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Book a Week 2016 - BW48: Foodie Books


Robin M
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Happy Sunday dear hearts!  This is the beginning of week 48 in our quest to read 52 books. Welcome back to all our readers, to those just joining in and all who are following our progress. Mr. Linky is all set up on the 52 Books blog to link to your reviews. The link is also below in my signature.

 

52 Books blog - foodie books:   Thanksgiving is over and even though our tummies are stuffed with turkey and more, we're heading into the season of food.  All kinds of Christmas and Hanukkah and winter celebrations on the horizon so figured I'd present a mini challenge.  Pick a book with food in the title or about food. It can't be a straight forward cookbook because that's just too easy.   You have several ways to go with ingredients, seasoning, artistic creations, sensations, and other gastronomical delights. There are plenty of fun non fiction titles -  CravingsFresh off the BoatRelishIn Defense of FoodThe Man Who Ate FoodRelish and Salt, as well as plenty of fiction titles such as 

 

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Or one of my favorite series which you can argue isn't food, but talks about food and provides recipes at the end of the book - The Coffeehouse Mysteries by Cleo Coyle.

 

cleo%2Bcoyle%2Bcoffeehouse%2Bmysteries.j

 

Or how about this delightful book full of magical realism and yummy recipes

 

pomegranite%2Bsoup.jpg

 

I'm getting hungrier by the minute.  *grin*   Find all kinds of interesting books searching on  Goodreads for Foodie Books, Popular Food Fiction, Food in Book Titles as well as Bustle's 13 Books All Food Lovers Should Read, plus Bon Appetit's 20 New Food Books to Read.

 

 

~cheers~ 

 

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History of the Renaissance World - Chapters 85 and 86

 

 

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What are you reading this week?

 

 

 

Link to week 47

 

Edited by Robin M
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Had a fun evening with my dad, sister and her husband at the Global Winter Wonderland.  We fortunately had a two hour break in the rain in which to enjoy ourselves:

 

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Currently reading James Rollins The Bone Labyrinth as well as Nalini Singh's ebook  Wild Embrace which is a collection of 4 novellas in the her psy changeling world. When in Doubt, Add Butter is waiting in the wings.   :drool5:

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Tail of the Blue Bird may prove to be one of my favorite books of the year!  Before I started reading it,  I noted that there is a glossary online which I pulled up on my tablet.  But looking up the untranslated words in the story proved to disrupt the natural rhythm of Nii Ayikwei Parkes' novel.  So I decided to focus on context which I think is the right decision.

 

Not finished with the book yet, but I am completely under its spell.

 

I also started reading The Black Tulip by Dumas, placing one bookmark to hold my place, another at the explanatory notes at the end.  The beginning is heavily annotated to help the reader with the history of the time period (Holland in 1672).  Again, flipping back to the endnotes is disruptive but this reader is glad for the additional information.

 

I'll take you up on the foodie challenge, Robin!  There is a memoir (with recipes) in my dusty stack:  The Fragrance of Basil:  Food and Memories of My Italian Childhood by Raefaela Delmonte.

 

We saw a terrific film yesterday, Loving, based on the true story of the Loving's landmark Civil Rights case. Richard and Mildred Loving's marriage violated Virginia's anti-miscegenation law.  The ACLU represented the Lovings at the Supreme Court which in turn struck down all laws banning interracial marriage.  The film is understated and beautiful.  I highly recommend it and would find it appropriate for teenagers.

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Hi, I just finished my lunch, a leftover turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich. Right now I'm working on an Agatha Christie, Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories.

 

I'm also about halfway through with A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, for my book club meeting this Thursday. This story is uniquely told. The language is simple and spare, reflecting the personality of the main character who appears to be just a cantankerous old man. Each chapter is like the layer of an onion that reveals just a little bit more about how he arrived at this point in his life. You are made to feel a deep sympathy, even as Ove behaves very rudely. Though the slightly comic and pathetic events are rather mundane, somehow you are riveted to the story and want to know what happens next. I can't believe I hadn't heard of this book before last month.

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Thanks, Robin! I'm going to download Pomegranate Soup from my library as soon as DS gives me my iPad back. I've been focusing on cozy mysteries in the last week and will probably continue with those through Christmas. Last week I read a couple of mysteries by Jeff Shelby and a mystery by Karen Sturges Death of a Pooh-Bah (based on a community production of Gilbert & Sullivan's Mikado). 

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Hi, I just finished my lunch, a leftover turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich. Right now I'm working on an Agatha Christie, Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories.

 

I'm also about halfway through with A Man Called Ove by Frederik Bachman, for my book club meeting this Thursday. This story is uniquely told. The language is simple and spare, reflecting the personality of the main character who appears to be just a cantankerous old man. Each chapter is like the layer of an onion that reveals just a little bit more about how he arrived at this point in his life. You are made to feel a deep sympathy, even as Ove behaves very rudely. Though the slightly comic and pathetic events are rather mundane, somehow you are riveted to the story and want to know what happens next. I can't believe I hadn't heard of this book before last month.

 

And I did not realize it was a book.  I had only heard of the film!

 

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This week I finished John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany, off of my Shame List (that is, a book which, when someone finds out you're reading it, prompts the incredulous comment, "You mean you've never read that?"). A little dated, a little too long, and a little too compulsively complete in its pulling together of all loose ends at the conclusion; but good writing and storytelling.

 

Currently reading The Yearling for a homeschool English seminar, which I haven't previously read though I do know how it ends. This shouldn't take long. Also continuing volume one of Quasten's Patrology, and doing much of the accompanying patristic reading: I'm on the section of apocryphal New Testament writings, so today I read the surviving fragment of the Gospel of St Peter, and am currently reading the Gospel of Nicodemus.

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Thanks, Robin! I'm going to download Pomegranate Soup from my library as soon as DS gives me my iPad back. I've been focusing on cozy mysteries in the last week and will probably continue with those through Christmas. Last week I read a couple of mysteries by Jeff Shelby and a mystery by Karen Sturges Death of a Pooh-Bah (based on a community production of Gilbert & Sullivan's Mikado). 

Awesome.  Received books by SWB in the mail yesterday! Thank you! 

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A book I just finished re-reading fits neatly into the Foodie book category as the heroine is a chocolatier.  I enjoyed revisiting the book.  (Adult content) ~

 

 All for You (Paris Nights Book 1)  by Laura Florand

 

"Some crushes aren’t meant to be.

When her older brother’s best friend left to join the Foreign Legion, eighteen-year-old Célie moved on to make a life for herself as a Paris chocolatier. Now, five years later, the last thing she needs is another man to mess up her happiness.

Let alone the same man.

But five years in the Foreign Legion is a long time for a man to grow up, and a long time to be away from the woman he loves.

Especially when he did it all for her.

Half strangers, more than friends, and maybe, if Joss Castel has his way, a second chance…"

 

Regards,

Kareni

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I finished History of the Renaissance World this morning! It's my favorite in the series so far - partly because I find this era more interesting than the ones before, and partly because, since the world is more connected, the book felt a little more connected/integrated than the previous ones. I realize it's just an artifact of the decision to write chronological history, but I've always found it kind of jarring to jump around from place to place - I'd often have to review the previous episode when we return to India, or China, or whatever, especially reading only a couple of chapters a week. There's a con to every way of writing history, I think, but as the world gets more modern the chronological approach seems to be working better for me.

 

I didn't really read over the break, as we were too busy eating, playing, and visiting. But I did get PD James's The Mistletoe Murder and other stories, recently recommended here. I read the first two, and liked them, the first one better than the second. Two more stories to go, these starring the young Adam Dalgliesh.  Swoon! He's my book character crush.

 

I'm re-reading Emma, thinking it would be Shannon's next assigned book, but I think we have too much planned before the holiday and it will have to be pushed back to the spring. i'll probably keep reading it, though, I'm enjoying it more than I have in the past.  Appreciating it, I guess.

 

I'm listening to Americanah, and enjoying it thoroughly - so glad I opted to listen to this book, as the reader does each of the myriad accents in a way that really enhances the characterization and makes it easy to follow. I'd lose so much nuance reading it, as I'd have no ability to "hear" the correct voices/accents in my head. But the audio version is excellent.

 

 

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I'm back to Natural Theology after finishing Stolen Lives last week.  Only 600 pages of Natural Theology to go!  I must confess I have begun skimming sections in order to get on with it.  I am just not into this.  Maybe it's been too long since I read philosophy and all that jazz, or it's too hard to switch between accounting, kids, and cosmological arguments for and against the principle of sufficient reason.  :P  Yeah, that's probably it.

 

We are on the final CD of the audiobook Rush Revere and the Presidency.  It's interesting and timely for my kids.  I do wish it would go deeper into a couple subtopics, but I guess we could theoretically do that on our own.  We finally got the second book of Masterminds and are looking forward to starting that one in a day or two.

 

For our read-aloud, we're making moderate progress through Good Wives (book 2 of Little Women).  Still hoping to finish it before Christmas.

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I'm back to Natural Theology after finishing Stolen Lives last week. Only 600 pages of Natural Theology to go! I must confess I have begun skimming sections in order to get on with it. I am just not into this. Maybe it's been too long since I read philosophy and all that jazz, or it's too hard to switch between accounting, kids, and cosmological arguments for and against the principle of sufficient reason. :P Yeah, that's probably it.

 

 

I missed the author of Natural Theology. Not Paley due to its length.

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One of my favorite foodie books is by Jacques Pepin The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen He's a wonderful storyteller and is so likeable.

 

 

Finished two more books this week, that makes a total of 42 for the year. I'm hoping to be able to actually read 52 this year - my fingers are crossed. :)

 

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio:How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less by Terry Ryan. Quick read, I admired the mother and her hope and persistence.

 

Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer. I think this might be one of my favorite GH books! I liked the "Gothicness" of the story and thought the build up was great. I did think there would be more of a surprise to the ending so was a little let down on that point but I think I'm just picky.

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Stopped by my favorite local independent bookstore yesterday in celebration of Small Business Saturday.  As they do a few times a year, several local authors (from LA to the border is "local") were there on the floor to make recommendations or just chat in general about books, reading and writing. It is a store that specializes in genre literature -- mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy and horror -- so naturally I love it there (except for the horror...)  I wound up chatting with for a long time with Mishell Baker, a newly published author of urban fantasy.  I didn't buy her book, Borderline, but Robin or others of you who like urban fantasy might enjoy it, and I may give it a try when I have more reading time again.  I did buy an epic fantasy based on her recommending it using words like "elegant".  It is Last Song Before Night. In return I recommended she get around to reading the Rivers of London books, as a friend of hers has been pushing her to read them, too.

 

I did pick up the next two Rivers of London books since my library doesn't have them, as well as another thriller by local author, Lisa Brackmann, whom I met at a similar event in January.  Not that I have time to read over the next 3 weeks between gigs and finishing those simple gift projects that seemed like a great idea 2 months ago.  

 

The collection of Doctor Who stories I downloaded from Audible are actually pretty great! There are 7 stories, each about 2 hours long, and so far David Tennant has read 3, Catherine Tate 2 and another narrator just 1. The stories are much more focused than recent episodes have been, each featuring some alien problem or another, and the Doctor cleverly sorting it out either with a companion's help or not. Donna was only in 2 or 3 of the stories, but otherwise the Doctor is companion-free.  Anyway, Robin, you were wondering if these would be right for your ds. They aren't too intense, though the set up of each is borderline scary in a monster-under-the-bed sort of way.  

 

The Janissary Tree is still patiently waiting for me to get back to it.  It is my foodie book for the week as well as my current escapist mystery, I just haven't made the time to escape in a book in the last few days!

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I finally finished listening to The Twelve https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13531473-the-twelve. I really enjoyed it although it was long. The narrator was very good but I am not positive I have the right one linked so if someone needs to know let me know. I am waiting for the last of this trilogy on audio. I need go find out the ending and am really glad I didn't start these before they were all published.

 

While waiting I started listening to Tana French's The Secret Place. So far I am enjoying it.

 

I am finally getting to read Faith Hunter's Curse on the Land which some here have already read. I really like this series! :)https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28953491-curse-on-the-land

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Stopped by my favorite local independent bookstore yesterday in celebration of Small Business Saturday.  As they do a few times a year, several local authors (from LA to the border is "local") were there on the floor to make recommendations or just chat in general about books, reading and writing. It is a store that specializes in genre literature -- mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy and horror -- so naturally I love it there (except for the horror...)  I wound up chatting with for a long time with Mishell Baker, a newly published author of urban fantasy.  I didn't buy her book, Borderline, but Robin or others of you who like urban fantasy might enjoy it, and I may give it a try when I have more reading time again.  I did buy an epic fantasy based on her recommending it using words like "elegant".  It is Last Song Before Night. In return I recommended she get around to reading the Rivers of London books, as a friend of hers has been pushing her to read them, too.

 

Small Business Saturday at your local bookstore sounds like a fun event.

 

I started Borderline earlier this year but didn't get too far before putting it aside.  It may have been a case of too many other books calling me rather than a reflection on the book itself.

 

I've also heard good reviews of Last Song Before Night.  The author writes columns at Tor.com.  I'd previously posted this article by her, but it's worth another look.

 

Four Classic Children’s Books That Are Pure Magic by Ilana C. Myer

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Elizabeth David is my absolute fave food writer. I used to read her books the way I'd read novels. Her writing is elegant and yet full of luscious culinary details. She doesn't separate the food from its source so her descriptions of the surrounding landscape are equally wonderful. This one is a classic of hers but, really, they're all worth a read.

 

Claudia Roden is another favorite. They've updated her classic and Arabesque, too, is not to be missed.

 

I'm a plodding reader of late and I haven't finished any books this week. Very much enjoying The Miniaturist though. Beautifully written and slow moving which suits me very well these days.

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Lovely photo, Robin!

 

Jane, so glad you're also mesmerized by The Tail of the Blue Bird. I, too, decided to 'go with the flow' of the text rather than looking up words all the time. It worked & the book is on my list of best reads for this year.

 

My favorite foodie book is one that's an acidly witty send-up of all the foodie & travel memoir style books: Cooking with Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson. Highly recommended if you enjoy British humor.

 

Ironically, ds is currently reading Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. Maybe I'll have to pick it up when he's finished with it.

 

Still working on Kurt Vonnegut's Palm Sunday.

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Elizabeth David is my absolute fave food writer. I used to read her books the way I'd read novels. Her writing is elegant and yet full of luscious culinary details. She doesn't separate the food from its source so her descriptions of the surrounding landscape are equally wonderful. This one is a classic of hers but, really, they're all worth a read.

 

Claudia Roden is another favorite. They've updated her classic and Arabesque, too, is not to be missed.

 

I'm a plodding reader of late and I haven't finished any books this week. Very much enjoying The Miniaturist though. Beautifully written and slow moving which suits me very well these days.

Arabesque has been added to my holds! :)

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Thank you again for these threads, Robin. And what a cool photo! I admit to having a bit of a letdown after reading your post. When I saw foodie in the title I was excited. You see, my first ever Instant Pot arrived yesterday (tonight's dinner is cooking in it right now) and I've been looking at IP cookbooks. I bought two Kindle versions - one was free, and one (the one most often recommended) was only $2.99. Then I saw that it's not about reading cookbooks. :(

 

I soon realized though that I don't need to be disappointed. I need a new mystery/detective story to read because I'm almost finished with my current one. As it happens the next Inspector Montalbano book for me is #3 and is called The Snack Thief. It's available for Kindle at my library. Think I can count it? It doesn't name a specific food, but who doesn't like snacks right? :D

 

The mystery I referenced above that I'm almost through is the second Justin de Quincy, Cruel as the Grave. Even though I'm only on the second one, I'm enjoying this series so far. It looks like she only wrote 4, with the last one published in 2006, so it's doubtful she'll add to the series. :(

 

I also need to get started on my IRL book club book - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Our meeting is next Tuesday, Dec. 6th, and when I downloaded the sample it seemed like it will be a quick read. I'll probably start later this week and I'm sure I'll finish in time. 

 

Still working my way through Alexander Hamilton, a little at a time. I've been listening to the soundtrack (Prime Music), and that plus the recent Biographies thread on the main Chat Board inspired me to pick up the book again. 

 

 

Hi, I just finished my lunch, a leftover turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich. Right now I'm working on an Agatha Christie, Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories.

I'm also about halfway through with A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, for my book club meeting this Thursday. This story is uniquely told. The language is simple and spare, reflecting the personality of the main character who appears to be just a cantankerous old man. Each chapter is like the layer of an onion that reveals just a little bit more about how he arrived at this point in his life. You are made to feel a deep sympathy, even as Ove behaves very rudely. Though the slightly comic and pathetic events are rather mundane, somehow you are riveted to the story and want to know what happens next. I can't believe I hadn't heard of this book before last month.

 

I never finished Hercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories, so thanks for the Agatha Christie reminder. If I ever finish that one, I'll read the Miss Marple set next. I don't have to read all of the books in the Poirot collection because there are many I've already read, and the same will be true for Marple. I might reread some, but probably will just pick the ones I haven't read.

 

As for A Man Called Ove, I've been eyeing that one for a while now. Your post has me thinking I'll like it. It's only $4.95 at Audible as part of their Black Friday weekend sale. I might go ahead and pick it up, along with a few others. The list is quite extensive. 

 

 

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Not much reading this week. I did finish What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours. I liked a couple of the stories but overall the book didn't fit me well. I'm in the middle of American Pastoral and we're supposed to have book club this Tuesday to discuss it. I will not be surprised at all if it gets postponed due to people needing more time (we postpone a lot either due to people not being finished or not having enough people able to attend). Philip Roth is obviously a good writer, but this book is too detailed for me. I'm finding myself starting to skim a bit.

 

In other literary news, we watched the first two Hunger Games movies over this break. One dd and dh need to finish Mockingjay before we watch the last two, but I'm pretty sure we'll get to those over Christmas break. We enjoyed the movies a lot. I remember not wanting dds to see them when they came out (thought they were too young even though many of their friends saw them), but they were a good fit now.

 

Probably won't get to a foodie book this week, but I do actually like to read cook books. I often buy one at the library book sale and return it the next year. Or I put one under the tree for me. I think I have a few around the house that I could revisit.

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I just finished reading book #117: Closed Hearts by Susan Kaye Quinn, the second book of the Mindjack trilogy.  I liked it as much as I liked the first one.  The idea is people who have evolved to be able to control other people's minds rather than just read them are totally persecuted mainly because of fear and rumors, including in government.  The end of this book was so sad so of course I've already gotten the third because I have to know what happens.

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The mystery I referenced above that I'm almost through is the second Justin de Quincy, Cruel as the Grave. Even though I'm only on the second one, I'm enjoying this series so far. It looks like she only wrote 4, with the last one published in 2006, so it's doubtful she'll add to the series. :(

 

 

As for A Man Called Ove, I've been eyeing that one for a while now. Your post has me thinking I'll like it. It's only $4.95 at Audible as part of their Black Friday weekend sale. I might go ahead and pick it up, along with a few others. The list is quite extensive. 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the Justin de Quincy books, and always wished she had written more. Apparently I missed one as I only remember reading 3 of them. And, since it has been ages since I read them, I may have to revisit them all!

 

I almost picked up Ove from the audible sale, but wound up instead with Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. I figure I'm on a roll this year with alternative Londons, might as well visit Gaiman's version.

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I thought there would be no books in my TBR pile to fit this week's challenge, but had forgotten about Fabulous Feasts: Medieval Cookery and Ceremony, by Madeleine Pelner Cosman. It begins with the "feast itinerary of Sir Gawain," covers every imaginable aspect of food in the Middle Ages, and ends with medieval recipes for the modern kitchen, including how to bake live birds (or frogs, or whatever) into a pie for an impressive finale to your formal banquet. So maybe it's time to read that.

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We just got home from watching Arrival, which was wonderful, beautiful, and sad. How does this relate to books, you wonder? Well, it's based on a short story by Ted Chiang called 'Story of Your Life' which I am now absolutely dying to read - I've got it on hold now, but I'm number 15 and they only have 2 copies . . . I may have to buy this one.

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Hey! I was a week ahead! My last book was about Aboriginal agriculture. Oh my goodness. I'm so glad someone published some Australian history that wasn't about idiots wandering off into the desert without adequate provisions. 

 

Oh, I've started reading Alice in Wonderland to dd, and there's lots of Eat Me and Drink Me, so I guess that fits the food theme too. :)

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I'm still working on The Elder Races series, having just finished #7, Night's Honor. I have taken a short detour for the new Kim Harrison book, The Operator, #2 in the Peri Reed Chronicles.

I have the first Peri Reed in my stack. I thought someone had read it here.

 

Eta.....I just discovered that what I have is a novella that is 0.5 in this series titled Sideswiped https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26006199-sideswiped.

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We just got home from watching Arrival, which was wonderful, beautiful, and sad. How does this relate to books, you wonder? Well, it's based on a short story by Ted Chiang called 'Story of Your Life' which I am now absolutely dying to read - I've got it on hold now, but I'm number 15 and they only have 2 copies . . . I may have to buy this one.

I haven't seen the movie, but I read about it last week and was intrigued. The story is on my list also. No holds at my library. I'm hoping to pick it up today.

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My favorite fictional food-related book is "Like Water For Chocolate".  

 

I love it too. It's so good, I'm afraid to read any other magic/food book because I'm afraid I'll spend the whole time thinking, Well, it's not as good as Like Water for Chocolate.

 

  I did buy an epic fantasy based on her recommending it using words like "elegant".  It is Last Song Before Night. In return I recommended she get around to reading the Rivers of London books, as a friend of hers has been pushing her to read them, too.

 

This looks great! So glad you mentioned it.

 

 

 

Four Classic Children’s Books That Are Pure Magic by Ilana C. Myer

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

I wonder if I could get my youngest to do a read-along with me of one of the books from that list. He loved The Egypt Game, so he might go for The Velvet Room.

 

 

As for A Man Called Ove, I've been eyeing that one for a while now. Your post has me thinking I'll like it. It's only $4.95 at Audible as part of their Black Friday weekend sale. I might go ahead and pick it up, along with a few others. The list is quite extensive. 

 

I got a couple from that list: Anatomies: A Cultural History of the Human Body for dh (He's loving it.) and Breakfast of Champions for me.

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My favorite fictional food-related book is "Like Water For Chocolate".  

 

Oh, I forgot that's been on my TBR list for a long time.

 

We just got home from watching Arrival, which was wonderful, beautiful, and sad. How does this relate to books, you wonder? Well, it's based on a short story by Ted Chiang called 'Story of Your Life' which I am now absolutely dying to read - I've got it on hold now, but I'm number 15 and they only have 2 copies . . . I may have to buy this one.

 

When we went to see Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them we were looking at the posters for other movies, and dh said he wants to see Arrival. I didn't know it was based on a short story.

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I am surprised nobody has mentioned M.F. K. Fisher?  She is absolutely one of my favorite writers, period, but she writes about food (even better).  She was a complicated person.  But I second Elizabeth David; I leaf through her cookbooks quite often.  But probably the best complicated-chef-latent-writer of late is Gabrielle Hamilton, her Blood, Bones and Butter was great stuff.

 

Catnip to me, but I read Donna Tartt's The Secret History this week, and did not really enjoy it.  I did that instead of read all the other nonfiction drag-me-down stuff on my Kindle.  Sigh.  This is a new week though. 

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Nonfiction foodie reads I'd recommend:

 

  • The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten. I read this many years ago after enjoying Steingarten's food writing in Vogue. He actually makes an appearance (under another name) in the book The Devil Wears Prada.
  • Heat by Bill Buford. An amateur cook spends time in Mario Batali's professional kitchen, learns to make pasta in Italy, and attempts to butcher his own pig.
  • Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan. The author, famous for the Omnivore's Dilemma, explores the four elementals (earth, fire, air, water) to create delicious food. His descriptions of southern barbecue brought back many memories.
  • Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson. A regular on the Food Network's Chopped show, Samuelsson reflects on his rise to cooking stardom, from his roots as an adopted Ethiopian boy in Sweden to an acclaimed chef in Harlem.
  • On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. The classic scientific treatise on cooking.

I don't read much fiction about food as I tend to start thinking about the recipe and whether it works, which pulls me out of the story. I did enjoy Like Water for Chocolate which I read a few weeks ago.

 

DH was celebrating a birthday last week so we took a trip to Las Vegas, a place I'd never visited before. We saw Michael Jackson's One, which was a beautiful celebration of dance, song, and music. We walked a lot, visited many different casinos to check out the architecture, and I gambled for the first time, making $25. I didn't enjoy the gambling, but I would return for the shows. I didn't read much last week as the Vegas clock ran much later than my normal routine.

 

Books read:

 

  • Shattered Souls by Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, et al. Fiction-Urban Fantasy. A short story collection about ambiguous characters trying to do the right thing, but often failing. My personal favorite was "Cold Case", Butcher's anchor story about Molly and her role as the Winter Maiden. Fans of the Dresden Files will probably like it. I also liked Seanan McGuire's "Sleepover", which returns to her prominent theme of supernatural creatures trying to live their lives in peace. The others were good reads, more consistent in quality than other anthologies I've read recently.
  • Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman, E Lily Yu, E. Nesbit, et al. Fiction-Fairy Tale Fantasy. An exploration of fairy tale themes in modern settings. I had read E. Lily Yu's "The Cartographer Wasps and The Anarchist Bees", a short story about wasps who create detailed maps and the enslaved bees who attempt to overthrow the wasps' domination. I enjoyed the re-read even more. I liked all the stories since I've been drawn to fairy tale re-tellings like those offered by Catherynne Valente, Naomi Novik, and Seanan McGuire. I'd never read anything from many of the authors before (except E. Nesbit of course) so I'll keep the names in mind when searching out new books.
Edited by ErinE
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I finished Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce - about a girl who shows up at her parents' house on Christmas day after having disappeared twenty years earlier and saying she was gone for only six months, living with what her family calls "fairies," though she says they would never go by that term. The prose is simple, so it's a relaxing book, but it's very sad, so not necessarily comforting. 

 

I also read The Magician's Nephew and started The Last Battle, the only two Narnia books I haven't/hadn't read, and I started in on Christmas reading with E.T.A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker

 

 

Has anyone read Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto? Does that count as a food book?

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Oh, I forgot that's been on my TBR list for a long time.

 

 

When we went to see Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them we were looking at the posters for other movies, and dh said he wants to see Arrival. I didn't know it was based on a short story.

 

I think I might have seen a mention on the Tor site, and saw that there was a short story and planned to read it first, but then we spontaneously decided to go to the movies last night and so I watched it cold, with almost no foreknowledge other than a one-sentence "it's about a linguist that helps communicate with aliens during first contact"  And I'm glad I didn't know more! It was really mind-blowing, I've been thinking about it nonstop and I dreamed about it last night, but I don't want to spoil it for anybody. I did read a discussion last night that highly recommended the short story after seeing the movie, because the themes are more fully developed and there is less distraction - of course they threw in some military and international drama in the movie that wasn't in the story. This is a case where I'd actually suggest seeing the movie before reading, if you're planning to do both, because the movie unfolds in such an amazing way.

 

Ok, 'nuff about the movie till everyone sees it who wants to!!

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I finished PD James's The Mistletoe Murder last night.  It was fine. I'm not sure short story is the right genre for a murder mystery, you just don't have time to develop the plot much or throw in many good twists. Each of the stories seemed like the kernel for a good mystery, but they felt a little rushed.  I didn't much care for the 2nd one but the other 3 were pretty good. I'm going to have Shannon read it, because she's wrapping up the BW short story class and I notice she has a hard time writing a really short short story - hers read like the really interesting beginning to a novel, too.  I think it's a hard genre to do well.

 

I also forgot to say that the penultimate chapter of HotRW made me want to understand more about the genesis of the european slave trade in Africa - the fact that it started as early as it did, under Henry the Navigator of Portugal, well before there were colonies to supply with laborers, and the fact that it was sanctioned as a form of crusade by the pope were facts that I did not know previously. So I've put a few books on hold and hope to learn more about this era and get my mind around what these people could have been thinking.  Henry the Navigator strikes me as another of those guys that get presented to kids as heroes, and who decidedly were not. I'm planning to dig a little deeper into this story.

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Had a fun evening with my dad, sister and her husband at the Global Winter Wonderland.  We fortunately had a two hour break in the rain in which to enjoy ourselves:

 

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Currently reading James Rollins The Bone Labyrinth as well as Nalini Singh's ebook  Wild Embrace which is a collection of 4 novellas in the her psy changeling world. When in Doubt, Add Butter is waiting in the wings.   :drool5:

 

 

Wow.  I wish we had that around here.  It looks magical. 

 

Btw, if anyone needs to buy a picture book for a young child, I saw the cutest picture book at the library yesterday. It would be so absolutely fun to read aloud. (I need to borrow some 3-year-olds so I can read it aloud! Lol.)

 

There's a Bear on My Chair by Russ Collins.

 

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This book is so cute I want a copy for myself!

 

Well, you are in luck because I have a 3-year-old that would love to spend a few days with Auntie Stacia.  Warning - he's not potty trained.  Warning - he wakes up REALLY early. 

 

Let me just check out shipping rates and get back to you ...

 

Whew.  Can you tell it's been a long day?

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Yes, she's another good one! And we can't forget Nero Wolfe, that erudite, armchair detective and gourmand. I see there's even a Nero Wolfe cookbook that reproduces a lot of the recipes mentioned in his books.

 

 

Hey I have been listening to a Nero Wolfe audio book in the car so I guess I am already with the program!

 

I love that golden era style of mystery but have never read Nero Wolfe.  He was always a favorite with my grandmother and she was my book soul mate.  I'll read a Nero Wolfe for our foodie challenge.

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Ladies -  I'm still sad about what happened to RIchard III.  Such a tragic story.  I feel a little bit silly talking about it but I feel like it's made me slightly depressed.  If I had a time machine I think I would go back and save him somehow. 

 

Possibly this is why I try to stick to fluffy books ... otherwise I end up at the kitchen sink crying over dead monarchs. 

Edited by aggieamy
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