Oh wow. WHAT A GOOD MONTH OF READING. Seriously. The best. I don’t remember the last time I had so many books on a list that I truly just… absolutely adored and loved… and kept thinking about (and talking about!) afterward. It was a really amazing month of reading. I still can’t stop talking about Save Me The Plums to anyone who asks or doesn’t ask and I couldn’t be more excited to talk about Three Women later this month on the podcast. And everything else I read was really good, too!
I’m always looking for great recommendations… tell me what you’ve been reading in the comments!
IF YOU’RE NEW HERE AND ARE LOOKING FOR A BOOK, DON’T FORGET THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS CHECK OUT MY BOOK CLUB PAGE.
Every month I update it with everything I read – it includes every.single.book I’ve read in the past few years. The best part is that you can filter + search by genre (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, etc!) to find exactly what you’re looking for. I always add whatever it is that I’m currently reading in real-time to my Amazon Shop. I also just posted a roundup of my favorite business books… and if you’re feeling like you need even more book recs, check out last month’s list.
What I Read In July 2019
The Food Memoir of my Dreams…
Save Me The Plums by Ruth Reichl
Oh WOW. I could not put this book down! You should know that a) I am a big foodie and b) and I always dreamed of working for a magazine, so this book (chronicling the rise and fall of Gourmet magazine during Reichl’s ten years of running the show as editor in chief). I just loved it. Ruth is a former food critic who was brought in to bring big changes to the magazine (and she does!) Save Me The Plums takes you inside the glamorous world of Conde Nast during its heyday… from S.I. Newhouse’s birthday party (and art collections!) to the private kitchen inside the magazine, with looks at all of the most famous celebrity chefs. I don’t remember the last time I loved a book so much. I cried during the bits about 911 and then again at the end when Conde Nast decided to fold the magazine. It’s just so good and her writing is incredible. Now I have just two small goals: read all of her other books, and get her on the podcast!
- Overall Score: A+
The buzzy non-fiction book (that feels like fiction).
Three Women, by Lisa Taddeo.
This book has gotten an incredible amount of publicity, and for good reason. It’s one of those books that you can’t stop thinking about, days later. Lisa Taddeo followed three women (and their sex lives) over the course of eight years. And the result is fascinating… something that reads like fiction but is actually 100% true. There’s Lina, whose husband won’t touch her – won’t even kiss her. They see a therapist who takes the side of her husband. Lina begins an extramarital affair with her high school boyfriend. And then there is Maggie, who had an affair with her teacher when she was a student. Years after it happened, she speaks out against him publicly. And then there is beautiful Sloane, who is happily married but whose husband enjoys watching her with other men (or women). I couldn’t put this down. I read it in just a few days. But what really struck me was how Taddeo was able to craft such a compelling narrative out of all three women’s lives. She’s an incredible storyteller. I couldn’t recommend it enough and it’s also August’s pick for the podcast!
- Overall Score: A+
Two fun thrillers that kept me up all night!
Lock Every Door, by Riley Sager.
Well, first of all, I’m still coming to terms with the fact that Riley Sager is a man. He does such a good job writing from the female perspective. This is a fun one. It’s terrifying, with a great mystery and a touch of New York City glamour. Jules is struggling with just about everything (she loses her boyfriend – a cheater, and her job on the same day) and thinks maybe her luck is changing when she gets a dream offer: the chance to be paid ($4,000 a month) to apartment sit in one of New York City’s most beautiful (and mysterious) apartment buildings – fixing her problem of being homeless and broke all at once. Of course, things are not what they seem. Within a few days of arriving, her new friend Ingrid (a fellow apartment sitter) disappears. And Ingrid learns of the building’s tragic past. I read this one in 24 hours. It got to that point where it was 10:45 pm and I’d been reading for an hour but had to keep going as I was too scared to put it down – I had to finish it to know what happened! Highly recommend!
- Overall Score: A-
Okay, this one frustrated me a little bit because the ending felt like a bit of a cop-out (did you read this? Do you agree!?) but I still really enjoyed it. The novel opens up with the main character, Rowan, writing her lawyer from jail after being put on trial for murdering a little girl. But first, we must back up. We get to know Rowan as she stumbles across the job of her dreams, nannying for what seems to be the perfect family in the Scottish countryside. A beautiful home, an extremely high paying salary… it seems too good to be true. (If we learned anything from Lock Every Door), if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. The parents leave her for weeks on end, ghosts seem to be haunting the place. One night, all the lights + loud music come on. And then there’s the charismatic handyman. And the elderly housekeeper. It’s fast-paced and a pretty quick read because of this, but the ending will definitely haunt you. Or frustrate the f*ck out of you. Either way, it wasn’t the best thriller I read this month but I definitely really enjoyed it!
- Overall Score: B
The YA Novel that’s so much more than that.
With the Fire on High, by Elizabeth Acevedo.
I ordered this without even reading up on it because Akilah recommended it when she came on our podcast. When I opened up the book, I was surprised (and a little bummed) that it was YA. Was this going to be another fluffy high school romance? (It is, sort of – but it’s so much more than that). It’s about a teen mom Emoni growing up in Philly, living with her grandmother and daughter Emma. The book opened up talking about why she gave her daughter a “white” name, and how she hoped it would open up more chances for her. The book is so sweet but all I could think about for so much of it was how privileged and lucky my own highschool days were. Emoni is working multiple jobs, dealing with racial bias (and bias + stares for having had a child so young) all while trying to juggle the usual high school stuff (friend drama! boys! school work! applying to college!) She’s always loved to cook and gets into a culinary arts class (with a trip to Spain). I could honestly go on and on about this book and how sweet + moving it is but I feel like I’m writing out the whole plot and I don’t want to do that!
- Overall Score: A
The literary thriller that keeps you guessing ’til the end.
Tell Me Everything, by Cambria Brockman
Holy moly – this is one of those books that just haunts you after you finish reading it!!! Malin is a college student, with a dark past and a family secret. She attends Hawthorne College up in Maine. Hawthorne is a small, exclusive liberal arts school, where she’s worked hard to build a group of close friends and pushes herself to excel in academia. There’s her best friend: beautiful Ruby who is also the star soccer player, dramatic Gemma (a theatre major, naturally), rich and handsome John, his cousin Max, and Khaled – a prince, naturally. They become the closest of friends but they’re each hiding secrets… Malin probably most of all, working hard to conceal who she really is and her tragic family history. The book opens on senior day, the day before a murder. You know there’s a murder but you don’t know who dies. Throughout, it flashes back to Malin’s childhood in Texas and her freshman year. There’s a small twist, there’s the mystery of who gets murdered… it’s a good one.
- Overall Score: A-
A fun romance novel, aka the perfect beach read!
The Wedding Party, by Jasmine Guillory.
Jasmine Guillory’s books never disappoint. They’re light, fun, easy to read, and just the perfect vacation book. I devoured her other books (I loved The Wedding Date and was medium on The Proposal) and am just such a fan of everything she writes. I should also note that while the books are connected, you don’t need to have read the other books in the series. They all stand on their own perfectly. This one starts with a Hating Game type of plot… Maddie and Theo hate each other. She finds him to be nerdy at best, demeaning and condescending at worst. And he considers her to be the “bitchy hot girl.” But one night, they hook up. And slowly they start finding themselves more and more into each other; to the point where they’re each the first person they turn to in an emergency situation. The story follows all the typical romantic comedy plotlines (they hate each other, they fall for each other, things fall apart, things work out) but that doesn’t make it any less delicious to read.
- Overall Score: B+
top photo by Courtney Hizey.