The lovely folks at Harper Collins Publishers sent me a copy of A Year In High Heels: The Girl's Guide to Everything from Jane Austen to the A-List, by Camilla Morton to review and share avec vous.
Now, une femme's days of referring to herself as a "girl" are long since past, however I figure that it's never too late to learn something new. "Très cool," I thought, believing I'd sit down and light a fire in the fireplace and read it through cover to cover. But I realized quickly, it's not that kind of book. Arranged chronologically by date to encompass an entire year, the book blends historical tidbits, juicy mini-biographies of famous women (and some men), travel notes from designers (including Manolo Blahnik, bien sur) and fashion insiders, interesting bits of trivia, plus how-to advice on topics ranging from how to podcast, to how to avoid becoming seasick, to how to learn to love opera, to how to write a letter, to how to start a business, to how to moonwalk like Michael Jackson. This is a book you pick up and read a snippet or two, and can always expect to learn something and be amused in the process. For example, did you know that the word "yacht" comes from the Dutch word "jacht" meaning to throw up violently? (Whether this is actually true or not, wouldn't it be fun to drop that little tidbit at your next cocktail party?)
Targeting a younger, fashion- and culture-conscious woman, the writing style is like a fancy cocktail: frothy but with a bit of kick. I enjoyed the (small c) cosmopolitan Sex-and-the-City-ish humor, though I found a few instances where Ms. Morton plays a little fast and loose with facts for the sake of a good punch line. Some of the advice is practical, some a bit fantastical, and those looking for a serious how-to tome may be disappointed. Otherwise, welcome the era of the competent, Renaissance girly-girl, who in addition to managing a career can mix a Mohito, wear a Manolo, and name the characters from The Marriage of Figaro; it is for her this book was written.