One of my tips from 2018 (and 2019) is that I generally listen to non-fiction on audio (in the car, on the subway, while cleaning up around the house, etc.) and then I read fiction in print (usually when I wake up in the morning with a cup of coffee in bed or as I wind down to head to sleep and try to ignore the allure of my phone.)
UPDATE/EDIT: While I started out reading a lot early in the year, this quarantine has made me feel like I'm in a bit of a reading quagmire. It's like my brain is running too fast and can't quiet down and read. I may start some blog posts to share recipes and podcasts because I seem to be doing more of those.
Need a great read to wrap your mind around how this quarantine is making us all feel? Get The Upside to Being Down by Jen Gotch. Full disclosure: Jen's a long-time friend of mine from college and I think the world of her, even before she wrote a New York Times best selling book. This is the life story of Jen coming to understand her own mental health - and her approach to managing it. And it's just a joyful ride (coupled with some heartbreaking moments, but how the hell does she keep making us smile as she tells these stories.) Definitely stick around for the 1-10 scale at the end. It's how I monitor how I'm feeling and whether I need to take any actions (fresh air, go for a run? drink some water?) to improve. Highly recommend this read.
|Laying outside on a sunny spring day is kind of the best reading time for quarantine-life... well, if I can't be at the beach.|
My first favorite of the year was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Tara Jenkins Reid. She authored Daisy Jones and The Six, my favorite book of 2019 and for whatever reason, I just kept putting this one off. Well, I finally got it from the library and started flipping the pages. I got so into it that I downloaded it on audio so that I could keep going while I went on walks and worked at my laptop. Don't let anyone tell you the plot. It pays to not know what's coming.
|The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid|
Complete List of Books Read in 2020
- My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams: I remember being gobsmacked when I read about this story in the actual news, so I loved digging in deeper. I listened on audio because I wanted to hear the author who actually lived it tell it in her voice. Still can't believe this happened on so many different levels. But here we are, 2020.
- Natural Wine for the People by Alice Feiring: I've been studying wine for the past couple of years and between restaurants like Reveler's Hour, wine stores like Cru Cellars (in Tampa) and Domestique (in DC) and Marissa Ross' book last year, I've been super interested in learning more about natural wines. The skinny: there's no real definition. But, reading this book helped me learn more about terms, types, what to look for when buying or tasting. And opened my eyes to some things that I don't love about previous faves (looking at you mass-produced-and-colored-by-chemicals-rosé.) I still need to connect with Julia Coney to talk about the flip side to this natural movement and what I need to know to learn more.
- The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates: Another book everyone (especially my friend Jamie) recommended and told me that I would love, but for whatever reason, I just kept putting it off. Maybe I thought, why do I want to hear from Bill Gates wife? Maybe I just thought it would be more Lean In porn. But, damn, this one got me. I was crying in the first chapter. Highly recommend the audio version where you can hear in her voice the impact of these people she meets along the way to finding her passion for changing the world.
- The Clasp by Sloane Crosley: Shannon Sheridan evangelized that I needed to read this one and she was right. Such a fun caper involving an aging band of college friends spanning Florida, New York City, Los Angeles and Paris. Great to read when you need a break from the heavy news.
- The Beautiful No by Sheri Salata: I had followed Sheri for years as she helped Oprah build her TV empire. She was goals. But, I read this book at the direction of my friend Christiana. She thought I would identify and holy hell, yes, I did. This is for those of us who spent our 20s and 30s building radically up at an insane pace, and ignoring a lot of other stuff. Sheri may have written this aimed at 40-50 year old peers, but I think it should be required reading at 30. Learn how to say no remains a great goal.
- More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth: I've followed Elaine for years on social media and have been inspired by her trajectory as she lead Teen Vogue through the tumult of the publishing (and political) years of late. This was a good personal take about what was happening to her leading up to and through that point. A good reminder that social media shows you the gloss, the glory, but not always the guts of what's happening. Inspired to continue to watch her lead ahead.
- She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey: I knew this would be a gut wrenching read, but I felt like it was important to bear witness. I listened to them tell the behind-the-scenes of them breaking open the #MeToo stories across so many industries (and a reminder that we have only scracthed the surface) just as the Weinstein trial began. It's really worth a read on many levels, but mostly because this is so formulaic. Once you see it, you can't un-see it.
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Tara Jenkins Reid: I know, I said it all up there. But, definitely read this one. Don't ask why or what it's about. Just read.
- Burn The Place by Iliana Regan: I love me a good chef's memoir, but they are mostly written by men (aside from Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton, which is a great read.) This one is as much a tale of growing up on a farm in the Midwest, surrounded by sisters and lots of alcohol. Trying to figure out who you are and your place in the world - if you even have one. And finally the hard work of getting sober, figuring out relationships and love -- and yep, scoring your first Michelin star. Elizabeth, Kitsune and Milkweed Inn are now on my bucket list to eat at.
- Cool Beans by Joe Yonan: Joe's a friend of mine and the Food Editor for The Washington Post. In Cool Beans, he goes *deep* on cooking with beans - and the results are delicious. I'm still working my way through this one, but he's given me a ton of inspiration - and just in time to use up beans during quarantine.
- The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History of the Old South by Michael Twitty: This book felt immediately important. Just wraps around everything you grew up with and opens your eyes to reality. The author's love of food, the South and understanding the cultures that brought us what we eat today is just a dark and gorgeous piece of work.
- Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren: I have loved every fun romance that I've read by writing duo, Christina Lauren, and this was no exception. Fierce young love. A betrayal. And then a second chance. Will it all work out? It's a fun read finding out.
- Anna K by Jenny Lee: I got this one as a Book of the Month club selection - mostly because I love love Anna Karenina and thought this YA adaptation would be fun. I enjoyed it, but it got kind of slow... maybe because I generally knew what the arc would be already and that took some of the punch out of it.
- Untamed by Glennon Doyle: Glennon and her wife, Abby Wombach, are my favorite couple on Instagram. I mean, real-real relationship goals. Reading Untamed gave me a peek at how they came together, changed and challenged Glennon's life, and ultimately emerged more themselves. It's a call to arms for women to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks and learn more about who you are and what kind of life you want for yourself. Scary stuff, some days, but also super important to think about.
- The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis-Graves: I discovered this one in a GoodReads, best of romance recommendations and put it in my library queue right before quarantine. I finally got around to reading it and whew, what a ride and ending. Definitely worth a read! And, no spoilers. Don't even ask anyone what happens.
- The Upside of Being Down by Jen Gotch: Is it weird to say that a book about mental health and how to manage it is fun? Because this one is. Jen's a friend of mine, so it totally makes sense that this is both her life story and her mission. So much fun to watch it become a New York Times best seller!
I've got an enormous stack of to-reads from my local library, the Book of the Month Club subscription my friend Raashee gave me, and bookstore splurges. Follow my reads on Instagram and help me pick my next one by sharing your favorites (and what to avoid!)