This week I…

+ guest posted on Nikki’s blog as part of her “Figuring it Out” series. In my case, it’s not so aptly named, because 9 times out of 10, I definitely have not figured it out. Did I fool you? I also had my second contributor post on the Euro Style Lighting blog featured, so go check it out!

+ funnily enough, had a great meeting with Julia’s husband, Thomas. Remember him from his Man Behind the Blog? We’re both such business nerds that it seemed like a quick meeting to talk shop might actually make some sense. Homeboy knows his stuff!

+ also met up with new SF friend Jillian, who runs the jewelry shop of my dreams, Sweet and Spark. It’s all collected, vintage costume jewelry (but stuff you will really, really want to wear). We had a lot in common and it was fun getting to know her!

+ am officially obsessed the orange version of this shirt I got over the holidays. Fun and funky (and it looks great paired with this necklace). I still haven’t wavered from my signature look.

+ started on a wedding invitation suite for a client who also happens to be a good friend. You know those creative projects that you just get super excited about and inspired by? That’s this project. I can’t wait to share the final results with you!

question of the week

I loved learning about all of you last week! I thought it might be fun to sometimes features responses to the questions I ask in the following week, so this week, if you answer below, I’ll compile my favorite responses for everyone to read through next Friday.

This week, I read the book Gone Girl. I know many of you have probably read it, or at least heard about it, but I was behind on the times. Anyway, I was really regretting not reading it over the holidays, when I would’ve had every excuse in the world to do nothing except sit on the couch and READ. The book was that much of a page turner! I have just a few pages left, and I can honestly say it was one of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time. I actually liked it much more than The Paris Wife, which I finished a week or two ago.

So, now that Gone Girl is almost over, it’s on to the next! What’s the BEST book you’ve read in the last year or so, and why? I’d love some recommendations, and I’m sure everyone else would too!

{Image Credit: Gary Pepper Vintage}

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  1. I am currently re-reading The Happiness Project but if you want a funny & slightly edgy read I would recommend Chocolate Money.

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  2. Bevin wrote:

    I would recommend any of Kate Morton’s books. They tend to be historical fiction that bounce back and forth from the present to some point in the past. My favorite of hers is definitely The Distant Hours, and she has a new one out, The Secret Keeper that I haven’t read yet, but am eager to!


    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  3. Emily wrote:

    Omg Gone Girl was a GOOD one!! The Alchemist is a great story. And I love anything by Elin Hilderbrand – I’m convinced she’s a foodie because her characters are always making the most amazing meals. xx


    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  4. Alyssa wrote:

    I absolutely LOVED Gone Girl, so much so that I actually went on to read her other two best sellers (you would probably like those too!). A few recent favorites: “Blood, Bones and Butter”, “Super Sad True Love Story” and “The Fault in Our Stars.” All great!

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  5. Jasmin wrote:

    Unfortunately I don’t have time to read for leisure (med school) but I was able to squeeze in the entire Hunger Games series (a book a day) during my last free summer. :)

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  6. For fiction – Gone Girl was definitely one of my favorite reads last year. Apron Anxiety is an outstanding memoir with great recipes, 18 Minutes totally changed how I #GSD, and I could NOT put down Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 while on vacation. I also second Alyssa’s recommendation of Super Sad True Love Story (I haven’t read it yet, but am a major fan of the author).

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  7. amanda wrote:

    flappers and philosophers. short stories by Fitzgerald. its dreamy and gilded like all of his writing but quick and accessible and perhaps most importantly, still true to date in all ways. checkout a quick post i did on my favorite of the short stories: http://thingstoholdandstir.blogspot.com/2013/01/bernice-bobs-her-hair.html

    great idea to get people talking about books.

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  8. Thanks for mentioning Sweet & Spark – I just bought an awesome 40s bracelet that I think will enter heavy rotation!

    Also, I’m a huge reader. This year I loved the following:

    A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness- Guilty pleasure, but smarter than other books about witches/vampires. Written by a USC history professor. The sequel is good, too.

    The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

    Tunneling to the Center of the Earth by Kevin Wilson

    Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (I know, I was late to the party on this one)

    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    The Autobiography of Mrs Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin

    And lots more that I can’t remember right now…

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  9. Oh man, I just finished Gone Girl, too- the ending is insane! Loved it. I just finished reading Nemesis, which was a super-intriguing book about Jackie Kennedy, Aristotle Onassis, and Bobby Kennedy’s “love triangle” of sorts, and how Ari basically hated Bobby and may have funded his assassination! Highly recommend if you’re into history.

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  10. Alyssa wrote:

    LOVED Gone Girl. Read it in a day on vacation over Thanksgiving because I couln’t put it down either. Gone Girl was definitely top 5 this year. I also second The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (this one just sold the movie rights and I can’t wait to see it in theaters next year!). Have a great weekend!

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  11. Feel free to judge, but I was kind of on a dystopian teen novel kick last year. The Divergent books were my fave! The last one comes out sometime this year.

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  12. Tali wrote:

    Sarah’s Key. It’s a beautifully written book about two characters who’s lives interwtin many years apart. Julia is an American journalist living in France and she is picked to write a piece about the French round up of the Jews, the Vel’ d’Hiv. It’s a sad story but worth reading.

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  13. Chelsea wrote:

    Alys Always, by Harriet Lane was amazing… I love talking books, and am so excited to read everyone’s recs. xo

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  14. Danielle wrote:

    wow, i HATED gone girl. and i really hate reese witherspoon being cast in it.

    Um, i really want to read Nemisis now after reading the comment above! I’m also going to maybe read JK Rowlings new book..but ive heard SUCH mixed reviews on it!

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  15. sarah wrote:

    Hi Victoria! I actually haven’t read Gone Girl yet, but may just have to pick it up. I love to read, but generally have trouble deciding on a book. I guess, in my mind, if I’m going to commit to reading, I want to be sure it’s really good! Over the past year, I’ve loved: The Glass Castle (my favorite), Where’d You Go Bernadette, The Family Fang, and Mindy Kaling’s book (SO funny). Right now I’m reading the Master and Margarita- it’s modern Russian literature, and good, but also very different from anything I’ve read recently! Be sure to let us know what you pick up next :)

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  16. Angela wrote:

    Completely agree with you–I LOVED “Gone Girl.”

    Right now, I’m currently ready “Y” by Marjorie Celona. It’s her debut novel about a girl who is abandoned by her mother and her quest to find out who she is. Very easy read, humorous at times, and overall very interesting. I highly recommend it!

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  17. Peyton wrote:

    This may seem like a really nerdy answer, but whatevs. Right now I am reading Killing Kennedy and it is extremely interesting. It doesn’t read like a history book at all, so it isn’t just a plethora of facts being thrown at you, but a fascinating story that is also very informative. Would love to hear what you end up deciding to read! Xo

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  18. So I of course read a lot, and since June, my favorite novels were all by Sarah Addison Allen. But I do also think about The Marriage Plot frequently…mainly for the Madeline wallpaper!

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  19. I loved Gone Girl. It was definitely a page-turner. This year, I loved Mindy Kaling’s book and I’m currently reading Age of Miracles, which is fantastic so far.

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  20. Heather P. wrote:

    As an English professor, I usually end up sticking with the classics. Oh, who am I kidding – it’s mostly because they’re free to download on my iPad! The best book I read in the past year had to be The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. It’s a great turn of the 20th century love story, with the full-on emo vibe that many of Wharton’s books have…you know, if you’re into that kind of thing.

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  21. Hannah wrote:

    Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin which is what the movie Lincoln was based off on. It is very long, but if you like history at all then it is sooooo interesting!

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  22. Dahlia wrote:

    Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit, is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It draws you in from the very first paragraph. It’s the true survival story of Louie Zamperini, an Air Force bomber during WWII. Everyone should read this! I just found out Angelina Jolie will be directing the movie, so she better do it justice!

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  23. Natalie wrote:

    I have to second your readers that recommended The Marriage Plot (or anything else by Jeffrey Eugenides…Middlesex is absolutely fantastic as well) and Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand. I don’t know if you’re into nonfiction/American history, but if you are, I would highly recommend The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. I hope you land on a great book and have a wonderful weekend!

    Name’s Not Ashley

    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  24. Jillian wrote:

    Thanks for the sweet mention! Lots of exciting things to come….

    And since I’m up to nominate the next book for my book club, this is perfect timing to hear about book recommendations! So much pressure.

    I have to admit I’m a sucker for non-fiction. My fav all time author is Seth Godin, his book The Linchpin was a game changer for me. Happy reading friends!


    18 Jan 2013 · Reply
  25. Ashley wrote:

    I just read Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. SO good, probably the best book I’ve read in a year. Highly recommend!

    19 Jan 2013 · Reply
    • vmacandcheese wrote:

      I read that in November! Liked that a lot too. :)

      19 Jan 2013 · Reply
  26. Jessica wrote:

    I’ve read your blog for ages but never commented, but I love this new addition to your site that feels like such a great way to get everyone involved!

    Here’s another vote for The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. If I had to pick a book that sums up what modern fiction is (or should be) today this is it – funny, honest, relatable, at times painful, but overall encouraging. All around good read.

    19 Jan 2013 · Reply
  27. Your orange pants are beyond fabulous– such a statement making piece. Can’t wait to check out all the links– collected costume jewelry sounds right up my alley :)

    your job sounds so wonderfully creative!!

    20 Jan 2013 · Reply
    • vmacandcheese wrote:

      Thanks, but that’s not me in the photo!

      20 Jan 2013 · Reply
  28. Krista wrote:

    Beautiful photo – looks so relaxing…

    21 Jan 2013 · Reply
  29. Ly wrote:

    I’ve recently been on a reading kick too! I just finished Defending Jacob and the ending…EKKS! If you liked the weird ending of Gone Girl, I think you’ll like Defending Jacob. I also just finished “Perks of being a Wallflower” I know it’s a book that I should have read like 20 years ago but still a nice novel.

    Yesterday I started “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”. So far v entertaining!

    Loved all the other suggestions from your readers. Will add them to my reading list!

    21 Jan 2013 · Reply
  30. Nnenna wrote:

    I think Gone Girl might have been my favorite book last year- so good that I kind of want to read it again and I almost never have that feeling. Another really amazing book I read last year is Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. I love historical fiction and I’m especially fascinated by anything to do with the Tudors so I really couldn’t put this book down. I liked it even more than the first book in the trilogy (Wolf Hall), which was also really good!

    22 Jan 2013 · Reply
  31. Julie wrote:

    I’ll second The Marriage Plot, and also throw in a recommendation for Cutting For Stone. It’s one of the best novels I’ve ever read, truly!

    22 Jan 2013 · Reply
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