Feature

Ruth Reichl's 6 favorite novels to cook to

The renowned food writer recommends works by Tayari Jones, Kate Atkinson, and more

Ruth Reichl, author of three beloved food memoirs, has just expanded the series with Save Me the Plums, which covers her decade as editor of Gourmet magazine. Below, she recommends the recent novels she's most enjoyed listening to while cooking.

Circe by Madeline Miller (2018).

Miller's subversive retelling of the Circe myth is hypnotic and spellbinding. Listening, I found myself transported to a timeless and magical place, but also thinking about what it means to be a mortal woman. The prose is so poetic, the story so compelling, that I wished it would never end.

The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish (2017).

A modern-day scholar discovers an ancient manuscript, and as she ponders its many mysteries we find ourselves transported to London's Jewish community during a 1660s plague year. Two women in different centuries are at the heart of the book, and this is the best kind of historical fiction: While introducing you to a culture of the past, it poses questions about the present.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (2013).

I love everything Atkinson writes, but this tour de force makes you ask yourself, how did she pull it off? She considers the effect of every decision, every twist of fate in her heroine's life. Stunning, inspiring, it is the ultimate what if book, examining the impact one person can have upon the world.

Mislaid by Nell Zink (2015).

A book about a woman on the run, Mislaid takes in every important issue in American life: gender, race, power, success, parenting. The novel's twists and turns keep you guessing, but Zink is such a wonderful, imaginative writer that you stay with her throughout this fantastic journey.

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner (2018).

Kushner takes us inside a prison, giving voice to people we too rarely hear from. She obviously spent a long time doing research for this book, and we intimately get to know killers, other convicts, and guards. What makes this book so extraordinary is that the author condescends to no one. She respects all of her characters, and because of that, we do, too.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (2018).

When an upwardly mobile African-American man is wrongfully incarcerated, we expect the usual courtroom drama and prison horror. Instead, we get a thoughtful examination of what happens inside a marriage — any marriage — when two people move in different directions.

Recommended

The daily gossip: February 6, 2023
Harry Styles
Daily gossip

The daily gossip: February 6, 2023

Julia May Jonas recommends 6 captivating reads
Julia May Jonas.
Feature

Julia May Jonas recommends 6 captivating reads

Beyoncé just broke the record for most Grammy wins ever
Beyoncé accepting her Grammy Award.
well deserved

Beyoncé just broke the record for most Grammy wins ever

Viola Davis becomes an EGOT after winning Grammy
Viola Davis accepts her Grammy Award.
welcome to the club

Viola Davis becomes an EGOT after winning Grammy

Most Popular

7 toons about gun violence
Forget the vest, genetically modified silk may soon protect people from bullets.
Feature

7 toons about gun violence

The U.S. economy is shifting toward disinflation. Here's why that's welcome.
Discount pricing
Not getting worse

The U.S. economy is shifting toward disinflation. Here's why that's welcome.

United States shoots down Chinese spy balloon over Atlantic Ocean
A suspected Chinese spy balloon over Montana.
99 Red Balloons?

United States shoots down Chinese spy balloon over Atlantic Ocean