2019 in Books

in Brussels, Belgium

I know, February is at our doorstep and I’m discussing books that I’ve read in 2019. The good thing is that not all of these books date back from this past year, so I would say this blog post is quite timeless. 

Reading more was one of my 2019 resolutions, and although I have not read as much as I wished to, I have taken the time to peruse many books along the year. Between novels, inspirational guides and fashion coffee table books, here are a few recommendations for you to start 2020.

THE CLASSIC

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

This novel reminded me why I loved Hemingway’s prose so much (in case you didn’t know, I have a Bachelor of Arts in English literature – not that you need to be graduated in that field to enjoy Hemingway but anyway). Set in the mid-1920s in Paris, France and Pamplona, Spain the storyline is quite original. Jake Barnes is in love with Lady Brett Ashley but they cannot maintain a relationship ‘because’ he was made impotent during the war (great and fair isn’t it). Jake loses numerous friendships and has his life repeatedly disrupted because of his loyalty to Brett, who has a destructive series of love affairs with other men although she loves Jake. The novel tackles – in the 1920s already – the topics of male insecurity, the destructiveness of superficial physical attraction, failure of communication and false friendships. Also, they drink all day and night and I am quite surprised they make it until the end of the novel. 


FASHION INDUSTRY & DIGITALISATION

The New Fashion Rules, Victoria Magrath

I’ve been wanting to expand my collection of fashion books, and not only for them to look good on my coffee table. This year in particular, I wish to get a deeper knowledge of the industry and while I spend more and more time perusing the shelves of the fashion section at libraries, I thought that the New Fashion Rules by the curator of Inthefrow.com could be a great addition. Why I found it so insightful? Because she retraces the story of digital retail and highlights the pivotal moments of the fashion world, including the rising of bloggers and influencers, from the early 1990s to now. How has fashion been integrating inclusivity along the years? What are the innovative brands which put forward the latest advancements in e-commerce that we take for granted today? Here you go. 

THE EMOTIONAL ONE

Nos S├ęparations, David Foenkinos

Apologies for non-French speakers if this novel is not available in other languages, which I am not sure is the case. ‘Our Separations’ tells the story of how a boy deeply in love with a girl and about to marry her screws up badly and, becoming a cheater, loses her and spends his life regretting it. They keep meeting each other at certain moments of their life with an ever-changing life situation. The novel is my favourite among the author’s other novels. The topic is extremely French, as you find yourself making fun out of a tragic situation.

ON FEMINISM

Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay

This book was recommended to me a long time ago by a good friend of mine. This essay by Roxane Gay explores the concept of plurality of what feminism stands for to women. There’s not only one type of feminism (hence the term of ‘bad feminism’ for those criticised for not being in line with the traditional concept – who can be presumptuous enough to define clear lines anyway), and for one ultra-feminists shouldn’t criticise those taking gradual baby steps towards the cause. She praises it as an evolutive concept. Go and grab this book (and follow the author on twitter for spirit and laughs).

SELF HELP

The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F**k, Sarah Knight

I call it self-help because to stop caring about the stuff you shouldn’t care about is a game-changer. When you realise the amount of stress you create for yourself when you’re trying to please everyone or feeling obliged to do things you eventually don’t want to do, you actually can’t believe it. This book has received a looot of coverage and you’ve probably heard about it 20 times already but if you haven’t read it yet, I insist you do. The book is slightly extreme at times, but the message is right. Stop giving a fuck about stuff that is not worth it, and you will magically have extra time to do exactly what you want to do. Bye.

Along the best advice Sarah Knight could give me last year, I am kicking off 2020 catching up with a very popular (and already a must-read) book: Becoming by Michelle Obama. I’m only 50 pages in and I am already in love with the writing of this novel. Excellent ghost writer (as you can expect when you tell the life of the former POTUS wife and extremely inspirational woman). What about you, any reading you’d like to share?




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