collections

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I can’t say enough good things about Stephanie Lacava’s new memoir, An Extraordinary Theory of Objects.  It’s bittersweet, whimsical, heartbreaking, thought-provoking and just the right size.  The adorable little mint blue book entices its reader’s imagination from start to finish, pausing occasionally to proffer a playful little drawing accordingly.  The story is written in an interruptive yet continuous narrative, suggesting an insight at the unusual cadence of the author’s scattered thoughts.  As readers, we follow Lacava back in time through a highly visual account of her Nirvana-loving ’90s childhood after being uprooted from New York to France at the ripe age of 12 (in “outsider years” that’s one of the most awkward: the beginning of the end, if you will).  The story takes us into Lacava’s most intimate memories, recounting most notably her constantly apparent obsession with the collecting of beautiful (and at times, strange) objects.  It is in the reference of said objects that we receive the heart and soul of the book:  Lacava’s footnotes.  Each time an object of importance is introduced, a small asterisk signals the reader to skip down to the bottom of the page so that a carefully worded mini-history lesson on the origin of the object may be disclosed.  Sometimes lasting halfway through a page, these frequent asides not only supply the memoir with its unique voice, they create for us the exact uneven, confused rhythm of thinking that the author recalls experiencing so vividly during each vignet, while simultaneously justifying Lacava’s fixation on collecting.

When we are actually submerged within the narrative itself, the reader is exposed to some of the most raw, exposing moments of Lacava’s life, revealing some pretty painful scenes, all of which are imperative to the understanding of her character and therefore, the intention of the book.

It’s safe to say that somewhere in the middle of this memoir, I fell in love with the story and its author.  Whether it’s the fact that I can relate to becoming attached to small, seemingly “ordinary” objects (or treasures*, as I’ve always referred to them), or the incredibly not-boring, condensed history lesson subliminally provided that cultivates my adoration, I’m not sure.  But what I do know is that its given me a whole new appreciation of the inanimate objects that surround me, and I highly recommend indulging yourself in this little hardcover slice of heaven.

all photos via my instagram and here.

*When I was young, I would often set up a small table of “treasures” for sale (treasures included old McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, particularly smooth or shiny rocks, handmade animals crafted out of various recycled goods, and the occasionally toy car swiped from my older brother’s collection).  Most frequent customers: good old Mom ‘n’ Pop.   Ps, I hope you like my attempt at Ms. Lacava’s infamous footnote style of writing.  Cheeky, oui?

insight

Ever since finishing the Hunger Games trilogy, I’ve been hunting for a new book to stick my nose in.  After skimming my shelves, I realize my options were pretty limited; Grimm’s Fairytales, British Social Realism, and The Color Purple were among the list of “unread”.  Also in that list was Bunheads, a novel written by ex-New York City Ballet dancer, Sophie Flack.

This book was an impulse buy- yes, sometimes I troll around the book section of Target hoping to be inspired by some great literary work calling out to me from the shelf- mostly justified by its pretty, tutu-laden cover.  So, in my book-deprived  frenzy, I snatched up the pretty cover (and all the pages inside), still holding on to my skepticism concerning any type of fictional novel about ballet.  Then I started reading…and reading…aaaand reading…and then I finished it.  In 2 days.  I even used my phone to take down some quotes I found inspiring…

What I realized while reading this book (a sort of half-memoir, half-fictional drama chronicling a young dancer’s assent into the ranks of one of the world’s top ballet companies), was how incredibly gratifying it is to read a work about ballet in the words of someone who truly understands it.  And not only does Ms. Flack understand the world of ballet, she lived and breathed it.  So much so, that its all-consuming ways forced her main character to second-guess  everything she’s ever worked for.  Her dream.  A promotion to soloist.

Yes, this book has a very cheesy title, and yes, I can admit to being a big bunhead dork for giving it a chance, but I can also say I’m very glad I did.  Because I think it’s safe to say a fire has been lit.  So WHAT are you waiting for?  Go read it.

{shabby} chic

As I grow up, live in my first real apartment, and begin browsing around Craig’s list for next year’s living options, I can feel my inner interior decorator developing.  I’ve been a life-long fan of the romantic, french countryside “shabby chic” style famously curated by Rachel Ashwell (I’ve been collecting from her Target collection “simply shabby chic” for years!), which explains why I swoon at the sight of any interior involving white, pink/blue florals, distressed antique furniture (think pale paint chipping off it’s sturdy wooden base), fancy old chandeliers and quirky personal accents that tie it all together.  My mom recently gifted me Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic Inspirations, a cover-to-cover goldmine of biblically beautiful, decidedly both shabby and chic spaces.  As you can probably assume, judging by the visible access of post-it arrows I’ve already marked pages with, I’m loving this book.