2018 Book Roundup

curved bookshelf

In 2018, my friend Claire challenged me to read 100 books in a year. In general, I’m not really big on reading challenges. I don’t want to get so focused on hitting goals that I’m not enjoying my books anymore. But 100 books was exactly the right challenge for me. I could still read whatever I wanted, and that number was only a little higher than what I have read in previous years. If I eliminated just a couple of my bad habits, I had enough time to increase my reading time. (That said, if the goal were much higher, it would be totally unattainable, and I wouldn’t bother. Reading is my favorite thing ever, but I do have other hobbies.)

I had a great reading year, because I won’t finish a book I don’t like. There is just no time, my friends. I have no problem setting a book aside if it’s boring. In fact, I think I set more books aside this year than I ever have in the past. 

In addition to the 100 books in 2018 goal, I had three more specific goals: I haven’t read a Jane Austen in a few years, I wanted to re-read Howard’s End (my all time favorite book; it’s been a couple of years since I read it) and I wanted to read the entire Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. I didn’t do ANY of those things! That just means I will add them to my goals for 2019.

Otherwise, I had my usual 50/50 fiction and nonfiction. I don’t do that on purpose, but I do tend to alternate between them throughout the year. In the fiction, I stuck to most of my favorite genres: literary fiction, historical, romance, YA. I did branch out this year into the Cormoran Strike thrillers, and I’m SO glad I did. They are much darker than I’m used to (the second one, especially, is very gruesome) but gaaaaah they are so good.

Here is the overall list, with links to buy if you are interested. And, if you are in the mood for a deep dive, you can also check out my 2017 and 2016 book lists.

Can’t wait to hear what you think, and what suggestions you have for me to read next!


Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Surrender the Pink by Carrie Fisher

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

The Book of Essie by Megan MacLean Weir

No Day Like Today by Amy Teegan

This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

The Story of Alfred Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

That Kind of Mother by Rumaan Alam

Ghosted: A Novel by Rosie Walsh

We the Animals by Justin Torres

Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker

Goodbye Paris by Anstey Harris

The Clothes They Stood Up In by Alan Bennett

Him, Her, Him Again, The End of Him by Patricia Marx

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

Alternative Remedies for Loss by Joanna Cantor

One Day in December by Josie Silver

Historical Fiction

Madam by Libbie Hawker

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray

The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva

The Crucible by Arthur Miller



Bronze by Adele Huxley

Cocky Author by Fettucine Holliday

Thirsty: An Eastside Brewery Novel by Mia Hopkins

Holly Freakin’ Hughes by Kelsey Kingsley

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

Mr. Wrong by Tammi Labrecque

Tikka Chance On Me by Suleikha Snyder

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory



The Wife Between us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Still Life by Louise Penny

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

November Road by Lou Berney

Children’s/Young Adult

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

VIII by H.M. Castor

What Does Consent Really Mean? by Pete Wallis

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

This is Not the End by Chandler Baker

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

This is Me, Period: The Art, Pleasures, and Playfulness of Punctuation by Philip Cowell and Caz Hildebrand


Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things by Amy Dickinson

Obama: An Intimate Portrait by Pete Souza

Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents by Pete Souza

France is a Feast: The Photographic Journey of Paul and Julia Child

L’Appart by David Lebovitz

Calypso by David Sedaris

Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose by Joe Biden

Matched by Denise Massar

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Graphic Novels

Love is Love: A Graphic Novel by Marc Andreyko and Sarah Gaydos

The Museum of Broken Relationships by Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic

The Bridge: How the Roeblings Connected Brooklyn to New York by Peter Tomasi


Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach

Happiness Lessons from the Dalai Lama for Busy Adults by Shannon Berry

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

Gmorning, Gnight: Little Pep Talks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Johnny Sun

The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett

Cookbooks/Food & Drink (Yes, I Read These Cover to Cover, Like a Novel)

Eat, Memory: Great Writers at the Table edited by Amanda Hesser

Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes by Alison Roman

Eat Like Walt: The Wonderful World of Disney Food by Marcy Carriker Smothers

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving by Judi Kingry and Laren Devine

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle

The Ultimate Book of Cocktails: How to Create Over 600 Fantastic Drinks Using Spirits, Liqueurs, Wine, Beer, and Mixers by Stuart Walton


Designing with Succulents by Debra Lee Baldwin

The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes by Justina Blakeney

Moth Orchid Mastery by Raffaele di Lallo

Historical Research for an Upcoming Book, You Will Never Guess Where It’s Set

The Historical Atlas of New York City: A Visual Celebration of 400 Years of New York City’s History by Eric Homberger

Jay’s Journal of Anomalies by Ricky Jay

Forgotten New York: Views of a Lost Metropolis by Kevin Walsh

When Did the Statue of Liberty Turn Green? by Staff of the New-York Historical Society Library

America’s Boardwalks from Coney Island to California by James Lillefors

Coney Island: The History of New York City’s Most Famous Amusement Park Resort by Charles River Editors

Coney Island and Astroland by Charles Denson

Brooklyn: A Personal Memoir by Truman Capote and David Attie

Lost Brooklyn by Marcia Reiss


Write Your Novel From the Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsters, and Everyone In Between by James Scott Bell

Making it in Historical Fiction by Libbie Hawker

The 7Ps of Publishing Success by Mark Leslie Lefebvre

Killing it on Kobo by Mark Leslie Lefebvre

On Writing by Stephen King

Author Business

Learn Amazon Ads by Mark Dawson

Make Art Make Money: Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens

Amazon Decoded: A Marketing Guide to the Kindle by David Gaughran

Market Like a Boss by Honoree Corder and Ben Hale

Strangers to Superfans: A Marketing Guide to the Reader Journey by David Gaughran

Mastering Amazon Ads: An Author’s Guide by Brian Meeks

Stop Trying So Fucking Hard by Honoree Corder

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Saturday Distractions


One of my favorite artists, Austin Kleon, wrote this earlier this week:

I love meeting my readers, but I am so aware that the person who writes the books that they read is the best version of me — the most hopeful, the most helpful version of me. In my day-to-day life, I am as confused, and stupid, and pessimistic as anybody.

I’ve stayed offline lately because I’m having a hard time even finding my best version of myself during a national humanitarian crisis, and my rage won’t help anything. But this blog is mostly about books and recipes and cocktails, and it all feels silly and self-indulgent. I can’t find words to express my fury, and I can’t bear to write falsely optimistic things like Here’s some pie to make you feel better! when there are children in cages.

Constant rage corrodes our hearts; not being enraged is privileged and cruel. So, I’m not going to try to make you feel better, but I will offer you a few things to distract you. Please allow yourself to be distracted for a bit, take care of your precious, furious heart, and then take a deep breath and start punching the Nazis again.

Hope: Here’s another one from Austin Kleon, Beautiful Things Grow Out of Shit. I highly recommend you subscribe to his weekly newsletter. He sends out brief updates about the art he has consumed – books, music, visual. It’s always fascinating and challenges me to search out artists I wouldn’t have found on my own.

Learn: Let’s file this one under “How Did I Wind Up In This Corner of the Internet?”: The Frog Farms of the 1930s were a failure. People are fascinating and frogs are gross.

Eat: We spruced up the backyard and the kids’ friends have an open invitation to come over and lounge around the fire pit to listen to music and roast S’mores. I rarely cook dinner on those nights, but I am becoming a master Cheese Board Maker. It doesn’t have to be fancy; remember, I have a houseful of teenagers so the main rule is just that there is plenty of food. I throw out a mix of good cheese, tomatoes, bread, crackers, olives, meats, and fruits. Sometimes I add hummus and veggies if I’m feeling sassy. Everyone is happy to assemble their own meal out of the various components. This week I added prosciutto wrapped dates to the mix, but that’s about as much effort as I’m willing to put in on a lazy summer night.

Drinking: related to the cheese boards, last night husband snapped “What IS IT with Rosè all of a sudden?” As with everything, you can blame social media, but don’t let that distract you. A good Rosè goes with everything you like to eat in the summer, and bonus: it will make both the red and white wine lovers at your party happy. For a good intro to food/wine pairing, check out this nice visual on Wine Folly.

Reading: What are you reading this week? I’m in the middle of a book about the science of sex. If you’ve never read a Mary Roach book, I highly recommend all of them; they are like a university course taught by a hilarious, charismatic professor. She’s written about death, outer space, ghosts, war, and digestion. All great reads.

Hang in there, friends. Stay tough, stay kind. I love you.



PS – Please donate to RAICES and call your representative.

PS 2 – Have a laugh:

nervous breakdown






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Take Your Goddamn Meds


Anthony Bourdain was my introduction to foul-mouthed, bad boy chefs. But he was much more than that, and if you are not familiar with his work, I encourage you to skip over the salacious stories that are sure to emerge this weekend and instead read about some of the good he did. He was a perfect example of how to be a traveler, but he was also outspoken about the role of the immigrant workers in the restaurant industry. Most importantly, lately he was totally aware of the role he may have had in sexual harassment in food world, and willing to learn and make amends. I have such a deep admiration for flawed people who change.

I’m not one for fashion, but I’ve always admired Kate Spade as a person and businesswoman. There is a danger in thinking people with ‘perfect lives’ have perfect lives.  Instead, let’s have a conversation about the a gender disparity in mental wellness research that we need to account for. Not to mention the unique pressures on women in leadership roles.

If you are struggling, listen to Glennon Doyle: take your goddamn meds and don’t listen to anyone who tries to shame you out of them. The Suicide Prevention Hotline is available to you 24/7. If you don’t need it for yourself, please look around and ask a friend if they need a hand. Even your strong friend. Even your funny friend. Even your loud friend. Let’s fight for each other because we belong to each other.


Want some uplifting book news? It’s small, but let’s take what we can get. I asked my author friends if they’d donate books to a reader who is hospitalized. Hoo-boy, did my people ever come through! It’s especially sweet because there has been some drama in the indie author community recently. I’m not going to bore you with the details of the drama because honestly, it’s just Mean Girl Behavior, and you and I do not have time for that nonsense.

But these authors, my friends, are the opposite of the Mean Girls. They donated books to an ill reader they don’t even know.  They overwhelmed her with books. That? Is freakin’ awesome. Show these generous authors some love when you are picking out something to read this weekend.

Running From a Rock Star by Jami Albright (Romantic Comedy)

Demon’s Soul by Christine Ashworth (Paranormal Romance)

Untold Tales of Dolly Williamson by JM Bannon (Steampunk Thriller)

The Doctor and the Mechanic by Caraway Carter (M/M Romance)

Lost in the Light by Mary Castillo (Paranormal Romance)

Part Time Princess by Pamela DuMond (Romantic Comedy)

Reclaimed Haven by Beth Ann Erickson (Romantic Suspense)

Diondray’s Discovery by Marion Hill (Sci Fi/Fantasy)

Modern Sorcery by Gary Jonas (Science Fiction)

The Zimmah Chronicles by Scott King (Middle Grade Adventure)

Ennara and the Fallen Druid by Angela Shelley (Middle Grade Sci-Fi/Fantasy)

Evasion by Mark Leslie (Thriller)

Sworn by Maria Luis (Military/Romantic Suspense)

Let the Games Begin by Merri Mayweather (Sweet Romance)

Her Vigilante SEAL by Caitlyn O’Leary (Military Romance)

Water Lily by Crystal Packard (YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy)

Echoes of the Heart by Stacey A. Purcell (Contemporary Romance)

Soothsayer by Allison Sipe (Urban Fantasy with an Arthurian Twist)

Would It Be OK to Love You by Amy Tasukada (M/M Romance)

Kisses on a Paper Airplane by Sarah Vance Tompkins (YA Romance)

The Real Cinderella by Yesenia Vargas (Sweet YA Romance)

Brunch at Ruby’s by D.L. White (Contemporary Women’s Fiction)

Free Falling by G.G. Wynter (Contemporary Romance)

Stay well, my friends. Hang in there. I love you.


PS – Legit



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Summer-ish Links

bike sun

This is the time of year when I say things like, “Husband, why won’t you build me an outdoor fire pit surrounded by swings?” And he says, “Dammit Woman, I’m a computer geek, not a carpenter!” And then I point out all the carpenter-type husbands in our neighborhood who would build gigantic swing sets for their wives, because nothing says “I’m an excellent wife” quite like pointing out the skills of other husbands. And then he says, “Yeah, but they can’t fix a computer, can they? It’s all part of the battle of life.”

(I’m just kidding, he doesn’t say that battle of life sentence. That’s a line from Howard’s End, and if Husband actually said it I would faint dead away. If he said it in a British accent I would forgive him for not building me a gigantic fire pit/swing set.)

What really happens when I bitch about not having a fire pit/swing set is that Husband mutters something that I can’t quite hear about how awesome it is to be married to me, and then we go about our merry way in life. Meaning, I scroll Pinterest for a few hours and send him passive aggressive links to gigantic backyard renovations that he ignores. It’s a funny little game we play.

All silliness aside, it’s been a while since we changed anything in the backyard, and that means I’m itchy for a revamp. I’ll start with plants. Most of my plants are productive (except for the fried egg flowers in the front yard) but this year I’d really like to add some colorful, tumbling flowers in goofy pots and unique planters that serve no purpose other than to make us smile when we are outside. Why not?

Am also thinking about a few of those giant sized games – like lawn Yahtzee or Jenga or backyard Scrabble tiles for the lawn. Have you tried them? In my ‘hood, we’d have too much wine and that Scrabble game would get R-rated pretty quickly. But the others might be fun and relatively kid friendly.

Another super fun outdoor activity is reading under the porch lights. (What? Don’t judge me because I athlete differently than you do.) I spotted this porch swing bed on the internet and honestly I might have done a little yelp-scream when I saw it. This is some upper-level lazy, and I am here for it.

There is nothing I love quite as much as a bright, funky backyard, and I’ve spray painted nearly everything we own in an attempt to create a funky, jungle-y vibe. This one, from Justina Blakeney has always been my inspiration. It is the backyard my backyard aspires to be one day.

You did not think I would talk about summer activities all day and not leave you with an excellent recipe? Of course not. I’m just starting to see some peaches at the farmers’ markets, and since it’s not too hot to bake yet, I’m thinking these Peach Tarts with Goat Cheese and Honey are the perfect fit.

Now that I’ve been scrolling Pinterest all morning, it’s time to get out there and make some magic. I hope your weather this weekend is just pleasantly warm enough to get you thinking about fun summer activities, but not warm enough to make you sweat.



PS – Your weekend spit-take:






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Prosecco Heart is Here!

PH cover


“Tabitha never intended to greet her mailman in the nude…”

I was at my local RWA chapter meeting last year when that line popped into my head. I scribbled it on my notes, and started giggling. And could not stop. Who is this wacky lady, standing naked in front of her mailman? I didn’t know why she’d flipped out, but I kept writing. What if she had just found out her husband cheated on her? How about instead of collapsing on the floor in a sobbing mess, she went a little bananas?

I kept scribbling and laughing, and by lunchtime I had most of the first chapter.

This book went through approximately one billion revisions over the last year, but I kept that first chapter almost to the word. It still cracks me up.

I decided to make her a sommelier (I mean, I already wrote about sexy pastry chefs. Time to write about wine, my other favorite hobby…) I sent her across the ocean to meet a sexy Italian. And then I turned her husband into a cheater at home and in their winery. Mayhem ensued.

Tabitha has to decide between protecting her heart or her business.

Can she have it all?

Do the women in my novels get what they want? Yes. Yes, they do, dammit.

This is my first new release in over a year, and I am SO excited to hear what you think!

Prosecco Heart is available NOW everywhere you buy your favorite books!



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The Scone Story


When I re-released Hungry Heart in March, I made a crack on Instagram that if you had the old version of the book, you should not make the scones.

I was not kidding.

Here’s how I found the most embarrassing error of my writing career (so far):

Before I published a book, I used to think that book signings would be the worst part of being an author. What if no one buys a book? What if no one even shows up? What if they do show up and I have to talk to them? I’m an introvert, FFS. I became a writer to avoid people.

But it turned out that signings are my very favorite part of this whole job. Here’s the trick: I bring scones and hand them out to anyone who comes near my table. I’ll go ahead and brag here: I make the best scones you’ve ever eaten. My scones could broker peace between nations. I bring them to all signings, and I’m never lonely. When people say, “Oh, um, I don’t read romance,” and look guilty because they’ve already shoved half a scone into their face, I just offer up another one and say, “Tell me what you do read.” There is nothing I love quite as much as talking about books while eating scones. (Except possibly talking about books while drinking wine. But they don’t let me do that at book signings.) Eventually, I let it slip that the scone recipe is in my book, but I’ve written it down for loads of people who don’t read romance. Recipes are meant to be shared.


One morning in early 2017, I had a book signing at the local library, and I needed to make my scones. I have the recipe memorized, but that morning I spaced out and needed to look at the measurements. Hungry Heart was on the counter next to me. I flipped it open and just about fainted when I saw that instead of 1/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons of baking powder, I had written 1/3 cup baking powder and 2 teaspoons sugar.

One. Third. Cup. Of baking powder.

Think about that weird, metallic soap taste even a pinch of baking powder adds, and then imagine a third of a cup of that. In your scone.

At that point in my career, Hungry Heart was a series of novellas called “The Way to Her Heart,” It had been free for over a year, and had been downloaded over ten thousand times. First of all: How had I not noticed for a YEAR??  Second: How had ten thousand people not noticed?

I can only assume two things: not one of those ten thousand people tried the recipe. OR. Some of them did try the recipe and did not live to tell the tale.

But even though I blew this one the first time around, you should try the recipes in my books. They are fixed now. I had four people check my recipes before this new printing, including one pastry chef. You’re good, calm down.

The Correct, Won’t Make You Barf Scone Recipe from Hungry Heart.

The magic trick of this recipe is that you grate the butter into the dry ingredients. Some people are very efficient using two forks, or one of those pastry cutter gadgets, but I always wind up with flour in my hair. A cheese grater shreds your cold butter into perfect, tiny bits, and it’s much easier to use.

2 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp salt

¼ cup very cold unsalted butter

¾ cup heavy whipping cream

1 large egg

1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Additions * (optional, in any combination and as much as you like): chocolate chips, white chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, citrus zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a cheese grater, grate the cold butter into the flour mixture. Mix with your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, stir together the cream, egg, and vanilla. Add the cream mixture to the flour/butter mixture and stir it with a fork until combined. Add any additions you want.

Drop large mounds of dough (maybe a quarter cup size) onto a lined cookie sheet. If you prefer, you can pat the dough out and cut it into biscuit shape, squares or wedge shapes. I like the craggy peaks of a drop scone, but you do you.

Bake 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the scones from the cookie sheet to a wire rack and let cool about 10 minutes. Serve warm. Cooked scones freeze well, though they are delicate.

*My current favorite version of this scone is a Triple Vanilla. It’s hard to believe I eat a baked good that doesn’t have chocolate but check this out: I scrape the seeds out of one vanilla bean and rub it into the flour mixture before I add the grated butter. (This is in addition to the vanilla extract you add to the egg.) After the scones are cooked and cooled, I make a glaze: one cup of powdered sugar, the seeds from another vanilla bean, and a few tablespoons of cream. Stir until you get a pourable glaze, adding more cream if necessary. Drizzle over cooled scones. These are intensely fragrant, and people’s eyes tend to roll back in their heads when they taste them, so don’t feed them to anyone who is driving a car.

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Hungry Heart

I’d like to introduce you to Jim Meier, the handsome star of Hungry Heart.

Oh, hello there Jim. Don’t mind if I do...

HH cover

Those of you who have been around a while may recognize this book. Back when I wrote under the pen name Emma Foster, I released this book as five separate novellas called “The Way to Her Heart.” But now I’ve condensed the novellas into one book, given it a beautiful new cover, and re-named it. 

Hungry Heart is the story of a hot LA Chef named London Demerez, whose boyfriend breaks her heart. I mean – come on, boyfriends! Why are some of you such d-bags?

London ditches LA to travel the world, and by astonishing coincidence, she visits all of my favorite places on earth: New York, Paris, Greece, and Mexico. Eventually, our girl finds true love again. But man, did I put her through the wringer before she found him. Poor London. 

This book has a bunch of Chef London’s recipes from her adventures around the world, including Mustard Roast Chicken, Mexican Shrimp Verde, a Cubano sandwich straight outta heaven, and of course, some world class Scones. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Hungry Heart is available everywhere you buy your favorite books


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Funny Books for Winter Blues


I had planned to title this post something like “10 Hilarious Movies to Brighten Your Winter Doldrums.” But then I couldn’t think of enough funny movies. (And, to be fair, I have a rather dark sense of humor. True story: when husband and I saw Fargo in the theater, we were in hysterics. You could hear our laughter bouncing off the theater walls because not another soul in the place was laughing. I might not be your best source for funny movies.)

Since I have weird, Morticia Adams taste in movies, let’s do books instead. You are prolly worried that I’m going to suggest something like Candide or The Importance of Being Earnest. Normally I would, because those are funny books, but tonight I’ve had two glasses of a most excellent red wine, and I just want a giggle. So here’s a roundup of some of my favorite funny books:

I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi. Queen of Shade Throwing. She tells it like it is, and you’ll have to check your white privilege at the door because Ms. Ajayi is having none of it. But you’ll laugh until you can’t see the words on the page. You can get more Luvvie every day over at her blog. She is magnificent.

Bossypants by Tina Fey – I re-read this every couple of years because I love her scathing wit and her dry, self-effacing manner.

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler – this is not as good as Tina Fey’s book, and she complains an awful lot about how hard it is to write books. Which, yeah, we get it. That’s why everyone doesn’t do it. But since I think Amy Poehler is adorable, I’m including her. I listened to this one on audio, and I think that made it way better. The chapter about the apology is not at all funny, but I promise it will make you fall in love with her.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. I mean. Come on. She has to run out of funny at some point, right? Like, isn’t there a finite amount of humor every person is allotted at birth? How does she keep doing this?

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher. I love all of her books, but this one is my favorite. Bow down to our queen.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. The giant chicken story is basically my entire marriage.

Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding – I think this entire series is absolutely hilarious.

Anything by David Sedaris. I tried to choose. I really did. But I couldn’t. Just read anything he writes. OK, if you insist on a starting place, go with Me Talk Pretty One Day.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple – hilarious, spot-on humor that makes you feel happy to be alive. I also loved last year’s Today Will Be Better.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson – the movie of this book was only OK, but the book is perfect. I have all of Bryson’s books, even that gigantic science one (OK, I’ll tell the truth: I never got through that one.) I think most of his books are classified under travel, but they should be called humor. He has a wry, bemused take on a confusing world. My other favorites are In a Sunburned Country (about traveling through Australia) and Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe. But they are all so, so good.

Dad is Fat and Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan. I listened to this one on audio while driving my son to high school. He’s more than Hot Pockets, friends.

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong. I’m not sure this is classified under comedy since the overarching story is rather sad. But I laughed out loud many, many times while reading this one.

 High Fidelity by Nick Hornby – goddamn I love, love, love Nick Hornby’s books.

 The Commitments by Roddy Doyle. Or anything by Roddy Doyle. Nobody is funnier than a morose Irishman. Trust me on this.

 Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. Poignant, sardonic humor with a … no, I can’t even continue with this nonsense. People smarter than me say it’s a funny book, but I wouldn’t know. I’ve never read this, and I never will.

 The Joy of Leaving Your Shit All Over the Place: The Art of Being Messy by Jennifer McCartney. No more saying thank you to our socks, mmmkay? It’s out of hand.

Your turn – hit me up with some of your favorite funny books!



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Oscar Predictions

Are you watching the Oscars this year? We are having some neighbors over for dinner and champagne and dress commentary. Husband and I will place bets and he will win every category because he picks the logical, reasonable choice and I pick who should win if there was any justice in the world. And then he’ll go you can’t bet on someone who wasn’t even nominated and I’ll go yeah but she should have been nominated and he’ll go that’s not how betting works and then I’ll go that’s because no one ever listens to me. I’m a super fun wife.

But I will give you my award predictions, because I feel pretty confident with my choices.

Call Me By Your Name

Call me

Actually, I didn’t see this, so it can’t win anything.

Darkest Hour


I saw this one after I pulled an all-nighter on a book deadline so I am a little fuzzy on the details, to be honest. When the King arrived, I whispered the history of how Wallis Simpson fits in the story to Husband whispered back, Yeah that’s cool but I think all I need to know for this movie is that it’s the King of England. And then Gary Oldman tried to get the boys out of Dunkirk and I was like, Oh, wait. Is this the movie about Dunkirk? And Husband goes, No, that movie is called Dunkirk. And then I fell asleep.

This will win the Oscar for Best Rousing Speech At The End and also The “Why Don’t We See More of Kristin Scott Thomas” award.

Get Out

Get Out

This will win: Best Movie That Julie Could Not Sit Through Because She Was Terrified And So She Left After Fifteen Minutes and Husband Had To Tell Her About It Later But It Sounds Great and YAY #oscarsnotquitesowhitethisyear

Lady Bird


Also did not see this one, so it can’t win anything. I don’t make the rules, people.

Phantom Thread


Should not win anything except Prettiest Dresses. But that’s my heart talking again. My head tells me that it will win three awards: Most Beautifully Photographed Depiction of an Emotionally Abusive Relationship, Most Ridiculous Man-Baby Whiner I Don’t Care If He Makes Nice Dresses, and Best Breakfast Recipes

The Post

The POst

No question here, this movie will win Best Portrayal of a Gold Caftan in the History of Movies. Furthermore, The Post will go down in history as An Extremely Important Movie that changed the course of fashion because every woman who saw it said, “You know what? I’m fucking done with pants,” and from 2018 on we all started wearing caftans. Oh also, super important because of the First Amendment stuff.

The Shape of Water

the shape of water

Will also win three awards: Best Woman+Man/Fish Sex Scene. Also, Grossest Finger Scene I Have Ever Seen In My Life, and Best Shoes

Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri

Three Billboards

Will Sweep the Oscars with four awards: Best Story. Best Use of Francis McDormand Who Is Magic And I Would Watch Her Read the Phone Book. Movie That Made Me Cry The Most. Best Use of the Word “Baby.”  It will also win a special governor’s award for Movie That Most Accurately Portrayed The Truth Of Life Which Is That Heroes and Anti-Heroes Are Always Complex and Have Good and Bad in Them and If You Listen to Their Story You Might Be Surprised At What You Learn. That’s a new award.

What are your thoughts? Any predictions about winners and losers? Do you have strong feelings about Meryl’s caftan? Who will you drink champagne with?

Happy weekend, friends,



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Dream Dinner Party

dinner party

I got antsy today and thought up my dream dinner party for you. Check this out:

Dream Guests: Let’s invite creative, smart people with a wicked sense of humor. Check out this especially charming story about the Celibate Love Affair of Nora Ephron and Mike Nichols. So I propose you invite them (I know they both died. Let’s not ruin this fantasy with details. We’ll also invite their spouses, Diane Sawyer and Nick Pileggi.) It ought to be raining outside, and we can sit around the table talking and laughing until all of a sudden another bottle of wine is gone and we look up and say how did it get to be so late?

Dream Food: How about this rather dramatically named Change Your Life Chicken. Listen, I don’t know if it will change your life. I don’t know that I want anyone to have a life that could be ‘changed’ by a chicken recipe. But I can tell you this is a delicious recipe, super easy for a weeknight and good enough for guests like Nora and Mike. Serve it with some good bread and wine, and you’ve got the makings of a pretty great night.

Dream Conversation: After you eat dinner, you can lead Nora and Mike around your mansion and show them all of your Secret Passage Bookshelves. They are the types of dinner guests who will stop talking to examine your books, and pull a few down and talk about the time they bumped into Amy Tan at City Lights in San Francisco and they went for gnocchi in Little Italy. I’m 100% sure that’s a story that would be told at this dinner party.

Dream Dessert: Go to your couch, the big squishy one you have in front of the fire. (Wow. Your house is gigantic. I had no idea.) Nora will tuck her legs underneath her and pull a throw over her lap. Mike will tell hilarious stories about Meryl Streep. For dessert, you can serve this absolutely ridiculous Berry Cereal Milkshake. We are grown-ass people, and we have no business drinking these, but we will anyway. Nora will tell a story about how she once dumped a bow of Lucky Charms on Delia’s head. Hilarity will ensue.

 Tell me about your dream dinner party? Who is there, what are we eating and drinking?



PS – I almost forgot the Dream Soundtrack: Of course someone at our dinner party will sit down at your grand piano and play Hey Jude. It seems like it might be that kind of party.

Hey jude

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