I’m something of a book hound and enjoy accepting the recommendations for good reads from those whom I deem 1.) similarly sarcastic to myself 2.) individuals that have a proven track record of awesomeness 3.) people who like doing the same stuff I like or something different but still interesting. Simply put, I don’t just take anyone’s recommendation if I’m going to give up multiple hours of my life with the intention of getting into and appreciating a well-written book, historical novel, memoir, or collection of essays (often humorous). So, with that, I present to you some of my current favorites that I will, without hesitation, suggest to anyone who’s looking for something super totally awesome.
Stuff you should read:
1- Kitchen Confidential– Anthony Bourdain- 1 valuable lesson from Mr. Bourdain: don’t ever eat seafood at a restaurant on a Monday. His kitchen antics have turned him into a sarcastic, jaded, culinarily (a word I just made up because I think it sounds adequately descriptive) renown, exquisite chef and TV host.
2- Born Standing Up– Steve Martin- Underrated. Steve Martin is a man of many talents (banjo playing, film making, magic–seriously. An actual magician.) and extreme hilarity as he recounts how he grew up working odd jobs and found himself selling out entire theaters to excited audiences & just being one of those wild and crazy guys on SNL.
3- Pretty in Plaid– Jen Lancaster- Ms. Lancaster could write basically anything and I’d likely read it and be thoroughly amused while laughing so hard I draw stares from people in my general vicinity. Luckily she has a boatload of books/memoirs from which to choose and subsequently spit out whatever you’re drinking at the time due to extreme hilarity.
4- Unbroken– Laura Hillenbrand- An amazing story filled with so much personal detail and human emotion that it truly keeps you wondering what one man/Olympic athlete/bombardier could possibly endure next throughout his enemy captivity during WWII, even though you already know how it ends.
5- Shadow Divers– Robert Kurson- All you need to know I that I was on the edge of my (airplane) seat until the very last page. Phenomenally written.
6- Bossypants– Tina Fey- Does this book really need much more of an endorsement after you’ve seen Ms. Fey as Sarah Palin and Liz Lemon on 30 Rock? Maybe after the 30 Rock reference (which she consistently references as a struggling successful show that “enjoys low ratings”), but trust that she will not disappoint in her awesome debut novel.
7- FlyBoys– James Bradley – I have a strong love for historical novels (especially those that focus on the airmen of WWII) and this book lives right near the top. Eight men are shot down over ChiChi Jima, George H. W. Bush is the only one who escapes alive, and Bradley provides an enthralling narrative about Japanese military mindset, which caused many of the POW atrocities of that era.
8- Devil in the White City– Erik Larson- Incredibly well-written, as the story goes between the lives of two completely different men and motives during the time of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Love me this excellent historical fiction/non-fiction novel.
9- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)– Mindy Kaling- If you don’t know who this straight-talking comedienne is you’ve likely never turned on your TV on a Thursday night. A writer for, and actress on, “The Office,” Mindy rocks a reality-laced memoir that had me almost peeing myself regularly.
10- Holidays on Ice– David Sedaris- I saw Mr. Sedaris do a live reading of one of his books (“When You Are Engulfed in Flames”) and his voice and tonal inflections exactly matched his imagined voice in my head. His dry wit, snarky observations and stranger-than-fiction stories will for sure touch your funny bone… and NPR loving self. Check out each and every one of his other essay collections.
11- K2: Life and Death on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain– Ed Viesturs- A voice that will keep you interested and death-defying (but not always so defiant) adventure that keeps you wondering what it is that affixes these thrill-seeking climbers to a place where they consistently sacrifice their own lives makes this book super great. And it has the history of most of the expeditions to ever undertake K2… and you know how I feel about historical novels.
All of these outstanding reads are available on Amazon, and some of them are likely in your last remaining local bookstore. Enjoy, my friends!