Every year, I aim to read as much as I can. And though I haven’t read the 52 books in a year that I dream of, I am proud of the number I do complete each year. In 2019, I read 31 books — up from 30 books in 2018 and 2017.
For 2020, my goal is to read 35 books. But more than that, it’s to read consistently, without the reading deserts I find myself in many years.
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White * — It had been a while since I dove into this classic story of Some Pig. And I’m glad I did so again. The vivid writing and sweet sentiments in this are lovely, but the clear-eyed views of life and death make this special as a children’s book.
- American Cuisine by Paul Freedman * — As a food writer, I am fascinated by cuisine, the development of cuisine and the progression of cuisine. This fed all these interests. Freedman takes us on a journey through several centuries of cuisine in the United States
- Riverdale: Get Out of Town by Micol Ostow — I love, love, love Riverdale, the Netflix series, and am really enjoying the fill-in-the-gaps books that correspond with the series. This story was suspenseful in all the right ways. My only complaint though is that these books don’t stand on their own. They are snapshots of days and events not in the series, but there isn’t a sense of closure.
- Survival Instincts by Jen Waite — I read this in two sittings, staying up late both times to read more. That’s how much this book grips you, draws you in and makes you want to read more. The suspenseful story is told on two timelines — one more than a decade prior and one set in the present. When they converge, it’s magic. (Due out 7/2020)
- The Fixed Stars by Molly Wizenberg — In the early days of food blogging, Molly Wizenberg was a powerhouse. She wrote beautifully woven tales of food and life on her site, Orangette. She parlayed that into a column for Bon Appetit that I adored and then she started writing memoirs. A Homemade Life remains among my favorite memoirs ever. When I heard she had a third memoir coming out, The Fixed Stars, I couldn’t wait to read it. While her first two books have strong connections to food, this one is different. It follows Wizenberg, a married woman who has always liked men, as she reckons with her self and her sexuality following a chance encounter with a female prosecutor who captivated her. With strong overtones of family, self-discovery and navigating personal relationships, this breathtaking book is a brave glimpse into a difficult time of change for Wizenberg, as she realizes that she is no longer the same. (Due out 5/2020)
- Trailblazer by Dorothy Butler Gilliam — When Dorothy Butler Gilliam came of age, women didn’t have many career options. And women like her had even fewer. But despite the limitations of society and segregation, she became the first female black reporter for The Washington Post where she broke ground and fought boundaries to accumulate an amazing 50-year-career in journalism. In Trailblazer, she takes us through the difficult time of losing her father, the challenges to grow and become educated at a time when the color of her skin excluded her from places and to develop a career in a city where black people couldn’t readily hail cabs or dine in restaurants. This memoir is a story of struggle and overcoming, of progress and setbacks, of a changing world where civil rights were fought hard for and of a strong, brave journalist who gave the profession her all.