Best Books in December 2016-12-16T01:24:29+00:00

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7 Books You MUST Read This Month

Let’s be honest, there’s no better time to snuggle up by the fire in a luxuriously cozy hotel with a good book than now. Here are the seven best books to dive into this holiday season while sipping your favorite hot drink and snacking on some of those tasty leftovers.

1     Food Whore

When Tia Monroe moves to New York City, she plans to put herself on the culinary map in no time. But after a coveted internship goes up in smoke, Tia’s suddenly just another young food lover in the big city.

But when Michael Saltz, a legendary New York Times restaurant critic, lets Tia in on a career-ending secret—that he’s lost his sense of taste—everything changes. Now he wants Tia to serve as his palate, ghostwriting his reviews. In return he promises her lavish meals, a bottomless cache of designer clothing, and the opportunity of a lifetime. Out of prospects and determined to make it, Tia agrees.

Within weeks, Tia’s world transforms into one of luxury: four-star dinners, sexy celebrity chefs, and an unlimited expense account at Bergdorf Goodman. Tia loves every minute of it…until she sees her words in print and Michael Saltz taking all the credit. As her secret identity begins to crumble and the veneer of extravagance wears thin, Tia is forced to confront what it means to truly succeed—and how far she’s willing to go to get there.

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2      The Tall Trees of Paris

Paris, the city many consider the birthplace of modern art, is a place where contemporary artists look to the past to reinvent it. Award-winning author Matt Wagner chronicles 42 of these Parisian artists in The Tall Trees of Paris, the third installment in the “Tall Trees” series. Their work is shown alongside handwritten questionnaires detailing each of the artists’ favorite things about their neighborhood, painting an artistic panorama of the City of Light. This is a collection of street artists, illustrators, painters, photographers, sculptors, and mixed media artists. Far from the traditional art anthology, this book provides a view into a moment– a snapshot and a pulse check– on working artists in the City of Light. The book is as much a travel book as it is an art book. Wagner lets the art speak for itself, and instead asks questions about where the artists live, how they spend their time, and where they like to eat, drink, shop and play. Their responses are handwritten in a beautifully laid out bilingual English/French translation, providing the reader with a visual thread between the person and the place. The only other way to access this exclusive account would be to travel to France and spend a week with the artists themselves–which is exactly what Matt Wagner has done.

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3     The Travel Writer’s Wife

Nancy Stern didn’t think her creative art journaling while accompanying her travel writer husband would amount to anything more than some personal memories. But, after encouragement from her friends and family, who loved hearing about her adventures, she decided it was time to compile these into a book. So along with dozens of sketches, a bit of humor, and the writings from their journeys together, a book of memoirs evolved, “The Travel Writer’s Wife.”

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4     The Heart of Hospitality
The Heart of Hospitality is a hospitality management and customer service resource like no other, an essential guide to navigating customer service and consumer trends in the hospitality industry and others. Created by leading customer service expert Micah Solomon, with a foreword by Ritz-Carlton President/COO Herve Humler and contributions from top professionals in the hospitality industry (restaurateurs Danny Meyer and Tom Colicchio, Four Seasons Chairman Isadore SharpVirgin Hotels’ CEO Raul Leal, and many others), this compulsively readable volume helps you understand and serve guests of all generations, including the newly-prominent millennials, via first-hand stories and closely guarded hospitality secrets from top hotel, restaurant, and other hospitality professionals, including:


Danny Meyer, Union Square Hospitality Group CEO: His secrets of hiring, onboarding, training, and more.

* Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts Chairman Isadore Sharp: How to build an unsinkable company culture.
* Tom Colicchio (Craft Restaurants, Top Chef): How to create a customer-centric customer experience in a chef-centric restaurant.

* Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal: How Virgin Hotels created its innovative, future-friendly hospitality approach.
* Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company President and COO Herve Humler: How to engage today’s new breed of luxury travelers.
* Designer David Rockwell (W, Nobu, Andaz): Secrets of designing hotel and restaurant spaces that resonate with modern travelers.
* Restaurateur Traci Des Jardins: Building a “narcissism-free” hospitality culture.
* Celebrity Chef Eric Ripert (Le Bernardin): How to create different experiences for different guests-in the very same dining room.
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5     The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.

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6     #Girlboss

Sophia Amoruso spent her teens hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and scrounging in dumpsters for leftover bagels. By age twenty-two she had dropped out of school, and was broke, directionless, and checking IDs in the lobby of an art school—a job she’d taken for the health insurance. It was in that lobby that Sophia decided to start selling vintage clothes on eBay.

Flash forward ten years to today, and she’s the founder and executive chairman of Nasty Gal, a $250-million-plus fashion retailer with more than four hundred employees. Sophia was never a typical CEO, or a typical anything, and she’s written #GIRLBOSS for other girls like her: outsiders (and insiders) seeking a unique path to success, even when that path is windy as all hell and lined with naysayers.

#GIRLBOSS proves that being successful isn’t about where you went to college or how popular you were in high school. It’s about trusting your instincts and following your gut; knowing which rules to follow and which to break; when to button up and when to let your freak flag fly.

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7     Delicious! A Novel

Ruth Reichl is a born storyteller. Through her restaurant reviews, where she celebrated the pleasures of a well-made meal, and her bestselling memoirs that address our universal feelings of love and loss, Reichl has achieved a special place in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers. Now, with this magical debut novel, she has created a sumptuous, wholly realized world that will enchant you.

Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water—until she is welcomed by the magazine’s colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills.

To Billie’s surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine’s library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu’s letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history, and a feeling of deep connection to the young writer whose courage in the face of hardship inspires Billie to comes to terms with her fears, her big sister and her ability to open her heart to love.

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