Some Good Reads {Fall 2014}


I know you’re supposed to eat your frozen wedding cake on your first anniversary but I’m not sure what happened to our cake so I picked up one of Target’s finest and it was perfect. If I don’t have time to make one myself, grocery store cake is my go-to. Who doesn’t love a marble cake with that trashy vanilla icing?!

We spent the beginning of this week in Asheville to celebrate our first anniversary and to see the changing leaves in the North Carolina mountains.  Last year we honeymooned at the Biltmore Inn so we stayed at The Grove Park this time and ended up liking it better!  The dining options were great so we didn’t have to venture out much in the stormy weather. We had fantastic meals at both Vue and the Sunset Terrace.  We also enjoyed the live music in the great hall both nights.  The rain ruined our hiking plans on Tuesday, forcing us to stay inside, drink champagne and watch 22 Jump Street, not a bad anniversary at all!DSC_0118 I also spent time finishing a few books that had been sitting on my nightstand for too long and now have enough titles to share another  list of my book recommendations.  I’m continuing to read more parenting-focused books and have added those in at the end.  If you like my literary tastes and want more, check out my master list. As always, send any recommendations my way or tweet me @sally_cooks.

I hope you enjoy the fall weather with a good book (and maybe a glass or two of champagne!)

  • Practical Magic is my book club’s October pick and a great book to read around Halloween.  The book tells the story of several generations of New England women who may or may not be witches but are powerless in the face of love.  Remember the late 90’s movie with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock?!
  •  What I Know For Sure is a compilation of Oprah’s life lessons from her column in O Magazine.   While some are a bit cheesy or obvious I thought many of the essays were easily digestible and inspiring.
  •  Friendship: A Novel is my book club’s November selection.  This review from NPR says it all without revealing too much: “Friendship is superficially about youngish, self-involved writerly types, but it’s really about people who are trying to be good and finding it hard. This is a book about ethics—about the real, unglamorous daily battle that is not being a jerk.” I enjoyed Gould’s take on what it means to be 30 today and what makes a real, deep friendship.
  • If you liked the Netflix series Orange is the New Black, I recommend you read the book that inspired it all.  You’ll see how much the show changed the original story of one woman’s experience in Federal prison.
  • If you liked The Secret History from my summer part 2 book list or if you followed the trials of Amanda Knox, you’ll want to check out Abroad, a psychological thriller also set on a college campus, this one in the old Etruscan city of Grifonia full of study abroad students.
  • The Food Lovers Guide to Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill is pretty self explanatory and a well written resource to eating and enjoying all that the Triangle has to offer.
  • One Plus One was my book club’s September choice.  The story takes place between the English shore and Scotland and has quite the cast of characters.  I imagine it will make a good movie; think Little Miss Sunshine.
  • One Kick is the first thriller in a new series from Chelsea Cain, author of the New York Times bestselling Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell books. The book is well written and the protagonist is a complex character dealing with a highly uncomfortably subject matter (child abductions/child pornography.)
  • The Price of Silence: The Duke Lacrosse Scandal, the Power of the Elite, and the Corruption of Our Great Universities is the latest book to take on the Duke Lacrosse case.  It is an exhaustive account of the scandal from its elements of race, sex, tension between town and gown, and how a university manages student athletes and confronts a crisis.
  • The Happiest Baby on the Block promises to impart the secrets to mastering an automatic “off-switch” for your baby’s crying.  Joe and I both read this and felt like we learned a lot.  It gave me a nice boost of confidence to know a few tricks to soothe a hysterical baby (not that my baby ever cries…)
  • French Kids Eat Everything is a refreshingly honest account of how author Karen Le Billon was able to alter her children’s deep-rooted, unhealthy American eating habits after moving to France. It is a memoir, a cookbook, step by step handbook rolled into one with ten rules for parents to follow to raise happy and healthy eaters and food lovers.
  • Joe just finished When I First Held You: 22 Critically Acclaimed Writers Talk About the Triumphs, Challenges, and Transformative Experience of Fatherhood and I’m planning to read it next.  He thought the stories were well-written, interesting and refreshingly honest about a subject that is very new to us.