read this, read that

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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.

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The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson / Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen / The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 
recommended by Kendra

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 CityIt 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.

modeandthelikekendramcphee

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.commedium.com/@krmcphee / twitter.com/krmcphee

Would you like to contribute to “Read This, Read That”? Send me an e-mail.

book lover’s gift guide pt. 2

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For the bibliophiles and English majors in your life, finding a gift can be hard. In September I posted part one of the Book Lover’s Gift Guide. However, since these people can be notoriously hard to shop for, I figured I’d save you the trouble of searching tirelessly for the perfect book and provide some more alternatives. Happy gifting!

(Clockwise, from top left: Scrabble Coaster Set / 2015 Great American Authors Calendar / Writer’s Block Journal / Shakespeare Socks / Jane Eyre Mug / Library Due Date Pashmina / Personal Library Kit / Quotable Chocolate Bars / Wizard of Oz Tote Bag / Whale Bookends / Pen Nib Lapel Pin / Metamorphosis Brooch / Haruki Murakami Typewriter Quote Pin / Jane Austen’s Schoolroom Bookplate)

monday mood / nov. 24th

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Listening to…
The Carpenters, Damien Rice, The Swell Season

Reading…
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013
edited by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Check out…
this Internet Archive’s cache of 900+ classic arcade games (that you can play!) / Spotify’s literary tracks, from readings of Poe to Ginsberg reciting his own work / pages from Frida Kahlo’s sketchbook journal / creative parchment repair in medieval books / the film Nightcrawler / this Prynt prototype case that prints photos straight from your phone / Neil deGrasse Tyson’s review of “Interstellar” / “Dear Mountain Room Parents” by Maria Semple

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Well, its been twenty-one days since I updated my blog (sad but true). Things are picking up (even more so than they were previously) and I have little time for Mode and the Like right now, unfortunately. During winter break, I have my fingers crossed for a.) updating my blog regularly again, b.) working on some creative writing and c.) getting crafty by making some zines and working on an art journal. I have lots of ambitious projects in mind; let’s see if I can accomplish them!

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