Book It! And get a personal pan pizza!

Or … just enjoy some good reads and omit that grease from your diet. Whatever.

Here are a few books that I’ve enjoyed (or not) as of late.

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants – I’m pretty much the last human on the planet to read Malcolm Gladwell. There, I said it. Feel free to shame me openly. I don’t know why I’ve resisted his books, but I enjoyed this one. His approach to revisiting ideas that are mostly givens (but shouldn’t be) is refreshing. Except for the section about people whose kids had been murdered, this was a really invigorating read. (Dead kids. I just can’t do it.)

Fragile Beasts: A Novel – In Coal Run and Back Roads, Tawni O’Dell so beautifully captures small-town life, its politics, and its bittersweet honesty. In Fragile Beasts, some of that delicate narrative is there, but she also intersperses tales of Spain and bullfighting. Now, I’m from a small town, so those sections really spoke to me. But I’m not from Spain, so the bullfighting sections? Not so much. Still, an engrossing read.

Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama from the Golden Age of American Cinema – Gurl, I love me some old-school Hollywood gossip. Current gossip? Ehh. But give me a Mack Sennett bathing beauty with a coke problem or a 1930s gangster actor with a little bigamy issue, and I’m all over it. Anne Helen Petersen is literally a doctor of celebrity gossip and wrote a series of fascinating columns for The Hairpin. Now, she’s pulled together all new content about the Hollywood truth machine in this fab book. Pickford and Fairbanks? Check. Bogey and Bacall? Check. Montgomery Clift? Oh, check. Check it out.

At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life – It’s no secret that I love me some Wade Rouse. He’s hilarious and honest, and this memoir of leaving the city to live amongst nature and dirt and stuff is funny and tender. Wade isn’t afraid to dish about times when he was a fish out of water and looked like a fool. Sure, his ego might have taken a hit, but we readers benefit. This book is also a lesson in accepting yourself and how imperfections make our perfection.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald – Therese Anne Fowler novelized the life of the most infamous author’s spouse around. This book is at times energizing and at others heartbreaking. Mostly, it raises the question of whether Zelda really was crazy, or just a narcissist trapped by a bad marriage and restrictive gender roles. When I read The Paris Wife, I decided that I’d made a good life choice by not marrying Ernest Hemingway. After reading Z, I determined that not marrying Scott Fitzgerald was a similar life win.

So, friends, what are you reading? What should I pick up next?

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  • Reply Becky November 14, 2014 at 12:31 am

    I have not read Malcolm Gladwell. So there.

    I followed the Goldfinch up with "The Preacher" by Camilla Lackberg. It was a mystery about young girls who disappeared and were murdered, which became a little too close to the headlines here for me to want to finish it. I did though, and now I'm mental flossing with some Tom Robbins – Another Roadside Attraction. Right before The Goldfinch I finished a super creepy Stephen King book (Black House) that is still sort of lingering and in the interest of nightmareless sleep, I promised my husband I'd space the creepy books out more.
    There's a stack of cookbooks I've also read recently, but most of those I end up blogging about.

  • Reply Green Girl in Wisconsin November 14, 2014 at 2:06 am

    I've read a couple Gladwells, also sharing your affection for OLD Hollywood gossip.
    I suspect most famous male authors are impossible to live with.
    Am reading a lot of dystopian YA fiction right now. Feed is pretty good. Maze Runner is up next.

  • Reply slow panic November 14, 2014 at 11:41 am

    I"ve read one Gladwell and enjoyed it. Of course I can't remember which one….

    Currently reading a couple of Cesar Millan's books because we are having challenges introducing a third dog into the house.

    Need to find some good fiction to get me through the holidays.

  • Reply Tracye B November 14, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Have you ever read Fannie Flagg's Standing in the Rainbow? This is a small town book that absolutely charmed me. Read it at least 12 years ago and still think about it.

  • Reply Cha Cha November 15, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Oooh! I have The Goldfinch but am daunted by it's size. Maybe I need some Tom Robbins, too.

  • Reply Cha Cha November 15, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Girl, you will love Anne Helen Peterson. For real.

  • Reply Cha Cha November 15, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    I'm interested to hear how the Cesar stuff goes. Love his show, but my attempts to be the pack leader have been … well, you know.

  • Reply Cha Cha November 15, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Oooh! Thanks for the rec – I'll look for that one!

  • Reply Karen (formerly kcinnova) January 20, 2015 at 5:20 am

    I've only read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.
    I really enjoyed "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" a few weeks ago.

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