StyleBistro Book Club: December 2014
Peruse our picks from this month's new releases, then shop the beauty and fashion finds inspired by our chosen reads.
We're bookworms here at StyleBistro, and we understand that finding your next great read can sometimes be as frustrating as searching for a special-occasion outfit—they never seem to materialize when you actually need one. We also know how inspiring the written word can be, which is why we combed through this month's new releases and paired our top picks with a beauty or fashion item that corresponds to each tome. Be sure to check back each month for a fresh batch of stylish reads.
Ann Brady, Executive Editor: The Kennedy Wives by Amy Hunt and David Batcher ($20, out December 2 from Lyons Press)
There have been many books written about the Kennedy’s and—even more so—the women that loved them. Even though the wives married into the family, they all happen to possess similar characteristics that seamlessly blend into the Camelot mystique. Authors Amber Hunt and David Batcher explore this uncanniness in greater depth. The women were smart, well-dressed, well-spoken, bold and, most of all, private. All of these attributes made the women mysterious to the outside world and in later years, iconic. I can envision all of the Kennedy wives wearing Chanel No. 5—an iconic fragrance that embodies their same traits.
Cristina Velocci, Deputy Editor: We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story by Josh Sundquist ($18, out December 23 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Paralympic ski racer Josh Sundquist became a best-selling author with his 2010 memoir, Just Don't Fall: How I Grew Up, Conquered Illness, and Made it Down the Mountain, but the motivational speaker tackles slightly more lighthearted material in his second work of non-fiction: his romantic history. At the age of 25, he decided to track down all of the girls he'd ever tried to date—from a family friend in his middle-school church youth group to a more recent flirtation with Miss North Dakota—and asked them the one question anyone who's ever suffered from heartbreak is secretly dying to ask: Why didn't things work out between us? He approaches the narrative from the viewpoint of a science experiment, encapsulating each case study with background information, a hypothesis and an investigation, plus lots of humorous, hand-sketched graphs and charts. It's not only an entertaining read but an enlightening one, as his final conclusion is one of self-acceptance—making this graphic tee the perfect pairing, and a reminder that you have to love yourself before someone else can love you.
Kristina Rodulfo, Associate Editor: The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant ($18, out December 9 from Scribner)
From fashion to literature, the 1920s have been a constant source of inspiration in pop culture. It was a time of crucial cultural changes and shifting ideas—especially for women. The Boston Girl chronicles the life of Addie Baum, a girl born to conservative immigrant parents who grew up in Boston's North End and came of age in the '20s. The story starts when Addie's 22-year-old granddaughter asks her: "How did you get to be the woman you are today?" She unravels the ups and downs of her lifetime, discovering love, friendship and new ways to define womanhood. At one point, Addie takes a job in a newsroom as a writer, penning a column about women's interests. One colleague introduces her to Vogue magazine, and she eagerly learns about the fashion trends of the time. Addie admires her colleague's handle on the latest silhouettes, in particular the drop-waist dress popularized during the decade. This current-day version of the jazz age ensemble, updated with pleats, a cutout and a sheer panel, embodies '20s style with modern flair.
Dana Burke, Assistant Editor: What My Daughter Wore by Jenny Williams ($25, out December 9 from powerHouse Books)
Typically I get my sartorial inspiration from celebrities or street style stars, but What My Daughter Wore is giving me a new group to muse over: pre-teens. In this book, Brooklyn-based artist Jenny Williams chronicles the outfits worn by her daughter and her friends through colorful—and beautifully depicted—illustrations of their outfit choices as they indulge in the art of self-expression. From fashion-forward frocks to psychedelic accessories, these kids are killing the outfit game while discovering their personal style. After gawking over all 150 pages of artwork, I’m totally inspired to revamp my wardrobe and wear whatever the heck I want, like this daring T-shirt with an equally as adventurous printed skirt or a badass leather jacket. Taking a cue from the 12-year-olds, this fun graphic tee is as big and bold as the sartorial sampling in this book.
Katie Davidson, Associate Editor: Sons of Anarchy: The Official Collector's Edition by Tara Bennett ($30, out December 10 from Time Home Entertainment, Inc.)
While the final season of Sons of Anarchy was met with mixed emotions, the spirit of the Teller clan will live on in this exclusive collector’s edition that boasts interviews with all your favorite characters (including the dearly departed), an introduction by the show's creator Kurt Sutter, a SAMCRO family tree, a map of the different chapters and even a play-by-play of what led to the controversial season six finale—not to mention an up-close and personal look at the gang's rebellious accessories, from tattoos to motorcycles. Whether you're a bonafide "old lady" or are simply in it for the thrill of the eye candy (hello, Jax), channel your inner biker babe by mirroring the book’s authentic leather cover with your own Clubhouse staple.
Caitlin Miller, Senior Associate Beauty Editor: The Andy Warhol Diaries edited by Pat Hackett ($21, out December 2 from Twelve)
Ever since my wide Midwestern eyes first saw Andy Warhol's mod, colorful pop art, I was hooked. When I heard the famed collection of the artist's journal entries, The Andy Warhol Diaries, was celebrating its 25th anniversary with a new hardcover edition, I couldn't wait to dive into Warhol's world. The collection contains entries from the mid-1970s all the way up to a few days before the artist's death and includes his thoughts on anything and everything—including everyone in his life. From NYC staples such as Lou Reed, Patti Smith and Yoko Ono to fashion icons including Jackie O, Warhol shares his musings on NYC's creative superstars. Although I don't quite have the social database of Warhol, I enjoyed living vicariously through him. And even though I'll never have his colorful vision, Warhol's tales did inspire me to capture my own history in a non-traditional way. I immediately thought of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Camera as a way to instantly capture my own flings, fashions and fun in NYC—albeit sans the famous friends.
Bethany Cantor, Style Editor: Her Brilliant Career: Ten Extraordinary Women of the Fifties by Rachel Cooke ($20, out December 2 from Harper Collins)
In my mind, thoughts of the 1950s conjure up images of girls in ponytails and poodle skirts, wholesome family dinners and sock hops around the juke box. In Her Brilliant Career, Rachel Cooke shines a light on what was really going on in the '50s—from the intense rationing of food to the fight for gender equality and the emergence of powerful female entrepreneurs. In a time when most women were confined to housework and homemaking, Cooke's unsung heroines were blazing new paths as chefs, archaeologists, film directors, editors and even race car drivers. Cooke chronicles the lives of these powerful women and in their honor, I've picked a power shoe to accompany the book. Stilettos experienced a huge resurgence in the 1950s and I imagine these stylish women could rock them with gravitas.
Want even more book-and-product pairings? Make sure to check out our July, August, September, October and November selections in the slideshow below: