New in books—to my collection at least, as both books featured in this post were published in 2014. This post was supposed to have gone up way back in mid-February but I underestimated my busy-ness, and now we are here. Speaking of reading, I’ve practically caught up with my book goal for this year and read a lot of books this month, having finished a grand total of 0 books in January. I mostly hate-read through Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty series, but more on that later.
The WORN Archive : edited by Serah-Marie McMahon*
The WORN Archive is a collection of essays from WORN, a Canadian magazine formed in 2005 as a response to Fashion with a capital ‘F.’ Described right on the cover as “a fashion journal about the art, ideas, and history of what we wear,” The WORN Archive provides insight and context into fashion, but more on the cultivation of personal style and our relationship with what we wear.
I was hooked from the foreword (written by Jane Pratt) and the opening essay by founder Serah-Marie who started WORN as an alternative to typical fashion glossies that cared about selling and in/out trends, instead of actual personal style. I’m a little disappointed that it is only through The WORN Archive that I even heard about WORN, because it sounds amazing—just the kind of magazine about clothes and representation that I would have appreciated when I was in denial about caring about what I looked like.
There’s a certain understanding about fashion and clothes present in WORN that I think fits perfectly with my own personal relationship with fashion and clothes. I’m no fashion expert, but I do care about what I look like, to some degree. Serah-Marie mentions in her essay the shame attached to fashion magazines, recounting her experience with a co-worker learning that she wanted to start a fashion magazine, and she thought that it didn’t have to be this way. And then she did something about it.
The WORN Archive gets into a lot of topics, and groups the narratives and essays under big umbrellas from “Fashion is Personal” to “Fashion is Object” to “Fashion is History” to “Fashion is Identity” and so on. I love how it goes into all these different tangents and explores so many aspects of fashion, sprinkling some humor and earnestness in between.
I think my favorite part about it is that it is just so honest. I don’t feel like I’m being sold an idea or a look or a style. It’s so interesting to see so many different perspectives about what we wear, and I feel like the essays go so far beyond “fashion,” even though that’s the string that holds everything together.
The book design is also very friendly and visual, guided by art director Alexandra Niit, which aids in the page-turning quality of The WORN Archive. I really wish I had learned about this magazine in 2005, right before I graduated from high school, so that I didn’t go to college with no clue as to what my personal style was. (Here’s a hint: it was tragic.)
If you’re someone who has always been interested in fashion, but not in the capital F way, then this is definitely a beautiful addition to your personal library.
The World of PostSecret : Frank Warren*
I don’t know about you, but ever since I could remember, PostSecret was a (an?) ubiquitous presence in the Internet world. Every Sunday, I would log on to PostSecret and read every single secret for years. Somehow, I’ve grown out of that habit, but holding a copy of Frank Warren’s latest book, The World of PostSecret, led me back to the blog.
If you’re not familiar, PostSecret was started in 2004 by Frank Warren who encouraged strangers to send him postcards anonymously, filled in with secrets he would later post online. If you want to know more about this story, here’s a TED Talk by Frank Warren called “Half a million secrets”—
In his introduction, Warren shares that this may be the last PostSecret book, and that he wants to work on giving more back to the community he has started—and to possibly hand over PostSecret to another person, like a modern-day Willy Wonka. While The World of PostSecret has your standard collection of secrets like the other books, this one shares a little bit more about the story of PostSecret itself, the ins and outs and the behind-the-scenes.
It’s quite a nice book, partnered with a new app called PostSecret Universe, which launched just a few days ago. The original PostSecret app was shut down shortly after it was launched in 2011, but not without connecting thousands of strangers all over the world.
Although exorcising your demons anonymously through postcards to a stranger feels a bit like an indulgent exercise, reading through The World of PostSecret, at turns, feels like going under an enormous tidal wave of release and connection. For 10 years, PostSecret has done precisely that: it made people feel less alone through what we believed made us different.
I’m giving away a copy of The World of PostSecret by Frank Warren to one lucky reader. (Note: If you win, you must be able to pick up the copy of the book from Fully Booked BGC.) Just join the Rafflecopter Giveaway below:
* Both books were provided by Fully Booked for review. A copy of “The World of PostSecret” was provided for this blog giveaway.
The World of PostSecret by Frank Warren and The Worn Archive edited by Serah-Marie McMahon are available in Fully Booked.