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8 Ooey-Gooey Book Desserts Better than Robert-Redford-on-a-Stick

By Wendy Irvine May 13, 2024 Hobbies

I lost 55-pounds in my early 40s and figured out how to maintain the loss for 18 years now. I call it a “forever-loss.”

That said, one of my most favorite hacks is to make a deal with myself earlier in the morning that I’ll eat a tiny dinner at 6 p.m. and then will go to my bedroom early – at 8 p.m. – to read a phenomenal book for an hour or two. I explain to the tiniest detail how the puzzle pieces fit together to create a “forever-loss.”

Every book on this list is a delicious marvel of a story.

Life after Life: A Novel by Kate Atkinson

Life after Life is a book dessert of the highest caliber. Two things to know: the title and book cover art are both deliciously good. Initially, I didn’t plan on reading this book. But once I got into it, I was hooked. Super good.

One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

This is the book-dessert superstar fiction of 2024. If you read only one book on this list, make it this one. You will love the story.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I finally got to this book that’s been on everyone’s “best of” lists for ages. It’s extremely absorbing. It’s about a girl in Germany. It’s not heart-wrenchingly sad. Total book dessert.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Such a Fun Age is a debut novel by Kiley Reid. Initially, I thought it had a “chick lit” vibe (not my favorite genre), and I almost tossed it, but what a relief I didn’t. The toddler’s “voice” is the funniest I’ve ever heard. Excellent story. Totally worth your time.

A Small World: A Novel by Jonathan Evision

I rate whether a particular book can be called a book-dessert on whether I’m pulled into the story quickly. Small World actually had a slowish start, but by chapter two I was in. The Los Angeles Times included it on their “10 Books to Add to Your Reading List.” Amazing writer, awesome book.

All the Broken Places by John Boyne

I love this author. The high-ranking SS husband/father has been hanged as WW2 comes to an end and his daughter, Gretel, and wife take off immediately for France.

At the beginning of the book, we meet Gretel at the age of 91, living in a tony end of London. In a parallel story we see a 20-year-old Gretel trying to come to terms with feeling complicit in the holocaust horror.

Exceptional read.

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

Don’t miss this gifted author. I opened Yellowface and was immediately pulled into the story. Two women go to Yale, and both exit college planning to create a huge earthquake of an appearance into the literary world. I won’t give any spoilers. Another total book-dessert.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Run by Petere Allison

This is a lighter, funnier read. The author became an African safari guide at age 19, and stayed for decades. Now, he shares everything from his experience in a hilarious, next-door-neighbor kind of voice. There’s nothing gory. The book starts with a bang and ends beautifully and was so good I immediately ordered the sequel. (Great gift if you have grandkids in their teens or older.)

When you take something away from yourself – like nighttime sugar – you need to replace it with something just as awesome. I go step-by-step into how I learned to maintain my loss for 18 years and how to develop a dessert-book habit at

Let’s Start a Conversation:

Do you love to read? What do you think of substituting the calories for an exciting book? Have you ever found something as exciting as overeating?

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And if it helps anyone, Amazon Book Sale starts tomorrow May 15th!

Pam Atack-Wake

Wonderful idea to work round the temptation to eat too much. My problem is meeting up at cafes. I love coffee but feel the need to eat something with it, to soak up the acidity. So too many cakes get eaten. Have tried stopping doing it but somehow I can’t prioritise doing that. I admire your discipline!


Speaking of books, I just purchased your book!! Love you humor as you take on a most uncomfortable topic. It’s my dessert book at the moment. Fabulous insight. Thank you Wendy for “The Inspired Eater: Fed Up!”


Thank you so much for the kind words! I hope you’ll join us at

And thank you for buying the book. It’s short but I purposely didn’t pack it in fluff.. :)

If you have any questions, just ask. If you have the question than others do too.

Toni Stritzke

If you are going to read Kate Atkinson, start with “Case Histories” the first Jackson Brodie book and end with “Big Sky.” They are all stand-alone novels but it’s great to read how each book intersects with the previous one and see the characters grow up, forge a way forward and then meet again in different circumstances. Atkinson is the greatest novelist in the UK in my opinion.
And who can resist a book with the title, “Started early, took my dog.”


Thank you!! I always need to check out amazing books for book-dessert! You’re right: great open!

I love England, but I don’t get why my history-husband — Sir Winston Churchill — doesn’t have his name on the airport. Same goes to the U.S. I’d be happy to let Churchill Day Churchill saved the world: he should at least get an airport!! :) (I’m goofing around.)

Thank you again!

Julie Holmberg

Loved All the Broken Places!! Of course The Book Thief too. I’ll check out some of your others! I’m just in the middle of The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard. A departure for me but truly outstanding! I love a challenge. Thanks for your suggestions.

The Author

Wendy Irvine knows the difficulty of losing and maintaining weight, post menopause. After a lifetime of struggle, she lost 55lbs. in her 40s, and maintains the loss 17 years later (she’s currently 59). For the granular how-to, please visit her website.

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