I love talking with friends about good books. I have a friend who's mother literally keeps books in her car, giving them to people who pump her gas in New Jersey. (If you didn't know, it's illegal to pump your own gas in that state. I taught said friend to fill up her tank after our freshman year of college.)
I wanted to share a few books I think are great. I lean towards historical non-fiction and southern lit, but if it gets a good friend recommendation I'll give it a shot. I have not read any of the Harry Potter or Lord of The Rings books, just doesn't do it for me. Eh.
Without further ado...
The Warmth of Other Suns was fantastic. I learned SO much, told through three separate African Americans moving their lives from the South to New York, California, and Chicago respectively in the middle of the twentieth century. It is long; I admit to reading Bossypants (good plane book) in the middle of this because I almost felt like I needed a break. (So I'm not a scholar, I admit it.) But it was a wonderful book and if interested in American history, this is a must.
The Ballad of West Tenth Street is a darling story. My last roommate in New York gave me this book when she moved from our little apartment in the West Village to DC. I put it on my bookshelf, moved it to two subsequent apartments without opening it up, and this summer while packing up my apartment, again, finally gave it a try. I read it in three days! It is a modern day fairytale, anyone who has lived in Manhattan or just loves the city should pick this book up. Such a cast of characters and told in a whimsical way yet without sap. Lots of wit, wonderful descriptions, and a lovely escape.
I read Zeitoun last year. A book where as I'm reading it I am shocked the events described occured within the past five years in the United States. The discrimination and lawlessness the main character experiences in post-Katrina New Orleans are unbelievable. It was a great story of a family, a brave man, and a resilient city where a horrible storm exposed many preexisting cracks.
I really enjoy a good memoir. Even more, I enjoy a good meal. Molly Wizenberg's blog, Orangette, is one of the first blogs I started to read religiously. She has such a light, endearing, yet real tone to her words. This memoir of her childhood and young adulthood was well lined up with my time in life when reading it. I have given this book to many women, and always get great thanks. I saw Molly in New York at a book reading and she is adorable. I hope to make it to the restaurant she opened with her husband Brandon (she describes their long-distance courtship in the book) when I visit Seattle at some point. I mean they cooked their own wedding food for Christmas' sake. Also, each chapter begins with a recipe that she ties into her narrative. Her candied ginger and chocolate chip banana bread and Ed Fretwell's soup are now recipe staples.