1. Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown This book was sent to me by one of my best friend's (hi Lydia!) dad, a wise, well spoken man I always love a dinner table conversation with. I had a hard time with Brown's first books, wanting something a little less research based and more artistic in style. After receiving the book from someone I admire so much plus this podcast, I decided to give it a go. One afternoon at a local cafe, I read through the whole thing. With more narrative, lots of real life, and plenty of research for the left brainers, this book has to be my favorite of hers to date.
2. The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy Gifting a book before reading it can be a bold move. My preference is always to hand off a book with a glowing recommendation, but for some reason I sent this memoir to my good friend Arielle months back without second thought. I read it this week at Ruby's, across from her on the sofa, finally. The book reads very easily, much thanks to Levy's genius journalism style of writing, but not sans emotion. This podcast gives fascinating insight on the story, providing a more filled in background on Levy and her work. This makes a great gift for someone prone to memoirs who always keeps a copy of The New Yorker in their tote.
3. Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs by Beth Ann Fennelly Talking about this tiny book is hard. I think I've recommended it to four people, only after having it recommended to me by at least two. It's one of those rarities, those moments where reading can feel really fresh and new. Organized in "micro-memoirs," subject matter ranges from racy to crying on the subway emotional. Blink, and it's over. I recommend reading the book twice, which isn't as intimidating as it sounds. If you liked Grief is the Thing with Feathers or tend to lean more towards poetry in your everyday reading, this is a fun, innovative alternative.
4. The Wine Lover's Daughter by Anne Fadiman Another pick from my personal book shopper, Ruby. Her love of Anne Fadiman became my own after Ex Libris. Having no idea who her father was or a real concrete grasp on wine, I found myself swept up in this memoir. The book is a tribute to her father, the lessons he taught her, and the loves he passed on to her, as well. Short, story driven, and fascinating-the perfect combination.
5. Natural Feasts by Ella Mills I've been a Deliciously Ella fan since her first cookbook years ago. Her recipes are simple, plant-based, and totally unintimidating. This collection's focus is on hosting/food for a group. I've yet to make anything from the book, I might never, but reading through it with pancakes on a Sunday morning is a good start.