Anything you do becomes better when you enjoy it—cooking including. Whether you have a few harried minutes or a leisurely evening to craft a meal, putting on something you love to listen to can make the difference between “I have to” and “I get to.”
At BBL, we are admitted bibliophiles, so it only makes sense that instead of music, we turn to audiobooks. This month, we’re focused on the human condition and what makes us tick. From personal politics to love, grief, and navigating cultural norms, discover six compelling reads that make for even better listening.
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Cooking with…Anna Faris
Unqualified by Anna Faris (read by Anna Faris)
Based on her popular advice podcast, Anna Faris is Unqualified, Faris’ debut book leaps right into her life, doling out personal anecdotes about her awkward childhood, her winding path to fame, and being part of a Hollywood couple with Chris Pratt. (Good thing Faris handles unease like a pro—her book was published just as news of her divorce hit.) Never a big fan of cooking, toast to her love of delivery with this spin on Chinese takeout: Snow Pea and Pineapple Stir-Fry Cauliflower Rice.
Cooking with…Tom Hanks
Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks (read by Tom Hanks)
The fact that professional reviews of Tom Hanks’ book, Uncommon Type, referenced him as a writer, and not as an actor who happened to write a book, says everything. In this wide-ranging collection of 17 short stories, Hanks introduces us to charming narratives told with detailed prose and deep characters. It’s a virtual sampler of great fiction, which makes for a fitting partner with this Tapas Platter that can be pulled together in mere minutes.
Cooking with…Phoebe Robinson & Jessica Williams
You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson, foreward by Jessica Williams (read by Phoebe Robinson, Jessica Williams and John Hodgman)
For Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, having an afro isn’t simply a hairstyle—it’s a statement about race. In You Can’t Touch My Hair, the comedians and co-hosts of the 2 Dope Queens podcast tackle honest talk about “black hair,” and the politics assigned to how it’s worn. But that’s just the beginning of how they see “blackness” defined. Listen as they set fire to prejudices and pre-conceived notions while setting your taste buds equally ablaze with sweet and spicy wings made with homemade sambal oelek sauce.
Cooking with…Lin-Manuel Miranda
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (read by Lin-Manuel Miranda)
Lin-Manuel Miranda breathes new life into Diaz’ seminal work of fiction, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (which won the Pulitzer in 2008). Set in New Jersey, Oscar dreams of becoming J.R.R. Tolkien, but he must first contend with real and mystical battles of his own—missing his Dominican Republic homeland, finding love, and facing the Fuku curse, which has tortured his family for generations. Enjoy the humor and cleverness of this tale while tucking into this vegan version of Dominican sancocho stew.
Cooking with…Sandra Oh
Human Acts by Han Kang (read by Sandra Oh and various)
Follow along as Sandra Oh narrates a riveting portrait of how an act of violence can crack a community and spider web into others’ lives. Told through interconnected characters, Kang delivers a visceral and haunting look at trauma, yet one that also finds the seeds of hope in the human spirit. Listen as you delve into a dish that’s equally deep and dark—like these paleo, Dark Chocolate Cake Brownies.
Cooking with…Aziz Ansari
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (read by Aziz Ansari)
We date longer, marry later, and have myriad technologies at our disposal for meeting new people. Yet finding “the one”—or even, let’s face it, the “right now”—seems harder than ever. Using his signature humor, paired with broad social science insights (courtesy of NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg), Ansari delivers a hilarious and poignant page-turner. While waiting for love, practice your hand at perfecting Ina Garten’s Engagement Roast Chicken for when the time is right.
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