Some Good Reads {Winter 2013}

Hello fellow book lovers! Today I’m sharing my third list of book recommendations; you can find my fall list here and summer reads here.   Memoirs and true stories have been captivating me lately, some heavier than others which you’ll see reflected first in my list below.  I think it’s the winter weather that makes me want to curl up with something a little darker and deeper.  What’s on your bedside table these days?

  1. Did you like ‘The Place Beyond the Pines?’ That’s the movie where Ryan Gosling plays a bank robber and I recommend it if you haven’t seen it already.  If you liked it you’ll be into Law Man by Shon Hopwood.  It is the redemptive true story of a young man who becomes a bank robber, serves time in prison and (spoiler alert) goes on to be a celebrated jailhouse lawyer.
  2. Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets, One Helping Hand at a Time is also a true story of a young woman’s redemption after a rough life on the streets that will change the way you think about prostitution and sex trafficking in America.
  3. Yes Chef  is also a memoir and was called “one of the great culinary stories of our time” by The NYT.  Samuelsson’s life story begins in Ethiopia, where at 2, his mother dies from tuberculosis.   Orphaned, he ends up on an airplane with his sister a year later, on his way to live with a family in Goteborg, Sweden. I don’t want to spoil the book too much but lets just say he goes on to work in Manhattan and becomes the youngest chef to receive a three-star rating from The New York Times.
  4. Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery is about the true-life search for a serial killer still at large on Long Island.  If you like true crime shows or mystery novels you might like this.
  5. Curious about Scientology? I was and I couldn’t put this book down: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. It’s based on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists—both famous (yes, Tom Cruise and John Travolta feature prominently) and less well known—and years of archival research, to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.
  6. Mud Season by Ellen Stimson is the true story of a family’s transition from city life in St. Louis to life in a Vermont farmhouse.  Stimson is funny and self-depracating and her story is a good reminder that life in the country isn’t all fresh eggs and starry skies.
  7. This month we added a four-legged baby to our family so I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can about puppy training.  My Aunt Perry sent us this great book, The Other End of the Leash.  It is a comprehensive review of dog behavior and how to raise the best dog for your lifestyle.  I’m sure Red will be the perfect pup in no time 😉
  8. I kept seeing Beautiful Ruins on book lists everywhere in the last few months so I gave it a try and I’m glad I did.  It tells the story of an almost-love story that begins in the Amalfi coast in the early 1960’s and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.  If you read this you’ll definitely want to watch a few The Blonde at the Film reviewed classics.
  9. Joe gets credit for finding The Great Sea , a massive book of human history set on the Mediterranean Sea.   It’s an “epic story of trade and conflict, showing how differences in language, religion, law, and other human flashpoints sparked so much of what we think of today simply as culture.”
  10. The Art of Simple Food is a lovely cookbook that focuses on simple, flavorful recipes with a focus on locally produced, seasonal foods.  I’d recommend it to beginning cooks because Waters details how to effectively stock your kitchen and master the fundamentals.
  11. The School of Essential Ingredients  is a delicious story of a chef and the intersecting lives of her students at cooking school.  You’ll enjoy this one if you like elaborate, lovely descriptions of food and cooking.
  12. USA Today called The Cookbook Collector “a modern day Jane Austen” and it is the last on my list because it is next-to-be-read on my bedside table.  While I’m not a huge fan of Austen and modern renditions of Austen, this book gets great reviews and I like that’s about a pair of sisters in their 20’s.

Happy Reading!