My favorite thing to do when the temperature drops is read, read, read. It helped this year, having no power for 11 days (thanks, Sandy!)...I had endless amounts of time to go through books. When the holidays roll around and I find myself cuddled up on my in-laws couch, by the fire, I can't get enough things to read; I run through books like mad. So, while you're cuddled up by the fire, and need something to read, here's my list of recent books that I've really enjoyed reading...add yours in the comments section, tweet me, or come find me on Good Reads!

  1. The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson: What would happen if your parents were perfomance artists and you were part of the act? Ask Annie and Buster Fang. This was a can't-put-down book which had you both caring for the characters, all the while not always agreeing with their decision making. And you know how sometimes wonderful books have horrible endings? Not this one. I'd give it a go for any long plane ride, cold nights by the fire, or any time you need to escape into another family's craziness. 
  2. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl: I read this book fully years ago, and since then, I'll pick it up and read parts here and there. The best way to explain this book is: what a wild ride. It's like a rollercoaster and you just don't know what's to come next. 
  3. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn: Continuing with the theme of insane families, Geek Love is probably the most twisted, convoluted, and painful books I've ever read. What would happen if two people decided to intentionally create children with disabilities all in the name of turning them into a sideshow act? Yes, you heard me right. Though at times this book was unbelievably painful and made me wince, I couldn't put it down. It's simply insane. There's so many deeper meanings in Geek Love, that something in this story will touch your heart and make you question everything. 
  4. Sleepwalk With Me and Other Painfully True Stories by Mike Birbiglia: Sometimes you just need a book which will make you laugh out loud. During the hurricane I needed something at night, when the dark came upon us, to make my eyes water with delight. This was 100% the book for that. It's basically short stories all about Birbiglia's life; I warn you, don't read this around people...they'll think you're crazy for laughing so hard. 
  5. Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh: Jennifer Haigh is one of my favorite writers. Every novel of hers is so perfectly crafted. Mrs. Kimble is no different. A little Mad Men, a little crazy family drama, and a lot of wonderful stories, Mrs. Kimble will keep you captured until the last page. 
  6. Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl : I picked this book up in the faculty room (we have a little library in there!), and would read it slowly, over time, on says off from school. I've read other of Reichl's works, and this one was different in that it was less about the food, and more about her process in writing about the food. I loved all the different personas she takes on during her stint as the food critic. It also delves more into her as a mother, which is also refreshing and fun to read about. 
  7. Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman: Though I don't have kids, I love reading parenting books. For some reason, I resisted reading this for a while, thinking it would be preachy or boring, but it was so the opposite! What a fantastic, thought-provoking sociological read for anyone, kids or not! 
  8. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thomson Walker: Sigh. Sometimes a book comes along and it's your new favorite book to recommend to every single person you talk to. That is what The Age of Miracles is to me. I've told everyone from 7th grade students to best friends to strangers to read this book. And you know what? Everyone loves it. What would happen if the rotation of the world slowed down? Would people change? This novel is a must read for anyone who loves...reading. Or thinking. Or people. Well, scratch that, you don't need to love people to read this book, you need to love people watching. 
  9. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta: I read and loved Little Children years ago, so I started reading The Leftovers with the hope that I would love it too, and I certainly did. I am a huge fan of family-drama novels which make your mind whirl. 
  10. Composed: A Memoir by Rosanne Cash: I'm sure you know by now, but I'm a huge memoir fan. This was by far one of the best memoirs I've ever read. I read it in one night! Cash's relationship with her father, her family, and music is so compelling and fascinating to read about. I felt like I had just had lunch with a good friend after reading this book. 
  11. Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated by Alison Arngrim: My mother read this book first and couldn't stop raving about it. She was 100% right. Arngrim has had a crazy, wild life and this book is no holds barred. There were times this book made me laugh out loud, and times it made my heart hurt. She's an awesome person and a fantastic writer. 
  12. It Starts With Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig: As you know, I'm a huge fan of the Paleo lifestyle, and especially of the good ol' Whole30. Well, the Hartwigs originated the Whole30 plan, and this book (true fact: this is the only book I've ever bought for my Nook!) has become my bible in so many ways. 
  13. Anchored In Love : An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash by John Carter Cash: I was on this Carter family kick, and decided to delve into June Carter Cash's life. This book is interesting in many ways because it was written from such an intimate perspective: her son's point of view. There were so many things that I never knew about the Carter-Cash clan! This was a good and quick read. Perfect for traveling. 
  14. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver: I'd never read a Kingsolver book, but I loved this one. The Bean Trees is like a mental adventure in growing up. You truly care about the characters you meet along the way, and all the paths the characters take make you think about your own path in life. 
  15. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout: This was by far one of the most beautiful books I've ever read in my life. It's a collection of short stories which all revolve around one main character. This book would make a wonderful present, and it is a must have for any book lover's collection. 

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