Even though I am continually falling behind on my magazines, the reading continues. What I realized a few weeks ago, is that I read some pretty interesting stuff. Which isn’t to say that I’m some sort of book-purist who avoids total crap (just wait until you see what pops up next round). But more often than not, when I turn the last page, I do so knowing that I actually learned something.
That’s a really nice feeling.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentices by Lisa Abend
I never thought I would describe the experience of finishing a book to reading a documentary. But that’s exactly what this was.
If money were not an object and el bulli was still open and running, I would toss our names into the hat and book plane tickets in a heartbeat.
But money is an object and the el bulli that exists within these pages does not exist any longer. So what Abend managed to capture was positively transporting.
It was the perfect book to read before our pilgrimage to Travail and our trip to Napa because it reached into an area of food production and restaurant service that I had never given more than a passing thought to. A life that most all of us will never live, nor would we ever choose to live. A detailed picture of what it really takes for a great restaurant to stay great. The level of thoughtfulness and scrutiny that is brought to some of the meals we eat.
On the other side of the coin, it also made me realize how chaotic and unintentional our time in the kitchen and at the dinner table can be.
Comfort Me With Apples by Ruth Reichl
I was so disappointed when I finished Tender at The Bone because Ruth’s voice and storytelling abilities are so 11/10. So when I found out that she had penned another portion of her memoirs, I reserved it at the library immediately.
I think I liked this book better, if that’s possible.
After trying to figure out what it was that makes Reichl’s stories so fascinating to me, I think it’s that she shares an unfiltered look at the early development of Californian cuisine. That’s kind of a big deal when you live in a country that doesn’t have one specific food culture.
The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell
Summary: Eat a whole foods, plant-based diet. It will drastically lower your chances of contracting Western disease and increase your longevity.
I’m glad to have finally had the chance to sit down and read it, but I don’t really think I was the person who needed to hear the message, you know? Because Marcus and I already try to eat a whole foods, plant-based diet.
One friend pointed out that parts of this book are extremely repetitive. It takes a lot of the guilt out from skimming.
Verdict: If you’ve already heard and received the message, you don’t need to take the time to read this. If you don’t eat a lot of vegetables or feel that meat’s place on your daily plate is non-negotiable, this needs to be the next book you read.
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
I remember reading about this in the NYT Book Review when it was first released. The plot: Some sort of non-religious rapture occurred and the book delves into the lives of those left on earth (hence the title, The Leftovers) a few years later.
Yes, this is one of those books where the more I tell you about it, the more that it ruins any chance of being surprised. What I can tell you: The characters are well-developed. They make you want to know more about them.
Just as you are finally getting to the point where you’re truly comfortable with the characters, the story is over. Which is actually quite fitting when you think about it. Suddenly, You Are Leftover.
And, as always, the list.
The Millenium Trilogy, by Stieg Larsson
The Glass Castle
Anything by Chelsea Handler (I’ve read My Horizontal Life – it’s good, but if you loved I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, you’ll find it tame)
The Joy Luck Club (Tawny, I somehow managed to escape reading this one in H.S.!)
Anything by David Sedaris
Water for Elephants (Back in my book-club days I read this one – highly recommend)
Life of Pi
All Creatures Great and Small
The Gun Seller
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Sherlock Holmes (collection)
No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (series)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (I love this book SO hard.)
Other People’s Love Letters
Bitter is the New Black
Not Ready for Mom Jeans
Madras on Rainy Days
Good Girls Don’t Get Fat
Here on Earth
A Thread of Grace
Under the Banner of Heaven
Lolita in Tehran
A People’s History of the United States
Julie and Julia
The Three Musketeers
The Lady and The Unicorn (along with anything else by Tracy Chevalier)
The Persian Pickle Club
Light on Snow
Two Kisses for Maddy
The Art of Racing in the Rain
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
The Space Between Us
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West
My Life in France
Sing me Home
Matters of the Heart
Moscow to the End of the Line
Girls in White Dresses
World War Z
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
What have you read lately and loved?