Some Good Reads {Spring 2014}

It is finally feeling like spring outside so today I’m finally sharing my spring reading list.  The usual suspects of cookbooks, books about food, biographies and mysteries are represented as well as my newfound unrelated interests in pregnancy and football.  What’s on your nightstand these days? If our reading tastes are aligned and you want more book recommendations you can find my fall 2013 list here, summer 2013 reads here and winter books here – happy reading!

  1. John Grisham’s latest, Sycamore Row, revisits the courthouse from A Time to Kill and is centered around a handwritten will that leaves a fortune to an unlikely and unsuspecting recipient.  It’s a quick read and classic Grisham.
  2. If you liked the hugely popular novel Gone Girl, check out The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison.  It’s dark and creepy with plenty of twists to keep you hooked.
  3. Investigative journalists, Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian take on college football in The System.  I really enjoyed this in-depth look into the world of college football from the “hostesses” willing to do whatever it takes to land a top recruit to the seven-figure black box recruiting slush funds.
  4. I’m a fan of comedic memoirs from the likes of Chelsea Handler to Kathy Griffin so I was anxious to read Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) and it did not disappoint. It’s part memoir, part self-help with a dose of inside-Hollywood commentary that’s as funny as you’d expect from the star of The Mindy Project.
  5. I always have a few cookbooks on my reading list and this spring is no exception.  My Aunt Perry introduced me to the briney Pickles and Preserves, a cookbook from a Chapel Hill author who has mastered the arts of pickling and preserving everything from yellow squash to peaches.  Pickled okra, muscadine jam or habanero gold pepper jelly anyone?!
  6. Love Illuminated: Exploring Life’s Most Mystifying Subject (with the Help of 50,000 Strangers) is from the the editor of the New York Times’ popular “Modern Love” column and tackles ten aspects of love: pursuit, destiny, vulnerability, connection, trust, practicality, monotony, infidelity, loyalty, and wisdom. It’s a hopeful read that despite its many themes, focuses on the pursuit and preservation of monogamous marriage.
  7. Last weekend I travelled with my husband on his work trip to LA and Dana Point.  On the long flight out to California I read what only seemed appropriate: Andrew Morton’s Tom Cruise: An Unathorized Biography.  If you followed my previous book lists you might remember I read and recommended Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.  This biography of the star takes a similarly well-researched look at the controversial religion and one of its most outspoken, notorious advocates.  It’s a quick and interesting read for anyone with an interest in pop culture or biographies.
  8. To counter the admittedly low brow #7, I started A Short History of Christianity  by the prolific Australian historian, Geoffrey Blainey on the plane ride home to NC.  This is, as the name suggests, a portrait of Christianity from its inception up through the modern church and Blainey’s impressive storytelling ability keeps the book from being too academic or meandering.
  9. I checked out quite a few books on pregnancy from the library after we found out we were having a baby but most of them only served to scare me about pregnancy and parenthood.  Thank goodness a friend sent me this gem: Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong-and What YouReally Need to Know. This book breaks down the common misconceptions about pregnancy using economics and hard data and is more reassuring than terrifying.  I appreciated its   real world, useful advice and I’d recommend it to anyone who is thinking about having a baby or is already pregnant.
  10. The next three books are on my to-be-read-next list as I either don’t have them yet or haven’t cracked into them.  Crazy Rich: Power, Scandal, and Tragedy Inside the Johnson & Johnson Dynasty From Amazon: “Often compared to the Kennedy clan because of the tragedies and scandals that had befallen both wealthy and powerful families, Crazy Rich, based on scores of exclusive, candid, on-the-record interviews, reveals how the dynasty’s vast fortune was both intoxicating and toxic through the generations of a family that gave the world Band-Aids and Baby Oil.”
  11. I love David Lebovitz’s blog which chronicles his life in France so I’m anxious to read his new book My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories which comes out in mid April.
  12. Bread and Butter is a behind the scenes look at two restaurants in a struggling Pennslyvania town.  Amazon describes it as “Kitchen Confidential meets Three Junes in this mouthwatering novel about three brothers who run competing restaurants, and the culinary snobbery, staff stealing, and secret affairs that unfold in the back of the house.”