Followers by Megan Angelo: Oh, man… This one was… Difficult. Weird. Frustrating. Imagine everything you hate about reality television put on paper in front of you for a few hundred pages. Now, try to imagine the people made famous by reality television wanting to change and escape the world they’ve surrounded themselves with. A fun read in a post-Kardashian world sort of way. If the Truman Show weren’t about a normal guy, and centered instead around someone like Snookie, it would be the fantastical world spelled out here. Not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t need to read it again.
Beauty at Home by Aerin Lauder: I first read Beauty at Home years ago when it was first released. I’m still pretty in love with the way that Aerin Lauder lives her life- a dramatic and elevated space in the city, and her family’s country house, swathed in blue and white pattern and hydrangea bushes. Since we’ve been brainstorming the next project, there have been a few design books in rotation, including….
Elements of Family Style: Elegant Spaces for Every Day Life by Erin Gates: Erin Gates, if you aren’t familiar, runs the lifestyle Blog Elements of Style. She’s garnered a whole heap of attention for her easy yet glamorous style. Her first book, Elements of Style, was released when her main focus was on a master bedroom and mudroom addition at her Boston-area Colonial. Since then, their family has grown and grown again, and she’s begun incorporating more family-friendly- and pet-friendly- styles and materials in her work. Also…
Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone: Running the blog eyeswoon, Athena Calderone has a killer sense of style. Leaning way towards contemporary, her NYC townhouse and her Agamansett mid-century stunner of a weekend home have been featured in more design blogs and magazines than I can count. She makes a formal and well-curated style seem easy and natural. This book was organized by home- Athena interviewed several of her colleagues in the design world to create a collection of AD-type interviews and blurbs on the details of their homes and ways of living in them. All with a minimalist lean, and all absolutely swoon worthy.
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver: I love me some Barbara Kingsolver. I don’t want to give away a lot about this one, only because I dove in blind, without even glancing at a description on the back cover. We’re introduced to a Mexican-American young man living with his mother and her big-time boyfriend in Mexico. His life is interwoven with two prominent artists of the day with some heavy political influence. The narrator, the man’s later-in-life housekeeper and friend, takes breaks from his history to note his present-day influences. A really lovely read, and beautifully worded, as most Kingsolver novels are.
Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek: Another Sinek cult-favorite read, Leaders Eat Last is one that has been touted in my corporate circle for quite some time. Focusing on putting your team before yourself, this is a quick read for anyone who’s in charge of a team, and a must for anyone in a position of power. It reminded me so much of People Over Profit, only here, the People are your people, your team. Currently loaned out to a friend in charge of a restaurant.
Twenty-one Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks: Oh my. This one was a fun read because of the way it was written. We’re in the mind and journal of a man struggling with potential fatherhood, a scary bank balance, and a plan to get rich quick. He’s a list-maker, so each chapter is written in quick, list format. It took a few pages to get used to, but I sipped through this one in an afternoon.
Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs by Jennifer Finney Boylan: I’ll fully admit I had no idea who Jennifer Finney Boylan was until grabbing this one. I was hoping for a sweet, canine memoir, but this toed the line of a personal memoir with occasional memories of pups mixed in. Admittedly, I was hoping for more pups. It was interesting, however, that Ms. Boylan wove in her personal struggles of gender transition with memories of her pet-life at the time, but for a title that seemed so pet-focused, I wish there had been more of them present.
Can I Kick It? by Idris Goodwin: A collection of poetry by the playwright Idris Goodwin, I’ll admit that it was the title that grabbed me here (I’m a huge Tribe Called Quest fan). Poems from just a few lines to several pages dealing with the struggles of being a minority dominated the text, and there were a few times I had to put the pages down to breathe. I know I’ll never understand what it’s like to be a black man, but Mr. Goodwin’s insights certainly helped.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides: Middlesex is an epic novel, one that I pick up and read again and again every couple of years. A Pulitzer Prize winner, written in two parts, divided between the years and family history in Greece and an immigration to the US leading up to the storyteller’s birth, and everything that comes after. With the Great Fire of Smyrna, race wars in Detroit, and Wallace Fard Muhammad making appearances, it’s a boy I can never put down.
1984 by George Orwell: This is the first time I’ve read 1984… I’m not sure how I made it through the obscene amount of literature classes in my life without having it assigned before. A little scary to read at the moment, sure, and probably a little scary to read all of the time, I had to fight to get past Orwell’s overuse of the word “darling,” but past that, I’m glad I finally read this one. I’m not sure I ever need to again.
My Wife Said You May Want To Marry Me by Jason. B Rosenthal: I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to move on romantically after being widowed, and this is a rather raw and sweet look at the experience. Written almost as a response to his late wife’s essay “You May Want to Marry my Husband,” Rosenthal reflects on what made their relationship and their love so wonderful, and finds himself moving forward.
The Antidote for Everything by Kimmery Martin: I zipped through this one on the plane to Palm Springs. Two doctors- one female, one male, one heterosexual, one homosexual- find themselves in the middle of a battle with the hospital that employs them over the decision to treat patients who fall on the LGBTQ scale. The lengths that one goes to expose the dirty politics of their employer is frightening, and the friendship between the two more than balances it out. All the while, one is doing their best to allow themselves to fall in love with someone met in the middle of an in-plane medical emergency. Great read, and stunning cover art.
Florida Man by Tom Cooper: Admittedly, I read Florida Man while adult-beveraging poolside in Palm Springs, and I’m not quite sure if that’s the reason I can’t remember a thing about this one. Hmm…. I’ll give it another shot.
Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer: I wish I’d read the reviews of this one before spending the money to purchase and the time to read. Danny Meyer, while a thriving restauranteur, spouts off his ideals of hospitality and success while accidentally mentioning how rich his family is several times. As my Bryan would put it, this guy gloats about scoring after he was born on third. Leave this one on the shelf, and look for business savvy elsewhere.
The Answer is… Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek: Alex Trebek has spent the last several months of his life reflecting while undergoing treatment for his cancer. His quippy and pragmatic ways of reminiscing on his early life in a hard working family and the luck that got him into game shows is filed with as many sweet and nerdy thoughts as you’d expect. I was hoping that his autobiography would paint him in just as sweet of a light as I’ve always hoped him to be in, and it didn’t disappoint.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett: A novel dealing with race from a perspective I’ve never had. Twin sisters, very light-skinned women in a Black Southern town, run away as teens, and live the rest of their lives as two different races. One passes herself off as white, marries a white man, and stands by the attitudes in their slightly racist life, while the other births a very dark-skinned daughter and returns to life in a town where everyone’s skin tone is as fair as hers. I’m not surprised it’s received as good of reviews as it has- certainly well-deserved.