Monday, June 17, 2019

Reading and Shopping Life Lately

To my slight sorrow, it turns out that I also spoke a little too soon about my streak of good luck with picking out books to read. Although I loved Celeste Ng's first novel, Everything I Never Told You, I ended up finding her second novel, Little Fires Everywhere, extremely tedious. It's a "did not finish" or "DNF" for me, after I got through ~40% of the book. 

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Close to half of Little Fires Everywhere, at least in the portions I read, is told from the perspective of high school-aged characters, which is just not my cup of tea. It seems that, as a reader, I quite enjoy reading about the foibles and inner thoughts of college-aged characters (for example, in Jeffrey Eugenides's The Marriage Plot, and more recently, in R.O. Kwon's The Incendiaries, both of which I may have enjoyed a lot more than most other readers typically do), who generally also seem very young, and sometimes also immature or foolish, to my eyes (I also cringe to look back at some of things I said or did at that age). For whatever reason, I simply can't muster up the same enthusiasm for reading about actual teenagers. 

Plus, I just really personally dislike one of the main characters (the one Reese Witherspoon will play in the forthcoming television adaptation), who seems to be the type of person who considers themselves very progressive, charitable, and well-meaning, but is actually very... let's just say... non-intersectional in their thinking, with tons of implicit biases about people from different backgrounds, both as a matter of race and class. Actually, that Celeste Ng is able to get into this character's head and write her in a way that inspires such a visceral reaction in me probably is a testament to the strength of her writing skills. Unfortunately, it also means that I just can't enjoy this book. 

I've now moved on to Preet Bharara's Doing Justice, which I just received from the library after waiting a few weeks for my turn, and it's a great book so far. Though if I had to pick just one recent, well-known memoir written by an attorney that I think everyone should read, I'd still recommend Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy first, as I think the lessons imparted by Just Mercy are of truly unique importance in explaining some of the problems facing the US today.  

As for my recent shopping life, It's been around a week and a half since I received my Elizabeth Suzann Georgia dress in mid-weight linen and matching Asawa belt in the mail, and I really love them so far! I should note that the mid-weight linen is not a perfect summer fabric for NYC, as it starts to feel a little heavy for my tastes when the temperature climbs past mid-70s Fahrenheit, given typical summer humidity levels. But with the heavier linen, the dress has a lovely shape when its belted, the fabric has just the right amount of stiffness and structure. I find the design of the Asawa belt fairly unique and clever. More on these items in a few weeks, once I've had a bit longer to test them out.

I've had very little luck with all my other recent shopping, alas, even with all the sales that have been going on. I decided to order that APC Clare Dress (also on sale here) that caught my eye a few months back, now that it's been discounted from $325 to ~$227 most places. (I ordered mine directly from APC.) The cotton-linen blend fabric has a nice texture, it felt light and breezy for summer while still being substantial enough that it wouldn't be a problem that the dress is unlined. I ordered the 38 and it seemed to be the right size for me. Unfortunately, I was also correct that the design and shape of the dress, with the extra volume around the chest and shoulders, wouldn't fit me well. (Plus, I expect my proportions in that area to change significantly in a few months.) I should also note that the vaguely faux-wrap looking v-neck actually worked a lot better on me than expected. I worried it would be so open on me that I'd need a camisole underneath, or that the neckline would look distorted because I'm so much bustier than all the models, but I didn't actually have either problem. The dress would, unsurprisingly, probably better suit someone who is a little taller, it's a midi-length dress on me. Though if the design had fit me better through the chest and shoulders, I would have been totally fine with the off-the-rack length. 

I also ordered the APC Odette bag in burgundy (sold out, only black remains) and the Alexis trench (also on sale here) to try, but neither item suited my tastes. With the Odette bag, I should have known better, that I love the look of, but generally wouldn't like actually using, very structured bags made of stiffer leather, the exact same issue I had with the famous APC half-moon bag I've also ordered and returned previously. With the Alexis, I actually really liked the way it fit on me, also in a size 38. It had a sleeker look than I get with my Everlane Classic Trench (discontinued, current version), in part because it's a thicker, sturdier fabric, with a full lining. Alas, I didn't like the color on me, it's a darker, more tan beige than my Everlane coat. I'm also not sure the thicker cotton fabric would suit NYC weather patterns either, it might be too heavy. Who knew it was so difficult to find the right beige color? Before I bought the Everlane trench, I recall trying on at least two or three other coats, rejecting them in part because they were in shades of beige that just didn't flatter my skin tone. 

How has your shopping or reading life been going recently? Anyone else have the same difficulty with finding the right shade of beige or camel when shopping for coats or other clothes? 

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