Tag Archives: book recommendations

My Birthday Book & Movie Haul

In case you can’t tell by the title of this post, I recently had a birthday! Just last week, in fact. I was blessed with some amazing gifts (like this beautiful bar cart from Chet and a huge box of Gilmore Girls themed coffee from my mom!).

But my favorite way to treat MYSELF for my birthday is to pick up whatever book(s) and movie(s) I feel like! Usually I’ll talk myself out of book and movie purchases because of a little thing called the library and another little thing called Netflix. On my birthday though? Well – I deserve it! 🙂

Here’s what I picked up:

Movies

Stephen King’s IT

Who doesn’t love watching a scary movie (or three or four) in October? I still really want to see the new version but I mean c’mon! So many famous faces in this one. Including, but not limited to, John-Boy from The Waltons sporting a rad early 90’s ponytail.

The Edge of Seventeen

This movie looked reminiscent of two of my favorite coming-of-age flicks – Cheaters and Juno…and the back cover likens it to a modern day The Breakfast Club (another fave!) – so I was all in. Plus, I love Woody Harrelson!

Books

You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends On Facebook, Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself by David McRaney

Since I left the world of speech & debate, and no longer sit through tons of informative speeches every weekend, my annual dose of pop psychology has drastically diminished. This looked like an interesting and fun way to rectify the situation. I’m excited to dig in!

Blindness by Jose Saramago

Saramago was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998 so this book seemed like a good bet. 😉 The subject matter, a city hit by an epidemic of “white blindness,” reminded me a little bit of Station Eleven. Not to mention it won a ton of awards and received rave reviews! So, although it’s not a book I would normally gravitate to, I couldn’t resist.

Which of these interests you most? Have you bought any books or movies for yourself lately? I’d love to hear!

Advertisements

What books would you paint on a staircase?

Here’s a fun thought experiment for your Tuesday…

Recently, my mom texted me the picture above and asked, “If you were going to paint a 13-step staircase in your home, what books would YOU include?” 

After great and labored consideration, here is my list (although I feel like it could change tomorrow–or maybe even in 10 minutes!):

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Christy by Catherine Marshall
Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Which 13 books would YOU choose??? Please indulge me and leave your answers below. I so love finding out what books resonate with people (especially enough that they would paint the spines of said books on their staircase!!).

*Photo and idea found here.

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week? Suffice to say, our slow reintroduction phase after our Whole 30 sorta went out the window as Hurricane Irma blew into town. (We evacuated on Day 31…yikes!) So I’m trying to get back on track and figure out what permanent dietary changes I want to make moving forward. I’m planning to make a pizza without cheese tonight. I’ll let you know how that goes (sorta feels like blasphemy!). I’m also plowing my way through this book, and I can’t wait to find out how it ends. Hope you have a great rest of your week, and here are some links for perusal purposes…

Inside a quiet revolution in the study of the world’s other great kingdom.

Michael Twitty’s new book explains how the story of Southern food is the story of the African-American experience, starting with slavery.

Related: Order the book HERE.

Reclaiming my time.

Dude. This book looks like SUCH a page turner.

Related: Book Review: A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay

Melania Trump, hurricane heels, and the artifice of fashion.

When we experience art, we feel connected to something larger. Why? 

On the ground in Pyongyang: Could Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump goad each other into a devastating confrontation?

101 ways to cheer yourself up, if you’re down in the dumps.

Hurricane Irma: historic and harrowing.

Related: Hurricane Irma: What I Learned & How to Help

The bad science behind campus response to sexual assault.

Academics uncover 30 words “lost” from English language.

My favorite mascara.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Are you a word nerd? and A College English Teacher’s Take on Last Chance U.

mid-week round-up

Hi folks! Sorry for the radio silence but the past week has been crazy! Last Wednesday, it started to become quite clear that Hurricane Irma was going to make a direct hit on Florida. After the 11 am models came out, showing the possibility of a Miami landfall, we loaded up the car and hit the road. The traffic was insane! And gas and hotel rooms were scarce. (You can read where we ended up spending the night on this Instagram post.) About 28 hours of driving time later, we FINALLY reached our destination. Crazy to think we were part of the largest mass evacuation in U.S. history. The devastation in Florida will be long-lasting and I’m so grateful we had a safe place to go to weather the storm. Now we’re just waiting around to make sure our return trip is as uneventful as possible. (There are lots of reports of road closures due to flooding and gas shortages.) In the mean time, here’s what I’ve been reading…

An Australian snake may have evolved all-black scales to cope with pollution.

On gender specific toys and stereotyping children.

If you’re in the market for a studio apartment in Budapest, this one is ADORABLE.

30 Autumn blog post ideas to curb your bloggin’ writer’s block.

Seven days of heroin. This is what an epidemic looks like.

27 of the best books to read this Fall.

Perfectly imperfect. (Cents of Style sent me this bracelet recently and I love it!)

People are shaming Kate Middleton for her pregnancy and it’s actually so offensive.

If you’re a Southern gal or guy gone vegetarian and have a hankering for comfort food, this cookbook has got you covered.

How to enjoy working on the weekends.

What Dreamers gained from DACA, and what they stand to lose.

To understand rising inequality, consider janitors at two top companies, then and now.

P.S. A couple Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Book Review: The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger and Weekend Uniforms: Dressy, Casual, and In the Middle.

Beth’s Reading List – Too Many Books, Never Enough Time

50 books from my reading list

I’ve always been a reader. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a book going (and sometimes 2, 3, or 4). If I find myself bored, and there’s a book around; it doesn’t matter what the book is about, I’ll probably pick it up and start reading. Why not?

Which is all to say, I’m not very discriminating when it comes to literary tastes. Novel, non-fiction, memoir. Give me one of each please and keep ’em comin’!

So, I guess it should come as no surprise that I have a rather VAST reading list. Around five years ago, I started keeping track of every book I read or heard about that sounded remotely interesting and recording each title personally recommended to me. As I’m a fan of so many types of books, and find myself interested in a whole slew of subject matter, that list has grown…and grown….and GROWN. I’ve collected hundreds upon hundreds of titles! So many in fact that keeping the list has sort of become a hobby in and of itself. (But, hey! I’m not complaining…I low-key LOVE lists and list-makin’.)

In case you’re curious about the type of books that make it on to my “too long to ever type out in it’s entirety” reading list, I decided to provide you with a sampling. Here goes!

1. You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself by David McRaney

2. Not Becoming My Mother: and Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way by Ruth Reichl 

3. So Many Ways to Sleep Badly by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore 

4. The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls
The Glass Castle, also by Walls, is one of my all-time faves! I can’t wait to see the movie. 

5. Appalachian Trials: The Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail by Zach Davis 

6. The No Recipe Cookbook: A Beginner’s Guide to the Art of Cooking by Susan Crowther
Cookbooks are books too! 

7. The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

8. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin

9. Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine

10. Strange as This Weather Has Been by Ann Pancake
Lots of folks who know my love of Barbara Kingsolver have recommended this one to me.

11. Prairie Tale: A Memoir by Melissa Gilbert
For obvious reasons. 

12. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

13. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

14. This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Trooper
I’ve seen the movie but I hear the books is better.

15. The Promise: A Tragic Accident, a Paralyzed Bride, and the Power of Love, Loyalty, and Friendship by Rachelle Friedman

16. A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen

17. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs 

18. Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray
I don’t have kids but this seems like an important read nonetheless.

19. That’s Not English: Britishisms, Americanisms, and What Our English Says About Us by Erin Moore

20. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown
I have a special place in my heart for sports journalism. 

21. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari 

22. Making the Mummies Dance: Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Thomas Hoving

23. Conquering Chaos by Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra
Because MTV reality tv is my vice and I don’t even care. 

24. Between Wrecks by George Singleton

25. Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington

26. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

27. Victorian Secrets: What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself by Sarah A. Chrisman

28. The Clasp by Sloane Crosley 

29. Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures by Emma Straub
I have a huge girl crush on this author! 

30. Wildflower by Drew Barrymore

31. Cornbread Mafia: A Homegrown Syndicate’s Code of Silence and the Biggest Marijuana Bust in American History by James Higdon

32. Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More by Erin Boyle
One of my favorite bloggers. 

33. Casting Lots: Creating a Family in a Beautiful, Broken World by Susan Silverman 

34. Epilogue by Anne Roiphe 

35. Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
STILL have never read any of Vowell’s books and have GOT to get on it!

36. Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

37. Ann Tenna by Marisa Acocella Marchetto

38. The Geography of Madness: Penis Thieves, Voodoo Death, and the Search for the Meaning of the World’s Strangest Syndromes by Frank Bures
I mean COME ON! Tell me that doesn’t sound good?! 

39. Eleven Hours by Pamela Erens 

40. High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed by Michael Kodas
I will read, watch, or listen to anything about Mt. Everest and Himalayan mountaineering.

41. The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened the West by Lesley Poling-Kempes

42. I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro 

43. A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran by Shane Bauer, Joshua Fattal, and Sarah Shourd 

44. You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein 

45. Apron Anxiety: My Messy Affairs In and Out of the Kitchen by Alyssa Shelasky 

46. The End of the Perfect 10: The Making and Breaking of Gymnastics’ Top Score – From Nadia to Now by Dvora Meyers
For those of us who pretend to be gymnastics experts every 4 years. 

47. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer 

48. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
May as well see what all the fuss is about!

49. Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson
Can you believe this is the same woman who wrote The Lottery?

50. The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

What are some books on YOUR reading list?

Finally – Do you have any of the books listed above? I’m ALWAYS down for a book-swap!! I’d love to pass along a book from my collection that may be on your reading list. Let me know!

Five Great Graphic Novels!

five-great

Are you a fan of graphic novels? They are my very favorite when it comes to one-sitting reads! I love how much the illustrations add to the overall story and you can really hear the characters speaking their conversation-bubble-dialogue.

Here are 5 of my favorites…

embroideriesEmbroideries by Marjane Satrapi

From the author of “Persepolis” comes this gloriously entertaining and enlightening look into the sex lives of Iranian women. Embroideries gathers together Marjane’s tough–talking grandmother, stoic mother, glamorous and eccentric aunt and their friends and neighbors for an afternoon of tea drinking and talking. 

The experiences of the women Satrapi brings to the table will seem equal parts relatable and foreign. Their stories of love and sex range from macabre and heart-breaking too irreverent and funny.

 

dotter-of-her-fathers-eyesDotter of her Father’s Eyes by Mary and Bryan Talbot

Part personal history, part biography, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes contrasts two coming of age narratives: that of Lucia, the daughter of James Joyce, and that of author Mary Talbot, daughter of the eminent Joycean scholar James S. Atherton.

The dual narratives interact in compelling ways –Mary’s post WW II life in England juxtaposed with the Joyce family’s 1920s Paris avante guard experiences, and the complex family relationships that unfold in both.

 

cancer-vixen

Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marchetto

In vivid color and with a taboo-breaking sense of humor, Marchetto tells the story of her eleven-month, ultimately triumphant bout with breast cancer—from diagnosis to cure, and every challenging step in between.

Instead of writing another cancer memoir, Marchetto turned to cartooning. The result is an honest and engaging read, while the illustrations capture emotions in pitch-perfect form.

 

shortcomingsShortcomings by Adrian Tomine

Shortcomings is the story of Ben Tanaka, a Japanese American male in his late twenties, and his cross-country search for contentment (or at least the perfect girl). Along the way, Tomine tackles modern culture, sexual mores, and racial politics with brutal honesty and lacerating, irreverent humor, while deftly bringing to life a cast of painfully real antihero characters.

Tomine’s art is amazing, as is his deft portrayal of identity politics as his characters grapple with stereotypes and self-imposed expectations.

 

cant-we-talk-about-something-more-pleasantCan’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents. It’s a memoir as rife with laughs as it is with tears, both comfort and comic relief.

I picked this book up to flick through in a book store and then READ THE WHOLE THING RIGHT THERE. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

P.S. On my list for future reads: Pedro and Me, Flora & Ulysses, and This One Summer.

Books to Read This Fall

Mourning those Summer months? Me either! I’m too excited about wrapping up, burrito-style, in a fluffy blanket with a good book and something pumpkin spice close at hand.

But for real, what better reason than a temperature turn-down to share a few favorite books I think would be perfect for your Fall reading list.

So, in the midst of all your other autumnal activities (Think: swapping out all your flip flops for riding boots and Snapchatting from the pumpkin patch.) — here are 5 books to read this Fall…

bossypantsBossypants by Tina Fey

Tina Fey’s book is short, messy, and impossibly funny (an apt description of the comedian herself). From her humble roots growing up in Pennsylvania to her days doing amateur improv in Chicago to her early sketches on SNL, Fey gives us a fascinating glimpse behind the curtain of modern comedy with equal doses of wit, candor, and self-deprecation.

There’s always something to be learned from the life experiences of fascinating (and funny!) people. This book provides a peek into the worlds of improv, SNL, and 30 Rock–all with Fey’s famous humor.

 

the-painter-from-shanghaiThe Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein

Down the muddy waters of the Yangtze River, through the raucous glamour of prewar Shanghai and the bohemian splendor of 1920s Paris, and back to a China teetering on the brink of revolution: this is the epic story of Pan Yuliang, one of the most talented—and provocative—Chinese artists of the twentieth century.

Historical fiction so researched and rich in details that you will find yourself completely immersed in another time and place.

 

 

a-secret-kept A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay

Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister MĂ©lanie’s birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island , where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach. But the island’s haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories.

A French family, a fascinating story, and an unraveling secret at the heart of it all that will keep you reading well past your bedtime. Beware: you may finish de Rosnay’s mystery novel in one go!

 

 

the-namesakeThe Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. Son, Gogol Ganguli, knows only that he suffers the burden of his heritage as well as his odd name. Lahiri brings great empathy to Gogol as he stumbles along the first-generation path, strewn with conflicting loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs.’

Rather than follow a plot, this book follows a life. The resulting prose is breathtaking in it’s beauty.

 

behind-the-beautiful-foreversBehind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

In this book by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, a bewildering age is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in a makeshift settlement near the Mumbai airport. Based on years of uncompromising reporting, it carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds—and into the hearts of families impossible to forget.

True to the style of “embedded journalism,” Boo embedded herself in a slum so readers could see, hear, and understand the residents and their challenges.

 

What are YOU reading this Fall? Share below! 

***

Want to receive an extra dose of delight in your inbox? SUBSCRIBE! You’ll receive a weekly newsletter from Finding Delight chock-full of all sorts of goodies (incl. the ocassional book recommendation!). Thanks so much! xoxo

mid-week round-up

straw bales

Have any big plans for the holiday weekend? I recently nabbed an extra part-time job (no rest for the wicked!) and have opted to work for the majority of the time. However, I’ve been reading this book, which has inspired me to want to pick up a copy of Vogue and leaf through the pages by the pool. If only this tropical storm would get out the way!!! In the mean time, I’m excited to share more details of our wedding weekend. Back tomorrow with the rehearsal picnic! Stay tuned. Now onto some links…

Jessie Graff makes American Ninja Warrior history.

A glorious obsession with the melodic alternation between the fifth and the third.

Meet the meticulous artist behind those happy trees.

Hanging from the rafters of the Hurricane Hall of Fame.

Read this if you love courtroom dramas, midwifery, or both!

People you shouldn’t know.

Birth records at Old Blockley paint a picture of the institution beyond mere numbers.

The crew of a Mars simulation emerges after a full year.

How performing in theater can help build empathy in students.

Having “The Talk” in Sign Language.

What if women had never won the vote? 

“I want to go back and rebuild Syria.”

Books to read if you’re in search of a history lesson…

In the final few weeks of wedding planning, my normally voracious appetite for reading books came to a squeaking halt. I packed The Devil in the White City with every good intention of diving in. Needless to say, it sat untouched in my backpack until Chet and I landed safely back in Miami. But once the post-wedding exhaustion wore off, and routines re-appeared, I couldn’t put this bad boy down. If you’re in search of a fascinating history lesson (along with a tale of a devious serial killer), I couldn’t recommend this book enough. And here are 4 other books that serve up a dose of history as well…

the devil in the white cityThe Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson 

Erik Larson intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

A real peak into what life was like in America broadly, and the infamous “White City” specifically, as the 19th century drew to a fitful close.

 

the immortal life of henrietta lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. This phenomenal bestseller tells the story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine.

Maps the grandiose history of modern science as well as the intimate history of an unknowing contribution.

 

the girls who went away

The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade by Ann Fessler

In this deeply moving and myth-shattering work, Ann Fessler brings out into the open the astonishing untold history of the million and a half women who surrendered children for adoption due to enormous family and social pressure in the decades before Roe v. Wade.

Examines the shame of getting pregnant in post-WW II USA, the lack of options and education women faced, and the agencies who profited from the results.

 

a walk in the woods

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
The Appalachian Trail trail  covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. Bill Bryson introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the hardy folks he meets along the way–and a couple of bears.

Hiking provides the backdrop to a sincere discourse on the social condition of America, local history, and environmental science.

 

 

the warmth of other suns The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson 

In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.

Compiling over 10 years of research in more than 600 pages, this book takes on the biggest under-reported story of the twentieth century utilizing 1,200 interviews conducted personally by Wilkerson.

What books would YOU recommend for us history-lovin’ folk? Share below! 

***

Want to receive an extra dose of delight in your inbox? SUBSCRIBE! You’ll receive a weekly newsletter from Finding Delight chock-full of all sorts of goodies (incl. the ocassional book recommendation!). Thanks so much! xoxo

mid-week round-up

dock house

How was your weekend, my loves? We had a fantastic out-of-town visitor for ours and, despite a never-ending thunderstorm on Saturday which kept us from the beach, managed to show off Miami’s warm weather with a few, quick outdoor adventures as well as enjoy a tiny umbrella clad cocktail. (We also ate our weight in Cuban food at Sergio’s and bounced off the wall for a solid hour after downing a glass of Cafe Bombon.) With just a few more days until we head out of town for the holidays, I’m planning on wrapping Christmas presents tonight. Hope your week is grand, and here’s a quick play-by-play of my most recent internet activity…

Racially and ethnically diverse communities often lack equal access to eating disorder treatments.

I listened to this podcast last night on my friend Adam‘s recommendation. Act One is a MUST LISTEN.

Books to read this winter, if you’re in need of some reading list additions.

Why not make a few DIY gifts to hand out this holiday season?

Feeling like shit? Here are 15 easy things that might help.

Wow! Food prep goals.

After the last detective leaves, who shows up to clean up the crime scene? 

The weirdest (but cutest?) addition to your next tea party.

The first editorial to be featured on The New York Times’ front page since 1920.

Love and co-habitation.

Consider making your own! 

Have you been to any of these popular bars?

P.S. Have you read yesterday’s guest post? What are you waiting for? Go give it some love! ❀