One of my favourite things about summer holidays is the promise of a large stack of books and hours to fill lost within their pages. I have an ambitiously long reading list for this summer, too long in fact to really share, or even commit to paper. I have years worth of must-buy best-sellers to catch up on, classics to study to plumb gaps in my modern education, and non-fiction titles to stretch my science-minded brain in different directions.
Here are some of the titles that have filled my first month of summer:
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister (published by HarperCollins, 2009)
The hard, round cake of chocolate was wrapped in yellow plastic with red stripes, shiny and dark when she opened it. The chocolate made a rough sound as it brushed across the fine section of the grater, falling in soft clouds onto the counter, releasing a scent of back rooms filled with bittersweet chocolate and old love letters, the bottom drawers of antique desks and the last leaves of autumn, almonds and cinnamon and sugar. (p.36)
Erica Bauermeister weaves this enchanting story of ordinary people with tales of their time in the kitchen, and what food represents in their lives. Each character’s journey surrounds an essential ingredients: chocolate, apples, ripe summer tomatoes; more importantly each character’s journey leads them to the most essential ingredient of all: love.
The first book by the wonderful Molly Wizenberg has been acclaimed in all corners for good reason: this memoir begins at the kitchen table and I truly felt like one of the family because Molly weaves each chapter’s tale as though she is regaling a friend over a cup of coffee and a slice of cake, or sustaining them with hope in the face of hurt through a winter dinner of butternut soup. I cried, I laughed, and I grew hungrier and hungrier with each page.
Cold, dark and lonely landscapes filled my mind when I read Geraldine Brooks’ novel of a small English countryside village during the plague. Isolating themselves by choice to avoid infecting the surrounding towns, the community must learn to live, and to die, with only each other for solace. Anna Frith is an unlikely heroine, but one you will soon grow to love as she grows, and survives through her ‘year of wonders’.
I could tell you that my absence from the virtual world has been caused by the fact that I am in the midst of wedding celebration madness twice over (both my best friends are getting married in December!), and that I am up to my elbows in butter, flour, and sugar (I know, poor me…), and both of these excuses would be honest; however, a lot of the blame also falls on this book. I was immediately caught up in the story of Diana Bishop – academic, witch, rower, and tea drinker – and Matthew – scientist, vampire, and oenophile. Magic, science, history, and love course through their journey to save an ancient manuscript whose echoes threaten their future together. I dare you not to get lost in the pages of this one – and oh! it’s the first of a trilogy…
Tell me, dear reader, what books are you lost in at the moment? Are you a fiction devotee? Any particular genre? or are you a non-fiction junkie? Any specific topics?