Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read. — Grouch Marx
I‘ve always been a voracious reader. From the time I was young, books have been among my steadiest comrades accompanying me through all seasons of life. Nowadays you’ll find my nose buried in a page-turner in checkout lines, waiting rooms, park benches, and comfortable couches. As a writer, I get a rush from finding the perfect word to describe the day’s unfoldings and swoon over syntax. In short, I’m what you might call a word nerd. It should come as no surprise that I start every day with a crossword and have fallen prey to biting off more books than I can chew too many times to count. This summer I’ll be sharing what’s on my reading list, so find a cozy corner, settle in, and stay tuned!
If you haven’t heard of Brené Brown, it’s time you were acquainted. A self-described “storyteller”, Brown lives up to the name. She’s a leading researcher on shame, authenticity, and belonging, and recently landed her own Netflix special. This is my second time reading this gem and I’m so glad I picked it up again. For the perfectionists and people-pleasers among us, you’ll find yourself relating to Brown’s candid portrayal of her struggle to live authentically while harnessing the courage to see beyond the tales of unworthiness we so often tell ourselves. Drawing on years of research around our desire to fit in, Brown reminds us with her characteristic wit and wisdom what it means to live wholeheartedly and how we can come to better embrace our messy, imperfect selves.
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table — Molly Wizenberg
Meet Molly: food blogger, podcast producer, New York Times bestselling author, and all-around inspiring human. In her first book, Molly seamlessly weaves together memories of her family (her father, affectionately known as “Burg”, and her mother, “Like those impossibly tiny lamps and teacups you find in dollhouses, she inspires a lot of cooing, and though she’s very assertive, people often want to pat her on the head.”) and her journey into adulthood with the recipes that complement each person, period, and place she’s encountered. Another repeat read, this book will leave you simultaneously salivating and wishing the author would invite you to dinner (as much for the delightful conversation as for the famously good food.) At once lyrical and relatable, this is an ideal book to carry along on your commute or curl up with under the shade of a tall tree.
Together Tea — Marjan Kamali
Have you ever finished a book only to wish you could follow along for the next part of the journey? The nostalgia I felt for Marjan Kamali’s colorful characters in the days after I put this book down was strong. More than the story of a mother’s longtime quest to find her daughter the ideal husband, Together Tea centers on an Iranian-American family as they come to better understand their identities while learning to navigate two very different worlds. Kamali masterfully navigates the post-Revolution landscape of Iran, as 25-year-old Mina returns to her roots, reencountering the faces and places that have shaped her life since she was a young girl. A tale of self-discovery, tradition, and belonging, this book pairs perfectly with a cup of tea.
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) — Elaine Welteroth
Since the release of her first book, Elaine Welteroth has been on fire. And for good reason! As former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, Elaine was the youngest person ever appointed editor-in-chief and in 2012 had been the first African American ever to hold the post of beauty and health director at a Condé Nast publication. In this riveting memoir, Elaine chronicles what it was like finding her identity as a woman of mixed race in predominantly white environments and how she rose through the ranks of media and fashion while challenging the status quo. Imbued with lessons on race, privilege, and relentless determination, this book is a must-read for anyone who’s ever questioned their value or potential.