Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Have books...will travel!

Dr. Suess always claimed,
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you'll learn, the more places you'll go." 
I've found those statements especially true this summer. I've learned so much from my reading and the more I read, the more I'm learning. The funny thing is, the more I learn, the more I want to know.  As a result, no matter where I can be found this summer,  traveling, amusement-parking, parent-porch-relaxing, or picnicing, I've had close at my side, various forms of reading materials. 

Unlike last summer's selection of fiction, this summer has me knee-deep in non-fiction territory.

I've been enjoying a steady diet of cookbooks, some plucked from the library shelves, some arriving via UPS, and some happily discovered on the shelves of the used bookstore a few towns away.  

The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making by Alana Chernila was introduced to me by my favorite book podcast "Books on the Nightstand" where the male host said,
The thing that makes this book so special are the stories that she tells and the writing, the writing is so strong.... Each recipe has a full page essay about how she came to develop [the food] or even something tangentially related to the food that she's making....The book is also beautifully illustrated. It was just such a joy to read.

I've read this book and I've cooked from it. It is all that was promised and then some! Worth your attention even if you don't enjoy cooking at all. The reading is the thing here. {More about this book on the Goodreads site here.}

A few other cookbooks that have hit the spot are:

Chicken and Egg by Janice Cole is the story of a suburban couple who fill their empty nest with three chickens. I was sad to see the story end but thrilled to find that of the 125 recipes (each of which involves chicken and/or eggs) my family would easily be thrilled to sample at least 100 of them. 

I pre-ordered Dinner a Love Story and awaited its arrival much like children await Christmas morning. I'm a fan of the blog by the same name, Dinner A Love Story which has at its center two subjects that make my heart beat a little faster: family dinners and children's books. An odd combination to be sure, but it certainly works for me! The writing in this cookbook/memoir is also skillful.

The Mom 100 Cookbook: 100 Recipes Every Mom Needs in Her Back Pocket was a fun find for so many reasons. It's a family cookbook with out all of the same old nuggets and mac n' cheese fare.  Variety is the name of the game, and the pictures are fun and quirky to boot. 

In other news, I've been doing some traveling too, just like Doc Suess said I would, via a freshly downloaded book entitled Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson. Chef Samuelsson was born and orphaned in Ethiopia and then, along with his older sister, was adopted by a loving family in Sweden. It was under the tutelage of his adopted maternal grandmother that he nurtured his love of food.

From Amazon's synopsis...
Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus Samuelsson’s remarkable journey from Helga’s humble kitchen to some of the most demanding and cutthroat restaurants in Switzerland and France, from his grueling stints on cruise ships to his arrival in New York City, where his outsize talent and ambition finally come together at Aquavit, earning him a coveted New York Times three-star rating at the age of twenty-four. But Samuelsson’s career of  “chasing flavors,” as he calls it, had only just begun—in the intervening years, there have been White House state dinners, career crises, reality show triumphs and, most important, the opening of the beloved Red Rooster in Harlem. At Red Rooster, Samuelsson has fufilled his dream of creating a truly diverse, multiracial dining room—a place where presidents and prime ministers rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, bus drivers, and nurses. It is a place where an orphan from Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, living in America, can feel at home. 
I've not finished this one yet, but I'm very smitten with the engaging writing style that fills each short chapter.

And finally another memoir whose cover gets the vote for my favorite...

Wild: Lost and Found on the Pacific Crest Trail is about the author who found herself reeling from her mother's death, a pending divorce from a man she loved, and a family that had scattered. Cheryl Strayed made the most important and most impetuous decision of her young life.

Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her
I'm only to the end of chapter two, but I got that far while standing at the kitchen counter, book opened in front of me, bowl of cereal to my side. I never sat down, I was too focused on the book to take time to sit. Finally at midnight I closed the book and set it aside to look forward to the next day.
**{please note: after posting this review I came upon a section of the book which contained some strong language and actions, I'm reading on in hopes that as the author makes her physical journey up the Pacific coast, her personal journey will also be transformed!}

So, there ya have it. What I'm reading these days. If you need me, you'll probably be able to find me somewhere between Wild's Pacific Crest Trail and Yes, Chef's homelands in Ethiopia and Sweden.

If you should need to find that pastor-Man I'm married to, you'll need to look toward a little North Carolina town.  My Man is reading a book that causes him to say each time he opens and closes the pages, "THIS is such a good book!"

We discovered The Devil in Pew Number Seven on Challies.com and were hooked immediately by the review (click here to read the review). Darrin downloaded the book and we were shocked to discover that the true story takes place just 30 minutes drive from our former home and that the author was born at the same hospital as Cole and Megan.

I'd love to know what you are reading! Drop me a note at thewrightplaceemail [at] gmail [dot] com and let me know or share with everyone in the comments below!

Wishing you wonderful books with captivating plots and fascinating settings where the characters become your very best of friends! Happy reading!

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