What are you reading?

I’m interested in what other members read and to exchange thoughts, recommendations, and reviews.

I’ll start… I almost exclusively read nonfiction such as history, biographies, opinion, and poetry (non-metrical & prose).

Work has kept me busy for so this has been sitting on my desk for months and finally finished last night over a glass of 1792. As a history major it’s fascinating to read a more intimate account of how Churchill and his circle endured the day to day horror during the first year. All quoted material impressively comes from a diary, letter, or memoir and descriptions of facial expressions and reactions come from one who witnessed it.


We consume hard-boiled detective stuff and high tension espionage for entertainment. In defense of our lowbrow tastes, when it comes to celebrating language and turns of phrases, we haven’t seen much “literature” that comes anywhere near James Lee Burke’s Dave Robichaux series. In the non hard boiled department, James Runcie’s Grantchester series was brilliant. Our non-fiction reading list could occasionally provoke politically-charged reaction, so we’ll just keep quiet, save to mention Maverick, a recent biography of Thomas Sowell that turned out to be sort of a Cliffs Notes for his prolific scholarship.


I just finished reading The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pépin. It is a fascinating and charming book. I also enjoyed L’Appart by David Lebovitz, and all of Anthony Bourdain’s books. Ruth Reichl is also a favorite author of mine and I have Save Me the Plums in line to read next.


Anthony Bourdain was a gifted storyteller and fine writer, (and the pommes frites at Les Halles were top notch).


I agree. I’ve only read Kitchen Confidential but it was very interesting.

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I need to check on The Apprentice, Pepin.


He came of age during WWII in France. His life story is fascinating.


I like historical fiction, and am currently listening to “The Moor’s Account”, but recently enjoyed "John “Saternali’s Feast”, and before that a few “capers”; “The Vintage Caper” and “The Marsaille Caper”. I do love capers!

I read all stories by Joe Ide about a self-made detective, and one of my all time favorites was “The Book of Unholy Mischief”, also published as “The Chef’s Apprentice”.

All but Joe Ide’s are about food (one wine), and several with a bit of historical fiction.

I love that, so please share if you know of others.


I alternate between nonfiction (mostly history, memoir/biographies, natural history/environmental topics) and fiction (all over the place from literature to genres).

Currently reading Norco ‘80: The True Story of the Most Spectacular Bank Robbery in History (fascinating story, helps that I am familiar with the area and can “see” how events unfolded).

Before that:
Harlem Shuffle - entertaining escapism

Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest - thought-provoking and unsettling, in a good way

Started Early, Took My Dog - hilarious, marvelous, and delightful; I tend to care less about the “mystery” of the series and more about the writing

Paradise: One Town’s Struggle to Survive an American Wildfire - strong, compelling writing, personally affecting topic

Interior Chinatown - creative, insightful, unexpectedly impactful

Love and Terror On the Howling Plains of Nowhere - from the intro: “Wow. Yes. Jesus. Poe”

The Angel of History - I’ll devour anything by Alameddine and found this to be quite fascinating

Horizontal Vertigo: A City Called Mexico - a sprawling, cacophonous, tangled exploration of Mexico City, history, and memories


^ Agree. Among my favorites.


I read mostly mysteries. I just finished Grisham’s The Judge’s List and Le Carre’s Silverview. I have a list of dozens of authors I read regularly. I’m particularly fond of John Sandford, Daniel Silva and British authors.


I enjoyed Harlem Shuffle! I think I’ll try his Sag Harbor.

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I’ll just reiterate my recommendation of Taste by Stanley Tucci. Will make you crave Italian food!


Putting that one on my Audible wish list. @ElsieDee ;Does it matter if you don’t read the series in order?

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Kind of, as the main character’s backstory is core to a lot; I’d start with the first in the series - Case Histories.

Atkinson is one heck of a writer; this series could be shelved as easily in General Fiction as Mysteries.

Have you read the Inspector Montalbano series?

That’s on my list, too. I read his zombie book a while ago - I don’t read horror or grisly stuff, so it was a change of theme for me. Not sure I ever need to read another zombie book.

As you like historical fiction, have you read Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell series?

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo