Angela Ledgerwood, local North Forker, host of the Lit Up Podcast and editorial director of Sugar23 Books, shares her picks for not-to-miss reads.
One of the best parts of cooler weather is curling up in the coziest part of your home with a good book. Whether you’re drawn to juicy tell-all memoirs, true stories of courage and determination, or cookbooks to inspire Sunday afternoon baking and future dinner parties, here are 10 books guaranteed to enhance your at-home library.
Satisfying Novels to Get Lost In
A COMPLEX FAMILY SAGA
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
When William Waters meets Julia Padavano and her three sisters in his freshman year of college, he’s welcomed into the kind of boisterous and loving family he’s never known. But a revelation from his past soon changes the trajectory of their lives and threatens to break the sisters’ loyalties to each other forever. This tender and perceptive homage to “Little Women” is a nourishing read about forgiveness and the undeniable power of family bonds.
A PROPULSIVE TIMELY THRILLER
The Future by Naomi Alderman
How do tech billionaires prepare for the end of humanity as we know it? For a start, they fly off to secret bunkers in New Zealand where they can still control everything. But what if these precisely orchestrated plans go dangerously awry and there are only a handful of friends with the means to put them right? In this next novel from the award-winning author of “The Power” comes a story about how power corrupts and the courage it takes to challenge the status quo.
NORTH FORK DRAMAS COME TO LIFE
Save What’s Left by Elizabeth Castellano
You might recognize the antics of the characters in Elizabeth Castellano’s debut novel about a picturesque beach town that’s known for its oyster and vegetable farms, where bulkhead permits and zoning rules dominate local politics and neighborly chitchat. That’s because the author is a Greenport local. Her protagonist, Kathleen, moves to the fictional town of Whitbey, N.Y., after her marriage falls apart and gets a little too involved in trying to stop a new McMansion going up on the street. Sound familiar? This is a perfect pick for your local book club.
Armchair Adventures: Epic True Tales from Masterful Storytellers
A SHOCKING DYSTOPIAN SAGA
Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
If you thought Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” was bracing and prophetic, just wait until you enter the violent futuristic world of “Chain-Gang All-Stars,” where gladiators and prisoners fight to the death in televised duels devoured by the public on pay-per-view cable—fights that offer freedom to a few lucky survivors. If this sounds intense, it is. But there is respite from the action with a love story at the novel’s core. Ultimately this propulsive tale is an eviscerating commentary on mass incarceration, influencer culture gone awry and the price of freedom.
MEET “THE WORLD’S MOST INTERESTING MAN”
Wanderlust by Reid Mitenbuler
Every fall, the photo featured on the cover of “Wanderlust,” of Arctic explorer and World War II resistance fighter Peter Freuchen and his chic wife, Dagmar, taken by Irving Penn in 1947, trends on social media for #coatinspiration—which is fitting because he was the ultimate attention-seeking “influencer” in his day. In this sweeping biography, Freuchen’s charisma leaps off the page as we accompany him to the icy ends of the earth, the Golden Age Hollywood, the Nazi prison camps of World War II, and beyond.
A TALE OF HUMANS ON THE BRINK
The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann
From the author of the best-selling true-crime story “Killers of the Flower Moon” (adaptation by Martin Scorsese out now), comes another investigative masterpiece that summons the savagery of the seas and the clashes of Empire between England and Spain during the mid-18th century. This riveting history has it all—a shipwreck, mutiny at sea and courageous men risking everything to speak up for what’s right.
IN HER WORDS
My Name is Barbra by Barbra Streisand
Living legend and icon Barbra Streisand shares the story of her extraordinary life and career in this frank and intimate memoir. From her upbringing in Brooklyn and years struggling as an actress, to singing in nightclubs and her breakout performance in “Funny Girl,” Streisand captivates with stories of her early years before digging into the heady days of stardom and reflecting on the foundational relationships that shaped her.
Embracing Home Cooking with the Greats
A HANDBOOK OF CLASSIC AMERICAN RECIPES
The Cookie That Changed My Life by Nancy Silverton
Ever bitten into a cookie and wished that everything tasted that good? In her new book, beloved pastry chef Nancy Silverton helps you make this wish a reality by sharing the recipes she’s perfected over her illustrious career from Lattice-Topped Apple Pie to Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting and Key Lime Pie. With more than a hundred perfected recipes, this is a veritable encyclopedia of the very best things to bake for a great gift for beginners and pros alike.
CAKE IS FOR COMMUNITY FOR THIS PASTRY “IT GIRL”
More Than Cake by Natasha Pickowicz
Natasha Pickowicz shares her favorite recipes inspired by her Chinese and Californian heritage as well as those tried and true staples from her time running the pastry programs at some of NYC’s buzziest restaurants such as Café Altro Paradiso and Flora Bar at the former Met Breuer Museum (where her cardamom sticky buns would routinely sell out before 11 a.m.). Natasha’s generous spirit isn’t contained in the kitchen. She’s raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for nonprofits across the country via her famous bake sales and writes about how you can enlist a crew of burgeoning bakers, so you can too. Quick tip: Her olive oil, mascarpone and fennel layer cake decorated with radicchio will be a showstopper at any fall gathering.
NECESSARY READING FOR EVERY FOODIE
National Dish by Anya von Bremzen
Why are certain dishes synonymous with certain places? And why does it matter? James Beard awarding-winning writer Anya von Bremzen invites us on her culinary escapades to the vibrant cities of Tokyo, Naples, Oaxaca, Barcelona, Paris and Istanbul to find out. She seeks to uncover the historically accurate (often very surprising) origin stories of some of her favorite dishes and delights us with tales from her life along the way.