This guy! I have watched a lot of travel shows and a lot of food shows and lot of travel and food shows and there is no one like Phil Rosenthal. He's a pure delight to watch. He cracks jokes, he absolutely loves food, and he's genuinely curious about the people he meets and the places he visits. Who could ask for more? Plus his parents make an appearance at the end of every episode and they are what can only be described as a hoot.
The first season of I'll Have What Phil's Having took our intrepid host to Tokyo, Italy, Paris, Hong Kong, Barcelona, and Los Angeles. In Tokyo he eats a meal that comes with birdsong direct from the Japanese rainforests piped in through speakers inside the dish. In Italy he shares a table with a boisterous brood of Italians. In Paris he goes on a quest for the city's best hot chocolate. In Hong Kong he tries not to gag on Chinese medicine tea. In Barcelona he clinks glasses under bursts of fireworks. In Los Angeles he visits food trucks upon food trucks. In each city he connects to the people through the food they make and consume and it is a truly beautiful thing.
Lucky for me, just as I realized there would be no season 2 of I'll Have What Phil's Having on PBS I discovered that there would be a season 1 of Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix. New name, but same great show! This time he went to New Orleans, Mexico City, Lisbon, Tel Aviv, Bangkok, and Saigon. In season 2 he jets to Venice, Dublin, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Cape Town, and New York City. I can't even begin to tell you all of my favorite parts. But if you want to get wrapped up in a show (or shows) you cannot go wrong with Phil. Consider him an official Adventure Ambassador.
As most of you know I have been writing for the Lompoc Vision for over ten years. Each month I look forward to sharing my adventures around Lompoc with the readers of Rebecca's Corner and this month I celebrated Lompoc Restaurant Week by visiting Aflie's Fish & Chips. Read all about it here!
“Lompoc Restaurant Week 2018: Alfie’s Fish & Chips Edition”
by Rebecca Ross
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas. Lompoc Restaurant Week! I look forward to this week every year and every year I pore of the menus of participating restaurants (there were over 20 to choose from) trying to decide where I’m going to eat. There are lists, graphs, spreadsheets… it’s quite the endeavor. One would think I’m only able to eat at restaurants during designated weeks. Of course this is not the case, but there’s something about the celebratory nature of this particular week and the special menus where everything is $20.18 (see what they did there!) that gets me really excited to go out to lunch.
So, as per usual, I had a heck of a time trying to pick where to have lunch with my mom. Did we want Mexican food? Italian? Hawaiian? We had to go somewhere we’d never been before, but that didn’t narrow the list down quite enough. And then one of those giant cartoon light bulbs switched on over my head. It was so simple! One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to get more in touch with my heritage and since a large section of my ancestral pie chart is British, we had to go to Alfie’s Fish & Chips. What better way to connect than with food?
Alfie’s, in its charming stand-alone building on H Street, is something of a local landmark. Family owned and operated since 1969, they serve up authentic English fish and chips (as well as a whole host of other seafood dishes) in a cottage-meets-pub atmosphere. We ordered the $20.18 Fish & Chips Special (obviously), but couldn’t resist adding popcorn shrimp and batter-fried cauliflower too. We somehow managed to resist the deep fried Twinkie (iron will), laughed at the “Chicken Ate My Fish!” combo, and tossed a pack of Maltesers and a Turkish Delight on the counter before being rung up.
Now, I’ve had fish before. And chips (aka French fries). But never a traditional fish & chips meal with malt vinegar. Until Alfie’s, that is. And it was amaaaaazing. And those little crispy bits in the bottom of the basket! Have you had those crispy bits? You must. The battered cauliflower made it fun to eat our veggies, the popcorn shrimp was bursting with flavor, the malt ball Maltesers were scrumptious, and the Turkish Delight was gross (sorry, Narnia).
Not only did I learn that I love authentic fish and chips, but I also learned that the first mention of fish and chips was in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist in 1837 thanks to a strategically placed napkin dispenser. By the time we packed up our leftovers I was feeling very British (and full) indeed. Thanks, Alfie’s!
February 26, 2018
2017 has come to an end! Here are the books I read this year, described in 5 words or less. Enjoy!
1. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
Hilarious, irreverent, and weird.
2. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
All-around fantastic read.
3. Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham
4. The Miracle of Dunkirk by Walter Lord
5. Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
More stressful than fun.
6. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Personality shines through.
7. A Brilliant Madness by R.M. Drake
Why is all poetry depressing?
8. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
Very good, very sad.
9. The Wisdom of Big Bird by Caroll Spinney
What a guy (and bird).
10. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
11. The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, etc.
Clare didn't need help from etc.
12. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
Oh, Pooh Bear. Heart eyes.
13. One Summer by Bill Bryson
Bryson's take on the 20s.
14. Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North
Choose your own adventure!
15. Old Records Never Die by Eric Spitznagel
One man's quest for vinyl.
16. Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult
Cute concept. Happy ending.
17. Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J.M. Barrie
Sweet but sad.
18. Love Skip Jump by Shelene Bryan
Say yes to God.
19. Kingdom Keepers V by Ridley Pearson
Finally back to these guys.
20. Dreaming the Beatles by Rob Sheffield
Two of my favorite things!
21. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Coogan
Cute idea, okay execution.
22. The End Of Oz by Danielle Paige
Nice wrap up.
23. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
24. Very Good, Jeeves! by P.G. Wodehouse
Ah, Jeeves. Just the stuff.
25. Love Is All You Need
26. The Imagineer's Secrets of Disneyland by Mike Fox
Fun Disney secrets =)
27. A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott
Engaging, fast-paced, well-written.
28. Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
Dreamy guy, happy ending, Austen-esque
29. Radical Remission by Kelly A. Turner
A life saver!
30. Hollywood Love Song by Rebecca Ross
I'm a proud book mom =D
31. Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch
Though it would be funnier.
32. Lost In A Book by Jennifer Donnelly
Beauty and Beast meets Coraline.
33. Pigs Have Wings by P.G. Wodehouse
Hijinks at Blandings Castle
34. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
Was curious... now not.
35. The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott
36. Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck
Cannery Row gang is back.
37. OCD, The Dude, and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn
Perfect non-romantic YA.
38. The Little Book of Hygge by Leik Wiking
I love the hygge lifestyle!
39. What The Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
Not the best, still good.
40. How Can You Not Laugh At a Time Like This? by Carla Ulbrich
41. Maya's Vacation by Becca Gomez Farrell
My friend's book!
42. The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus
In the creative mood.
43. The Mozart Effect by Don Campbell
The power of music.
44. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
What a story!
45. The Wisdom of Walt by Jeffrey A. Barnes
Magical and inspiring.
46. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
A modern sci-fi classic
47. Who's the Leader of the Club? by Jim Korkis
Some good bits.
48. The Restaurant at the End of the World by Douglas Adams
49. Bradbury Speaks by Ray Bradbury
Collection of motivating essays.
50. Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams
51. Sourdough by Robin Sloan
You can literally taste it.
52. Murder Will Out by Tony Piazza
Young Tom Logan.
53. The Prince of Venice Beach by Blake Nelson
54. Artemis by Andy Weir
Great second novel!
Have I ever read so many books with question marks in the title? I don't think so. Another great year for books, not too many duds! Ask me what my favorites were.
boughtWhere am I going for my birthday this year? I'm going back to the 90s!
Let's start with the menu. I graduated in 1998, so the nineties were all about snacks. So my menu included a Cassette Tape Cake as well as the most unhealthy, but totally nineties snacks - Cheetos, Pringles, Ritz Bitz, Handy Snacks, Ring Pops, Jolly Ranchers, and Capri Suns. I used colorful plates, napkins, and silverware and VHS tapes as risers. And it was all set across the backdrop of The Max, the ultimate nineties hangout from Saved by the Bell.
Then came the music. For me the nineties are synonymous with music. The first things I think of when someone says nineties is all of the music videos I watched on MTV and VH1 - hour after after, especially in the summer (does anyone else remember Motel California?). So I created a nineties playlist (okay, I didn't create it, I already had it because the nineties are my favorite) and we rocked out to the Goo Goo Dolls, the Spice Girls, Nirvana, Green Day, Save Ferris, Sublime, Blink 182, Britney Spears, Gin Blossoms, Oasis, Blind Melon, Weezer, Third Eye Blind, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, LFO, Jewel, Foo Fighters, and the Cherry Poppin Daddies. SInce most of my friends were also teens in the nineties it was a veritable singalong, especially when we got to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song. And because it's not nineties music unless you bought it from Sam Goody, I re-created one in my dining room.
I went all-in on the nineties with our games, so I had a table set up with buttons you could decorate for your favorite bands/celebs (I made an I Heart Hanson button) and we all made fortune tellers and played MASH. Sooo nineties! I married Leonardo DiCaprio. Toward the end of the evening we all played Nineties trivia and asked the Magic 8 Ball inappropriate questions.
In addition to Sam Goody and the Max, I also covered one bookcase to look like a Nintendo Gameboy, covered my file cabinet with a Twister board (sheet? mat?), bought a bean bag chair, dressed Cassandra in a jean skirt and floar top, and decorated one whole wall to look like my bedroom wall with posters, photos of friends (authentic), stickers, etc. and put out my tape player, my teddy bear, hacky sacks, and those funny little pacifiers we used to wear as necklaces.
Speaking of those pacifiers, you cannot have a nineties party without dressing like the nineties. I went with a light tie-dye tee over a long sleeve tee, cargo pants, a flannel, Converse, a whole bunch of necklaces (one was hemp and had a peace sign), painted my nails blue, put scrunchies on my wrist, and wore my hair in pigtails. Everyone really got into this part and, even twenty years later, I don't think we looked thaaaaat different =) Trixie even dressed as a beanie baby!
A few days ago my mom asked me if I'd like to join her on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Pacific Grove. I couldn't believe it! This kind of thing rarely happens to me, as I'm usually the one asking other people to go on adventures. Yes! I told her. Yes, yes, yes!
So on Saturday we hopped in the car and headed up the 101 toward Monterey. The main purpose of our trip was my mom's annual trek to visit her parents at the San Carlos Cemetery. She makes up little bundles of silk flowers and, when she gets there, replaces the old with the new and brushes off any dust that has collected on their plaques. That was our first stop. After our visit (saying goodbye is always a little hard), we went off to explore.
Since we made no plans whatsoever (don't you just love that?) we drove around until we spotted a lighthouse. A lighthouse! We immediately pulled over and into the parking lot. Visiting a lighthouse had been on my adventure list for years, so I was extra excited.
The Point Pinos Lighthouse (the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the west coast) was wonderful. We walked all around the beautiful grounds, narrowly missed crashing a wedding, and took the lighthouse tour. Though it was technically a self-guided tour, the Miss Bossy Pants docent on the first floor had to have her say (and force me to look through a telescope several times even though I couldn't with my bad neck) before releasing us. Once free, we really enjoyed all of the different historically decorated rooms and even climbed all the way up into the highest part of the lighthouse just underneath the giant light. Then we had to come back down! Afraid of Heights, party of one. And yes, once we got back down we snuck out the back door to avoid Pushy McPusherson. And giggled as we did it. Because we're adults.
We drove around a little more and stopped at an ice cream shop creatively named Ice Cream Shoppe that had a super sketchy ice cream counter but tons of awesome Beatles memorabilia. We also stopped at one of our favorite places, Bookworks (www.bookworkspg.com). I really miss non-chain bookstores, so when I find one I'm a very happy camper. We could have browsed all day. It was quiet, it smelled like fresh books, and they had a ton of cute merch. I ended up with a couple of Beatles pencils and a magnet (since I didn't buy anything at the previous location), a literary board game, and a copy of John Steinbeck's Sweet Thursday. What's better than buying a book from the place it was written in and about?! Oh, and I bought a paper lantern.
In all of our driving, I had noticed something. Lanterns, lanterns everywhere. They were hanging from porches. They were strung across patios. They were even dangling by the dozens from the trees in the center of town. Man, Pacific Grove really loves lanterns, I thought. Why? And where can I get one? When I bought my dark pink lantern with green designs, I just wanted to be a part of whatever it was they were into.
Fast forward to yesterday, sitting at home on my computer researching "Pacific Grove Lanterns". Turns out they were part of the annual Feast of Lanterns! Days of festivities culminate in a royal pageant every year and it's coming up in just a few weeks. The Feast has its roots in New York's Chautauqua Illumination Night and celebrates the tale of the Blue Willow in which two young lovers escape their seemingly inevitable separation by turning into monarch butterflies and flying away. The lanterns guide them back each July to the place they first fell in love. You can read the full story at www.feast-of-lanterns.org
Yay for spontaneous day trips!
You could call me an Anglophile (one who admires all things English) if it weren’t for the tiny little detail that I actually am English. Though she spent her later years living in an adorable house on a quiet street in Pasadena, California, my great-grandmother was born in a suburb of Liverpool. She had the most wonderful British accent (much more aristocratic than Liverpudlian) and, to be perfectly honest, when I was very small I thought she could have been the Queen of England. She wore a string of pearls, she never let us put our elbows on the table, and she would say things like, “He was quite cracker at it.” Because of her I fell in love with England before I even knew that was where I came from.
And that’s the preamble to my recent obsession with finding British grocery stores. I hadn’t been able to find one locally (although World Market’s not too shabby in the international foods department) so I took the opportunity to hunt one out on a recent trip to Southern California. Well I had no trouble finding one in Los Angeles – the trouble was in choosing one. I eventually settled on The British Grocer in Fullerton and really couldn’t have been more charmed by it.
My mom and I are tea fans. If tea had jerseys, we would wear them. If tea put on concerts, we would be in the front row. In the last decade I have developed an insatiable desire to experience every Afternoon Tea I can find (I’m coming for you, Steakhouse 55!) and my mom is always on board. So of course we were excited to see what kind of authentic English teas they had. But that was about the only expectation we had going in.
When we found the building, we made our way across a quiet, greenery-filled courtyard and spotted the hanging sign marking our destination. I got that little tingle of anticipation as we stepped through the door. The foods of my people!
The interior walls of The British Grocer were exposed brick, painted white, and the windows were tall and arched. It was bright and welcoming and packed with every goodie imaginable. Although I had been most interested in tea and maybe some jam, the candy counter stood in front of everything else calling out, “Look at me first!” So we did.
Can I just say how much I love the names of British chocolates and candies? I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat a Crunchie, a Curly Wurly, a Flake, or a Wispa? How about a Lion, a Munchie, a Yorkie, a Jelly Tot, a Jammie Dodger, or a Random? What even is a Random?! It’s delicious, that’s what. I picked out a giant, cookie dough-filled Kit Kat and every Cadbury product I could get my hands on. Then I somehow tore myself away and marveled at the goods on the rest of the shelves. Colman’s Mustard, Chivers Lemon Curd, Walkers Shortbread, McVitie’s Hobnobs, Jacob’s Digestives, Heinz Baked Beans, Wilkin & Sons Tiptree Marmalade, Tayto Prawn Cocktail Crisps, Marmite, canned haggis (!). Seriously, I could go on. I can’t tell you how many times my mom and I said to each other, “Look at these!” and “What is this?!” And we hadn’t even made it a quarter of the way into the shop!
As we browsed the tea cups, tea pots, tea towel, Union Jack mugs, and cold cases of cottage pies and scones, we chatted with the woman behind the counter (whose name escapes me but is written on a page of notes I can’t find!) and almost forgot all about the Twining’s Earl Gray, Darvilles Darjeeling, Barry’s Irish Breakfast teas waiting for us. Almost.
We left with a basket full of treats (plus a Union Jack pin for good measure), went back out to the car, and ate a few nibbles before driving off to have a healthy lunch. Haha just kidding! We dug into our bags and ate everything but the loose leaf tea.
If you want to eat everything at The British Grocer too, you can find them at 305 N. Harbor Blvd., Suite 124 in Fullerton, CA. Call (714) 738-0229 for hours or visit www.thebritishgrocer.com
Be prepared for your Disneyland-loving spirit to soar when the Ambassador of Americana embarks on a fun-filled, time-travel adventure extravaganza in this live comedy performance celebrating the Magic Kingdom of the ‘50s and ‘60s. With his spectacular collection of “found” mid-century-era slides, unbridled enthusiasm and keen expertise, Charles shares the backstories and glories of the early days of Disneyland.
There are few things I love more than Disneyland, but one thing that comes close is Americana. Charles Phoenix has become the King of Americana with his books and slideshows on the subject and I was excited to see one of his performances.
In his shows he recounts how he first stumbled upon a box of old slides in an antique shop. These slides not only provided a window into lives long gone, but into a past that people still find fascinating. Not to mention they're great fun to look at!
The Performing Arts Center At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo was packed when my Disney-loving friend Jason and I arrived for the Retro Disneyland Slideshow. Many people were wearing Disney-inspired outfits or Hawaiian shirts. Charles came onstage to raucous applause in an flashy orange suit. His perfectly coiffed hair shone under the lights and his smile flashed out across the crowd.
What followed was an hour of slides taken by mostly unknown families, at Disneyland, throughout the fifties and sixties. Mr. Phoenix would pepper them with commentary and anecdotes and share with us some of the people he had nicknamed (one was called Daddy Long Legs) and punctuate them all with his trademark, "I knoooow!"
It was a fun afternoon, full of laughs and amazing color shots of the Happiest Place on Earth. It was a hoot to see how the park had changed over the years. I really think they should bring back the Space Man and Space Girl, don't you? I know! One of the best parts of the show came toward the end when a woman in the crowd recognized some of the people in the photos. What are the chances!
Once again I have been reduced to a screaming teenager. I just can't help it. And this time the Beatles are responsible. Or, more accurately, The Fab Four, the world's greatest Beatles tribute band.
For some reason people have mixed feelings about tribute bands and I could never understand why. I mean, I get not wanting to pay top dollar to see Brice Springsteen on tour when you can still see Bruce Springsteen on tour. But what if you favorite bands aren't around anymore. Or have stopped touring. Or changed members so many times they're barely recognizable. Or they hate playing their hits and only want to play their new stuff. Then you *need* a tribute band to help you realize your fantasies of seeing your favorite songs being played live.
I'm 36. The Beatles had broken up by the time I was born. John Lennon and I only existed on the same planet for a month. I'm never going to see The Beatles play live. But I'm in love with their music. Their songs were a big part of my past and present and will be a big part of my future. The Beatles permanently changed the musical landscape. To be born too late means missing out on something special. Or does it?
For the second time, I was flipping through the local paper when I saw that The Fab Four would be coming to the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, California. The first time I thought it would be fun to go and got tickets for myself, my dad, and my brother. I was not prepared for the magical experience of that night in any way, shape, or form. My heart leapt when the curtain rose and I heard that first guitar strum of Hard Day's Night. I was on my feet, clapping and screaming with everyone else in the ballroom. By the end of the night my face hurt form smiling so much! After the show we stayed to meet the band and get their autographs. "George" almost made me faint when he said, "Hello, luv" in his genuine Liverpool accent and took a photo with me.
You might think that once would be enough, but it wasn't. When they came back to town, I knew we had to see them again so I bought tickets and coaxed my dad into going. I wrote about my first show for the Lompoc Vision, where I outlined the set list and offered up the actual names of "John", "Paul", "George", and "Ringo". I talked about their signature hair shakes and the way they goofed around on stage and what amazing musicians they were. Seriously. AMAZING. I talked about feeling like I had actually seen the Beatles, something I had previously, and rightly, thought impossible.
This time I left my notepad at home, because this show was just for me. But the magic was the same. The Fab Four captured something that you shouldn't be able to capture. The Beatles, at this point, are mythical creatures. But they did it. They pulled off the ultimate magic trick and I loved every minute.
We had to stay to meet the guys after the show. This time I was wearing my red and black wig and when we got up to the table where the band was standing, "George" said "Nice to meet you, luv" (swoon) and they all commented on the fact that my hair matched his black and red striped pants. We all laughed and smiled and posed for a group photo and I floated back to the car on a cloud.
I'm already looking forward to the next time they come to play. I officially have Fab Four mania =)
Flashback to meeting these two lovely, lovely people. Chris Hayzel after his show at SoHo in Santa Barbara and his mom Nia Peeples after a friendly chat in the ladies room.
It's that time of year again! Here are the books I read in 2016, described in 5 words or less. Enjoy!
1. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
You can *feel* Savannah.
2. We're Just Like You Only Prettier by Celia Rivenbark
Kind of funny.
3. The Martian by Andy Weir
4. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DeCamillo
Lovely fairy tale.
5. Dream It! Do It! by Marty Sklar
Words of an Imagineering legend.
6. Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot
Cute but can't remember why.
7. My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff
Needs to be a movie.
8. The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
Bryson does it again.
9. The Vegas Diaries by Holly Madison
Little bit of scandal.
10. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page
YA Book Club is back!
11. The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Page
Dystopian Wizard of Oz.
12. Yellow Brick Wars by Danielle Page
Girls kick a$$.
13. The Hostage Prince by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple
Fantasy adventure for kids.
14. On Bowie by Rob Sheffield
Only Bowie tribute you need.
15. Up In Honey's Room by Elmore Leonard
Too much Nazi.
16. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Not your typical mystery.
17. Uncle Fred in Springtime by P.G. Wodehouse
Good old, PG. The laughs!
18. It Looked Different on the Model by Laurie Notaro
19. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Check off another Austen!
20. Ten Years in the Tub by Nick Hornby
Love Hornby's sense of humor.
21. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery
A beast, but worth it!
22. Best. State. Ever. by Dave Barry
Quick, funny, perfect palette cleanser.
23. Dave Hill Doesn't Live Here Anymore by Dave Hill
Another great humorist.
24. Your Favorite Band is Killing Me by Steven Hyden
Pop musical rivalries. Insightful.
25. The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland by The Imagineers
A perennial Disney favorite.
26. Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs by Dave Barry
27. The Amazing Compendium of Edward Magorium as told by N.E. Bode
28. Monster Trucks and Hair-In-A-Can by Bill Geist
A little too condescending.
29. Summer Days and Summer Nights by Various
YA summer-themed compilation.
30. Dave Barry Slept Here by Dave Barry
America's tall-tale history.
31. The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel
A compelling story.
32. Legends, Icons, and Rebels by Robbie Robertson, et al.
Rock 'n roll history lesson.
33. Bad Habits by Jenny McCarthy
Not as funny as expected.
34. Golden by Jessi Kirby
YA Book Club good choice.
35. Love Is A Dog From Hell by Charles Bukowski
Trying to branch out.
36. I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson
David Cassidy, teen idol.
37. Cup of Gold by John Steinbeck
Steinbeck wrote about pirates?
38. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
My first Fleming. Yikes.
39. Cassette From My Ex by Jason Britner
I heart mix tapes.
40. Hello, It's Me by Chris Epting
Pop culture goodness.
41. Parenting Is Easy (You're Probably Just Doing It Wrong) by Sara Given
42. Songbook by Nick Hornby
Personalized recommendations just for you.
This year I made sure to fit in a couple of my all-time favorite authors (P.G. Wodehouse and Bill Bryson), while also discovering a couple of new ones (Nick Hornby's non-fiction and Dave Barry's everything!). There weren't that many duds this year (yay!) and I have a few new books that I absolutely loved (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil). I get excited every time Rob Sheffield comes out with a new book, so 2016 was a success in that regard as well =) Seriously, if you aren't familiar with the Rolling Stone author's work, what are you waiting for?!
"Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we will be able to treat life as art."