If You Like Mad Men: Fifty Fashion Looks That Changed The 1960s by Paula Reed

If you like Mad Men, you will love Fifty Fashion Looks That Changed The 1960s by Paula Reed (published by Conran Octopus Ltd.). This book contains fifty outfits, fashion houses, and icons from the 60s that helped define the decade. Beautiful photos along with brief essays describing each picture make it a quick read and an interesting look at one of my favorite fashionable decades. Some fashion icons covered in the book include Nico, Emilio Pucci, Granny Takes a trip, and Veruschka. The pictures below are inspired by Megan from Mad Men’s French heritage and the Jean Seburg section (subtitled A preppy in Paris) from Fifty Fashion Looks That Changed The 1960s.

I purchased the Bonjour sweater from ASOS. I purchased the jeans and neon ballet flats from J. Crew.

About The Book:

Building on the international success of the Design Museum Fifty series, including Fifty Shoes that Changed the World, Fifty Bags that Changed the World and Fifty Hats that Changed the World, this beautifully designed new title – curated in the series by fashion guru Paula Reed – takes a fresh look at key fashion pieces from the 1960s. Featuring Mary Quant’s mini skirts, Andre Courreges’ Moon Girls, denim-clad hippies and Celia Birtwell’s Romantic Peasants, this book captures and explains every influential look of the decade. For anyone looking to buy vintage pieces to add to their wardrobes of contemporary items, this authoritative and inspiring book will prove to be an invaluable source of reference.(Summary provided by Conran Octopus Ltd.)

If you have a Mad Men inspired book or clothing item you would like considered for the If You Like Mad Men feature, you can reach me at wellreadwife@gmail.com.


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Book Review: Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coehlo

Title: Manuscript Found in Accra

Author: Paulo Coelho

208 pages, Published by Knopf

Buy The Book: Amazon


There is nothing wrong with anxiety.
Although we cannot control God’s time, it is part of the human condition to want to receive the thing we are waiting for as quickly as possible.
Or to drive away whatever is causing our fear. . . .
Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn to live with it—just as we have learned to live with storms.

*  *  *

July 14, 1099. Jerusalem awaits the invasion of the crusaders who have surrounded the city’s gates. There, inside the ancient city’s walls, men and women of every age and every faith have gathered to hear the wise words of a mysterious man known only as the Copt. He has summoned the townspeople to address their fears with truth:

“Tomorrow, harmony will become discord. Joy will be replaced by grief. Peace will give way to war. . . . None of us can know what tomorrow will hold, because each day has its good and its bad moments. So, when you ask your questions, forget about the troops outside and the fear inside. Our task is not to leave a record of what happened on this date for those who will inherit the Earth; history will take care of that. Therefore, we will speak about our daily lives, about the difficulties we have had to face.”

The people begin with questions about defeat, struggle, and the nature of their enemies; they contemplate the will to change and the virtues of loyalty and solitude; and they ultimately turn to questions of beauty, love, wisdom, sex, elegance, and what the future holds. “What is success?” poses the Copt. “It is being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace.”

*  *  *

Now, these many centuries later, the wise man’s answers are a record of the human values that have endured throughout time. And, in Paulo Coelho’s hands, The Manuscript Found in Accra reveals that who we are, what we fear, and what we hope for the future come from the knowledge and belief that can be found within us, and not from the adversity that surrounds us.  (Summary provided by Knopf.)

My Thoughts:

I’ve heard of Paulo Coehlo from friends over the years. Many of these friends love his novel The Alchemist, and I’ve always had it on my TBR list. When I was approached with the chance to review his latest novel, Manuscript Found in Accra I was really excited, because I’ve heard so many great things about this author.

Unfortunately, once I started reading, the excitement I initially felt about the book gradually diminished. Manuscript Found in Accra begins with a four page preface and a six page chapter which lay the groundwork for the rest of the book. Basically, the book contains questions and answers between the people of Jerusalem and a wise citizen known as the Copt on the eve of Jerusalem being invaded by French crusaders in the year 1099. The purpose for the manuscript of questions and answers is so that knowledge of the way of life for citizens of Jerusalem in 1099 will live on for future generations. The citizens take turns asking the Copt questions of a philosophical nature and the Copt answers them. There is no traditional plot.

Manuscript Found in Accra reads like a fictional Deepak Chopra book. It has lots of really interesting thoughts from the Copt regarding a variety of topics such as defeat, solitude, beauty, love, sex, and anxiety. The prose is deep and at times beautiful, but it is totally not what I was expecting when I picked up the book. I was expecting a novel with all of the elements a typical work of fiction might have: character development, plot, rising action, climax, etc. Some might say we should praise this work for being different and veering from the path of traditional fiction. I’m not against non-traditional fiction at all. This particular novel just doesn’t work for me as a reader.

I’ve read lots of glowing reviews of this book, and I have no doubt fans of Coehlo will enjoy Manuscript Found in Accra. I also think readers who enjoy books by philosophers will devour Manuscript Found in Accra. It is evident from reading this novel that Coehlo is a highly intellectual and talented writer. However, the presentation of the Copt’s wisdom in a question and answer format is a bit too sparse for me.

I have a question for fans of Paulo Coehlo who have read both Manuscript Found in Accra and The Alchemist: Do you think I might enjoy The Alchemist? I really want to give Coehlo another chance.

Check out the previous stops of the Manuscript Found in Accra TLC Book Tour:

Monday, March 18th:  Patricia’s Wisdom

Monday, March 25th:  Book Club Classics

Tuesday, March 26th:  Mom in Love with Fiction


FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book for review from TLC Book Tours, and I make a small commission off of any purchases made by clicking through the Amazon links on this site.


Make sure you don’t miss a thing! If you’re new to The Well-Read Wife, click here to subscribe. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and “like” me on Facebook. You can follow The Well-Read Wife on Bloglovin’ by clicking here. My personal site is located at Mandibles.net.

On Negative Reviews and Cowardice and Anxiety and Enthusiasm

Earlier in the week I was alarmed to find out about all of the GoodReads related drama. There’s a lot of it. Too much to write about here. I rarely interact with other people on GoodReads. I merely catalog reviews from The Well-Read Wife there when I have time. The main source of drama is a site that popped up called Stop The GR Bullies. This site targeted bloggers who they considered bully reviewers and published a rehash of the bloggers actions. For the most part the actions Stop The GoodReads Bullies found so deplorable were snarky or harsh comments or reviews by bloggers on GoodReads about books. *gasp* So how did the site deal with this? By publishing personal info about at least two of the bloggers in question. They even published in one case local restaurants a blogger likes to hang out at effectively putting a target on the blogger’s back in public. This behavior disgusted me. But it also caused me to think about the way I approach reviews on this site. I’ll discuss this later in the post. Shortly after reading about the GR Bullies drama, I read a post on the blog Dead White Guys by Amanda Nelson that really inspired me. In the post Amanda says the following statement:

Negative reviews are necessary to sustain a rich, interesting, HONEST literary culture. If we’re all rainbows and sugar-puffs because we’re scared of hurting some author’s feelings, we’re doing the book world at large a disservice. (Read full post here.)

Her post struck a chord with me, because I am scared of hurting feelings. However, she is absolutely right.

This was the starting point for the following post that I wrote a few days ago but was unable to publish because my WIFI went out:

On Negative Reviews and Cowardice and Anxiety and Enthusiasm

Growing up I sought the comfort of reading. Books were my escape and my refuge.  Through reading I could solve mysteries with the Bobwhites.  I could have Holden Caufield’s courage. Lady Brett Ashley’s outrageous wit and charm.

I loved to discuss books with my friends. Argue passionately for books I loved and just as passionately for those I despised. In ninth grade when everyone was declaring his or her love for On The Road, I sheepishly admitted my dislike the novel. I thought it was borrriiiing. I much preferred Ginsberg and Burroughs to Kerouac as far as the Beat Generation went, and I would happily explain why. I loved Stephen King, but if I came across a book of his I didn’t like, I had no problem letting my friends know, “Don’t bother with this one. It’s not as good as his others,” I might say. Then of course I would explain my reasons for not liking that particular book.

I felt comfortable giving friends my unfiltered, negative opinions about books, because I trusted them.  To bare your soul about a book is a hard thing to do. I have (almost) no problem declaring my enthusiastic love for a book or author on The Well-Read Wife, but when it comes to channeling that same enthusiasm in a negative manner I freeze up. I am terrified. My anxiety overtakes me and most of the time I don’t review the book on the site. I am scared to let myself go freely in a negative direction.

I am Jack’s Raging, Anxious Older Sister

I have reviewed a handful of the books I didn’t enjoy on The Well-Read Wife because each one had a redeeming quality I felt I could offset my negative remarks with.  I feel like I am cheating myself by only reviewing books negatively that I can put some kind of (albeit small) positive spin on. I desperately want to share reviews of books I felt were just plain not good or ridiculous, but I’m scared to do it with the same enthusiasm I use for the books I love.

I mean what if I really disliked a book and took a photo depicting why I disliked it? I take funny pictures inspired by books I enjoy.  Would people think I’m mean spirited if I did the same for books I didn’t like? That is the problem. I am enthusiastic. I am boisterous. Any wholly negative reviews I write will also reflect this side of my personality. I worry about this. I worry about everything else too though. I worry sometimes people will think it’s idiotic when I like a book so much I put a picture of myself with it.

I am a coward.

I read quickly. I can discern usually in the first forty pages or so whether I am going to like a book or not. I can usually tell from the direction the plot is heading or the narrative voice that a book is not for me. I drop books like this after the first forty pages as if a bee had stung me. I don’t like this. So, I just won’t finish it. My time is too valuable to waste reading books I don’t enjoy. This is what I tell myself. But really I’m scared. I’m scared I will piss off the wrong person, and they will confront me.

I read recently about an online reviewer who has been harassed. Her personal information was put online and she received a threatening call at home. This infuriated me. It is exactly what I’m afraid will happen to me. I don’t believe any of the authors I have ever reviewed or will likely review would ever engage in this sort of behavior. I have only received one or two polite emails in response to negative reviews. But what about their fans? This scares me.

I’m not going to be scared anymore. My behavior is akin to cowardice, and I owe myself better. I’m going to try to push through at least one book a month that I’m having trouble reading and share my unfiltered view of the book within the tone and tenor of my site. What is usual tone and tenor of my site? If you’re a regular reader, you know sh*t can get weird up in here. So it will be along those lines. Though I promise never to post a picture of myself taking a dump on a book I don’t like. That would be crass. I’ll just keep those pictures to myself in a photo album titled Dumps. However, I could easily end up enjoying a book that starts out slow or that seems like something I won’t enjoy from the very beginning. I am not in any way going to be purposely seeking out books to review negatively.

I know there are some sites that don’t publish negative reviews at all. Sites that choose to promote and review only the books they enjoy. I don’t see this as a bad thing. Not at all. There’s room for every kind of review site in the blogosphere.

My point here is that I have had a desire to review books negatively with the same level of over the top fun I have with books I enjoy. Not in a mean spirited way, but in a fun, satirical way. I’ve just been really scared to raise my freak flag all the way up. Thanks to the bravery of other bloggers I’ve chosen to grow and evolve as a book blogger in a direction I’ve wanted to go in for a while.

Since writing this I have come across two articles for and against “enthusiam” on the site Book Riot. Coincidentally, I mention enthusiasm a lot in this particular post, and I think most people would describe me as either being enthusiastic about books or batshit crazy. I am clearly “pro enthusiasm.” However, I can see where the author is coming from on the other side of the argument as well. I have studied critical theory. I have an undergraduate degree in English Education and attended graduate school for English with a concentration in creative writing. I can wax intellectually on plot structure, narrative voice, and theme among other things. However, that’s not what the space I’ve created here is for. It is for book reviews not critical essays. Some books call for a discussion of the elements I mentioned within the review and other books do not.

Click here to read more about the GR Bullies controversy.

FYI: For the record I have never published a positive review on The Well-Read Wife of a book I didn’t enjoy. When I write for RT Book Reviews I don’t have the luxury to pass on reviewing a book I don’t like. This has been an exercise in courage for me. I typically review one book a month for them if I have time. I cried the first time I had to write a negative review for the magazine. It was really hard to know that my words were going to go in a national print publication and possibly have a negative impact on the author in some way. I take writing for RT Book Reviews very seriously.


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The Well-Read Wife on Blissfully Domestic: Five Footprint Crafts For Kids


Did you know that The Well-Read Wife is a parenting contributor over at Blissfully Domestic? Stop by and check out my latest article. It’s a round up of fun footprint crafts from all over the web that parents can do with their kids.

Footprint crafts are a fun keepsake to make with your kids. Whether your child is months old or nine years old, there are endless possibilities for footprint crafting fun with your kids!

Click here to check out my article over on Blissfully Domestic.


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Book Trailer: My God, What Have We Done? by Susan V. Weiss

My-God-What-Have-We-Done-by-Susan-V-[2]Title: My God, What Have We Done?

Author: Susan V. Weiss

496 pages, Published by Fomite.

Susan’s Information: Website | Goodreads

Buy the Book: Amazon

Take a look at the book trailer for My God, What Have We Done? by Susan V. Weiss!



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