I was really intrigued by the subject of Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick. The book opens with, “Whom to marry, and when it will happen- these two questions define every woman’s existence, regardless of where she was raised or what religion she does or doesn’t practice.” I am not considered a spinster and I don’t aspire to be one, but I think every woman can relate to feeling like a marriage, or a lack of one, is a defining point in their lives. Spinster is part memoir, part history lesson. Bolick writes of her “spinster life” and the five women writers that have inspired her along the way. She tells of her experience as a single woman and compares it to the experiences her “awakeners” (Neith Boyce, Maeve Brennan, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Edith Wharton) had from the late 1800s on.
When it comes to personal style books, I feel like everything has been done before. I’ve read quite a few over the years from celebrities and top stylists but they always feel like I’m reading the same book over and over. I never seem to learn my lesson though, and I always end up checking out the latest how-to style guide. When I saw How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer’s Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing by Alison Freer, I was hopeful. A costume designer should have different tricks than the average fashionista, right? Plus, the back cover states, “Instead of repeating boring style ‘rules,’ Alison breaks the rules.” Was this actually going to be a fun fashion book that gave me new ideas or would I be duped again?
I’ve heard a lot about Momofuku Milk Bar over the years but I’ve never been able to visit. Their desserts are well-known (especially Karlie’s Kookies and Crack Pie) and when I saw that Momofuku Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi was releasing a new cookbook, Milk Bar Life, I had to try it. If I can’t visit the Milk Bar in person, at least I can make some of the recipes at home. Unlike Tosi’s first cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar, Milk Bar Life does not focus extensively on desserts. Instead, Tosi includes more savory foods and focuses on simple and nostalgic recipes featuring supermarket ingredients.
I have to admit, I don’t exactly love salad. I will eat it but don’t be fooled, I’m not a fan of lettuce. To me, it’s just an excuse so I can get to the good stuff: salad dressing (and croutons, cheese, fruit, and nuts). Salad Love: 260 Crunchy, Savory, and Filling Meals You Can Make Every Day by David Bez is an entirely different way of looking at salad. For starters, Bez’s recipes don’t always contain lettuce (or any other green for that matter). And they look amazing, and filling, and are full of lots of different foods I don’t typically associate with salad.
In The Expats by Chris Pavone, Kate Moore is tired of living a double life. Working for the CIA while keeping it a secret from her husband is starting to catch up to her. So when her husband announces he has received a job offer in Luxembourg, Kate jumps at the chance to leave her secret world behind. Everything is fine until her husband starts acted suspiciously and working extra hours. When a mysterious American couple arrives in Luxembourg, Kate finds herself pulled back into a world of secrets and lies.
Homemade Decadence is a new cookbook by Joy Wilson, otherwise known as Joy the Baker. The cover claims this is a cookbook full of, “irresistibly sweet, salty, gooey, sticky, fluffy, creamy, crunchy treats.” I would say that’s exactly what it is, and Homemade Decadence is the perfect title for this collection. These are definitely over-the-top and delicious recipes. I’m a huge fan of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, more-is-more desserts, so this book is perfect for me. The recipes are divided into five categories, and each is better than the last: Brunch (Pear, Dark Chocolate, and Ginger Scones, Blueberry Pancake Muffins with Maple Glaze, Roasted Strawberry and Balsamic Grits), Cookies, Brownies, and Bars (Dark Chocolate, Pistachio, and Smoked Sea Salt Cookies, Peach, Brie, and Dark Chocolate S’mores, Bourbon-Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars), Pies, Crumbles, and Cobblers (Apple Pie with Cheddar-Bacon Crust, Lemon-Buttermilk Pie with Maple-Cranberry Sauce, Brown Sugar-Rosemary Cheesecake with Bourbon-Burnt Caramel Sauce), Layer Cakes, Cupcakes, and Skillet Cakes (Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pretzel Layer Cake, Almond Angel Food Cake with Vanilla-Scented Citrus, Olive Oil Cornmeal Cake), and Ice Cream Social (Salted Dark Chocolate and Orange Ice Cream, Blueberry-Goat Cheese Ice Cream, Mint-Lemonade Sorbet). The recipes are easy to follow and the book is full of beautiful, mouth-watering pictures. This is a fun, decadent cookbook.