I acquired and started several books last year, but I only completed reading two: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (I blogged about it here) and The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Let's just say the only reason I got through the latter was because Rufus Sewell was on the front cover. You know I love him (and his lazy eye). I also would like to disclose that I watched the Starz miniseries upon completing the novel, and welp, I'm not sure how so much went wrong with such a brilliant cast.
The obvious solution to getting myself out of my reading slump was to start a two-person virtual book club with my Twitter nail friend Danielle. I have great difficulty focusing on tasks and doing anything substantial for personal benefit, and have found that any opportunity that provides me with a support system has always worked out well.
We began planning this before and after Christmas. Danielle has been working through Modern Library's 100 Best Novels; I've been laboring my way through TIME Magazine's All-TIME 100 Novels on and off since 2004-2005. She kindly offered to combine both our lists so we could find unread works that we could read together. And since she loves polish as much as I do, she also thought it would be fun if we both did a manicure corresponding to each book, so that's what I'm blogging today.
Our January book (my pick!) was Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth. And yes, I DID finish it ... in the wee hours of January 31st.
Two days after beginning the novel, I knew Gilded Lily was the perfect The House of Mirth polish, the main reason being that the main character is named Lily Bart. Secondly, Edith Wharton is considered one of the foremost novelists of the Gilded Age. Wharton herself was part of the high society she wrote of in her novels. She was born Edith Jones in 1862; the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses" is often said to refer to her family.
To "gild the lily" is to attempt to improve or embellish something that is already beautiful. Could this apply to Lily Bart? I say yes because there are aspects of her personality and philosophy that could use betterment, but physically, no; there's a very particular scene in which a couple of characters reflect on the impossibility of such a thing. I'll talk briefly about Lily Bart later, but first, pictures!
Four coats with SV. Please pardon my cuticles. The weather has not been kind -- we went from snow and freezing temps to sunny and warm in four days. I need a dermatologist.
WELL. HELLO, LUVAH. LOOK AT THAT GOLD.
If you missed out on OPI Goldeneye but have SH Gilded Lily, you're going to be glad you saved $8.50 ... or you'll be sad that you don't have an extra bottle of a fabulous gold. Gilded Lily and Goldeneye often get compared to each other, and although the consensus is that they're close enough that you don't need both, I needed both. After nearly missing OPI Dazzled by Gold a few years ago, I promised myself I would jump on ALL THE GOLDS.
Admittedly, Gilded Lily is a bit sheer, but it builds up nicely. You'll need at least three coats to get the right color depth -- I opted for four, and I think it looks amazing. I wore this polish for SIX DAYS, and if I didn't have a top coat experiment to run for Anna, I would have been quite happy to wear this for another six days. It dried super fast with SV; while it appears that I had shrinkage at the tip of the nail, I'm pretty sure that was the result of the polish's sheer base. Removal was no problem, either. Any gold particles that clung to my hands were scrubbed off, no big deal.
This polish was part of designer Prabal Gurung's limited edition collaboration with Sally Hansen last fall. I bought this bottle at Target on a whim in either late September or early October ... I can't remember when exactly, but I am so glad I did!
I'm a nerd and still can't get over how perfect this polish is for this book and for Lily Bart. Her greatest weakness and her downfall from upper class New York society is a result of her fondness for luxury and her inability to live without it. She is often praised for her beauty, but she is twenty-nine as the novel begins, and although she has turned down several suitors, she worries that her looks are fading along with her chances for marriage to a wealthy man. When one character notes that Lily has a tendency to behave the way people expect her to, another replies that they then must expect and bring out the best in her.
All in all, a wonderful read. I often overlook American authors because if I read something about the ascent to or descent from high society, it's usually from an English author (high school reading requirements/habits die hard). The House of Mirth was my introduction to Edith Wharton's writing, and I can't wait to actually read The Age of Innocence. --Yes, I watched that movie every time it was on TV, but reading is another thing entirely.
Speaking of movies, a lot of things in the 2000 film adaptation of The House of Mirth could have been better. Physically, Gillian Anderson was perfect, but she's better at doing the more tortured, brooding type of thing -- if only she'd shown some of the vivaciousness she later brought to "A Cock & Bull Story"!
If you're saying, "Shut up, Rachel, you're being a critic and it's not adorable," then you're right. So here's a picture of Queen Gillian as Lily Bart instead.
What is your opinion of book clubs? Have you read The House of Mirth or any Edith Wharton? If so, was Gilded Lily was a good manicure choice? Did you pick up this polish last year, or any other of the Prabal Gurung/SH ones? And re: Prabal Gurung, did you buy anything from his Target collection? I'm going to check it out shortly, but I'm allergic to a lot of the materials and I'm currently in a small town so I'm not expecting a miracle. Lily Bart would probably scoff at the idea of designers doing affordable Target collections, don't you think?