Today is world book day so I thought I would take the chance to share some of the books I am currently reading. My house is full of random stacks of books but those above are residing on my bedside table. At a glance:
If you like Company Magazine – try Geek Girl
If you like KERA! magazine – try The Tokyo Look Book & Kamikazi Girls
If you like Harpers Bazaar – try Women from the Ankle Down
I picked up Women from the Ankle Down by Rachel Bergstein as the blurb promised to answer what it was about shoes that enchanted women. “Part social history, part fashion record, part pop-culture celebration, ‘Women from the Ankle Down’ seeks to answer that question as it unfolds the story of shoes in the twentieth century. Featuring interviews with designers, historians, and cultural experts, and a cast of real life characters from Marilyn Monroe to Jane Fonda. A lively, compelling look at the evolution of modern women and the fashion that reflects-and has shaped-their changing lives.” Whilst the book started with the fascinating story of renowned shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo, it fizzled out from that point. Packed with interesting little snippets -did you know Dorothy’s ruby slippers were originally silver? – the narrative is unfocused and often trails off the topic of shoes entirely, whilst flitting from subject to subject. Perhaps I was expecting something more academic, this book won’t answer any philosophical questions but it is a delightfully easy read, full of charming facts.
Geek Girl was sent to me to read for review, which I was eager to do in supporting fellow blogger Holly Smale. “My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek. – Harriet Manners knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a “jiffy” lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. But she doesn’t know why nobody at school seems to like her. So when Harriet is spotted by a top model agent, she grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her best friend’s dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of impossibly handsome model Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.” Obviously not my usual reading fodder and aimed at people who are young enough to be my children, yet I found myself smiling in spite of myself as I followed Harriet on her adventures. Full of teen angst, bringing back memories of quite how akwards being a teen really was. Whilst the plot was a little predictable, this is a fun book I know many teens will identify with.
The Tokyo Look Book by Keet & Manabe fell (cough) into my shopping basket as a recommendation after I had purchased Fruits and Gothic & Lolita a while back. There it had stayed as I by passed it for other tomes, I mean much as I love Japanese street style did I really need yet another photo-book? Actually yes, yes I did as this book is photo’s and so much more. Grouping the street style shots into their identified subcultures such as Gyaru and Lolita with mini interviews along side each shot, Keets delves into the cultural and terratorial backgrounds of the participants, with feature interviews with the designers the kids on the street are wearing (she even speaks, yes speaks directly with Mana – for the Visual Kei fans). If you love street style, but want to know more about those in the spot light then this book is a must have.
The translation of Shimotsuma Monogatari by Novala Takemoto, Kamikazi Girls is the action packed, fantasy dream world tale of two girls, their love of fashion and eventually a great friendship. I am yet to delve too far into this book, however I am aware it does have some difference to the movie of the same name. Some argue for the book, others the movie so I am looking forward to seeing which I favour myself. Guess I will have to come back to this review, although how could I fail to identify with a character with a love of Vivienne Westwood! “Life in the boondocks of rural Ibaraki prefecture is anything but glamorous, and to escape her humdrum existence, Momoko, a “Lolita,” fanaticizes about French rococo, dreams of living in the palace of Versailles, and decks herself out in the finest (and frilliest) of 18th century haute couture from an expensive Tokyo specialty store. Her dreams of an idyllic existence are rudely interrupted by the appearance of Ichigo, a tough-talking “Yanki” motorcycle-chick (on a tricked-out moped) who’s part of a girls-only biker gang known as the Ponytails. Together, this unlikeliest of duos strikes out on a quest to find a legendary embroiderer, a journey that takes them to back-alley pachinko parlors, chic boutiques, and epic bike-punk battles.”