Formative Books

  1. The Neapolitan Novels
    Captivating, haunting, and one of the most important series of our time.
  2. Beloved
    Toni Morrison said that far too often, books about slavery are about the white people who save black people. Not this one.
  3. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    Just the chapter about the whale is pure brilliance. Wildly funny and imaginative. Fascinating that this has been adapted into every medium yet each one pales vastly in comparison to the book.
  4. The Great Gatsby
    In high school, I didn't know the great American classics could be interesting. This taught me wrong.
  5. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
    I was 11 and I still didn't really know what a period was. I didn't know my insecurities were normal.
  6. Doomsday Book
    Required reading for a college history class that became the most pleasant surprise. This book helped me rediscover my love for reading.
  7. Chain Letter
    I read this in 8th grade and was struck by the similarities between this and "I Know What You Did Last Summer." I thought I discovered plagiarism (and that this book was the far superior original).
  8. Heat
    If you read only one book about the restaurant industry, it should be this one. Fast, brilliantly written, and pasta craving inducing.
  9. Cuisine Foundations
    Classic French recipes that require instruction. My bibles at Le Cordon Bleu.
  10. Like Water for Chocolate
    Wonderfully weird. The first racy book I ever read, and in freshmen honors English class. A beautiful tale about jealousy, unrequited love, and damm good food.
  11. The Alliance
    This changed the way I now look at my relationship with boss and my employer. An empowering read that helped me understand why people work at bigger companies, and why people stay with their employer for years to come.
  12. Mickey Mouse's Picnic
    The first book I truly remember reading. I still know the refrain. And as I type this I smile at the realization that this was about food.
  13. Frog and Toad Are Friends
    The first book I read that I understood on a deeper level. In second grade, my classmates were still learning to read and I had no one to discuss this with.