SPRING BOOK CLUB: THE BEST NEW BOOKS TO READ THIS SPRING

The sun is coming out, the weather is warming up…what better way to celebrate the start of spring than with a new book?

Maybe you’ve been wanting to start reading something new for a while, but just don’t know where to start. After all, it feels like the lists of new releases are nearly endless! Or maybe you just finished something fabulous and you’re looking for something just as amazing! No need to stress about it — we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of new releases by female authors for you and your vinas to devour.

DAISY JONES & THE SIX by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Image via Goodreads.

Released on March 5th, Daisy Jones & The Six is the fascinating story of a fictional seventies rock band and their rise to fame…and their downfall. If you love Fleetwood Mac and the wild stories that came out about the recording of their 1977 album Rumours, this one is for you. It’s also told in the format an oral history, which makes it a fast read — but one that will still break your heart.

SING TO IT: NEW STORIES by Amy Hempel

Image via Goodreads.

Amy Hempel, a renowned short story author, is back with a new collection for the first time in a decade. Sing To It (published March 26th) features fifteen short stories about loneliness and the search for connection, and it’s perfect for those of us feeling lost and in need of some dazzling prose.

YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS by Kristen Roupenian 

Image via Goodreads.

If you missed out on reading “Cat Person,” the short story published in The New Yorker that took the Internet by storm in December of 2017, never fear: it’s included in author Kristen Roupenian’s short story collection. Featuring stories about sex, guilt, anger, and pain, this is one you won’t want to miss (out January 15th).

THE PROPOSAL by Jasmine Guillory

Image via Goodreads.

This fun romance novel was Reese Witherspoon’s book club pick for the month of February, and it’s perfect for the start of spring. Pick it up and follow the excitement of a failed Dodger’s stadium scoreboard marriage proposal and a rebound relationship with all its twists and turns!

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston

Image via Goodreads.

Is there anything better than an enemies-to-lovers trope in a story? Nope, unless it includes a fake relationship that turns into something more…which this one totally does. McQuiston’s debut novel, out on May 14th, tells the story of what happens when the son of the American President falls in love with the Prince of Wales. Big-hearted and a lot of fun, be sure to check this one out when it’s released!

Want to talk about all these amazing new releases with someone? Start swiping on Hey! VINA and find someone to start a book club with!

5 NEW HOBBIES TO START OUT YOUR YEAR

Well vinas, it’s 2019! A new year to learn new things about yourself. This year, challenge yourself to take on a new hobby. Learning a brand new thing will not only keep your brain healthy and strong, but it will also add to your tool belt. Here are five ideas to try, as well as some inspiring success story to help you get started:

KNITTING

My sister went off to college and very quickly realized that studying all day and all night was getting tiring. She was introduced to knitting by another friend and it was love from the on. Vinas, knitting is no longer your grandma’s pastime. My sister got so good at knitting, that she quickly learned to knit hats, headbands and scarves! She was offered an opportunity to make her own brand and even sell her items in a store.

LEARN TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT

For the more patient vinas. I recently watched a video of a girl who taught herself how to play the violin in two years. I know, I know, it’s not one year….but still. If you really dedicate your time and you see progress, I say keep at it!

PHOTOGRAPHY

This goes beyond the “selfie”. Give your dad’s old camera a try. Choose a subject and play with lighting. Research the types of photography out there, and find out which ones attract you. Don’t be scared to get creative. If you really want a challenge, look up photos and try to recreate them with your own style. A good starting-off point? Henry Carroll’s Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs, an easy-to-read and understandable guide on the basics of seeing and photographic techniques. 

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READING

Remember in middle school, how you could read 3-5 books in a month? Start a book club with your bookworm vinas and converse every week about what you’ve read—wine glass in hand if that’s your preferred method. Dive into a different period in time, a romantic novel, or a good informative read. Watch your grammar improve and your knowledge expand! Win-win. 

BAKING / COOKING

This hobby for me is actually very relaxing. Before I got married, the kitchen was not my friend. I would look up videos of how to cook rice, or bake cookies—you know, the simple things. I found out I was actually pretty good at it; The more I would cook or bake, the more creative I would get. I realized that cutting up veggies or mixing up ingredients relaxed me and made me feel confident that my end result was going to be delicious. Trust me, your spouse will have no problem being the judge of your baking/cooking! Grab your bestie and create something together, all while helping each other improve.

Whatever you decide to do this year, give it your best shot and enjoy it. Remember that a hobby is not a chore, or that you are on a time limit to improve. It is your creative space, your “me” time. Don’t get frustrated if your first choice of hobby doesn’t work out or interests you. Find another hobby that makes you happy and motivated! Cheers to new skills!

In need of a vina to help you navigate your new hobbies? Head over to the Hey! VINA app and meet vinas in the different communities that share your new-found interests! 

JULY BOOK CLUB: THE HOTTEST READS RIGHT NOW

If you haven’t found a good summer read to go with your glass of rosé, no worries—we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best books that are making waves this summer!

Days of Awe by AM Homes

Let’s not pretend that we do not have our eyes glued to the news lately. With all the news lately, Days of Awe will take you into an intellectual collection of anxieties of modern-day America. This is the author’s second collection of stories in three decades. Homes won the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2013, so you know her stories are worth the read.

Florida by Lauren Groff

This reading selection will have you laughing out loud with frequent stops into the wild and mysterious landscapes of Florida. Florida is a collection of essays about the climate and history of the sunshine state. You’ll be introduced to many whimsical and intriguing characters as you learn about love, despair and pleasure mixed with pain.

Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks

One of America’s most beloved actors, Tom Hanks brings us Uncommon Type: Some Stories. This book is fantastic if you are looking for heart-warming, kind stories that are riddled with empathy. Each story features a new typewriter woven into a beautiful tale.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Making Oprah’s book list, An American Marriage introduces us to newlyweds Celestial and Roy. On their journey of Roy’s 12-year sentence, Celestial believes he is innocent. With each day that passes, Celestial takes comfort in her childhood friend, Andre. This is a story of strength, insight and the journey of a soul.

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My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown by Meera Lee Patel

My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown enlightens us through inspirational quotes, musings and questions that evoke deep thought. This book is her newest publication on top of her Patel’s best-selling novel Start Where You Are. After opening this book, you will feel inspired to conquer the day!

Feel Free by Zadie Smith

Pick up any Zadie Smith novel and you’re sure to find strength and beauty in every sentence. Her newest collection of essays, titled Feel Free, she questions the modern world. Smith dives deep into the meaning of Facebook and what we will tell the future generation about global warming. This collection of essays will be one that you won’t be able to put down.

Neon in Daylight by Hermoine Hoby

Neon in Daylight is Hoby’s first novel; dazzled with insight, intellect and intrigue. The story follows a young lady named Kate who arrived in New York from England. She finds herself with the daunting tasks of calling her pessimistic boyfriend from back home and watching over a cat named Joni Mitchell. Her days are forever changed when she is introduced to a charming man named Bill and his daughter, Inez.

Get to reading, vinas! We will be back with new selections in August.

Interested in starting your own book club? Start swiping to find some bookworm vinas!

JOIN US IN THE NEW BOOK CLUB!

Alone time is essential in blossoming into a strong vina; but books can also be a great conversation topic and a window into the world of another’s soul. Reading is one of the best ways to unwind, pass the time, explore new worlds, and bond with yourself. The way we interpret texts and the influence they have on our everyday lives says a lot about our character. I love discussing books I have read with my grandma (she reads even more than I do). I am a strong advocate for reading and an even stronger advocate for book clubs.

So… We’re starting one! Download the Hey! VINA app and meet other vinas in your area; get together and discuss the books we’re reading. Instagram a pic of your book, or your book club meet up and use the hashtag #VINAbookclub. Join us in this intellectual adventure; broaden both your mind and your vocab.

For our first round we picked a fun and relatively quick read, written by a vina of many talents. Arden Rose is a “person of the internet” with one of the longest held and most strongly followed YouTube channels; a couple of acting gigs; a book titled Almost Adulting: All You Need to Know to Get It Together (Sort Of). I, myself, am one of those Youtube subscribers, Instagram followers, and an all around proponent of Arden Rose. Recently, a friend of mine said that I remind her of Rose; now I cannot help but notice the similarities in our character, humor, and couch potato-ness. Maybe we are kindred spirits, or maybe she is just so damn relatable. She broaches sex, role models, mental health, body image, etc. in the most relatable and agreeable of ways.

As I started reading, I decided to take everything very seriously; so when Rose advises that we “sit back, grab a large mug of tea, and let’s get into it,” I jumped right up and made myself a large mug of White Tea with Blueberry and Elderflower. Only then was I truly ready to begin.

In the chapter entitled: “Creating the Perfect Apartment without Wads of Cash or Buckets of Tears” she shares her theories on how to best utilize your space (no matter the size) in order to maximize specific function and productivity whilst minimizing stress. She always suggests adding greenery to make your house a home, and if you can’t keep plants from withering up or turning brown in two days time… stick with succulents.

There is one page in this chapter in which she commands you to separate your work and sleeping spaces, clarifying that “you don’t want to become some weird person who ends up sharing a bed with a cup of coffee and a notebook.” Upon taking my nose out of the book, I found myself leaning deep into my pillows, Almost Adulting in hand, a pen and pad within reach, and the previously mentioned mug of tea precariously perched atop my duvet cover…. at least it isn’t coffee. While this is obviously not the first time this has been suggested, it may be the first time I take it into consideration. Although she is just about my age, I feel like Rose is this authoritative figure to be taken seriously and she knows what the hell she’s talking about.

Another insight Rose gives within the narrative of her life is the summer she molded herself into a morning person. She has always thought she was a “night owl,” (as have I) however she concludes that this is a made up term and with enough will power and a reasonable bed time, we are all capable of rising with the sun and getting shit done. She recalls how adult she felt those couple of months when she was going to bed before midnight and waking up before seven. I too spent a summer utilizing my mornings and I wish I had never broken that cycle. I was adulting better at the age of seventeen than I am now. 

 

Almost Adulting: All You Need to Know to Get it Together (Sort Of) serves as a guide into the tricky waters of adulthood. A quirky read full of anecdotes and so many jokes that flow effortlessly and make you lol at nearly every turn. Rose takes some of the most difficult and salient obstacles faced by young adults and adds humor and approachableness to it. Informing us on the many strategies to overcome these obstacles; all the while reminding us that we are all human.

Grab a copy and get going! Make sure to tell us about it– tag us in an Instagram picture of your book/club and make sure to add the #VINAbookclub.

(feature image via @paolahueck)

 

READ A LITTLE, LOVE A LOT

Welcome, lovelies, to the first installment of our new reading corner, a space to share and celebrate the written work of badass women.

There are few things I love more than reading in this life, and the strange magic that comes with it. There’s something special about an activity that makes you brighter, better, and smarter while laying down. I’m interested in books that stretch the imagination, probe at your most intricate life questions, and rattle you to the bone with language.

I will  be introducing two books every month. Some books will be new, some will be old and forgotten, some short stories, some novels, and nonfiction for good measure. These are my little gifts to you, books that have made me a bigger person, a more particular person, a more loving and aware person; as I think a good book should. I hope you will find love, solace, ache, and laughter in every single one of them.

GOLD FAME CITRUS, CLAIRE VAYE WATKINS

This is Watkins’ first novel, and it’s dripping with everything I go looking for in a book. I have to admit I went in expecting a lot. I’d read her collection of short stories, “Battleborn,” while I was in grad school and I was swooning. She tapped into a part of my imagination and vocabulary that was too glorious to allow myself to be envious. I was just thankful.

“Gold Fame Citrus” is set in a hypothetical near future of a waterless west California that has sucked everything else dry. In this world, we meet Luz and her boyfriend Ray who are squatting in a mansion in Laurel Canyon. They acquire a child (I won’t tell you how), and they go off in search of a better life. ( BTW– that’s not a spoiler because it says all of that on the jacket but I can’t speak beyond those details. I hate when you watch a movie trailer and you feel like you’ve seen the whole film.)

You will get lost in the strangeness of the world, taste the dry heat while you lie in your bed, and have a hard time not staying up all night turning those pages. And then, if you love her words like I do, circle back and read her stories in Battleborn.

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SLOUCHING TOWARD BETHLEHEM, JOAN DIDION

While this might be a classic to some of us, others, who have never had the pleasure of reading Didion yet, are in for a treat. I take it as one of my life duties to push Didion onto everyone that will listen for a moment, and here you are, listening.

While there are many many of her essays and books that I will bring up as we go on, this is the one I want to recommend you start with, this was my introduction to her and it sets your palate for her work: it teaches you how to read her, and it makes you understand that her territory is as vast as it is dynamic. She is a master of language and a thinker like none other.

This collection of essays wanders through her journalistic based pieces, her life in Sacramento, and her think tanks on living life as a writer. My personal favorite is “On Keeping A Notebook.” It’s near the later half of the collection and by the time you get there, you’ll be in love like I am.

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There is nothing quite like reading a good book for the first time. Please come on back and leave us some thoughts as you are reading. I would love to turn this into a space for us to chat about the books, these incredible writers, and the dimension they are bringing into your life. Happy reading lovelies! 

(Feature image via blogosferia.blogspot.com.es)

17 AMAZING BOOKS BY WOMEN YOU’VE GOTTA READ IN 2017

Okay, maybe you won’t be able to fit all 17 into your schedule, but if you’re looking for a new book, this list has got you covered. They’re all written by women and they’re all amazing. Plus, Obama said he survived the White House by reading…so you know, it’s probably a good idea to follow suit.

  1. Villette– Charlotte Brontë

A haunting and beautiful novel set in Belgium. Following a young schoolmistress as she falls in love with a conflicting schoolmaster.

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  1. A Year Of Marvellous Ways- Sarah Winman

This book is truly magical and very beautifully written. It follows an eccentric old lady called Marvellous Ways who lives in Cornwall and documents her relationship with a soldier who turned up at her cabin.

  1. Wise Children- Angela Carter

This is a dizzyingly fun book that follows former show girl Dora Chance as she tells the story of her and her twin sister Nora’s crazy lives and family.

  1. Middlemarch- George Eliot

This is an amazing 19th century novel about a rural town called Middlemarch and the occupants of it. One of the most amazing books I’ve ever read, so full of passion and emotion. (Also although George Eliot sounds like a man it was actually the pen name of Mary Ann Evans)

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  1. Quiet- Susan Cain

This is a great non-fiction book that explores introversion and tells us that it is just as good to be quiet as it is to be loud.

  1. All This Has Nothing To Do With Me- Monica Sabolo

A quiet book that is a mix of words and photos, it documents the relationship between a woman we know as MS and a man she falls in love with, XX, if you enjoyed the film Amelie, this is a book you’ll love.

  1. Mrs Dalloway- Virginia Woolf

Mrs Dalloway is written in stream of consciousness style, following a man suffering shell shock and a woman who is planning a party. A truly stunning novel.

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  1. Pond- Claire-Louise Bennett

This is a beautiful collection of short stories that follow a woman’s solitary life in the English Countryside.

  1. The Bell Jar- Sylvia Plath

This haunting work was Plath’s only novel that follows a woman in a mental asylum.

  1. The Hand That First Held Mine- Maggie O’Farrell

Told with two different interlinking stories, the first about a young woman in the 1950’s who moves to Soho to join London’s art scene and the second about a modern day painter and her husband who have just given birth to a son.

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  1. Pride & Prejudice- Jane Austen

This is a total classic and rightly so. This witty novel follows Lizzie Bennet and her sisters as her mother attempts to get them married off.

  1. Me Before You- Jojo Moyes

A beautiful book that follows carer who falls in love the man she cares for.

  1. Small Island- Andrea Levy

A beautiful story of four people who come together after the war, two white British and two Jamaican, it tells an amazing story full of emotion and love.

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  1. How To Build A Girl- Caitlin Moran

A beautiful book about growing up and finding yourself.

  1. Wide Sargasso Sea- Jean Rhys

The story of Jane Eyre’s ‘mad woman in the attic’ looking at her meeting with Rochester and her life up to where Jane Eyre ends.

  1. The Help– Kathryn Stockett

A story following the life of black maids in 1960’s America. Beautiful and powerful.

  1. Parvana’s Journey- Deborah Ellis

A very moving book describing the life of a young girl in Taliban controlled Afghanistan.

What books are you looking forward to diving into this year? 

(Feature image via @crimeofrhyme)

VINA BOOK CLUB: 5 AUGUST BOOKS TO SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS

Here in VINA HQ and beyond, vinas are reading the summer away – whether jetsetting to a new destination or commuting in for work everyday. The connection with a good book reminds us of the adventure of discovering a new friend. In today’s roundup, we have our top 5 August reads to share with your vinas. From your right-brain bestie who can’t put down Lean In to your extraverted BFF who is all over celebrity cookbooks, we have a book recommendation for every vina in your life:

1. FOR YOUR FOODIE VINA: CRAVINGS BY CHRISSY TEIGEN

Chrissy Teigen’s take on motherhood on Twitter is 140 characters of hilarity and #coolmom goals. Her cookbook is a delicious extension of that same homemade Chrissy Teigen brand – perfect for the vina who can’t get enough of celebrity gossip on Snapchat and has Google Alerts for the Kardashians. Another thing that we love about Cravings? It doesn’t try to take itself too seriously. Her recipe of French Toast Casserole with Salted Frosted Flakes recipe can be made by anyone, even our middle school selves.

2. FOR YOUR #WOKE VINA: WE WERE FEMINISTS ONCE BY ANDI ZEISLER

Founder of Bitch Magazine and the original zine queen, Andi Zeisler, charts the history of feminism and empowerment in consumer culture, from Lena Dunham to Beyoncé to selling underwear as a feminist choice. This isn’t your average history book, vinas – Zeisler’s wit is spot on, and We Were Feminists Once will have you looking at internet culture in a new light.

3. FOR THE ADRENALINE JUNKIE VINA: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN BY PAULA HAWKINS

Paula Hawkins’ psychological thriller is for the vina in your life who was absolutely “Gone, Girl” for Gone Girl, the best-selling novel and film. This novel and upcoming movie adaptation are made of the same stuff: the common themes of unreliable narrators and the aftermath of infidelity.

4. FOR YOUR GO-GETTER VINA: THE UPSIDE OF STRESS BY KELLY MCGONIGAL

Stress makes you better, faster, stronger. According to Stanford psychologist, Kelly McGonigal, this thing called stress can be perceived as a good thing, not just the unspeakable reason why we go to yoga class. Pass it along to your vina who is trying to take over the world with an Olympic body and as the perfect mother – all before noon.

5. FOR YOUR VINA WHO UNABASHEDLY LOVES TWILIGHT: ME BEFORE YOU BY JOJO MOYES

Yes, another book-turned-movie adaptation (it’s almost like we exclusively watch our books). It was just too hard to resist recommending Jojo Moyes’ love story on the power and limitations of falling in love. Grab some Kleenex – you and your vina will need it.

What’s your favorite book of the summer? Sharing is caring, vinas.

(Featured image via bloglovin.com)