Books That Made a Difference to Ali Wentworth

The writer and comedian, whose memoir, Ali in Wonderland, is out next month, gets serious about Russian history, politics, and anything that pokes fun at her family.
Whatever It Takes by Paul Tough
Photo: Lara Robby/Studio D

Whatever It Takes

336 pages; Mariner Books
"This is a life-changing book," Wentworth says of Tough's look at the work of social activist and educator Geoffrey Canada, who created the Harlem Children's Zone, a cradle-to-college, community-based organization. "My mantra is 'The art is in the doing.' A lot of people talk about polls and research, but I have a hard time with all the red tape. I just go, I get it, but can we rush a can of soup to the family right now?" Canada's example inspired Wentworth to create Baby Love DC, a Washington, D.C. charity that recycles children's clothing and equipment. "We're partnering with companies to distribute diapers and other supplies to people who can't afford them."
— As told to Lesley Gaspar