Wrapping up 2009

I always revel in the week between Christmas and New Year as a time diverge from routine, and welcome the New Year in with a change in what I usually read throughout the year, which are books on Interior Design. One of the ways I make a choices on what I want to read, is to leaf through several books and read the jacket covers or page through the book randomly to see if anything speaks to me. That is how I choose, What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. I had previously read his book, Tipping Point, and then saw him interviewed on a talk show on his third book - Outliers. While paging through his most current book, What the Dog Saw, I was immediately hooked on his article entitled: The Ketchup Conundrum. This book, What the Dog Saw, contains Malcolm Gladwell's favourite pieces that he has written over the last several years for the pages of The New Yorker. "Good writing," Gladwell says in his preface, "does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else's head."  It is a fascinating read.

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Another favourite way to choose a book is to ask people what is their favorite book they have read. Usually they are so enthusiastic in recounting the highlights of the book that it gets me excited to read it. The outcome of my most recent enquiry was - the New York Times Bestseller by Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog. This book is set in Paris, which immediately attracted me, but the real focus of the book is about a woman who is a concierge at a bourgeois building in a posh Parisian neighborhood. She (Renee) has a secret: she is a ferocious autodidact who furtively devours art, philosophy, music, and Japanese culture. Renee hides her true talents and her finest qualities from a world that she suspects cannot or will not appreciate them. It is a story about living out her life in obscurity to hide this fact about herself, and how she reconciles herself to owning her brilliance. 

Last night on Charlie Rose I watched a fascinating interview with the brilliant Orhan Pamuk, a Turkish novelist and winner of 2006 The Nobel Prize in Literature, on his new book: The Museum of Innocence. The story, which takes place in Istanbul between 1975 and today, is about obsessive passion and the great question: What is love, really?, as well as a look into the minds and culture of the Turkish society. I am off to purchase this book tomorrow to wrap up my reading for these last few day left of 2009.

What is your favourite book that you have read lately?
Please leave a comment here, and let me know.

Patricia Gray is an award winning Interior Designer in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada who blogs about "WHAT'S HOT"
in the world of Interior Design: New and Emerging Trends, Contemporary Design, Modern Architecture and Travel,
as well as how your surroundings can enhance the world around you.
© Patricia Gray | Interior Design Blog™ 2009


  1. Patricia, it is always interesting getting into people's minds to see how they think and what they think about. Books, to me, are one way to get to know a person. What they read says a lot about who they are, or who they want to be sometimes.
    Love Pamuk by the way.
    For the past couple of years i have been reading non fiction, Some of my favourites that I now can recall are:

    - Stumbling On Happiness.
    - Outliers.
    - The Towering World Of Jimmy Choo (its a business book by the way and a must for designers that are trying to build a successful company)
    - Mavericks at work

    For fiction I highly recommend Ahdaf Soueif, an Egyptian Novelist

  2. The Yellow Room by Gaston Leroux.

  3. Patricia,

    I'm reading The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell. Great read.

    I'm also getting familiar with my iPhone and apps for efficiency as a designer and blogger. An app called 2Do: A great to do list with tabs etc. keeps everything in one great place on your iPhone.



  4. I just finished "Smart Girls Like Me", which was an entertaining, quick read. I also recommend "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan -- one of the best books I read this year!

  5. Anonymous30/12/09

    I, too, enjoyed The Elegance of the Hedgehog, but confess to not having read either of the others, though have read Snow byParmuk. I would recommend anything by Colm Toibin.
    Read on!

  6. Patricia, I love this post! I gave my husband "What the dog saw" for Christmas so we could both read it! Also, I read the quote about writing to him and several friends. Thanks for the other recommendations too! Have a happy and healthy new year !

  7. Inez Braz30/12/09

    I just finished reading "What the Dog Saw". It's a fascinating read; but then I love anything written by Malcolm Gladwell.

    Another book I just read that I could not put down, was "The Glass Castle", a memoir by Jeannette Walls. I cannot get that book out of my head, it made such an impression on me.

  8. Love Orhan Pamuk.
    Will brave the snow conditions and run to Borders to get Elegance of the Hedgehog.
    tend to gravitate towartds contemporary american fiction and just finished Sarah Conley by Ellen Gilchrist.
    Looking forward to seeing you in 2010.
    Happy New Year,
    ps will be thinking of you as i will be glued to my TV watching the Olympics...

  9. Not a reader at all, how I got through design school @ 40 is still a mystery...(must admit I used a tape recorder often in my classes)
    Everyword is upside down and backwards to me, so hard to get into a book when you are Dyslexic, so I do my best to enjoy reading cook books and design books...and I have many of both...Fav now is Dwellings, Living with great style and a few Julia Child cookbooks.
    Happy New Year to you, hope 2010 gives you everything your heart desires...and more clients than you can handle ;)
    Regards, Carol Ann x

  10. Olive Kettering, and Loving Frank (Lloyd Wright) both are very good! Happy New Years!

  11. Sophia van Woensel1/1/10

    I loved Elegance of the Hedgehog. It took me a while to get inot it, but then I was hooked. It's been made into a movie, which doesn't do it justice. I've just finished Stunt Road by Indie Author Greg Mose. Fantastic! Makes you question a lot of things that we just accept as true. And jsut a great read with lots of himour. Happy New year!


  12. Anonymous1/1/10

    My most recent, favorite book is A Thousand Splendid Suns. The book is both heartbreaking and inspirational, and an insight into the lives of women in a country where they are treated as second class citizens. Another excellent book is Three Cups of Tea.

  13. Hi Anon
    I read the book A Thousand Splendid Suns last year. It is a great read to understand the Muslim mentality towards women, and to understand how the Muslim women are trapped in this mind set.

  14. Hi Qerat
    I have read both Stumbling On Happiness & Outlier - both excellent reads. I will check out:The Towering World Of Jimmy Choo & Ahdaf Soueif. Which book of Ahdaf Soueif do you recommend.

  15. the Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    incredibly moving and hard to put down

  16. The Help - loved it. Also, I second The Book Thief.
    I am waiting (not so patiently) for Elegance of the Hedgehog to come out in the Kindle edition!

  17. Anonymous12/1/10

    I can't wait to read the raved about Elegance of the Hedgehog. With a little one at home, it has gotten much harder for me to travel, so I have immersed myself in travelogues, such as Catfish and Mandala, Three Cups of Tea. But my hands down first choice is Colin Thubron's Shadow of the Silk Road. For fiction: Olive Kitteredge and Zorba the Greek. Enjoy!

  18. Smart blog.thanks to share this blog with us.



Patricia Gray | Interior Design Blog™

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