Winter Reading List
Winter is here and that means holiday travel and weekend getaways to warmer climates, which is the perfect time to get some reading done. Our brightest and most interesting friends recommend their favorite books for Winter. Happy reading!
Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall
“This is one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read and it got me running half-marathons within weeks. If you have ever wondered why you hate running, or whenever you ask a friend to go running their excuse is always, ‘I have bad knees’…. this is a game changer.
Based around an isolated tribe of runners in Mexico who run 100 mile marathons into their 60s for fun, it also theorizes if we were born to run, then why are we no good at it? Lots of great sub-stories following American ultra runners (100 mile marathoners) and their journeys through life. But there’s also lessons and rules for enjoying the run and the reasons why you need to run better. Can’t recommend this enough.”
– Harley Moon, Music management at Lunartron, Los Angeles, @harleylunar
Dead Wake: The Last crossing of the Lusitania, by Erik Larson
“Dead Wake tells the true story of the sinking of the civilian passenger ship Lusitania by a German U-Boat in WWI. You already know how it ends, but your heart will still beat out of its chest as the submarine approaches…”
– Jon Frieman, Sales Executive and Army Veteran, New York City, @j21frieman
I’m Thinking of Ending Things, by Iain Reid
“This is a short but vicious book that starts off by depicting a future brutal crime, and then delves into the events the precede it. A young woman is on a car ride with her boyfriend, on the way to meet his parents in a desolate area far from the college they both attend, when she slowly realizes she doesn’t want to continue this relationship.
Internal panic sets in, and a sense of claustrophobia begins to suffocate both the characters and the reader as the car barrels toward its destination. To go further into detail regarding the eventual interaction with this man’s parents and the subsequent events would both give away too much information and would detract from the overwhelming sense of dread that pervades every event moving forward. The end of this haunting book will stick with you for a long time. ”
– Dan Kinney, Associate, Kinney & Larson LLP, New York City, @danpkinney
That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, by Anne Sebba
“After finishing Netflix’s The Crown series and with an impending move to London in the Spring, I became very fascinated in royal history. As it turns out, I had just picked up another one of Anne Sebba’s books, Les Parisiennes (which I will include on the next Reading List after I read it), and found out she was the first woman to write a full scale biography of Wallis Simpson or affectionately known as “That woman” by the Queen Mother. Wallis Simpson is widely credited for the shocking abdication of King Edward in 1936 because “his love,” the twice-divorced Wallis, would never be accepted by or into the royal family.
This biography shines new light on this complicated, persistent and stylish woman, including the possibility that she may have been a hermaphrodite and never wanted to marry the former King at all. This book is so intriguing on so many levels, you almost cannot believe that it’s based on real life and real people. Read, read, read!”
– Stevie Benanty, Founder of a conversation, Lisbon, @sbenanty
The Association of Small Bombs: A Novel, by Karan Mahajan
“This book takes you on an engrossing, multi-year journey, tracing the impacts of a small terrorist attack on both its victims and perpetrators. I felt truly transplanted to the evocatively described setting in India and the characters are richly drawn and multifaceted. A particularly timely read given the current anti-Muslim rhetoric in the US. Well deserving as a National Book Award finalist!”
– Leszek Golabek, Consultant, New York City, @leszekg
The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld, by Jamie Bartlett
“The Dark Net is a very comprehensive look into the mostly unseen, underworld of the internet. The author really dives in to the world, gains access to the people that inhabit it, and comes up with a very detailed and interesting look into a ‘society’ that remains hidden/encrypted but parallels the outside world. It’s well written and absolutely fascinating.”
– Marisa Schwartz, Technical Design Manager at 7 For All Mankind, Los Angeles, @marisadrew1
The Dinner, by Herman Koch
“This is one of the most engaging books I have read in a long time. The night begins with two brothers and their wives at dinner, and you quickly discover that everything is not as it seems. The story’s twists and turns are particularly poignant given our current political climate… this book is a must read.”
– Julia Taylor-Brown, Queen of Pop at Teebsie and Designer/Illustrator (for a conversation!), Los Angeles, @teebsiepops, @xojuliataylorbrown
The Girl In The Ice: A Gripping Serial Thriller, by Robert Bryndza
“If you had asked me if I liked serial crime novels about two months ago then I would’ve said no.. BUT after reading a series of Girl books (Gone Girl, The Girl with No Past, The Girl You Lost) I decided to continue on with my obsession with titles with ‘Girl’ in them and bought The Girl In The Ice.
As the title suggests, the main character Detective Erika Foster has to uncover the mystery of who the girl is and how she came to be buried under the ice. As she gets closer to uncovering the murderer, the murderer is also watching and waiting to attack Erika too.
It’s one of those ‘can’t put it down’ books and I’ve since read the next two book in the series too!”
– Jinny Olney, interiors blogger at The Urban Quarters, London, @theurbanquarters
The Man Who Spoke Snakish, by Andrus Kivirähk
“Translated from the original Estonian, this mythological coming-of-age story of a boy who is entrusted with safeguarding the ancient traditions of ‘forest life’ in the face of pervasive modernity, is both amusing (some scenes are comically translated) and thought-provoking. Anyone who has struggled with balancing the past and the future or religion vs culture, will feel an intimate connection to this story. Incidentally, I personally fell in love with someone special because of this book over oysters and champagne, so it will always be dear to me.”
– Justine Benanty, PhD Candidate at Leiden University, Brooklyn, @justinebenanty
The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
“This was recommended to me by one of my friends who devours books on the regular —it’s a sweeping depiction of two sisters in France at the start of WWII and how they try to cope with everything crumbling around them. It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once.”
– Kelly Valentine, Culinary Event Consultant + City Manager at Feastly, Los Angeles, @kellyjvalentine
“I have a deep love for historical fiction and this novel is easily my favorite of the genre. It explores complex and relatable familial and romantic relationships in a time and place that will suck you in and take your heart. Plus, there’s something compelling for every lover of fiction.”
– Michelle Harrison, Culinary Creator, Santa Monica, @thecuriousfig
Travel in a Thin Country: A Journey Through Chile, by Sara Wheeler
“My mother bought me this book before I set on towards a summer in chile when I was 16 years old… a trip that ignited my passion for travel and foreign languages. I love this book because it really highlights the realities of foreign world travel—both the good and the bad. As a travel writer, it seems that Sarah really knows how to captivate her audience and she was able to make me impossibly excited for a potentially really scary adventure. I would recommend this read for both the experienced and inexperienced traveler because of her ability to make you constantly recognize how you might be affecting someone around you, even if you don’t understand them. Travels In a Thin Country is a treasure chest of knowledge and insight into the many cultures of chile—think of it like reading a romantically and incredibly honest written Lonely Planet travel book. I think you’ll love it!”
– Vail Rainey, Teacher with CSTN, Denver, @vailbird
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
“I absolutely adored this book because it is a rite of passage for every woman. Winter is the perfect time to turn inward and reflect on your being and the essence of who you are. This book goes through myths, folk tales and stories to uncover what it means to unleash what is wild within you. Wild meaning connected to nature, creative flow and passionate fire. It helps connect with what is divine about being a woman and allows you to deeply ponder what you want to honor about yourself in this lifetime. It is also wonderful for men to read and gain a better understanding of their own wild feminine because in each of us is both a deeply wild feminine and masculine. The men’s version of this book is Iron John by Robert Bly.”
– Samira Far, Founder of Bellacures, Co-Founder of Fred + Far, Columnist at Inc.com, Los Angeles, @samirafar