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 weekend!

Aside from starting on an exciting new project this week (details to come), it was also my bdaayyy! To celebrate, we're trying this new restaurant in London's Ace Hotel tomorrow, maybe doing some shopping, and having some friends over for dinner (including the lovely lady behind these book reviews).

Have a great weekend! 

Obsessed with these Simona Vanth high heels.  (Also, don't you just love saying high heels rather than just heels? Sounds so glamorous.) 

Great piece about the demise of fashion eccentrics fromT  Magazine. 

Broccoli gets a (genius) makeover.  (The New York Times)

Fade Away, from Best Coast is - of course - great.  (Rolling Stone)

As mentioned hundreds of times before, Greta Gerwig is the GREATEST. ( It's Nice That)

A $20,000 house that I want to buy. (Co. Exist )

Check out my guest post on 100 First Dates on being married, and why it makes me no different from you, single gal with dirty hair.  (100 First Dates)

Time to do a little shopping, y'all: take 20% off at Nasty Gal and Mango. 

There's such a place in my heart for video stores and this article does a great job summing it up. The bit about how exciting it used to be to go to a video store during summer break is so true. RIP, Hollywood Video/Blockbuster/Turtle. (The Atlantic )

 


Good Reads: The Best Links This Week

Well, well, well. If it isn't Friday.

This weekend, I'd like to get domestic. (Maybe) try cooking something - vegetarian lasagna, anyone? - and maybe do some cleaning. Our flat has gotten out of control, and I'd like to get it to looking a little something like this Scandinavian-esque treat. 

Here are some nice things to read this weekend from around the web in case you missed them. Enjoy! 

All I want right now are red nails

CanIkissyou? Now & Then is now 20 years old! (Buzzfeed)

Another great piece from former expat  / New York Times London Correspondent Sarah Lyall. 

I'd like to be this girl. (The Sartorialist)

Hello, Country Bumpkin.  

The beautiful work of Australian photographer Rebecca Newman. (found via thisispaper)

Work on the internet? This video explains how to use the Google keyword planner, and the guy is awesome

This New York store features the work of British accessory and fashion designers. Perfect if you're looking for a UK-fix. (Flat 128)

I just love me some Tavi. (The Monthly)

This collaboration between two of my favorite accessory designers in Brooklyn is the cat's meow.  

Amazing scene and song from the 1965 Bollywood movie Gumnaam. (SHK Magazine )

You might be surprised by this secret to having a successful day. My sister and I both SWEAR by it. (The Happiness Project)