Category Archives: must reads

must reads: november

November must reads, via shopping's my cardio

I have to warn you: there’s only one fiction title on this month’s Must Reads list. Not that there isn’t wonderful fiction to be found – my shelves are groaning with books I’ve yet to read – but this time of year is when the really wonderful eye candy books start to appear. The best cookbooks, design books, cheery gift books – all things you’d want to give someone for, say, a holiday that’s coming up on you faster than a freight train. I’m holding a few back for the holidays, but some are just too good to keep from you for one more moment.

Just promise me you won’t let the shortage of traditional page-turners deter you – whatever their genre, more than a few of these books are just begging to be read cover to cover.   Read on

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must reads: august

August Must Reads, via shopping's my cardio

I’ve realized summer is for books what fall is for television. There are an impossible number of truly fantastic titles in my review pile this month. So many, in fact, that I’ve been putting off this post because I quite honestly didn’t know where to start, or how to narrow my list. I’ve managed it, but it was quite the hat trick…and it’s still long. Luckily, you still have a few weeks left of those long, sun-drenched days, and I’m determined to help you spend as many of them as possible stretched out on a chaise lounge, reading a new book you can’t put down.  Read on

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august essentials

August Essentials, via shopping's my cardio

It’s August! The official month of vacations and sunbathing…or, more realistically, grinding your teeth at work while you pretend to be productive. In celebration, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite time-wasting goodies guaranteed to get your summer mojo flowin’. Just add sunscreen! Read on

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foodie finds: the best new cookbooks I can’t stop reading

Best summer cookbooks, via shopping's my cardio

While I may not love summer fashion, it’s hands-down my favorite season for cooking. Mountains of fresh fruit and veg at every farmer’s market, light summer pastas, pizza on the grill, making pesto out of just about anything…it’s exactly what I want to be cooking (and eating) all year long, but it’s just so easy in the summertime. This is the time of year when I let my CSA box dictate what’s on the menu for dinner, and honestly, I think I love the challenge of it. “Okay, gypsy peppers…what would one do with these?”

All this to say you’ll have to indulge my culinary wanderings a bit more this time of year. Because I’m devouring new cookbooks (and ingredients) as quickly as you’d chow down a plate of my homemade kale chips. My current favorites? I’m so glad you asked. Read on

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must reads: june (aka: my summer reading list, part one)

June's Must Reads, via shopping's my cardio

Friends, it’s time to start compiling those summer reading lists! Truly, I look forward to my summer reads all year. I’m a positively voracious reader in these warm months – all that extra daylight finds me, more often than not, sunning myself on my deck, devouring my latest find. Every summer, I start out with a few sophisticated, smart novels and nonfiction picks, but by August, it’s all about the lazy beach reads. So, before this month totally gets away from me, allow me to present Part the One of my summer reading list: Read on

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must reads: pretty picks for a lazy long weekend

Time & Tide, images by Christian Chaize, via Shopping's My Cardio

Is there anything better than the Friday before a long weekend? Especially when that long weekend is the one that marks the beginning of an entire season of sunny days, watermelon and swimming pools.

I plan to spend my Memorial Day doing…well, not much. Lots of lazing around on the deck, during which I’ll probably be sipping a glass of wine iced tea and poring over some of the pretty, pretty books that have landed on my desk this month.

Wouldn’t you just kill for your Memorial Day to have a view like this?   Read on

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must read: maya’s notebook

allende must read: mayas notebook

Friends, a couple of weeks ago, I had one of those life experiences that gets me really excited about writing. More often than not, those experiences involve meeting other writers. But this time, it wasn’t just another writer – it was Isabel Allende.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, let me say this: if you ask me for a book that will change you – really and truly change the way you think about reading and about writing – I will send you a copy of The House of the Spirits. (No, really…I’ve sent it to at least a half dozen people.) Her writing is like nothing else. It is lyrical, epic, and more full of imagination and impossibilities than anything I’ve ever experienced.

So, when I heard she was giving a lecture nearby to launch her newest book, Maya’s Notebook, the wonderful people at Harper (her publishers) were kind enough to let me attend. And it was remarkable. Read on

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must reads: april

Friends, I have such a tremendous stack of Must Reads for you this spring! Truly, I haven’t seen this many amazing new titles cross my desk in a very, very long time. I’ll have more for you in a few weeks, but so far, these are the stories I can’t put down.

april must reads must reads: aprilShocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli and Me – Patricia Volk’s new memoir has a strange premise, and I was skeptical. But I ended up utterly entranced. As a child, Volk recalls her father buying designer Elsa Schiaparelli’s perfume, Shocked, for her mother every year, remembering the bottle, the fragrance and the gift’s presentation in exquisite detail. She then stumbles upon a biography of Elsa and is taken by her approach to life, a completely different perspective from the one she receives from her mother. It’s a stunning portrait of her home life, interwoven with Elsa’s life, but the pieces I love best are the details about what it meant to be a woman of style in the 1950s. There’s a fantastic scene where Patricia and her mother go to have a fur coat made, and she details the entire experience: her mother teaching her how to choose pelts, all of the work and multiple fittings, but also how it felt, and what it clearly meant to her mother to go through the process. If you have any love of memoirs or curiosity about fashion the way your grandmother would have experienced it, it’s a must.

The Secretary – Most of you don’t know this, but besides my former lawyering, I had a brief fling with politics. It ended in a fiery crash of disaster suitable for a Lifetime movie, and I still develop a nervous tic when someone tries to talk shop with me, ten years later. But talk to me about Hillary Clinton, and my eyes will still light up like the idealistic ingenue I once was. I can’t get enough of her no-nonsense, balls-out approach to power, and I want to know more, more, more about this woman who can weather any storm and rise to any (almost…oh, so very close!) height. While wearing a scrunchie, even! Kim Ghattas’ new memoir of her time covering the Secretary of State’s tenure for the BBC is every bit the insider’s view I’d hoped it would be. Packed with details about every major event Clinton presided over, the whole thing is incredibly well-written and honest, yet respectful. Modern history buffs and fans of women in power, this one’s for you.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls – David Sedaris. For some of you, that’s all you had to hear – you’re clicking to buy this very moment. But for me…Sedaris and I haven’t always gotten along. I find him funny, sure, but I always felt there was a lot of wading through minutiae to get to that great one-liner in each story. But not this time. I can’t tell if I’ve changed or if he has, but his latest is hilarious, for the most part, peppered with subtle jabs and full-blown, laugh-out-loud moments. He still didn’t get every laugh he wanted out of me, but we’re definitely on the right track. I’d suggest reading with a glass of wine in one hand, and a friend sitting nearby to whom you can read particularly hilarious passages aloud. Isn’t that what humor books are for?

As Sweet As Honey – If you’re looking for a novel to whisk you away to distant shores, Indira Ganesan’s latest is your ticket. Set on a remote island in the Indian Ocean, it paints stunning pictures of a slice of the world most of us aren’t likely to see, and a culture whose customs and colors are so bright, strong and full of life, you can’t help but be dazzled. As Sweet As Honey is the story of a woman who doesn’t quite fit into her native culture, trying to navigate a path between her family’s hyper-traditional expectations and a more progressive way of life. This is a character novel at its very best – by the second chapter, you can actually see every person that walks into the room in your mind’s eye.

What are you reading this month?

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