Welcome to “Read This, Read That,” where I invite friends, family, bloggers, and bibliophiles of all sorts to share some of their favorite books or writing with Mode and the Like. From novels and poems to cookbooks and art tomes, you’ll find here a diverse selection of recommended reading in this monthly feature.
I’m always reading. Most of the time I’m drawn to non-fiction books on wellness and business, like Blue Zones by Dan Buettner or Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. This month, however, has been grey and rainy in San Francisco, compelling me to dive into mysterious historical novels. Rich with themes of murder, magic, and romance, these novels take place at some of history’s most exciting social engagements—the World’s Fair and the traveling circus. None of these books are particularly challenging reads, but they are incredibly imaginative and entertaining.
If you can read only one of these in the near future, I highly recommend grabbing Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City. It is the most murderous of the selections. You’ll be lured into the story by either Dr. H.H. Holmes, the story’s cunning yet charming serial killer, or Daniel Burnham, Chicago’s brilliant dreamer and architect, and you’ll stay for the drama that unfolds in the heart of the 1893 World’s Fair.
Water for Elephants is the most romantic of the three, centered around the love between a circus performer and a vagabond veterinarian who “ran away with the circus,” finding home and family in the most unlikely of characters. I walked away from this book wishing Rosie, the elephant, were more central in the story, touched by her tenderness and intelligence and saddened by how much she was misunderstood—much like the novel’s central character, Jacob.
The plot of The Night Circus dances between magic and illusion. The characters are as mysterious as the story, weaving mystery and seduction into their circus act AND their interactions with each other. You’ll be drawn into the exciting, surprising world of the circus and torn between the power of cruelty and the power of love.
Kendra grew up with her nose in a book and her head in the clouds. When she’s not developing children’s literature-inspired apparel at her organic baby apparel company, Obébé Organic, she can be found whipping up a recipe from the Against All Grain cookbook or conversing with friends over a glass of wine.
obebeorganic.com / medium.com/@krmcphee / twitter.com/krmcphee
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