Books Books Books

by Erin on October 24, 2007

The post office has delivered some fun books lately for me to share with you — I love getting review copies, especially of novels, because then reading for fun magically becomes Work with a capital W. As in, "Honey, I'd love to put away the laundry right now, but I really have to finish this book for Work. You understand, don't you?" Of course, my husband twigged to this little ruse years ago, so there's some eye-rolling involved (and if I'm eating chocolate while "Working" all bets are off) but still. It's fun.

One of the books that was sent to me was this one, Violet on the Runway, which I suppose is technically YA, although it certainly has what we used to call Adult Content. All I know is that if I had come across this when I was thirteen, I would have read it three times, and even as an adult, it was truly entertaining. The people are whole and well-rounded and I liked Violet very much, as the ugly duckling who turns out to be a swan (and who might be happier as a duckling). It was so nice to read a fashion-y book that didn't go overboard with the brand names, didn't seem like an extended game of paper dolls, and which featured people you could like and understand. An excellent book for your favorite fashion-mad teen (and if you're careful and don't get chocolate on the pages, you can read it yourself first).

Violet on the Runway

I was also sent The Collection, a novel set in part in the workrooms of Coco Chanel; kind of a The Devil Wears Prada, only with Coco as the Devil. I tend to like historical fiction, and this was a nice change from kings of the realm and so on. Unfortunately, the characters were a bit flatter than my ideal — I kept waiting for Isabelle to do something dramatic — but the plot was such that I read it all in one sitting, so that must mean *something*. (Weirdly, I also got an email blast from The New Yorker yesterday inviting me to a reading of this novel at the Eileen Fisher store in the Water Tower Mall. Is Eileen Fisher the new Chanel and nobody told me? It certainly makes a kind of sense.)

Lastly, this is probably better suited for my other blog, but Burgess Unabridged is just an adorable book, and I'm so glad that Walker has brought it back in print. Gelett Burgess was, in fact, the guy who coined the word blurb, which makes me insanely happy, in a meta kind of way, that I was able to blurb this book. (Not many people get to blurb the blurber.) Burgess Unabridged is a collection of his other neologisms, none of which ever had the success of blurb, but which make for interesting reading, nonetheless. Like the word kipe, which he defines as "A woman's glance at another woman." Leaving aside the heteronormativity of that for the moment, doesn't that word describe every two-figure illustrated pattern envelope you've ever seen? Or his word gorgule, meaning "elaborate bad taste," something we always know when we see it — and now have a handy word for. Burgess Unabridged is illustrated, too, by Herb Roth, in a kind of Aubrey Beardsley-meets-Gahan-Wilson style.

There. A little light reading for a Wednesday?

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