My 2014 Reading List

2014 Reading List (books to read!)I wouldn’t call it a resolution, per se (as soon as I label anything a “resolution,” I am pretty much resolving to never do it), but I’d love to spend more time reading and less time Keeping Up With The Kardashians this year.

Health-Related Reads

You may have noticed by now that I’m kinda into health and fitness. Just a little. A couple of these books were actually recommended by you guys in response to a tweet of mine a few weeks ago. Gotta love social media!

Non-Fiction Reads

Ok, this list of books might officially put me on the no-fly list. But I am not exaggerating even a little when I say I could watch documentaries and read books about drug lords, mobsters, gangsters, villains and serial killers 24/7/365. Don’t be scared of me, please.

  • Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden: I am fascinated by Pablo Escobar. I know I was five when he died, making it impossible, but I still secretly wish I was him in a past life. Weird? Creepy? Whatever.
  • Brutal: The Untold Story of Life Inside Whitey Bulger’s Irish Mob by Phyllis Karas: Living in Boston, all you hear about is Whitey. I’ve been told this book is awesome, and the author even came to the beach I used to lifeguard at on the Vineyard. So now I have to read it.
  • The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory by Jesse Walker: I took a Terrorism class in college one semester (relax, it wasn’t a how-to course), and actually did my final project on 9/11 conspiracy theories. Not saying I necessarily believe them all, but they’re fascinating to read about. This novel covers all the major conspiracy theories in American culture and politics.
  • Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn: C’mon, don’t act like you’re not curious about what was going on in Manson’s head as a kid.
  • Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger: I mean, I couldn’t have this entire list of non-fiction books make you afraid of me. Written by a marketing professor, this book explores what makes things popular—sounds so interesting!
  • Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America by Peter Andreas: Contraband, history, illegal activities, capitalism—sounds like a good read to me!

Classic Reads

After switching my major eight times in college (literally), I accidently (literally) ended up with an English degree. This meant reading lots of the classics, and growing to love over-analyzing complicated, old books. I still feel like there are tons of iconic novels that I haven’t tackled.

  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: 50 Shades of Grey sucked. Literally, but figuratively as well. I’d like some WELL-WRITTEN sexual scandal, thank you very much.
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury is my absolute favorite book ever, so it’s borderline ridiculous that I haven’t read any of Faulkner’s other works.

Beach Reads

You need some quick, enjoyable reading material for the beach and travel.

  • And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini: I’m actually already halfway done with this novel. Hosseini (author of The Kite Runner) is just such a phenomenal writer that even when nothing is really happening in the novel, it’s such an enjoyable read.
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey: I’ve wanted to read this for so long! I hear it’s hilarious—and I’d expect nothing less from Tina Fey.
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling): I actually picked this for book club months and months ago and then never read it. I heard mixed reviews from my friends (most actually didn’t like it), but I’m just so curious to see what a non-Harry Potter novel looks like from Rowling.

Wow. 16 books. I’m going to have to pass on, like, ten Kardashians TV marathons to get through them all this year. I feel smarter already…

What books are on your reading list?

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Boozy Book Club: Gone Girl

Book Club

Next time your significant other calls you “crazy,” just tell him/her to go read Gone Girl and then rethink that statement. Oh, you think going through your text messages while you were in the shower makes me crazy, do you?? Read Gone Girl and you’ll find my mild snooping downright endearing, you ass hole! I want to give examples, but I won’t ruin the book for anyone. It’s nuts though. Read it. Now.

In fact, it was such a page-turner that everyone at Boozy Book Club had finished it (compared to our first meeting, when absolutely no one finished). Don’t worry though—BBC is still an absurd excuse for a book club. Lots of wine. A serious SnapChat session. And at one point, “Ughh, I’m so bad at reading” was even said out loud. (For the record, not by me.)

Of course, the best part of any book club is the food. It was borderline torture for me because I had just started my dairy-free 30-day challenge, but I consoled myself by going HAM on the sweet potato hummus and guacamole that my friend made. My other friend, who brought caprese sliders, made a few with avocado instead of mozzarella, so I was able to enjoy those, too.

I wanted to make a dish that was relevant to the book, and since Nick and Amy eat lobster each year on their anniversary, I went with a lobster crostini with hollandaise sauce and a tomato-champagne reduction. I couldn’t even taste-test the damn thing because of the butter in the sauces, but I’ll be definitely making them again and sharing the recipe when I can actually eat dairy.

Have you guys read Gone Girl? What’d you think??

Boozy Book Club: The 19th Wife

Boozy Book Club: The 19th WifeWhen I decided to move to Southie from the pricier North End, the biggest draw for me was all the extra space I’d be able to afford. I LOVE entertaining, and the idea of being able to fit tons of party guests into my apartment made me giddy. My first thought after signing the lease in September was boozy book club. Hosting a monthly book club makes me feel mature, and hosting a boozy book club reminds me that I’m not. It’s perfect!

Boozy Book Club: The 19th WifeFor the first book club gathering, which was last Thursday, we read The 19th Wife: A Novel by David Ebershoff. No one finished the book in time. Everyone finished their wine. It was just as I imagined it would be.

Although no one had finished the book (I came the closest, though!), we still managed to have a lively discussion about polygamy (The 19th Wife is a novel about the history of the Mormon religion and the sects today that still practice plural marriage), and one of my friends even came prepared with an excerpt she’d highlighted.

So. Mature.

Boozy Book Club: The 19th WifeIn preparing the menu, I originally wanted to incorporate some traditional Mormon recipes, but after doing some research and finding they’re best known for Jell-O molds and casseroles (what the…?), I decided to go in a different direction. Beehives are often used to symbolize the polygamist household, and one of the prominent buildings in Utah under Brigham Young was even called the Beehive House. Bingo! I decided to incorporate honey into my Boozy Book Club menu with raspberry goat cheese crackers with a honey drizzle (recipe will be on the blog later this week!). I also served cheese with crackers and apple slices, and some pita chips with my sweet potato hummus recipe. These have nothing to do with The 19th Wife. Oh well.

Boozy Book Club: The 19th WifeI’m happy to report that I now have finished reading the book, and I would highly recommend it. The concurrent storylines, one fiction and one historic, were fascinating to me because polygamy is such a crazy concept for me to wrap my mind around. I honestly don’t think my faith in anything could outweigh the devastation I would feel if a man I loved and married took other wives. I’d either completely give in to depression or start plotting my husband’s demise. Most likely the latter because that’s the type of wonderful human being I am. This struggle between faith and emotion is played out in both the founding days of the Mormons and in present day throughout the book. And did I mention there’s a murder mystery thrown in there?

Boozy Book Club: The 19th WifeNext month’s Boozy Book Club read is Gone Girl, which I’ve heard is amazing. What are you guys reading these days? Any suggestions for my wine book club?