I will be adding to this category with some amount of frequency, because my favorite hobby in the world is reading. I’ll read almost anything and my tastes are pretty damn eclectic. But I want to share with you some of my favorite reads. This is not necessarily an “in order of love” list.
For Fiction, I tried to keep my picks to things you would only find in fiction and not in Romance, Horror, Sci-Fi, YA or whatever. Links are to the American Amazon site.
Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner. Imagine you’re a plus sized woman. Who has been dumped by your boyfriend. And you pick up a magazine and find an article, written by HIM called “Loving a Larger Woman.” This was Weiner’s first book (and I’m a huge fan of pretty much all of her books) and it’s still my favorite (although expect to see her again on another list).
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. This is Weisberger’s thinly veiled account of what it was like to be Anna Wintour’s assistant at Vogue. It’s a hysterically funny read, and the audiobook (for parents on the go) is also one of my favorites. The actress does a great job with the book and it’s probably one of the few that I’ve listened to more than 3 times…I’m probably at 7-10 listen throughs.
The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Krause. Ever wondered what life was like as a Park Avenue Nanny? These former nannies took their experiences and wrote a book…that is both funny and heartbreaking.
Baby Proof by Emily Giffin. What if you didn’t want kids? And you met the love of your life, who also didn’t want kids? You live a happy life…until he decides he’s changed his mind. Do you have a baby and keep your husband? Or do you walk away and keep yourself? (expect to see Giffin on other lists, too)
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Yes, it’s over 1,000 pages (so is the 4th Harry Potter Book and 9 year olds read that!) This has been a favorite book of mine since I was 12. I read it in seventh grade and have re-read it every year or two in the almost 20 years that have passed; sometimes more frequently. As a 12 year old I thought Scarlettt was an awesome and spunky girl. At 16, I got the blind obsession and impulsiveness of her marriage to Charles Hamilton. At 25, I started shaking my head. At 31 I kind of want to mother her. I love the story and I love watching my reactions to it change as I age and get life experience.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Currently only in Hardcover in the US, out in paperback in Singapore. This story of what it was like to be the African American Maid of a White woman in the American South just before the equality movement really got going was so good I could not put it down. The white woman in the story (who isn’t an employer) is also fascinating because it’s a story of personal growth in the face of generations of “that’s the way things are” and every opportunity to be just like everyone else. This is a MUST read.
Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran. (comes out in paperback in the US next week so I linked that) Did you know that Cleopatra had a daughter who was taken back to Rome after Egypt was conquered? Moran did, and she fictionalized the story of what happened next, based on some historical information we have. She has several other stories of Egyptian queens, and all are worth reading.
The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan. The fictionalized story of the woman who would be known as Queen Nur Jahan to Mughal India. Beautifully written, and interesting to me for obvious reasons.
The Dirty Girl’s Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez. The story of six Latina friends who met at Boston University and whose lives have taken very different paths. One is secretly in love with another, but hides both that love and her sexuality as one of Boston’s premiere news anchors. One is excusing away her husband’s abuse. One doesn’t want to love the man who loves her because he’s poor and she’s terrified of not having money. A great read.
The Kite Runner by Kaled Hosseini. The story of two boys growing up in Afghanistan, and the incident that one can never escape from. Never an easy read, but one worth reading.
Phantom by Susan Kay. I was shocked and thrilled to see this back in print. Also a favorite book from about age 12/13…right around when I fell in love with the musical, Kay does Leroux one better and re-imagines the Phantom of the Opera’s life from birth through death. Told in various voices, it is tragic, beautiful and sexy all at once. As a huge Phantom of the Opera (the musical) fan, this book is another must read if you’re into the musical even a little.
Lucky by Jackie Collins. Pure candy…all yummy, easily read fluff. The first book in the Lucky Series. Strong women, gangsters, revenge and sex. Total beach read. Jackie Collins is always good for a fast guilty pleasure read.
Fashionably Late by Olivia Goldsmith. Like Collins, this is fun fluff. Although most people know her for The First Wives Club, I like this one better. Karen Khan is emerging as a major fashion force, and she has a gorgeous husband. But when her desire for a baby comes up against her husband’s desire to sell the company for big bucks, she has to make a choice.
More next week…maybe this will be my Friday feature this summer.