I share book recommendations weekly in my newsletter, but here they are grouped together, in case you missed one or want to see them all in one place! If you read any from this list, I’d read Save Me the Plums or Calypso. For my last roundup of recs, see here, and to get weekly book and article recs in your inbox, subscribe to my newsletter.
Save Me the Plums: 4/5
I had never heard of Ruth Reichl before this, but after seeing her memoir on numerous book club lists and friends' Goodreads feeds, I decided to give it a shot, and I loved it! It reads as part Devil Wears Prada and part Gossip Girl, as Reichl finds herself as Editor-in-Chief at Gourmet magazine, making 6x her previous salary with a clothing allowance and a personal driver to boot. She parties with "a young Tony Bordain" and cooks heaps of chili for firefighters at Ground Zero, speaking to a very specific moment in time while maintaining a timeless sense of relatability and humor. This one's a highly recommended summer read with a flurry of delightful recipes scattered throughout!
Pair With: A cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a beach chair.
For When: You’re looking for a bit of Cinderella-story-esque career inspo and/or new recipes.
A darkly funny story by Nora Ephron about divorce, affairs, and growing through both, plus the audio version is narrated by Meryl Streep.
Pair With: Spaghetti bolognese.
For When: You just want to read some clever writing.
Very Nice: 3.5/5
A college student sleeps with her professor, he then sleeps with her mom, she sleeps with the brother of a kid who tried to shoot her mom, who then gives the girl a gun….well, you can see how I zoomed through this one in about three days.
Pair With: A backyard pool and a big, floppy hat
For When: You’re on vacation (or looking for that vaca mindset)
For fans of Sally Rooney, this novel navigates the complexities of female friendships, romantic relationships, and balancing the two as we accept or reject societal pressures to glorify one over the other. I am very into Unsworth’s writing, but I found the characters to be pretty insufferable with no one to root for.
Pair With: I mean, shots of vodka if you want to join in on the characters’ fun, or a nice cup of tea if you’d rather be a smug voyeur ;).
For When: You’re going through a breakup and/or you want to remember how far you’ve come since your college days.
In this easy, fun read, the author chronicles the happy accident of landing a job as a White House stenographer during the Obama administration. It reads partially like a gossip column as she rides Air Force One with POTUS and Pete Souza, even having an affair with a senior aide; and part political diary: the places, events, and tragedies that occurred as Obama’s first term entered his second. The writing was a bit much for me—forced jokes in every sentence—and the author comes off a bit too much like a “chill girl!” with endless references to how fun and easygoing she is, oh, and how everyone’s always telling her what a great writer she is. So, annoying, but not so much so that I didn’t speed through it.
Pair With: A run. I think this would be an easy one to listen to via Audible on a nice long walk or jog.
For When: You’re feeling nostalgic for 2008.
American Spy: 2.5/5
Mehhh, I just don’t feel like you need to read this one. Spy novel, cool in that its main character is a Black woman, but I’m honestly struggling to remember anything further.
For When: You really, really love spy novels but feel like you’ve read them all.
One of my general life recommendations is just to read anything David Sedaris writes. As always, this is dark, inappropriate, and completely laugh out loud funny. His books are the only ones I can consistently listen to via audiobook.
Pair With: Pretty much anything.
For When: You need a good laugh.
Loved the story—set in England in the 12th century—as it was transportive and I always enjoy some good ol’ historical fiction, but the writing was really, really bad. It’s also over 800 pages, so it takes some dedication. I feel like this is one everyone has read, so I wanted to knock it off my classics list. Glad I did, but I won’t be revisiting it anytime soon.
Pair With: A long airplane ride.
For When: You want to feel accomplished by knocking out a huge page count without requiring your brain to work too hard.
What’s the best book you’ve read lately? I’m heading to Bali next month and am so looking forward to getting through several books…I’d love your best beach read recs!