Top Picks for Book Groups

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I’ve mentioned my book group previously. I love them all dearly but they’re not flash at reading the book. That would drive some people mental but, after 15 years, I’m okay with it. On the upside, whenever my book group actually does talk about the book for more than a few minutes, the book was obviously a good pick.

Over the last month or so, two of my Twitter buddies have asked for book group recommendations. Here’s what I suggested (all being books that got my book group really talking) – Continue reading

Top Ten Books for 2013

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It’s that time of year (the last reading day of 2013) where I pick my favourite and bests. The first nine are in no particular order: Continue reading

Foodies Read Challenge – Wrap-up

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Despite being focused on food, the Foodies Read Challenge provided quite a bit of diversity. I read books that included cannibalism, a book that was a thinly disguised memoir, and stories that hinged around death. Some of these books made me hungry. Others, not at all (pickled wolf’s heart anyone?). Continue reading

Translation Reading Challenge 2013 – Wrap-up

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It was Curiosity Killed the Bookworm’s Translation Challenge that I found the most ‘challenging’ of this year’s reading challenges. But it also delivered some of the best and most thought-provoking books I read this year.

I started and finished the challenge with books about mothers (both were brilliant) – Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran and The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante. Xinran’s stories will never leave me – steel your heart a little before beginning it although regardless of how prepared you feel, you’ll finish in tears. Continue reading

Top 10 Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

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By this point last year, I’d read The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. Had I not read another good book for the remainder of the year, I would have been satisfied that 2012 had been a ‘good reading year’. In fact, 2012 got even better when I read Lisa Klaussman’s Tigers in Red Weather.

But 2013 is another story.

When I saw this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic – best books read so far this year – the first thing I thought was ‘This year, I haven’t found ‘the one’.’ I’ve read some great books (as the list below demonstrates) but I haven’t found the one book that I press onto everyone I meet.Yet.

So this list of excellent books comes with qualifiers – I loved all of these novels but I’m not necessarily recommending them to ALL THE PEOPLE (although The Rosie Project comes darn close). Continue reading

‘The Gourmet’ by Muriel Barbery

My first question is ‘Why isn’t Muriel Barbery herself a food critic?’ – her descriptions of food in The Gourmet are exquisite.

As the world’s most celebrated food critic, Pierre Arthens, lays dying in his plush Parisian apartment (the same apartment building of The Elegance of the Hedgehog fame), his mind turns to key culinary moments in his past. Having eaten at the finest restaurants and drunk the best wines, Pierre is desperate to recall the most delicious food ever to pass his lips. All he wants is one last taste.

“How ironic! After decades of grub, deluges of wine and alcohol of every sort, after a life spent in butter, cream, rich sauces, and oil in constant, knowingly orchestrated and meticulously cajoled excess, my trustiest right-hand men, Sir Liver and his associate Stomach, are doing marvelously well and it is my heart that is giving out. I am dying of cardiac insufficiency. What a bitter pill to swallow.”

“I’m going to die and there is a flavour that has been teasing my taste buds and my heart and I simply cannot recall it. I know that this particular flavour is the first and ultimate truth of my entire life, and that it holds the key to a heart that I have since silenced… and original, marvellous dish that predates my vocation as a critic, before I had any desire or pretension to expound on my pleasure in eating.” Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – When Literature and Food Meet (Foodie Fiction)

Is ‘Foodie Literature’ a genre? Well it is now.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new ‘top ten’ challenge is posted – anyone can join in. This week’s topic is Top Ten Authors from X Genre. I mostly read books classed as ‘contemporary literature’ but regular readers of my blog also know that whatever the book, whatever the genre, I match it with a dish. Yes, some people pair food and wine, I pair food and books (but won’t say no to wine as well!).

I love cooking, I love reading and I really love reading about cooking! So, here’s my top ten Foodie Literature picks (or perhaps Edible Fiction? Or Fiction with Flavour? Or Fiction in the Kitchen? Or Delicious Reads?… okay, stopping now, especially as there’s a couple of non-fiction titles in the mix). Continue reading