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Recommended Read: Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

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It’s hard for me not to hate novelist Sally Rooney a little bit out of sheer jealously.  Not only is she super young (she’s a mere 26) AND a published author, but her first novel is excellent and well received.  However, I absolutely adored Conversations with Friends, and the flawed but sympathetic characters inside make Rooney seem like someone who’d be fun to hang out with (even if she’s annoyingly accomplished). 

Back to School Books: Campus Reads

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My favorite thing about the start of the school year was always shopping for new school supplies (and, of course, new fall outfits).  My least favorite part was actually having to go back to school; gone were the mornings of sleeping late and days of doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to—why can’t it be summer all year?!  Even though it’s been nearly 10 years since I’ve been a student anywhere, it’s still fun to celebrate the start of the school year (heck, it’s even better when you’re not  a student, because you don’t have to go to school!).  Below are several titles set on school

Dark Beach Reads

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Oh sure, you could read about beach houses, dog detectives, and middle aged women getting a new lease on life while you’re enjoying the hot August sun.  But what’s the fun in that?  You already know how those books end-- the dog solves the crime, the middle age woman finds a new love at the beach house (the hunky repairman, let’s say).  Instead, take a trip to the dark side this summer and check out one of these recommended reads below.  They are still fun and fast reads, but just a touch more sinister!    

Heather's Essential Music

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My Essential Music’ is a new feature on the FRVPLD blog, continuing our prior exploration of staff favorites, 'My Essential Books.' We'll talk up our favorite music in the hope that you may give these artists a chance, or at least appreciate our passion for the music that has made us who we are.

Photo by spDuchamp, flickr user.

Only the Lonely: Loner Women in Novels

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When I was compiling my list of essential reads, I realized that I’m drawn to books with awkward, loner heroines.  Not surprising, given I spend most of my free time with my nose in a book and I am usually found hiding in the bathroom at parties.  Thankfully, there have been slew of great books featuring lonesome ladies that I’ve read lately (instead of, you know, actually having to talk to a person).  Below are three of my favorites: 

Heather's Essential Books

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‘My Essential Books’ is a new feature on the FRVPLD blog, where we talk up our favorite books in the hope that you may give them a chance, or at least appreciate our passion for the titles that have made us who we are.

Photo by Les Chatfield, flickr user.  

Album Obsession: Tourist in this Town by Allison Crutchfield

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As a huge fan of pop music on the depressive end of the spectrum, nothing quite piques my interest like the words “break up album.”  This year already seems like a stellar year for the genre, featuring promising entries from the likes of Ryan Adams and the Dirty Projectors.  Allison Crutchfield solo debut,

Bad Romance: Valentine’s Day Reading List for the Romantic Cynic

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Love in the air, couples fawning over each other, gooey love notes, Nicholas Sparks’ movies:  Valentine’s Day grosses me out.  I’m all for love and romance, as long as you keep it to yourself.  Even though I’m extreme in my squeamishness for a day devoted to public displays of affection (yuck!), I’m certainly not the only person who dreads Valentine’s Day.  Whether coupled or single, the day is kind of a pressure cooker of romantic expectations and disappointment. 

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