Top Ten Tuesday




This week’s Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Best Beach Reads. I’m not generally one to discriminate between “beach read” and “non-beach read”–I typically just lug along whatever I’m reading at the time–so maybe you don’t consider these to be the best sea- or poolside reading material. It’s just sort of a hodgepodge of books that I either have read by the pool or at the beach, think would be good to read there, or intend to read there on my vacation this year. On y va!

1. Attachments, Rainbow Rowell: I read this by the pool last year and thus I will always consider this a summer book. A relatively quick read with an engrossing, sometimes heartbreaking plot and characters you want to hug and befriend. Now that I’ve read more of her work, I know this is typical Rainbow Rowell. She’s just fantastic with characterization.

2. Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell: Another great one, for all the aforementioned reasons.

3. Tender is the Night,  F. Scott Fitzgerald: I know a lot of people are jumping on the Gatsby train this year because of the movie, and you should do yourself a favor and check out more of Fitzgerald’s work. He is one of my favorite authors and Tender is the Night is one of my favorite of his books. Taking place on the French Riviera in the 1920s, it tells the story of the disintegration of It Couple Dick and Nicole Diver’s marriage, as well as the disillusionment of starlet Rosemary Hoyt.

4. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir, Jenny Lawson: This book is quite honestly one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever read. Only read it it public if you aren’t ashamed of unbridled laughter.

5. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen: I read this for the first time on the beach so again, this is a summer read to me. Froth, fun, romance–why not?

6. The Lost Girl, Sangu Mandanna: I would read this in a box. I would read this with a fox. I would read this here or there. I would read this anywhere (including the beach).

7. Good for You, Tammara Webber: This is the third book in Webber’s Between the Lines series, so you have to read Between the Lines and Where You Are to get to this one… but it is definitely the strongest of the three out so far, and the final installment, Here Without You, will be released in time for my beach trip in August. I sense a series reread and some pretending my eyes are just watering because I got sand in them.

8. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Mindy Kaling: Another hilarious memoir. Mindy and I would most likely be BFFs IRL.

9. Going Too Far, Jennifer Echols: My main gripe with Jennifer Echols’ books is that the resolutions seem to come about so abruptly. This one, however, is a fun, quick read and full of zany characters and witty repartee.

10. The Awakening, Kate Chopin: If you read it you will understand why I consider it “beachy.”


Cookies — Martha Stewart

4/5 stars
Goodreads summary: The perfect cookie for every occasion.

Cookies are the treat that never disappoints. Whether you’re baking for a party or a picnic, a formal dinner or a family supper–or if you simply want something on hand for snacking–there is a cookie that’s just right. In Martha Stewart’s Cookies, the editors of Martha Stewart Living give you 175 recipes and variations that showcase all kinds of flavors and fancies. Besides perennial pleasers like traditional chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin, there are other sweet surprises, including Rum Raisin Shortbread, Peppermint Meringue Sandwiches with Chocolate Filling, and Lime Meltaways.

Cleverly organized by texture, the recipes in Martha Stewart’s Cookiesinspire you to think of a classic, nostalgic treat with more nuance. Chapters include all types of treasures: Light and Delicate (Cherry Tuiles, Hazelnut Cookies, Chocolate Meringues); Rich and Dense (Key Lime Bars, Chocolate Mint Sandwiches, Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies); Chunky and Nutty (Magic Blondies, Turtle Brownies, White Chocolate-Chunk Cookies); Soft and Chewy (Snickerdoodles, Fig Bars, Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies); Crisp and Crunchy (ANZAC Biscuits, Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti, Almond Spice Wafers); Crumbly and Sandy (Cappuccino-Chocolate Bites, Maple-Pecan Shortbread, Lemon-Apricot Sandwiches); and Cakey and Tender (Lemon Madeleines, Carrot Cake Cookies, Pumpkin Cookies with Brown-Butter Icing).

Each tantalizing recipe is accompanied by a lush, full-color photograph, so you never have to wonder how the cookie will look. Beautifully designed and a joy to read, Martha Stewart’s Cookies is rich with helpful tips and techniques for baking, decorating, and storing, as well as lovely gift-packaging ideas in standout Martha Stewart style.

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Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner

3/5 stars
Goodreads summary: 
A cookbook designed to recreate the atmosphere of dining on the famous, doomed luxury liner serves up such recipes as Lobster Thermidor, Quail’s Eggs in Aspic with Caviar, and Poached Salmon with Dilled Mousseline Sauce and Cucumber.


History! And food!

This is a quick read with some historical accounts, both firsthand and second, peppered throughout. I already knew the historical facts (she said smugly) but I did enjoy the narrative way in which they were presented here. Also: pretty pictures!

As for the actual recipes, I haven’t cooked any of them yet and I will certainly never be making an authentic eleven-courseTitanic-themed meal for my friends and family, as the book suggests. Make your own damn Tournedos aux morilles and Homard Thermidor, buddy! However, there were a few smaller things in there that I would love to try, like the Punch Romaine–booze sorbet, yum!–and which I will probably make after Christmas, when my line of work goes back to its usual lull and the thought of shopping anywhere no longer makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a spoon.

Three stars for being interesting and a nice collectible, but docked a fourth because when you say you’ve “adapted the Edwardian recipes for the modern kitchen,” I don’t expect to have to go hunt down rose water and quail eggs to make the stuff. (Apparently quail eggs are easy to obtain? Can anyone confirm this?)

Awkward: A Survival Guide for When All You Can Do is Cringe — Sam Scholfield

4/5 stars

This is a quick review for a quick read. I am by nature a very awkward person, so I was beyond excited to win an ARC of this through First Reads. And it’s full of useful advice! For example:

* What to do if you change your Facebook relationship status and your new flame doesn’t.
* How to handle the STD talk–I have one, I just found out I have one, you gave me one.
* When you say something snarky about a friend/coworker/family member and that person overhears it.
* How to handle communal fridge wars (this is one I particularly appreciated, since human decency seems to completely break down in the face of a shared refrigerator).
* When you are dating two or more girls at once and at #1’s office holiday party you guys meet up with #2 (favorite hypothetical scenario: Neither girl cares, so “propose a threesome immediately. Opportunities like this don’t come around every day.”)
* How to let someone down on a first or second date when you realize there’s no way it’ll work out.
* What to do when you spill pinot on your girlfriend’s parents’ new white suede couch during your first Thanksgiving at their house (“look up ‘how to remove red wine from a white suede couch’ on your phone. Contemplate, while the answer is loading, whether or not you should be concerned that your girlfriend’s parents just bought a white suede couch”).
* What to do when someone confesses their love for you and says they’ll hurt themselves if you don’t reciprocate.

Scholfield also shares humorous awkward stories from herself and others. It was a fun read that had me laughing out loud quite a few times. Though she does make some tongue-in-cheek suggestions on how to deal with awkward situations, there are also many realistic and truly helpful ones and I imagine I’ll be referencing this book many times in the years to come.

Also posted on Goodreads.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking — Susan Cain

3/5 stars

Description from Goodreads: At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

Perhaps most inspiring, she introduces us to successful introverts–from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Finally, she offers invaluable advice on everything from how to better negotiate differences in introvert-extrovert relationships to how to empower an introverted child to when it makes sense to be a “pretend extrovert.”

This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.

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