NW, the title of Zadie Smith’s new novel, refers to northwest London, specifically the neighborhood of Willesden, the area where Smith grew up. Smith revisits this multi-cultural neighborhood, which served as the setting for her debut novel, White Teeth (one of my all-time favorites). “This is the story of a city. The northwest corner of a city,” says NW‘s description. “Here you’ll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all. And many people in between. Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds. And then there are the visitations: the rare times a stranger crosses a threshold without permission or warning, causing a disruption in the whole system.”The novel follows four Londoners as they try to make adult lives. Exactly the kind journey I can relate to. In true Zadie Smith form, I’m expecting one-of-a-kind characters overlapping in tangled plotlines, exploring such topics as race, class, politics and identity. [$16.17, Amazon]
Searching “vagina” on iTunes for a cheap thrill, basement pervs? You are shit out of luck. iTunes censors the word “vagina” from Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues on its e-book page in the title and throughout the teaser, spelling “vagina” as “v****a.” Strangely, though, iTunes does not blur the word “vagina” from the book’s cover image — hopefully no one sprains a wrist clutching their pearls upon seeing it. Thank you, Apple, for keeping for keeping us safe from such a dirty, bad word! How would my pretty little head have handled it if I wanted to buy a copy of The Vagina Monologues but I had to see the word “vagina” on your website? [iTunes.Apple.com]
I am much too obsessed with Paris for my own good, especially considering that I’ve never been there. I’m enamored of the idea of it, so when I do eventually go (and, by God, I will), there is a decent chance that I will be hideously disappointed. With that in mind, I’m significantly less interested in purchasing tickets to Paris than I am in purchasing photography books that portray it as idealistically as I do in my head. Why go all the way there just to be let down when I can sit right here and just pretend that I’m there and it’s awesome? Paris, Portrait of a City, “the true family album of all Parisians,” is just the glossy 544-page photo book I need to sustain my delusions, and with its chronological layout spanning photographers from Daguerre to Cartier-Bresson, it’s a solid lesson in European history, too. We’ll always have Paris, after all. [$69.99, Taschen]
Self help books get a bad rap sometimes, I think. They’re seen as the province of walking, talking “Cathy” cartoons and hippie-dippie-fruit-loop types. That couldn’t be less true: there are many different types of self-help books for all kinds of problems. Some books are more spiritual while others are more practical, as in teaching you techniques of coping with depression and anxiety. Not only is a good self-help book cheaper than paying for therapy — even if it’s just a co-pay!— but you can circle sections, fold over pages, and come back to them whenever you read.
I scoured my own bookshelf and that of The Frisky staff to find the best self-help books we’ve ever read — ones that actually work!
This piece is part of The Frisky’s How To Deal Week, in which we’re tackling mental health issues.
Advice columnists are usually detestable on principle. So often they dish out finger-wagging judgment rather than empathy and a nuanced understanding of the complexities of human nature. TheRumpus.net’s Dear Sugar column — which was revealed earlier this year to be penned by author Cheryl Strayed — is beloved by readers for this very reason. It’s an advice column, but feels like therapy, church and your mother’s loving arms all at once. Whether you’re lovesick, drowning in debt, or riddled with professional jealousy, Dear Sugar understands and she wants to help. [$10.17, Amazon]
I might be a little too into the young adult novel Matilda than is suitable for a grown woman … right down to squee-ing when I saw the blog College Fashion did a how-to on how to get Matilda’s look. If Matilda’s now your type, they also show you how to get Miss Honey’s sweet and ladylike style, as well as vaguely dominatrix-inspired Miss Trunchbull look. The only thing they forgot with Matilda is a pile of library books! [College Fashion]
Normally I like to wait until I’ve read a book to actually recommend it, but for some writers I make exceptions. In this case, I’m talking about the amazing Anna Goldfarb (of the blog Shmitten Kitten, and an occasional Frisky contributor) and her upcoming memoir, Clearly, I Didn’t Think This Through: The Story of One Tall Girl’s Impulsive, Ill-Conceived, and Borderline Irresponsible Life Decisions. Now, the book — which is guaranteed to be as if not more hilarious than the genius Goldfarb pens online — isn’t out until November 6, but I’ve thought it through and have decided to pre-order it. And honestly? You should too. Because you’re not going to want to wait a second longer than necessary to start reading what this funny and relatable woman has to say. Consider it your responsible life decision of the day. [$15, Amazon]
With the opening ceremonies approaching this Friday, we’re celebrating the 2012 Olympics with must reads by some of our favorite female athletes. Inside stories, inspirational tips — these books offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the lives of some of the most popular Olympians. Jennifer Sey writes about controversial issues in gymnastics, swimmer Dara Torres offers tips for getting ahead, and Serena Williams touches on her childhood influences. Read all that and more with these nine inspiring books by female Olympians.
In Chalked Up: Inside Elite Gymnastics’ Merciless Coaching, Overzealous Parents, Eating Disorders, and Elusive Olympics Dreams, gymnastics champion Jennifer Sey gives a behind-the-scenes look at anorexia, injuries, and coaching drama. Read more …
Last week, we showed you ours and asked you to show us yours. Nightstands, that is. And the books you keep on them, specifically. Click through to find out which books Frisky readers keep next to their beds…