Cheers to the Weekend 11.9.18
20181108__RKR6436.jpg

*some links are affiliate, we deeply appreciate your support

I am already mourning the fading of the fall colors, but frankly I like like cold weather, though I prefer cold and clear to the rain. I’m enjoying my son’s delight in the way his breath fogs in the morning and dressing like a giant lump of sweater while it’s crisp out. We’re in for a chilly weekend, but we’ve got blankets (I just bought this one) and tea and candles at the ready to cozy in. Plus, Saturday means our weekly early morning coffee date, and Sunday is bringing some family from out of town for a quick visit, both of which I’m looking forward to. What are you guys up to this weekend?

Around the Web

Need a Gothic novel for your next dark and stormy night? This list is FANTASTIC.

If you love books about money + families as much as I do, check these out!

This is an excellent list of debut novels from women over 40. So inspiring!

We buddy read The Picture Of Dorian Gray last month, and this is pretty amazing to see!

If you’re an adult who loves fantasy, this is for you.

We JUST talked about this exact thing this morning! This is such a great resource to have found.

Some short novels to help you hit your reading goal for the year!


Instagram

A distinct and lovely bookish lifestyle, along with an impressive collection of specific editions we all want to get our hands on.

Yadi’s seemingly effortless living with books style is a breath of fresh air.

Cityscapes and bookstores and books-on-the-go are a good reason to love this literary lifestyle feed.

This classy babe has the most beautiful atmospheric vibe, making you just want to crawl into each of her lovely photos


What We're Reading

Michaela - Still going strong with War and Peace! I’m really, really hoping to finish by next weekend! I love it, but I’m also ready to get to some other books that are waiting for me.

Rikki - Not much new that I’m reading right now, but do plan on pushing myself to finish Other People’s Love Affairs this weekend, it’s a great collection I’ll add to my re-read shelf. And of course, A Little Life, which I can’t get enough of, it’s really quite good.

Meeting Author Anne Bogel
annesbooktour_002.jpg

We first connected with Anne, of Modern Mrs Darcy, a few years ago through Bookstagram. She inspired so much of what we wanted to showcase in our literary lifestyles, and we slowly but surely developed an online friendship from that shared love of reading.

We were fortunate enough to be invited onto her podcast, What Should I Read Next, and threw a couple of dinner parties from her recommendations. We did Persuasion as a brunch, and My Kitchen Year as a dinner, both were excellent!

annesbooktour_007.jpg
annesbooktour_005.jpg

You can only imagine our excitement when Anne tells us she added our personal favorite indie bookstore, Browsers, to her book tour in October. The owner, Andrea, was also on the podcast and has become a friend of ours as well. We’ve styled a few of her cookbook book clubs and have loved getting to know her. Book people are simply the best people.

annesbooktour_014.jpg
annesbooktour_016.jpg

We had the best time chatting with Anne, and sadly, it had to end all too soon. Honestly, if you don’t already love her just from her online personality, you’re sure to love her in person. We really could have talked endlessly about all things books, parenting, and life in general. It was an excellent experience and I only hope we cross paths with her again!

Cheers to the Weekend 11.01.18
20181005__RKR5051.jpg

*some links are affiliate, we deeply appreciate your support

Happy NOVEMBER, friends! We are officially poised at the beginning of the holiday season. Are you excited, or dreading it? I saw the Starbucks holiday cups came out this morning, and Target is releasing the new Magnolia holiday line—definite harbingers of the holidays in our culture. We’re focusing more on slowing down our holiday season though, and planning the next two months of our reading lives to close out 2018 with books we love. This weekend will bring books, brunches, leaf piles, and fall walks with family. What about you?

Around the Web

A few anticipated new releases in November. Have you read any of these?

I love Halloween movies, but not scary ones; this is a great list if you’re anything like us!

Tis the season for baking, and this recipe looks divine! A perfect accompaniment to a good book!

The cleverest way to get the community involved in helping a bookshop move, we would’ve been there in a heartbeat.

A great post on Murakami’s latest novel. I’m really looking forward to reading this one.

Did you see our literary breakfast for The Legend of Sleep Hollow?! So good!

Check us out on the Bad People Book Club podcast! Thanks again for having us, Abbey!

Instagram

Aayushi has a natural lifestyle feed, is a fellow classics lover, and poses great conversation

Books in the wild all day everyday, Corinne always has a book with her

We love to see books in the air and on the go, plus lots of pretty bookshops

What We're Reading

Michaela - War and Peace….all day every day haha! I’m bound and determined to finish it this month and am still absolutely loving it.

Rikki - I’m happily situated with two great books right now and look forward to them being my first books of the new month. Other People’s Love Affairs is really good so far, and so is A Little Life. So far, I can’t get enough of either one!

Wrap Up | October 2018
michaelaswrapup_001.jpg

*some links are affiliate, and we deeply appreciate your support

Michaela

A War and Peace update! - I am a little over halfway through this monster, and devoted most of my reading time to it this month, so I figured I would give an update instead of a review. Basically, I freaking love it. I can’t focus on any other books because I love it to much. I’m nearly at the halfway point now (about 600 pages in) and I am riveted. It’s hard to explain, but Tolstoy is just so good at the micro and the macro, and has built such amazing characters who you really, really get to know. This book is a behemoth, and so, so worthwhile. There is just so much going on, and it’s all just so good. I wish I had more coherent thoughts, and maybe by the time I finish I can say something worthwhile, but for now, I just love love love it.

Warbreaker | Brandon Sanderson- This was a book club book that I went into with high hopes! Sanderson is a much lauded author in the fantasy genre and I was genuinely excited….until I got 300/676 pages into it and literally could not focus on reading it because I was so ragey at how terrible it is. Poor plot pacing, passive, weak lead characters, and “witty” banter that was downright painful to read it was so strained and trite. Oh and I guessed the “big twist” on like page 50 (yeah, I definitely skimmed the ending). The internet agrees this is an anomaly for Sanderson, and not representative of his other work, so I may try another of his novels later on.

Frankenstein | Mary Shelley- A pretty quick read, and definitely nothing like the commercialized version of the story we all know. I was surprised at how political this book got, and enjoyed how utterly Gothic it was, melodrama and all. I love reading classics like this precisely because they tend to be so different than the version pop culture shows us. I’d highly recommend this one if you enjoy 19th century or Gothic literature, because it’s a great example of both.

rikkiswrapup_001.jpg

Rikki

Stay With Me | Ayobami Adebayo - This was such a well done story. I was really immersed in the lives of the characters and had to see it through. With that said, this was also a hard one to read and kind of the worst. I can seldom do without some redemptive qualities and this story had pretty much none. Plus, I loathed the ending and that left me utterly disappointed.

This is How It Always Is | Laurie Frankel - Another well done story that was character driven and had me holding on till the end. I had to know what happened. Frankel took a controversial topic in our society and placed it in a work of fiction that was handled beautifully. However, every single thing in this story wrapped up neatly in a bow, every character was intelligent and knew what to say, and the convenience of how certain aspects played out was too much of a coincidence. Again, well done for the topic of a transgender child, but a little too neat for my taste.

Autumn | Karl Ove Knausgaard - I picked this up at the perfect time for me. I was feeling more than contented with my reading life and was ready to settle into something slow and steady, and this collection of short stories fit the bill and the season. But, as this book goes, it’s meant to be read and enjoyed with time to think it all over, and well, I got impatient at the time it took and was ready to be done. I enjoyed it immensely, and though there were a handful of stories I didn’t care for, there were many more I marked for re-reading. I also felt this was much less a collection of "letters to his unborn daughter” as it was a collection of “thoughts on random things in life.”

There There | Tommy Orange - This book was pretty good. Orange does something very different, in a very real way, and I fully appreciated the story. I especially loved the interconnectedness of the characters and thought that while the ending was a tragic wrap up, it ended absolutely perfectly too, as a finale of sorts.

As I Lay Dying | William Faulkner - This was my bedtime story each night and was so perfect to read slowly and soak in Faulkner’s beautiful prose. It took me about 20 pages to realize what was going on and how it was going to unfold, as Faulkner has a very unique way of writing and this is an even more unique, sometimes funny, sometimes morose, story. I also felt reminisce of Steinbeck throughout, in the same layered, impressive descriptive and immersive writing that I love, but not nearly as straightforward.

The Thirteenth Tale | Diane Setterfield - I would have loved this story much more when I was younger. I will say that I enjoyed it quite a bit and loved the unique plot and elements of mystery. Where I think the story took a wrong turn for me is how unbelievably convenient every single thing (read: attempts at mystery and intrigue) that occurs. The plot/mystery could have easily been elaborated on much more.

Where the Crawdads Sing | Delia Owens - Michaela didn’t finish reading this last month and passed it off knowing I’d enjoy it. I see exactly why it wasn’t for her, although I very much loved this book. There is a very mellow, but very good atmosphere, very accurate, albeit unique, character development, and the little plot twist hidden at the end left me chuckling just a bit at how clever, no bullshit the main character is. I thought Owens’ writing was beautiful, I loved the poetry and story development, and if the prose had been a little more thought-provoking, this would have been an all time favorite forever and ever. Still, it was very good. I can’t wait to see what else she writes!

Frankenstein | Mary Shelley - This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It constantly blew me away. While I found the story to have some gaping holes and leave some things to be desired, I found every single word to be absolutely beautiful—and for a teenager to write this—I’m speechless. There are a ton of nuances littered throughout, a lot of philosophy, and even some political undertones. I’m just going to crawl into a deep book hangover for the next week.

Literary Dinner | Sleepy Hollow
sleepyhollow_005.jpg

This dinner party has been an entire year in the making! Why a year, you ask? Because we kept waiting for the perfect moody moment after reading the book last fall, and then I went and had a baby. It’s a bit of a challenge to dinner party with a newborn, so we accepted defeat and held off until this fall. That sweet little baby is now a year old and cheered us on while we put together the setting (and by cheered, I mean made loud noises until I gave her an apple to munch on).

sleepyhollow_001.jpg
sleepyhollow_003.jpg

We wanted to really capture the season, and play up the spooky, moody vibes of the book for this breakfast. So we woke before dawn and set up at first light. From the most perfect gold trimmed pumpkin plates nestled on burgundy velvet place mats, to homegrown pumpkins, vintage candelabras, and a table runner, we put together a simple, moody table-scape at dawn. We used a cloche filled with pumpkins as a centerpiece, and set pillar candles along the table, while vivid leaves picked from a nearby blueberry bush added some pops of color. Plus, we had piping hot coffee in ivory tea cups, and a homemade breakfast thanks to a new cookbook we were gifted by Abrams books.

sleepyhollow_006.jpg
sleepyhollow_004.jpg
sleepyhollow_009.jpg
sleepyhollow_016.jpg

"It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet." - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

sleepyhollow_013.jpg
sleepyhollow_015.jpg
sleepyhollow_019.jpg

The cookbook we paired with this novel is an unlikely pairing, but seasonally, the food was spot on. The baked apples are from the very apple trees you see in the photos, and the pumpkins and flowers are all from my garden.

sleepyhollow_022.jpg
sleepyhollow_025.jpg
sleepyhollow_026.jpg
sleepyhollow_029.jpg
sleepyhollow_031.jpg
sleepyhollow_035.jpg

It was worth waiting for the fall colors to be in full bloom, as the lanterns and candles set them off beautifully, especially when paired with fresh pumpkins. The whole morning felt so atmospheric and perfectly autumnal. A warm breakfast and hot coffee were the perfect accompaniments to bookish conversation. We didn’t get as much time as we would have liked, but it was still a nearly magical morning.

sleepyhollow_040.jpg
sleepyhollow_030.jpg
sleepyhollow_033.jpg
sleepyhollow_037.jpg

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was a pure delight to read. It was witty, unique, atmospheric, had an interesting storyline, and was short enough to take your time and enjoy reading. We’re equally thrilled to check this one off our list, but could easily see this one being a re-read when the mood is just right.

sleepyhollow_046.jpg
sleepyhollow_049.jpg
sleepyhollow_043.jpg
sleepyhollow_050.jpg

I’m a little sad to be done with Sleepy Hollow now. It was a great little book and has given way to a deeper love of classic literature. Seasonal reading with classics never seems to disappoint. We read Frankenstein this month, and will be keeping an eye out for the next great spooky fall read!

Rikki RiveraComment
Bad People Book Club | October 2018
punjabiwidows_001.jpg

*We were sent this box in exchange for an honest review, and of course, all opinions are wholly our own. You can see our policy right here

We were able to buddy read Erotic Stories of Punjabi Widows for the Bad People podcast (available wherever you listen to podcasts), and had such a great time reading and discussing the book with Abbey! This book is really a treat and packed full of so much (you’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear all of our thoughts), definitely recommend.

punjabiwidows_004.jpg
punjabiwidows_006.jpg
punjabiwidows_005.jpg
punjabiwidows_007.jpg

Having read the book before the box arrived, we were super excited to see how the cocktail would pair with the novel. It was a unique concoction, but a delightful one. It’s always so fun to bring the book to life through a dinner party, a cocktail pairing, book club… whatever suits you.

punjabiwidows_013.jpg

We’ve really enjoyed being a part of the Bad People community, reading the books they select, listening to Abbey and AJ’s discussion on each book through the podcast, and getting to try their custom cocktails. We’ve said before how much we love that this subscription doesn’t come with extra things to clutter our homes, but all the good stuff we will appreciate and talk about time and again. It’s an experience, and that’s everything.

punjabiwidows_015.jpg
punjabiwidows_019.jpg
punjabiwidows_017.jpg
punjabiwidows_021.jpg

If this sounds like something you need in your life (and of course it is) you can use our code ARDENT10 for 10% off your order. Cheers, friends!

Cheers to the Weekend 10.26.18
20181011__RKR5182.jpg

*some links are affiliate, we deeply appreciate your support

It’s almost Halloween! We’ve spent the weekend sneaking in as much pumpkin patch time and Halloween events that we possibly could. Today is our IRL bookstagram book club for our readalong of Frankenstein, will we see you there? Hope everyone is having a festive weekend!

Around the Web

Goth-esque novels are basically our favorite this time of year, and this list is fantastic!

But if you need something a little more scary, check these out. Shoutout to my current read being on this list!

A great interview with an author who fascinates us. Thoughts?

Five classics that are ripe for retelling….yes yes YES to all of these.

Was anyone else obsessed with the “Royal Diaries” books as a kid? Check out the grown up versions!

There are so many book to movie adaptations coming in 2019. Which of these are you most excited for?

Instagram

A beautiful lifestyle feed with all the good books!

So many excellent classics, I’m constantly looking to Micol for inspiration

Gorgeous landscapes showing the seasons with Anna’s current reads

What We're Reading

Michaela - I’m still chugging along with War and Peace, but pausing that one to finish up Frankenstein and The Winters (gifted by the publisher) to get into the Halloween mood!

Rikki - I have The Heart’s Invisible Furies on hold since book club is this weekend (although I’m not sure I’ll pick it up again), and I’m happily working on finishing up Frankenstein! I’m also reading A Little Life and love it so far.

Cheers to the Weekend 10.19.18
20181011__RKR5182.jpg

*some links are affiliate, we deeply appreciate your support

It’s a super busy weekend for us around here! Michaela is out of town and we’re celebrating my baby girl and nephew turning one! How has it been a year already?! I don’t think we’ll have much opportunity for downtime to read, but you’d better believe we’ll squeeze in any minute we can find!

Around the Web

Another round of “firing the cannon” this time for Lord of the Flies.

Exploring the real Sleepy Hollow. Bonus: keep an eye out for some Sleepy Hollow events from us soon!

Need a book for Halloween? It’s coming up quick and this is such a fun list.

Did you see who won the Man Booker prize? Do you think you’ll read it?

An author spotlight for one of our very favorites!

Now is the time to design your perfect reading nook for maximum coziness as the cooler weather sets in.

Instagram

If you’re in the mood for autumnal vibes and good books, Luana’s got you covered.

All my vintage book goals wrapped up in one feed. I can’t get enough of beautiful vintage books!

No point in stopping the classics and vintage book love, check out this fellow PNW book lover.

What We're Reading

Michaela - While traveling, I won’t be reading as much War and Peace as I like, but am enjoying Gentlemen and Players.

Rikki - I’m finally moving through some of my autumnal reads (anxious to get to Halloween specific ones) and am reading Where the Crawdads Sing and The Heart’s Invisible Furies. Frankenstein is up next!

Abrams Dinner Party Meets My Brilliant Friend
theardentbiblio_abrams1_002.jpg

A few months ago, we were accepted into the Abrams Dinner Party line up for fall and spring 2018-2019. We are pretty excited to get to extend our skills a bit further into something a little different from our usual dinner parties. With a variety of cookbooks sent to us from Abrams books, we get to explore an endless amount of new recipes and put them into action.

theardentbiblio_abrams1_001.jpg

*We were sent this book in exchange for an honest review, and of course, all opinions are wholly our own. You can see our policy right here

theardentbiblio_abrams1_003.jpg
theardentbiblio_abrams1_005.jpg

Instead of our usual props and decor, we decided to keep this seasonal and simple, because we’ll be doing quite a few of these, and we want to ensure it is manageable and fun.

We got together when the first cookbook arrived to flip through and see what it was all about. Matty Matheson | A Cookbook shares an interesting mix of his personal history and it progresses from childhood to culinary art school. I always love a cookbook that gives you something a little extra. Matty definitely has some skills in the kitchen, and exceeds much of what we’re willing to make on a regular basis. But, if you’re looking for a unique dish to step up your game and wow your guests, this might be the cookbook for you.

theardentbiblio_abrams1_009.jpg
theardentbiblio_abrams1_007.jpg
theardentbiblio_abrams1_010.jpg
theardentbiblio_abrams1_013.jpg
theardentbiblio_abrams1_014.jpg

We marked a couple of recipes we were eager to try, as there are quite a few that took a traditional meal and made it into something a bit fancier. As fall is heavily upon us, when we saw the Italian Wedding Soup, we agreed it was the best choice for us. It did not disappoint.

We also thought of ways to tie in a literary element and immediately thought of Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend for this recipe. This is absolutely a recipe we’d make for a dinner for this book.

theardentbiblio_abrams1_019.jpg
theardentbiblio_abrams1_018.jpg

Thanks so much Abrams for having us as members for the dinner parties, we’re having so much fun already and look forward to the next one!

Literary Dinner | Circe
circe_053.jpg

We honestly feel like we chose the perfect buddy read to take us into fall when we picked up Circe by Madeline Miller. This retelling of Greek myth takes us with our heroine Circe to an island full of wild herbs, carefully tended gardens and forests bursting with flora. To honor her island of Aiaia we set up a simple picnic table out in the sunshine underneath a pear tree, against a backdrop of woods, so we could have lunch and soak up the mild afternoon while we talked about the novel.

circe_066.jpg
circe_067.jpg
circe_063.jpg
circe_065.jpg
But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.
circe_064.jpg

Layers of freshly cut rosemary were studded with the first of the fall berries, and a few fresh blooms were tucked into the fragrant, spiky riot. We love that the rosemary looks a little prickly, but smells so good, especially when it was all piled on the tabletop. Plus, it’s an herb used since ancient times by the Greeks, and seemed the perfect choice to represent the facets of Circe; a little prickly, a little sweet, and quietly powerful.

We primarily used roses for our flowers, both in our tiny bud vases and in the centerpiece, because they were mentioned repeatedly, and because their orangey blush color really suited our early fall color palette. The centerpiece was a glass terrarium stuffed with a spray of cut greenery and roses all set atop a sunburst mirror to reflect (hah!) Circe’s father, Helios. Plates were cut crystal with dipped gold rims, and we finished our place settings with crystal goblets and gold napkins and cutlery. We wanted an opulent, mystical, ancient, natural feel all wrapped up together, and mixing our elements this way worked out really well. It ended up feeling understated, but gilded, just like Circe herself.

circe_001.jpg
circe_005.jpg
circe_003.jpg
circe_004.jpg
circe_009.jpg
circe_018.jpg

Once the table was set, the laden boughs of the pear tree arched perfectly over our simple place settings, and all that was left was to bring out the food. Sticking to a mediterranean flavor profile, we designed a charcuterie board piled with hummus, marinated vegetables, dishes of olives, flatbreads, grapes, meats, hard cheeses, and creamy balls of fresh mozzarella. In the novel, Circe sets up long tables in her house and serves similar fare to visiting sailors, with plenty of wine, of course. Capturing that atmosphere with the food at our own long wooden table felt so right.

circe_023.jpg
circe_016.jpg
circe_024.jpg
circe_025.jpg
circe_026.jpg
circe_029.jpg
circe_031.jpg
circe_044.jpg
circe_035.jpg
circe_039.jpg
circe_037.jpg

Settling in with an array of snacks and goblets full of wine to discuss the book was the best part, of course (it always is!). We easily spend an hour trading insights, picking apart scenes, and weighing outside criticisms with our own opinions when we talk books. Part of how we prepare our discussions is to pay attention to other reviews to see what other people are generally saying about the novel, and then deciding what we agree and disagree with.

With Circe, one of the biggest criticisms we saw was that the novel lacked any “fireworks” from Circe herself, that she didn’t adequately own and display her powers to any real effect. We both disagree. Circe used her powers to defy the gods quietly, and to only please herself. Some elaborate action scene would feel untrue to the character Miller built for us, since Circe is very strong, but intentionally not flashy. What did you think?

circe_041.jpg
circe_046.jpg
circe_045.jpg
circe_043.jpg
circe_057.jpg
circe_056.jpg
circe_051.jpg

With the afternoon wearing on, it was eventually time to wrap it up and exit the dreamy space we had built and enjoyed for the past few hours. These little private book clubs are always worth the extra effort. Existing in such an atmospheric space while we hold our book discussions really lets us live the books in a way nothing else does. Until next time, friends!

circe_055.jpg
circe_061.jpg
circe_068.jpg