What I Read: Psychological Thrillers

I thrifted a bunch of Ruth Rendell mysteries a while back, and promptly forgot about them … until recently when I ran out of other reading material. I devoured 3 of them in the space of a little more than a weekend, and they were really, really satisfying. I often forget about Rendell, although she should really be up there with PD James on my list of fave modern mystery writers. Her novels, although ostensibly centered around Detective Wexford and his team, are really more psychological thrillers or why-dunits than police procedurals. Her plots are often intricate and unusual, and yet somehow never seem implausible. I think they are similar in tone/approach to Tana French’s novels, but much better executed, in my opinion.

I read Babes In The Wood, End in Tears, and Sight For Sore Eyes and all 3 were excellent. I was fascinated by the character of Teddy Brex in Sight For Sore Eyes; Rendell has a great knack for getting into the mind of disturbed people and making their motivations and choices seem perfectly understandable even if not morally excusable. I also liked the more traditional whodunit plot of Babes In The Wood, which was a “missing persons” story chock-full of twists I did not see coming, not to mention a red herring or three. I am currently on the hunt for more Rendell mysteries at the thrift store to build up my library. These are definitely “re-reads” for me, so I would like to have them in my personal collection.

A big Amazon order also just came in, so I’m excited to delve into that new material. I think I’m going to start with a biography of Stalin … you know, just some light reading. With that said, my to-be-read stash is still pretty low, and I like to plan ahead, so if you have recommendations, keep them coming!

As for articles, this provocatively titled piece in Harper’s Bazaar caught my eye: Feminism Doesn’t Mean Liking Every Stupid Girl You Meet. To the extent that the idea that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women” has been bastardized to mean that women have to validate/support any and all positions or choices espoused by other women, I agree with this writer’s take. To me, feminism means that all women should have the same rights and freedoms as men — including the right to autonomy of choice. But I don’t believe that feminism obliges me to agree with the specific choices of other women; only to fight for their right to exercise the choice. I think that is an important distinction. Feminism also doesn’t prevent me from criticizing a woman as long as my criticism is based on the same criteria I would apply to a man in the same circumstances, and my expression of that criticism takes the same form as it would if its subject was a man. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Cassie wrote a thought-provoking post about wearing your clothes versus modeling them (for blog purposes). As a blogger, I totally relate to this and can attest that it’s a pressure even “amateurs” experience regularly. As a blog reader, it’s one of the things that make it hard for me to relate to the majority of professional bloggers; I often find myself wondering, “did you really wear that — and for how long?”

On a totally different note, The Fashion Law reports that Louis Vuitton is suing a Canadian (holla!) flea market for selling counterfeits. Apparently, this may be a precedent-setting case in Canada; LV is attempting to hold the landlord/flea market owner responsible for the actions of individual sellers (stall tenants). My take: good on LV. I don’t consider myself an LV customer, though I own a couple of (authentic) bags, purchased secondhand; however, if I were an LV customer, I would appreciate the brand’s efforts because, even leaving the criminal elements involved in counterfeiting, the saturation of the market with counterfeits lowers the value of customers’ legitimate products, in my opinion. In other words, if I’m paying thousands of dollars for the real thing, I don’t want to see cheap fakes on every street corner. But that’s just my 2 cents.

Happy Friday!

Accidentally On Purpose

Dress, Anthropologie (via eBay); jacket, Anthropologie; shoes, CK; bag, Chanel (via consignment)
Dress, Anthropologie (via eBay); jacket, Anthropologie; shoes, CK; bag, Chanel (via consignment)

You know those days when you wake up and your hair magically looks amazing in that “just rolled out of bed” way that usually takes a huge amount of effort to create? Yeah, that almost never happens to me either. It did, randomly, a couple of weeks ago, and ever since I’ve been trying to recreate the effect minus the usual huge amount of effort. I’m pretty sure one of the key ingredients is sleeping on wet hair. Easy peasy; I usually do that. The other key ingredient(s) … well, that is where I struggle. I have no idea what it/they are. I’ve tried combing, and also not-combing my (wet) hair before bed. I’ve tried spritzing my hair with sea salt spray. I’ve gone back to using a non-silk pillowcase and rolling around on it for extra measure. Sometimes my efforts pay off; sometimes they don’t.

This was one of my more successful efforts.

A Good Hair Day?
A Good Hair Day?

I’m struggling with this because I’m at a bit of a crossroads. I’m not hugely fond of my current haircut/length anymore, so I need to decide whether to go shorter, or grow it out (a bit or a lot). I’m currently leaning towards growing it out, but that option requires me to learn to live with the current follicular situation as best as I can — and this intentional bedhead/tousled style may be my best shot. If I can master it.

Some days, I am definitely tempted to just cut my hair and be Done With It All.

Anyway, the outfit. I pulled out this old Anthro dress which hasn’t really seen the light of day since last summer, and now I’m worried that I may have jinxed us all. If it suddenly snows tomorrow, don’t blame me, OK?

follicular dilemmas
follicular dilemmas
the other s-word ... summer
the other s-word … summer

Seven Years

It might seem hard to believe, but this blog has been around for seven years now, making it my oldest “baby”. As is not the case where my actual children are concerned, I’m having a hard time coming up with reflections on how its existence has changed me, or what it means to me. After seven years, BCRL is just another fact of my life. Or, I should say, another habit. I blog because it’s part of my routine, but I rarely think about it. That’s not to say that I don’t put thought into my posts – because I do, or at least, as Ron Burgundy would say, “60% of the time, I do it every time” – but there’s no grand plan behind it. I write about whatever’s on my mind and won’t be embarrassing to have attached to my name for eternity. One thing I’ve learned in 7 years is that you never know who is reading.

Time for a quick walk down memory lane, you say? Why, that seems only natural. [Note: after I went through the archives for all the Mays since 2010, picking out an outfit I liked best from each of those months, I realized that I somehow ended up with a whole lotta pants. The irony — for someone who professes to hate pants — is not lost on me. I blame our capricious weather for the selection.]

May 2010
7 years ago
May 2011
6 years ago
5 years ago
5 years ago
remix challenge
4 years ago
Old Navy chambray shirt; House of Harlow starburst necklace
3 years ago
Loft windowpane pants
2 years ago
May 2016
1 year ago

I don’t know if I know more or less about style now than when I started. I’m pretty sure I know only a fraction more about the blogging business, and most of what I do know, I’ve been too lazy to implement. I hope I’m a better writer now, though this blog is probably not the best yardstick for measuring my progress. I still don’t have a media kit, and SEO talk continues to baffle me as much as it ever did.

And, no, I have no giveaways to bestow in celebration of this anniversary. Sorry.

I had a hard time motivating myself to write this post, and by now you are probably starting to understand why. The only thing there is to celebrate is the fact that I’m still here – repeated threats to quit notwithstanding. This is kinda how I imagine the mood of Eyeore’s birthday parties to be. Whoooo ho … huh. Sigh.

But you know what? There is, in fact, a reason to write this post. Because, like Eyeore’s awesome friends, you are here too.

I’ve said it before, and on further reflection (prompted by my anniversary musings), it bears saying again: I blog because I like talking to you guys about things that are interesting to me – whether that’s clothes or books or TV shows or things I’ve seen or done. I may be out of touch in thinking that the point of blogs is talking to people; perhaps that’s a notion that was more accurate in 2010 than in 2017. Regardless, it’s how I have always thought of this blog – as a conversation with like-minded people – and I’m too old now to change. My favourite posts are those where you write back … and, believe it or not, I don’t care if you’re only writing to tell me that I’m dead wrong. [As a side note, I have been fortunate in that, whether in discourse or even in point-blank criticism, my readers have been unfailingly polite. Thank you for that, and for taking the time to write.]

I have greatly enjoyed getting to know some of you, indirectly, through the comments you have left on my blog over the years. I know, I know; that sounds like a big hunk of fromage … but it’s true. Y’all are smart, and funny, and full of really good book recommendations. [Keep them coming!] I was thinking back on the last seven years, and making a mental list of all the things that have happened in my life during that time; I got married, had two kids, wrote 3 books, changed career course, met some amazing people … the list goes on. And it got me wondering: I would love to hear about what’s been happening in your lives. So if you’re feeling up to it, leave a comment and tell me when you started reading BCRL and what is different nowadays.

Oh, and if you are so inclined, feel free to add suggestions for topics you’d like to see tackled here – or, perhaps I should say, conversations you’d like to have. I’m all ears.