The Blurb

*Winner of the 2014 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Business Book*

In the space of ten years, Sophia Amoruso has gone from high-school dropout to founder and Executive Chairman of Nasty Gal, one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world.

Sophia’s never been a typical executive, or a typical anything, and she’s written #GIRLBOSS for other girls like her: outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success.

Filled with brazen wake-up calls, cunning and frank observations, and behind-the-scenes stories from Nasty Gal’s meteoric rise, #GIRLBOSS covers a lot of ground. It proves that success doesn’t come from where you went to college or how popular you were in school. Success is about trusting your instincts and following your gut, knowing which rules to follow and which to break.

Inspiring, motivating and empowering, #GIRLBOSS will give you the kick up the ass you need to reach your potential.

The Review

Sophia Amaruso is (among a plethora of other titles) the founder of Nasty Gal Vintage; a multimillion dollar company that started out as a little boutique on eBay. In #GIRLBOSS, Amoruso reveals how she managed her meteoric rise in the business world.

If you are looking for a paint-by-numbers, step-by-step guide to business success then you are looking in the wrong place. If, however, you are looking to read in inspirational story of hard work and reaping the benefits of that labour then maybe, just maybe, #GIRLBOSS is the book for you.

Following her natural instincts, Amoruso took her love of vintage fashion and took it right to the bank but she didn’t do this with a business degree or knowledge of the fashion world. No, Amoruso did it by following what she felt was right and with a (some would say) foolhardy determination. Along the way she learnt the ropes, knew what would sell, how to sell it, putting the customer first and also the power of social media Amoruso’s natural business acumen oozes off each and every page. You don’t think it is a coincidence that the title has a hash tag in it, do you?

One thing is for sure is that Sophia Amoruso is an inspiration. I hadn’t even finished it and I started believing that I could reach my goals and that I hadn’t fully realised my potential yet. Amoruso may not have set out to become the poster child for success but she has garnered that role through her perseverance and uncanny ability to understand the fashion market.

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso is available now.

*Many thanks to Annie Hollands from @penguinrandomhouse for sending me a copy of #GIRLBOSS to review.

The Blurb

Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in the vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999 – and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.

There is a reason why Stephen King is one of the bestselling writers in the world, ever. Described in the Guardian as ‘the most remarkable storyteller in modern American literature’, Stephen King writes books that draw you in and are impossible to put down.

The Review

I have wanted to read On Writing for a long time but the thought of picking it up terrified me. Not because Stephen King is a master of the horror genre; he undoubtedly is. It was actually the fear of what came next that made me scared to read it. As a wannabe fiction author I read a lot of books about how to write and a lot of them give practical advice – do this, don’t do that etc. However, what I found when reading On Writing was more than tick boxes of what I should do; I found inspiration. I managed to plot the novel that I would like to write from beginning to end and since then I have been feeling like I have reached a creative boom. Now, I am not completely giving Stephen King credit for this, it was my idea after all, but I cannot denounce his efforts.

I didn’t really know what to expect with On Writing. I didn’t read the subheading about it being a memoir and if I had I guess what I read wouldn’t have come as much of a shock. It is a fascinating read. If it was a fictional story it is about a man who perseveres until he gets to fulfil his dream of being a writer and that is always going to be inspiring. King’s wit, wisdom and experience drip off the pages and you feel compelled to keep reading. This is by far the best (and ok, the only) writing manual/memoir that I have ever read.

Whilst the advice about writing wasn’t the typical or formulaic type that you would find in other manuals it did serve (for me anyway) as a starting off point – I probably wont remember the exact point ten books from now – in the moment, I found it to be rather useful.

It has to be said that the postscript was the best part of the book. King describes an experience of being knocked over by a bad driver with unmerciful detail that you feel like you have been knocked over yourself. His description of the event was phenomenal. Based on that reason alone, I highly recommend On Writing to anyone and everyone. There is a reason why Stephen King is a bestselling author.

On Writing by Stephen King is available now.

On Writing

1996. Back in New York having studied in England, Joanna Rakoff lands into the real world with a bump. She takes a job in a publishing agency performing menial tasks for her outdated boss, whose sole client is JD Salinger. Unfamiliar with his work, Rakoff fails to see the importance of Jerry (how JD Salinger is referred to throughout the memoir) or the impact that any of his writing as had on his followers.

And having not published anything recently, JD Salinger’s stories seems as archaic as the office in which Joanna works. She has to copy dictation by an old typewriter as computers are strictly forbidden. Her office is like a museum, steeped in the history of the publishing world and not as fast paced or as modern as it should be. That is until Salinger decides that it is time to publish another piece of writing and things slowly start to change.

Rakoff’s year of working in the agency is chronicled in My Salinger Year. Rakoff explains her time there with heart warming candour and sentimentality. Her relationships with the people around her – her parents, her boss, her colleagues, her boyfriend and indeed, the man himself JD Salinger – all shape and define her during this period. Throughout her story you cannot help but see parallels between Rakoff and some of Salinger’s characters, for me this was mainly due to the theme of growing up which is ever present. Rakoff is likeable and so easy to relate to, especially if you yourself are in that transition period of becoming a fully fledged adult.

I loved this book. Really loved it but what I felt more of was the desire to know the author. A strange similarity (that even I have to acknowledge) to some of the Salinger fans that Rakoff found herself writing to. I wanted to ask her questions about her experiences; to know what part of the book she would choose to do a reading of; to hear more of her anecdotes from this time in her life.  I loved My Salinger Year for the intimacy that Rakoff created between herself and me, the reader. However, I will point out to all who read it or who are contemplating reading it that this book is dangerous. You will start it and lose hours of your life because it is difficult to put down. Don’t say that you haven’t been warned.

My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff is available now.

My Salinger Year Cover