I strive to read a little bit of everything, but of course I have some favorites. I love most things cooking related, both cookbooks and cooking related fiction and non-fiction. My go-to reading choices are often in one of the following categories: historical fiction, mysteries, immersive/creative non-fiction and memoirs. It is impossible to pick my all-time favorite five books, but here are a few that have stuck with me and that I often recommend to others..
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Jake, a Maine high school teacher, learns of a time travel wormhole in local diner that only goes to September 9, 1958 at 11:58 am. No matter how long you stay there, only a few minutes pass in the present. So, you can go as often as you like, but you do age real-time in the past. The owner of the diner asks Jake to carry out the mission he is unable to complete: preventing the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Jake reluctantly agrees to try, and our story takes off from there.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
I would call this a classic mystery in that you have a gruff and tenacious private investigator that is down on his luck teaming up with an unexpected temp worker, Robin Ellacott who quickly becomes his eager Girl Friday and secretly dreams of becoming a detective, too. This book does an excellent job of weaving the histories, current lives, and voices of the two main characters together with the quest to solve the mystery of the model who fell from her balcony.
The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams
This is my favorite type of creative non-fiction – immersive journalism. Williams travels the world interviewing a wide range of people along with experiencing what she is researching. Her goal is to explore the research and findings that a wide variety of scientists and psychologists are doing around the benefits of immersing one’s self in nature. In addition to highlighting the scientific findings in an interesting and approachable way, she also applies what she finds to make some suggestions around how much time we should be spending in natural settings and what constitutes natural settings.
Circe by Madeline Miller
So, I was totally one of those little kids that was obsessed with mythology and fairytales. Upon starting Circe, it all came rushing back! This is an adult tale from the perspective of Circe. If you have heard of her, you probably know her as the witch that turned men into pigs and minor role in The Odyssey. Miller creates a likeable character who grew up as an unloved misfit. As she begins to discover her powers, her father is pressured into banishing her to live alone on an island. It becomes a story of a woman who learns how to love, discovers how to accept herself, be a parent, and live independently. All things anyone of any time should be able to relate to!
Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office by Jen Lancaster
Jen doesn’t know it yet, but she is going to become my best friend one of these days. Jen has written a ton of books, and I have loved them all. This is her first, so I decided to go with it. Although it was painful at the time, getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to Jen. Without happening, this book would have never been written, and she might have gone on be a bored, unhappy corporate drone. She is funny, honest, and awkwardly modest. All her books are filled with stories of the mundane and not so mundane adventures of her life in Chicago with her husband Fletch, animals, and her best friends (one day!).