The best books about wild family weddings

Why am I passionate about this?

Weddings are stressful for even the most functional of families. I should know—it took me nearly two years to plan my own! The process of manufacturing the big day, and attending to all the trappings of the wedding industrial complex, really brings out our best and our worst. In my most recent novel, I found that a big, splashy wedding provided such a fun and fascinating way to explore the tensions and enduring love within families, friends, and couples. If done right, plots involving weddings can smash tired “bridezilla” and “monster-in-law” tropes. As we enter the summer wedding season, I hope this list of books keeps you laughing and loving! 


I wrote...

Wedding of the Season

By Lauren Edmondson,

Book cover of Wedding of the Season

What is my book about?

Cass Coventry is back in her hometown of Newport, Rhode Island, to celebrate her sister’s engagement—even if she is marrying into the family that famously stole the Gilded Age Coventry mansion out from under them a decade ago. But Cass is in for one surprise after another: the bride-to-be is hiding a big secret, her mother has royal-wedding aspirations, and a gossip blog has made the family its new favorite subject. It’s not long before Cass’s weekend in Newport becomes a full summer of frenzied wedding planning and society drama. As the grand affair arrives, along with new truths about her family, Cass must finally face her own thorny past in Newport and how to honor the Coventry legacy in all its chaotic glory. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Seating Arrangements

Lauren Edmondson Why did I love this book?

No one does family dysfunction in beautiful places like Maggie Shipstead.

In this novel, she sweeps us to a fictional island in New England (I imagined Martha’s Vineyard), and into the Van Meter family who, for all their wealth, have the communication skills of elementary school kids at recess.

Part comedy of manners, part dramatic exploration of our very human obsessions and anxieties, you’ll want to read this book with a lobster roll and a gin and tonic nearby.  

By Maggie Shipstead,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Seating Arrangements as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling author of Great Circle

'Joyously good' DAILY MAIL

'A ferociously clever comedy of manners' GUARDIAN

'A wise, sophisticated and funny novel about family, fidelity, class and crisis' MARIE CLAIRE

'A well-observed, hilarious, yet moving novel' WOMAN & HOME

New York Times bestseller and winner of the 2012 Dylan Thomas Prize and 2012 L.A. Times First Novel Prize

The Van Meters have gathered at their family retreat on the New England island of Waskeke to celebrate the marriage of daughter Daphne to an impeccably appropriate young man. The weekend is full of lobster and champagne, salt…


Book cover of The People We Hate at the Wedding

Lauren Edmondson Why did I love this book?

Just like the title suggests, this novel is not all fragrant flower bouquets and three-tiered sweetness.

Thank goodness—we get enough of that on Instagram! But if you’re down for a rowdy romp that is both cynical and tender, do come along with Ginder to London, to a wedding filled with alcohol, sex, and catastrophe.

I love how Ginder crafts such compelling portraits of people who we might otherwise dismiss as shallow or unlikeable. 

By Grant Ginder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The People We Hate at the Wedding as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Paul and Alice's half-sister Eloise is getting married! In London! There will be fancy hotels, dinners at "it" restaurants and a reception at a country estate complete with tea lights and embroidered cloth napkins. They couldn't hate it more.

The People We Hate at the Wedding is the story of a more than dysfunctional family as they reunite for the wedding of their oldest daughter. As the bride's walk down the aisle approaches, Grant Ginder brings to vivid, hilarious life the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, and the complicated ways we hate the ones we love the most…


Book cover of Eligible

Lauren Edmondson Why did I love this book?

I’ll read anything by Curtis Sittenfeld, and this modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice I started the day it came out.

Sittenfeld brilliantly updates Austen to make the classic story more relevant than ever. The Bennet sisters curse! Jane Bennet is almost 40! Mr. Bingley was on a reality dating show!

As someone who has also written an Austen retelling (my first novel, Ladies of the House, is inspired by Sense and Sensibility), I admire Sittenfeld’s care with the plot points we all love from the original—you’ll laugh out loud when our modern Darcy and Liz Bennet meet for the first time. 

By Curtis Sittenfeld,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Eligible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible tackles gender, class, courtship, and family as Curtis Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND THE TIMES (UK)

This version of the Bennet family—and Mr. Darcy—is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine writer in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to…


Book cover of Girls in White Dresses

Lauren Edmondson Why did I love this book?

I read this novel while I was in my twenties—during a time I called The Age of Everyone Getting Married.

It absolutely captures that whirlwind of bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and wedding registries, but also the love, jealousy, and heartbreak of being young and just figuring life out in New York City. Close writes beautifully about real women doing the best they can with their bad choices. 

By Jennifer Close,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Girls in White Dresses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ever feel like everyone but you has their life under control?

Isabella, Mary and Lauren feel like everyone they know has a plan, a good job, and a nice boyfriend.

Isabella, on the other hand, thinks she might hate her own boyfriend, Mary is working so hard she's hoping to get hit by a car just so she can have some time off work and Lauren is dating a man who can't spell her first name.

All three of them have been friends since college, and now - more than ever - they need each other, as they struggle through…


Book cover of The Unhoneymooners

Lauren Edmondson Why did I love this book?

The novel begins with a hilarious wedding nightmare, throwing our protagonists together for the Hawaiian honeymoon that the bride and groom can no longer take.

Although my books aren’t romantic comedies, I learn a lot from writing duo Christina Lauren’s perfect blend of witty dialogue, a fast-paced plot, and flawed, loveable heroes.

By Christina Lauren,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Unhoneymooners as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!

Starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews * Publishers Weekly * Library Journal

Named a “Must-Read” by TODAY, Us Weekly, Bustle, BuzzFeed, Goodreads, Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, Southern Living, Book Riot, Woman’s Day, The Toronto Star, and more!

For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime—maybe even love—in this romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling authors of Roomies.

Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is…


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The Wonder of Jazz: Music that changed the world

By Sammy Stein,

Book cover of The Wonder of Jazz: Music that changed the world

Sammy Stein Author Of Fabulous Female Musicians

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been passionate about music for almost my entire life. Jazz music in particular speaks to me but not just jazz. I love music, full stop. I really discovered jazz when I attended a jazz club workshop in London and there, I had to join in or leave. I chose to join in and since then I have never looked back. I was introduced to more jazz musicians and now write about music for three major columns as well as Readers’ Digest. My Women In Jazz book won several awards. I have been International Editor for the Jazz Journalist Association and had my work commissioned by the Library of Congress. 

Sammy's book list on female musicians

What is my book about?

With input from over 100 musicians, the book discusses what exactly jazz is, and how you know you are listening to it. Do we truly know when and how jazz first originated? Who was the first jazz musician? How does jazz link to other genres? What about women in jazz? And writers and journalists? Do reviews make any difference? 

This book is a deep dive into jazz's history, impact, and future. It discusses jazz's social, cultural, and political influence and reveals areas where jazz has had an impact we may not even realize.Its influences on hip hop, the connection to…

The Wonder of Jazz: Music that changed the world

By Sammy Stein,

What is this book about?

This book is very different from other, more general jazz books. It is packed with information, advice, well researched and includes experiences from jazz musicians who gleefully add their rich voices to Sammy's in-depth research. All genres, from hard bop to be-bop, vocal jazz, must instrumental, free jazz, and everything between is covered in one way or another and given Sammy's forensic eye. There is social commentary and discussions of careers in jazz music. The musical background of those in the book is rich and diverse.
Critics comment:
"This new book by Sammy Stein is a highly individual take on…


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