Woman Reading | 1879/1880 | Édouard Manet

Woman Reading, Édouard Manet, 1879/1880. On display at the @artinstitutechi in the European Painting and Sculpture gallery 201. This post combines three of my favorite things: reading, art, and fashion. Rather than focusing on what this fashionably dressed woman is wearing, I decided to focus on what she might be reading. She is sitting in a café so it is likely she is reading periodical provided by the establishment for the reading pleasure of their clientele. A popular French fashion magazine in the 19th Century was La Mode Illustrée. This was the first magazine to publish weekly in order to keep readers up-to-date on the latest fashions. Similar to fashion magazines today, La Mode Illustrée included fashion illustrations as examples of appropriate dress for various occasions as well as literary works and articles.

The Wicked City

Bootleggers - love triangles - haunted buildings - New York City. The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams has everything you'd hope for in a historical fiction book. The story follows two women: Ella from 1998 and Gin from 1924. Both women lived in the same apartment, decades apart. When Ella moves in to her new apartment after she caught her husband cheating on her, she finds a box of buttons that once belonged to Gin. Both stories are strong enough to stand on their own, but are woven together in small ways throughout the book. It is important to note that this book is the first in a series and you won't be satisfied reading just this book - there are lots of loose ends left open for future books to resolve.

Fashion is Freedom

Tala Raassi tells a fascinating story worthy of sharing with the world, in Fashion is Freedom. She had to endure 40 lashes for wearing a miniskirt in Tehran - her story is heartbreaking, but as a result she moved to the United States and started a fashion company with a strong, powerful message for women worldwide.

The Dollhouse

The Dollhouse is a fictional account of the historic Barbizon Hotel for Women. The Barbizon (sometimes referred to as The Dollhouse) was built in in 1927 by architects Palmer H. Ogden and Everett F. Mergatroyd. For most of its existence, the building served as a hotel for women only. Some of the notable women who lived here include Sylvia Plath (who wrote the semi-autobiography, The Bell Jar, about her time at the Barbizon), Lauren Bacall, Joan Crawford, Candace Bergen, Grace Kelly, Ali MacGraw, and more.

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

Where is the most dangerous place on earth? High school. As I read this book I wondered how any of us survived middle school and high school. It touches on themes such as drugs, alcohol, teen sex, suicide, bullying, statutory rape, and more. Yet the author somehow manages to leave the reader with a glimmer of hope at the end...

All Grown Up

What does it mean to be a grownup? This is the question at the heart of Jami Attenberg's book, All Grown Up. At the center of the story is Andrea, a single woman living in Manhattan. Each chapter is almost written like a diary with Andrea telling us stories from her life: past and present.

A Piece of the World

I am so exited about my review of “A Piece of the World” by Christina Baker Kline! This book is about Christina Olson, the women in the painting by Andrew Wyeth entitled Christina’s World (currently on display The Museum of Modern Art - if you’re in NYC please go see this painting for me!) I was only vaguely aware of Andrew Wyeth through his more notable works, but I had never heard of Christina Olson. I loved hearing the story of her life and her relationship with Andrew Wyeth, I’m certain you’ll enjoy it too.