I Read Four Books This Summer

I’m sure for everyone else this is a low bar, but four books in a summer is a really solid accomplishment for me. I’m very proud of myself. Here’s what I read by the pool every weekend. In case you don’t notice, I stick to non-fiction, because that’s how I roll.

1. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. I’ve had this book on my nightstand for over a year, and I finally committed to reading it. It was pretty interesting. It was a little slow going at the beginning because he describes a lot of biological dynamics that relate to human feelings. It got a little clinical, but it got better. My main takeaway was that trust is essential for successful leadership.

2. Superficial by Andy Cohen. I’m a big Bravo fan (he’s an executive at Bravo). I watch almost all of the shows, so this book caught my eye. It’s his daily diary, and primarily documents his work and crazy busy social life. He rolls with celebrities around the clock, so it’s interesting to get a “behind the scenes” perspective. There’s some self reflection but it’s definitely not the most profound look I’ve ever read. It was perfect for the beach because it’s full of great gossip!

3. I Regret Nothing by Jen Lancaster. I needed a back up book for vacation and I looked up Jen Lancaster because I’ve read several of her books in the past. She writes really hilarious memoirs about her life.  This is her latest, and it’s great, just like the rest of them. She addresses a little mid-life crisis by creating a bucket list and working through the items one by one. It’s funny and subconsciously inspirational as you go through her journey of stepping outside of her comfort zone.

4. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. I knew I needed one more book to get through my weekend mornings by the pool and I read an article about the author of Glass Castle from the promotional tour for the movie. The story sounded unique so I thought I would give it a shot. It was a quick read, which is saying a lot because I’m a very slow reader. The story was pretty interesting but, at the same time, none of the characters are very likable. It was an interesting view of a family that is the polar opposite of my own family or really anyone I know.

What books have you read lately?

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In the Kitchen with David

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Sadie and I have a love for In the Kitchen with David on QVC.  It airs every Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon hosted by the fabulous David Venable.  I got the unique opportunity to go see the show live at QVC Studio Park in West Chester, PA.

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It was everything I thought it would be and so much more.  I saw Tara McConnell, the creator of Temptations, and the oh-so-famous Bob Warden.  Before the show started, we had a chance to have a quick question and answer session with David and Mary.  It was confirmed that David is down to earth and really cares about his fans.  In fact, he announced that he would be available for a cookbook signing session after the show.  My mom and I were ecstatic.  In fact, my mom was a little starstruck when she met David.

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He mentioned that one of his favorite recipes from his new book was Italian Wedding Casserole.  Well folks, it is simply divine.  I made it last night and I must say it was a success.  You can find the recipe here in this preview of his latest cookbook, Back Around the Table.  Have fun foodies!

That Time of Year Again…

The lack of good television this (almost) summer has driven me to read. Shocking, I know!

I think this seems to happen around this time every year. I’m not sure if it’s the bad television or the need for a beach book, but I did it again. I read a book!

This happened on somewhat of a whim. I was near a Barnes and Noble, so I popped in with the intention of picking up Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And, of course, since BNs seem to have a reduced stock these days, they didn’t have it. Instead, I browsed around and picked up two other titles that were more in the realm of business/personal development (nerd alert!).

The first one I read was How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying by Carol Leifer. It’s basically a combination of a memoir and an advice book about life lessons that will help you climb the ladder, whatever ladder that may be. I had never heard of Carol Leifer before I read the book, but I learned she’s a very well established comedienne (Seinfeld era) and screen writer.

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I thought the book was pretty good. I wasn’t expecting ground breaking, and I was right, it wasn’t really ground breaking. I think it might be more valuable for college students or recent graduates who are polishing up their professional skills. It still never hurts to hear a new spin on the important lessons in the working world. And it was especially valuable (and reassuring) to learn that so many professional values are pretty universal whether you’re in a corporate office, or a film director’s living room.

She covers really basic concepts, like there is never an excuse for being late to an interview, and the importance of work ethic. Or no matter what your personal values are, there is still always a certain level of decorum that is required in a professional atmosphere, which includes showering every day. This makes the Emily Post loving, clean freak Virgo inside of me happy. This is going to make me sound like senior citizen, but I think it’s good for kids these days to learn those types of things.

As far as memoirs go, there were some funny anecdotes, but I’m sorry to say I never really laughed out loud like I might with some of Jen Lancaster’s books. It was a quick, worthwhile read, but not my “goldielocks.”