4 Ridiculously Good Reads

Here’s a little secret about me: I’m a slow reader. Mmmhmm. Your friend Kath, lover of reading and freelance writing, is a slow reader. I’m also easily distracted. So with those two things working against me I often default to reading short stories or “quick reads.” But the following four reads were game changers for me this summer. Each of them entertained just about everything I needed in a book:

Something suspenseful and brilliantly woven.

Something realistic and eye-opening.

Something historic and triumphant.

Something local and delicious.

1. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Edge…of…my…SEAT, y’all! Recently, when Sean and I were browsing an airport bookstore on our layover while heading back to Tulsa, I saw this book sitting front and center. I had heard lots of buzz about The Girl on the Train since quickly climbing the New York Times Best Sellers list. I don’t often read thrillers, but as this story takes place in England (and because I’m part-Brit) everything in me pleaded to buy it. After I bought it, Sean and I took our seats in the terminal, I began reading…and I don’t remember much of my surroundings from that point on because I was completely sucked into the story.

So the book follows the perspectives of three women who are all simultaneously conflicted, yet strangely connected, in different ways. You hear their narrations throughout the story which sheds insight and also adds juuuust the right amount of confusion, leaving you wanting to read more and more. Brilliantly written. Plenty of shocking moments. I often cringed at times….so…there’s my warning. It’s just the right amount of suspense, action, and pace of character development.

In only a few days I read the whole thing cover to cover. I wanted to read another book – immediately! It felt great to be a bookworm again; reading at a reasonable pace with the rest of the world and casually denying any mobile device or TV show to keep me entertained.

Highly recommended if you like a good suspense story…paired with a British backdrop. Lord help me if it becomes a movie – I’ll be the first one in the theatre to see it!

2. GIG

“Americans talk about their jobs.”

GigThis book exposes the stories of American jobs told very honestly in an interview setting. My degree was in Sociology, so this book is right down my alley. I adore learning about different perspectives, especially when each one highlights the variety of career paths that Americans can wander into. Some jobs are socially admired. Others…not so much. Either way, this book allows us to get the answers without asking the awkward questions; those answers are all right there for us to absorb.

It’s kind of like attending the coolest dinner or cocktail party you could imagine where all of the guests make up a crazy range of lifestyles and careers…and you get to learn all about what it means to them. Jobs like…

Software Engineer. Hat Saleswoman. Produce Stand Owner. Television Guest Coordinator. High School Math Teacher. Professional Hockey Player. Carnival Worker. Prison Guard. Political Fundraiser. Palm Reader. Crime Scene Cleaner. Anchorwoman. Advertising Executive. Campground Maintenance Worker. U.S. Congressman. Casting Director. Dog Trainer.

…and those are just a few of the jobs listed. Go buy it. Read the stories all at once or just sporadically when you’re in the mood.

You’re welcome 😉

3. THE BOYS IN THE BOAT

BITB“Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympics”

I have to admit – I’ve only just started this one, but it has made me miss rowing more than ever. I rowed competitively for 8 beautiful years, and so far every single page in this book has taken hold of that place in my heart that will forever belong to the sport of rowing.

So…that’s cool. It’s one thing to read a book that reminds you of a sport that changed your life forever. Awesome. But y’all…this book is so much more. Trust me. This incredible story, of an often misunderstood sport, is set against a time when the economic and political odds were against this crew in the height of The Great Depression. The story gracefully ping-pongs between the story of the men who heroically rose above all odds in their life, came together, and surged ahead in their quest for the Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Though I’m only mid-way through the book, I recommend it wholeheartedly. That time for the world…well, I’ll never be able to truly comprehend how hard life was. Reading this, however, brings me closer to a greater understanding and appreciation to the power of the human spirit when what’s truly “good” is triumphant.

4. EDIBLE TULSA

Edible TulsaMagazine on eating, drinking, and thinking locally in the greater Tulsa community

I was slowly strolling along the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market last weekend, trying to ignore the sun as it scorched the back of my neck. I slowly walked down the open path once or twice checking out who had the better spinach or who had the prettiest tomatoes, all while taking in the heavenly scents of fresh herbs and produce. Hmmmm I love farmers’ markets.

Suddenly my eyes caught a stand with stacks of the latest “edible Tulsa” issue for the Summer. Two smiling people stood behind it handing these issues out. “Well, that’s certainly a no-brainer.” I thought to myself. “Happy people handing out magazines with a picture of ice cream on the cover? DONE.

I picked up my pace and made a beeline for their stand, chatted them up for a bit, and learned that this is a relatively new series of issues for the greater Tulsa community. It’s a seasonal effort to highlight food, freshness, what our local chefs are up to, and simply share a taste of Tulsa. I love the idea. Working for The Culinary Institute of America just a short time ago opened up a whole new world to me; a crazy excitement for culinary standards, trends, innovations, and good ‘ol classics.

If you’re in the Tulsa area, I highly recommend picking up an issue. My favorite recipes & stories from this season? Heck yes, I’ll certainly share…

  • Apricot-Blackberry Margarita
  • Backstage at the Market
  • Paradise with a Porch
  • Fresh Peach Blackberry Ripple Ice Cream
  • …and many others 🙂

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So there we have it. Four of my personal favorites this Summer. Once I finish The Boys in the Boat, however, where to next? What should I read?! Now that you know what I love to read, how I’m occasionally a slow reader but a sucker for a heart-warming story, or suspense (hehe!) – what should I read next? Feel free to leave a comment on any of your recommendations, questions about the books I’ve shared, etc.

Happy reading 🙂