Ruth Reichl memoirs, ‘Yes Please’, Lena Dunham and more

I’ve been trying to read more this year. I’m using a notebook that I bought at City Lights Books in San Francisco to list every book I read this year. Counting my friend Joel Kelly‘s short eBook “No Greater Love Than This” (and count it I do – you should, too!) I’m currently at fourteen.

I’d say my usual average for the year is around ten, so this is awesome for me.

amy-poehler-yes-pleaseThe last book I read was Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I loved it, and I need to go back and read it again RIGHT NOW with a notebook and pen so I can write down all the great advice she gives. Only I can’t, because I’ve already jumped into Lena Dunham’s book Not That Kind of Girl. Gah! How am I supposed to keep up with all these smart, witty women and their stupid amazing books?

I felt like Amy and I share a few qualities. A certain spunk and passion that, maybe sometimes, can turn into self-righteousness, defensiveness, and a tendency to anger quickly. She’s older than me, so I felt like she had some good tips on how to handle this personality. (Tina Fey’s book reminded me more of my smart, sensitive sister Allison. Together we will take over the world! Though realistically, we probably both related most to Mindy Kaling. She is younger, childless, and I believe more of a writer than a performer at heart.)

I think you already know whether you’ll like Amy Poehler’s book. If you like her, you’ll love it. If you’ll be bored by stories about what a woman in her forties has learned so far, the ins and outs of sketch comedy, SNL and Parks and Recreation, and how very tired Amy Poehler is then, you know, give it a pass.

I spent three weeks in Italy back in September, and during that trip I read a lot. On planes, on trains, and in bed trying to wind down from the day’s adventures. I read all three memoirs by New York Times restaurant critic Ruth Reichl. These books were fascinating, and perfect to read while abroad. Experiencing food is one of my favorite parts of traveling, and she really made me think about flavors and presentation and cuisine in general a lot more. She is also an incredibly interesting woman with a colorful, strange life. The books are called Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me With Apples, and Garlic and Sapphires.

ruth reichl memoirsI also read Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. It’s a collection of essays on topics ranging from racism, to feminism, to pop culture, to competitive Scrabble playing. It was a fast, interesting read that riled me up and made me think.

not that kind of girlI’d love to read at two or three more books this year. I’ve barely cracked the cover of Dunham’s, but what should I read next?

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