Style / January 24, 2020

Book Club: Winter 2020

The end of winter is still a couple of months away. There are a few necessary things we need to get us through these chilly days: wine, several layers of comfy clothes and fantastic books.

Here are the books our team is kicking off 2020 with (each paired with a wonderful wine!):

City of Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert

Suggested wine pairing: Middle Sister Rebel Red Blend
(Find near you, or shop online)

In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves-and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.

The Last Mrs. Parish by Suzanne Elise Freeman

Suggested wine pairing: Girl & Dragon Malbec
(Find near you, or shop online)

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted.

To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne—a socialite and philanthropist—and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces. 

Poison Orchids by Aimee Horne

Suggested wine pairing: Middle Sister Mischief Maker Cabernet Sauvignon
(Find near you, or shop online)

Young backpackers Gemma and Hayley arrive at a remote mango farm, out of money and desperate for work. The farm’s owner, Tate Llewellyn, welcomes them in with open arms. An enigmatic, wealthy chemist, Tate spends his days running his hobby farm and cultivating rare orchids in his greenhouse.

The weeks go on, a blur of fruit-picking with the other international backpackers, parties, campfires and wading beneath waterfalls in the nearby hot springs. Tate calls the girls his orchids…his pretty orchids…

Until the night the girls find themselves on a dark highway, bruised and bloodied. How did paradise turn so ugly?

Senior Detective Bronwen McKay and psychologist Megan Arlotti question the terrified girls. But Hayley and Gemma are telling two very different stories of what happened to them over the past three months. Which story is the truth and what are the girls covering up?

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Suggested wine pairing: If You See Kay Red Blend
(Find near you, or shop online)

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six: The band’s album Aurora came to define the rock ‘n’ roll era of the late seventies, and an entire generation of girls wanted to grow up to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group’s split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979 . . . until now. The legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off!: Thoughts on Life, Love, and Rebellion by Gloria Steinem

Suggested wine pairing: Middle Sister Sweet & Sassy Moscato
(Find near you, or shop online) Don’t forget to look for a special new voting message on Sweet & Sassy’s label this year!

Covering topics from relationships (“Many are looking for the right person. Too few are trying to be the right person.”) to the patriarchy (“Men are liked better when they win. Women are liked better when they lose. This is how the patriarchy is enforced every day.”) and activism (“Revolutions, like trees, grow from the bottom up.”), this is the definitive collection of Steinem’s words on what matters most. Steinem sees quotes as “the poetry of everyday life,” so she also has included a few favorites from friends, including bell hooks, Flo Kennedy, and Michelle Obama, in this book that will make you want to laugh, march, and create some quotes of your own. In fact, at the end of the book, there’s a special space for readers to add their own quotes and others they’ve found inspiring.

The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off! is both timeless and timely. It is a gift of hope from Steinem to readers, and a book to share with friends.

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