Entries Tagged as 'Good Reading'

Reading and Eating Lists

Monday, November 3, 2014

Winter reading list

What’s on your reading list this season?

In anticipation of winter, I’ve been gathering books like a rabid squirrel hoarding nuts. Do rabid squirrels even eat nuts, or, once bitten, do they turn into carnivores? Now there’s an under rated topic in the blogosphere. Moving on.

Almost always, the books I read have been recommended by friends, and that’s true for each of these. How do you choose your books, and do you have any that you can’t wait to crack?

On the list:
Blue Plate Special, a food-focused memoir by the great Kate Christensen.

Population: 485 by Michael Perry, a true account of the author’s return to his hometown of New Auburn, Wisconsin.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, about the many possible lives of one woman born in 1910.

Eating on the Wild Side, a gift from Niki, a book about selecting and preparing foods to recover lost nutrition and flavor, by Jo Robinson.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, the story of one lieutenant’s heroic journey and survival after his Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific during World War II.

The Year of Magical Thinking. Joan Didion’s thoughts during the year following her husband’s death.

The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh, a novel of “adventure, identity, unlikely love, and history” set among the tiny islands of Sundarbans in the Bay of Bengal. MJ’s recommendation. When MJ recommends, I know enough to take her word.

Sometimes I’ll stop at a bakery for a baguette and end up eating three quarters of it in the car on the way home from work. And sometimes I make lists of recipes, including a couple of less irrational choices, mostly to try to avoid the baguette situation.
In the recipe queue:

Beet Caviar
Olive Oil Ice Cream
Bánh xèo
The Best Apple Pie He’s Ever Made
A Gibson
Cinnamon Sleep Tonic

Have a lovely week. xx

Corn-Salad Plenty



Sunday Good Reads

Sunday, July 28, 2013

In a few hours, my friend Graeme will be at the door, and he and I will begin cooking a retro themed dinner for a small group of friends. Seems like we’ve been talking about this dinner forever, and now it’s here. I’m super excited about the menu – we’re making mocha granita, fried rice balls, salmon roulade, cranberry ginger cocktails, and lots of other things. We’re making a dessert he’s been telling me about almost since I’ve known him called banoffee. I can’t believe I did, but I bought Spam, which I haven’t tasted since Roseville, Minnesota, on a sandwich, when I was six. It’s going to be a good time.

Have you read anything good lately? I stayed at a farm in Malaysia, and the guy who lives there and hosts travelers recommended a list of books I can’t wait to get my hands on. And here’s what I’ve read lately and really liked:

The Little Prince looks like a children’s book, but it’s appropriate for all ages and especially adults. Originally published in French in 1943 by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and since has been translated into more than 250 languages, about optimism, relationships, and the difference of life through a child’s and adult’s eyes. A quick but thought-provoking read.

Lit is a memoir by a poet and literature professor at Syracuse originally from Texas, Mary Karr, about her relationships with her mother and father, her battle with alcoholism, getting sober, getting married and divorced, and having a son. I’ve never read anything like it. The way she composes sentences and phrases is so gorgeous, each statement could almost stand on its own. I laughed and cried from cover to cover. I can’t wait to read more from her.

How to Pick a Peach is a compendium of seasonal fruits and vegetables, how to choose them, store them, and prepare them. I’ve dogeared so many recipes, like cold spiced cherry soup, cauliflower custard, cornmeal buckle with plums, and applesauce with bourbon, sour cherries, and hazelnuts (I know!!!).

Kafka on the Shore For years I’ve eyed IQ84 and listened to people gush about Murakami without reading any of his books myself. Until I needed a book fast for a trip and found Kafka on the Shore at a nearby used book store in Seoul. I see the hype now.

Ishmael – one of the books from the farm, I read only a third of it before it was time to leave. A man in the story answers a want ad from a teacher looking for a student, and when he gets to the point of location, the teacher is a gorilla who can talk. The man battles with himself about whether or not he should return the next day, but day after day, he does return to learn a valuable lesson only an animal can tell.

Have a great week.

Used Books

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The door of our apartment is constantly revolving. New teachers arrive on a fresh contract, and seasoned teachers leave for long-term travel or to return to their homelands at the end of theirs, usually in such a rush that, inevitably, they leave at least a box’s worth of things behind. We move into empty bedrooms, but every other room is filled with the belongings of somebody else. I’m looking around my room right now, wondering how the hell I’ve accumulated so much stuff in just over a year. But maybe it’s not as serious as I think. I guess I won’t know until I start to pack it up.

In our living room, we have an 18-inch wide relic of a television with two English channels, always at least one rack full with drying laundry, a standing air conditioning unit (of which I consider us very lucky), and a communal bookshelf. Mainly travel and self-help with a sprinkling of sci-fi and mystery, the selection of books in our living room gives a look into the personalities of our mysterious predecessors. I get to read books that I might otherwise have overlooked, like this hilarious treasure of a story. I laughed out loud, cringed, and generally felt more confident with my own set of social skills, as erratic and infantile as they can be. This bookshelf and what it represents is further motivation for me to leave the books I’ve brought and bought behind for whoever might like to read them next.

A few weeks ago, I bought a notebook to add to the shelf so that we could write down tips or memories or jokes if we want to – something to give fresh roommates an idea of who lived here before them. I would have loved to read something like this when I arrived. Who knows. Maybe we’ll end up using all the blank pages for an impromptu game of Celebrity. That would be fun, too.