SUMMER 2011. CUCUMBER. 07.15.11
Lately, I’ve been on a cookbook-buying tear. Every time I turn around I seem to have snapped up yet another. These are in addition to the stack I check out from the local library every couple weeks. All this bingeing without the requisite purging has created quite a swell on my cookbook shelf. I’ve happily collected the work of people I know, such as The Glorious Pasta of Italy by Domenica Marchetti and For Cod and Country by Barton Seaver; people I feel like I know, such as Heidi Swanson, author of Super Natural Every Day ; and then there are those that appeal to me because the pictures are pretty and I’ve not procured a new cookbook in, say, at least 4 days (case in point, Paletas by Fany Gerson). I’ve also added classics I probably should have had all along, like Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything or Mollie Katzen’s The Moosewood Cookbook, both recently acquired after one too many library check-outs summoned a suspicious glance from the librarian. “Again?” his eyes said, narrowing slightly. Um, yes.
All of this cookbook reading (and the cooking that naturally follows) has left me with little time for the kind of leisure reading I once did while on a child-free beach vacation or in the carefree evenings after grad school but before motherhood. Presuming you have a relaxing vacation planned or at the very least a long flight, consider these favorites if you are looking for the kind of read that can carry you away to the place only a suck-you-in-from-page-one book can. In no particular order:
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. If you’ve not yet become acquainted with Lahiri’s captivating style, you are in for a treat. With each of her works, I feel like I’m reunited with an old friend. And I’m always left wanting more when it’s all over.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. The last full book I read (one year ago – eek!). If you read this book and connect the dots, you will see that it can be life-changing. It’s no coincidence that shortly after finishing this book, I took a chance, started a blog and then left my job. My copy is mysteriously missing from the shelf and I fear my husband may have burned it.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I loved Kingsolver’s fiction works and this nonfiction piece is a joy as well. For a year, Kingsolver and her family vow to eat only what they can raise or grow. Interesting, informative and a few fun recipes, too!
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Beautifully written short stories with a single common thread that is not always immediately obvious. Though a bit of a curmudgeon, Olive quickly grew on me and I missed her when the book was over.
A Widow for One Year by John Irving. Classic Irving storytelling complete with family dysfunction, tragedy on multiple levels and of course, love.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. One of four children, Walls tells the true story of her unbelievable upbringing by parents that were nomadic (sometimes homeless), loving, irresponsible and plagued by alcoholism. Fascinating.
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. In truth, I’ve not yet finished this one. At the suggestion of my wise friend Eve, I’m listening to it right now while exercising in the wee hours of the morning. Upon being diagnosed with fatal pancreatic cancer, Pausch documented the life lessons he wanted to share with his young children, too young at the time to understand their meaning. Inspiring and a real perspective-changer.
Happy reading, whether it’s cookbooks, magazines, books…or just this little blog.