Hey, everyone — here’s my top 6 (wtf?) list of books I enjoyed the heck out of in 2014.

1. The Drop – Because it’s Dennis Lehane.  Best enjoyed: With a bag of ice on your head, two shots of whiskey, and a bottle of Advil while you recover from the pistol whipping you took for being a rat fuck, you rat fuck.

2. The Nasty Bits – A collection of articles and short non-fiction pieces by Anthony Bourdain. Raw, honest, and one of the best opening chapters in food book history. Best enjoyed: With a bloody steak and glass of red.

3. My Life in France – Julia Child’s memoir. Mostly a story about not giving a fuck about what other people think you can or can’t do, told in the politest way possible. Best enjoyed: Standing in the kitchen with a glass of wine, waiting for the water to boil. Bonus points if Edith Piaf is on in the background.

4. A Good Man is Hard to Find – Flannery O’Connor’s collection of shorts. My first step into the sweaty dark corners of American southern gothic. Best enjoyed: In the dog days of summer with a glass of bourbon and your darkest thoughts.

5. The Underwater Welder – Jeff Lemire. It’s winter, summer, fall, spring, loneliness, anxiety, fear, joy, and magic. Best enjoyed: Alone, on a rock, near the ocean.

6. Pleasures of the Good Earth – Edward Giobbi. In a lot of ways it’s the cookbook companion to my all-time favorite book about food and life: The Unprejudiced Palate. Everything you need to know about connecting with the food you eat, and living responsibly. Best enjoyed: In early spring, after a long day of turning soil in your garden.

Hope you all had a great year, and here’s to a wicked good 2015.

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