Our Staff’s Favorite Planned Parenthood Books

Top Titles Gifted to Us by Editor in Chief Marianne Partridge Every Holiday Season

Our Staff’s Favorite Planned Parenthood Books

Top Titles Gifted to Us by Editor in Chief Marianne Partridge Every Holiday Season

By Indy Staff

Credit: Erick Madrid

Every holiday season, Santa Barbara Independent Editor in Chief Marianne Partridge gifts many members of our staff with books as her Christmas present tradition. Here are some of our favorites from over the decades.

Tanya Spears Guiliacci, office manager: Two books that Marianne has gifted me over the years have really resonated with me on so many levels that I’ve read them several times over. 

Children of the Dream, by Laurel Holliday, covers 38 African-Americans from all over, sharing their stories of what their childhood was like growing up Black in 20th-century America. These stories are moving, sad, emotional, shocking, familiar, relatable. Yet, today in 2021, nothing has changed.

The Heart of a Woman is one of Maya Angelou’s many autobiographies. I’ve met Miss Angelou and seen her live several times. When I listen to her, I immediately feel comfort. Reading this book about her, I learned so much that I didn’t know. Miss Angelou as a whole is truly the “Heart of a Woman.” I’m so proud to be a Black woman in America.

Jackson Friedman, associate editor: Schott’s Original Miscellany, by Ben Schott. Sure, I was familiar with “a murder of crows,” “a pride of lions,” and “a gaggle of geese.” But “a murmuration of starlings,” “an exaltation of larks,” and “a business of ferrets”!? For a curious editor endlessly enamored of such obscurities, this eclectic grab bag of factual odds and ends was the perfect present and, to coin a noun of assemblage, a trove of trivia. 

Caitlin Fitch, creative director: Tall Blondes: A Book About Giraffes. She got it for me because at the time I was slightly obsessed with the livestream of April the Giraffe’s pregnancy. I very unfortunately missed the birth, but it’s probably better that way.

Emily Lee, marketing and promotions manager:  Cooking with Italian Grandmothers. The cookbook is just as charming as it sounds, filled with recipes, secrets, and stories straight from the dinner tables of 12 Italian grandmothers all across Italy. But my most favorite parts of the book are where thank-you notes, postcards, and Post-its have been left to mark some of the most loved recipes in the book. I feel like I have a part of Marianne’s kitchen in mine.

Sarah Sinclair, advertising director: The first book was so long ago that I don’t remember the title, but I do remember that it was a novel written from a dog’s perspective. I had just started at the Independent. My dog was a puppy at the time and made frequent-enough visits to the office that Marianne knew how enamored I was of her. The novel was a perfect gift. 

The most recent book that Marianne gifted me is one of my favorites: The New Sunset Western Garden, which she gave me on Christmas the year that I bought my house. Knowing that I’d need all the help I could get with planting and caring for my garden, this nonfiction hardback guide is a frequent source of information and inspiration. 

Tyler Hayden, senior editor:  Marianne and I both love a good Sourdough Jack from Jack in the Box, and we both hate government waste. We both also enjoy gardening. The Sunset Western Garden Book she gave me a few years back is now my single best resource for identifying plants and figuring out how to keep them alive.

Brandi Rivera, publisher: The New Yorker Book of Baseball Cartoons. Even though Marianne is a Yankee fan and I am a Dodgers fan, we can agree that baseball is the best sport. 

A few years later she followed that up with Wait Till Next Year, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a memoir about growing up a Dodger fan in the 1950s. Spoiler alert: mainly misery at the hand of the Yankees. 

Matt Kettmann, senior editor: Amid The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking (matched my education, but not much of a baker) and an illustrated 1926 version of Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island (maybe that one’s worth some real money?), the most meaningful book was A Captive of the Caucasus, by Andrei Bitov. It came right before my own monthlong sojourn to the war-torn Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and prepared me for an ancient land of both transcendent beauty and constant destruction. 


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.