Bossy Book Club

My first week at Glyndebourne, I was sitting alone at an outside table at Bill's in Lewes, basking in the sunshine, devouring a caesar salad, and reading the Elizabeth II biography on my Kindle. A man stopped in the street, pointed his index finger at me, and said, "Shame on you! Get a real book!" In shock, I stammered a couple sentences in my defense, but he was having none of it. He kept arguing and threw in a few more "Shame on yous" for good measure before leaving me to my dinner and my reading.

What can I say? I love real books in my house, but when I'm traveling I prefer my reading material digital. Shame on me.

Inspired by Tara, I thought I'd share a few exceptional books I've read this summer. Don't worry—all of them are available in non-digital form, in case you want to avoid being shouted at in the street.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
This lush novel somehow manages to be both epic and immensely personal. It tells several intertwining stories, beginning in 1962 on the Italian Riviera and traveling to modern-day Hollywood. The compelling story is exquisitely written. It's the one I'll be talking about to everyone I know. Highly recommended.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
A young wife goes missing on her 5th wedding anniversary in this thriller narrated by both the husband and the wife. The pacing and plotting are exciting and the characters are completely fascinating. You might stay up way too late reading this one.

The Mansion of Happiness by Jill Lepore
This is a sprawling non-fiction book that explores all stages of life through specific historical accounts. Which sounds really boring, and I'll admit it took me a chapter to get into it (the book starts with a too-long explanation of the Mansion of Happiness board game), but once I did I found it  totally riveting. Each chapter is a story unto itself, so I recommend reading it in small chunks over a longer period of time. As a bonus, you'll have lots of new trivia to break out at dinner parties.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) is possibly the funniest person on Earth, so of course I bought her book in hardcover so I can read it many times and maybe loan it out to people when they're sad. I laugh out loud pretty much every time I read her blog, and her book did not disappoint. This is not the book to read while riding public transportation, unless you want people staring at you while you unsuccessfully try to stifle your snorts of laughter.

What have you loved reading lately? I'm always looking for more recommendations.


  1. I'm right there with you, when I travel I use my Kindle as well... it's much easier than carting around books (even though I do love flipping those pages!) Thanks for the great reviews and recommendations! I’m currently reading “Turkoise” by Joan M. Sargent. If you go to her website,, you can find out more about her and the book. It’s truly captivating, and I highly recommend it! I’ve been searching for another book for when I’m finished with this one and you've provided a great list to pick from! I just looked them up on Amazon and I'm particularly drawn to "Let's Pretend This Never Happened". Thanks again!

    1. Thanks, Amanda! I will definitely check out "Turkoise."

  2. Yes, it's trendy and recommended by Oprah, but "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed is a good read. I heard about it from Tea (Tea and Cookies blog-which you should check out if you're not familiar). "The Hare with Amber Eyes" by Edmond de Waart is beautifully written and quite moving. I just started "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel (finally) and it's hard to put down. If you liked "Gone Girl," you should definitely read Tana French -- she has a new one just out but start with "In the Woods." Enjoy your reading!

    1. I also enjoyed "Wild"—we're so trendy. :) And "Wolf Hall" is one of my favorites. Tana French has been on my list for a while. Time to give her a try! Thanks for the recommendations.


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