape. 

(Can you blame me?)

After reading "My Name Is Lucy Barton", I couldn't stop thinking about what it was that made the book so special. The writing was nice, the story was beautiful – heartbreaking, even – but all of these elements together took me to another place. Temporarily, of course, but another place still the same. 

And really, isn't that what we're all looking for with reading? A temporary journey to another place. An escape of sorts.

"Lucy Barton" is a beautiful story and a book that I consumed quickly and enjoyed reading. Thankfully, it's not the only book that I've loved for reasons I cannot name – these are books that transported me or made me feel just plain different, and I love them for that. Here are a few:

5 Books That Will Change Your Mood | Second Floor Flat

1. "The Girls" by Emma Cline

No doubt you've heard of this book. Actually, you may even be reading it right now. Or perhaps, like me, you read about it on Cup of Jo (or another favorite site of your choice), pre-ordered it, and consumed it as soon as it arrived. If you have, I salute you. If you haven't, let me fill you in: "The Girls" follows Evie Boyd as she gets through life as a 14-year-old (officially the worst) and fumbles in and out of a cult-like Northern California group. It's glorious and seedy and Manson Family-esque, but the most important thing about the story is the girls it surrounds – their obsessions with each other and themselves; their desire to belong.  I can't wait to read this again  and rejoin 14-year-old Evie's fantastically strange world.


2. "My Name Is Lucy Barton" by Elizabeth Strout

Lucy Barton quietly takes you and holds you close. The story takes place almost entirely in a hospital room and in this case, that's plenty. This is a subtly powerful read that will stay with you and make you want to cry for reasons you can't quite figure out. 


3. "Letters To A Young Poet" by Rainer Maria Rilke

In what was one of the better birthday gifts I've ever received, a friend took me out to tea and gave me a copy of this book. It's plain, simple, and perfect – a must for any young creative, or really anyone at all. I read it, underlined almost everything, and have returned to it time and time again. 


4. "Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth" by Warsan Shire

Feminist poetry,  you know? Sometimes it just really hits you. Though I'm typically not a poetry type (whatever that means) this short collection of poems from now-famous, oft-googled, Beyonce-tribe member Warshan Shire is for real. Grab a copy or for pete's sake, at least borrow mine.


5. "Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I recommend this book to people almost more than anything else. Reading this while living abroad taught me about loneliness, leaving family, and what it means (it was referenced in more than a few of my expat-related posts) but more than that, it gave me a different perspective on women, race, countries, cultures; our differences, and our similarities. Just read it, k? 


Whether you're looking for an escape of sorts or just a good-old fashioned summer read, I'd recommend picking up one of these, getting a little carried away, and then letting me know what you think. I clearly love talking about books, and would love to hear what you think as the smart, intelligent, interesting gal or guy I'm (pretty sure) you are. Happy reading!

Good Reads: The Best Links This Week

Happy Friday!

We kicked off the weekend last night with a delish dinner at The Rum Kitchen off of Carnaby Street. I'm now convinced that the only way to cheer up a rainy London evening in January is with the assistance of a coconut cocktail

Tonight, I'm off to a friend's birthday drinks in Angel, followed by thrift store shopping in Dalston tomorrow, and returning to my hibernation state to read "Gone Girl", watch "Her", and make s'more cookies.

Have a good'un!


Still obsessing over Diane Keaton, my forever girl crush, and her silvery perfect hair at the Golden Globes. Glad I'm not alone. (Refinery29)

Shirting line Tradlands is one of my favorites. This week, they told the story of how the company began on their blog. Super duper inspiring.

"We set a common table where...all that gather may consider our history and our future in a spirit of reconciliation." Glad to have learned about the Southern Foodways Alliance from (who else?) The Bitter Southerner.

The all-important animal video of the week. (Gawker)

Craving this, this, and this at Need Supply's 70% off sale. 

A very 1981 look at what we thought reading a newspaper online would look like. Hint: it's wrong. (The Debrief)

life list that includes entries like "Toss any underthings I'd be embarrassed about wearing if I got hit by the proverbial car", "Interview my siblings", and "Try 200 blends of tea".  Super inspired to do this myself. (Taste Kills Creativity)

Good Reads

Happy Friday! A few things from around the internet worth reading (or watching) over the weekend.

Abigail Washburn—who blends banjo music with the Chinese language—performs at TED.

The trailer for this Elle Fanning movie, which makes me want to dye my hair red.

Alice Munro's "Amundsen" from The New Yorker—once again found on Paragraph.

I used to hate Macklemore, and now I kind of love him. Watch his Tiny Desk Concert, featuring Ryan lewis.

Top 5 Books To Read This Weekend

Well folks: it's the weekend, it's chilly out, and it's time to make the most of all of those fall activity Pinterest boards and blog posts you've bookmarked.

It's nice to imagine yourself packing a sturdy canvas bag with a warm thermos of tomato soup—plus grilled cheese sandwiches for good measure—a wool tartan throw, and what's sure to be your New Favorite Book and heading off for an afternoon at your local park. This park is not only picturesque but alsohappens to have plenty of dry, comfortable, and unoccupied places for you to sit and enjoy your afternoon of quality reading time. 

Top 5 Books To Read This Weekend

If you're anything like me you won't make it to the park or (maybe) even out of the house. Instead, slip on that baby pink Victoria's Secret fleece bathrobe of yours, curl up on the couch, and try out one of these:

 1.I Am An Executioner: Love Stories by Rajesh Parameswaran

Crazy good short stories that are absolutely not boring. The first story is told from the perspective of a lion who's in love with his keeper so, there's that.

2. Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse by Lucas Klauss

This is one of those technically YA novels where your age doesn't matter. You won't want to put this book down and will relate to its lead character in every way even if you've been out of your "young adult" years for a really (really) long time.

3. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

This book has actually made me slow down (kind of) and appreciate the small things in everyday life, which I already told you about. A pleasant read that's absolutely worth your while. And on another note,  I was lucky enough to win a copy of Gretchen's second book which I'm excited to start soon. Thanks guys!

4. Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

You know when you see a movie or read a book that describes exactly how you feel? Now, imagine that you then find out that one out of every two-three people also feel that way. That's how this book was for me. And if you're too lazy to read the book, here's a TED Talk from the author.

5. The Giver by Lois Lowry

I read this in the New York Times Magazine when I was home last weekend, and now I can't wait to read this book again.

Looking for a place to buy one of these books?

If you're in Brooklyn, go here. If you're in North Carolina (and more specifically Durham) go here. If you're in London, go here.

And if that's not enough to keep you occupied this weekend, Ira Glass was on Reddit on Friday.

From here!

Things I Learned From: Down and Out in London and Paris

Things I’ve learned from my second reading of Down and Out in Paris and London:

Things I Learned From: Down and Out in London and Paris

1. George Orwell’s London diet of “tea and two slices” every couple of hours sounds really nice though would actually not be nice at all if it was the only food you have, which it was in the book

2. I very much appreciate having a place to shower

3. Once you’re broke, you don’t have to constantly worry about becoming broke. (Though you then have much bigger things to worry about).

4. Always take handbills from people handing them out on the streets

From here!