9780316242998_p0_v2_s192x300I have always described myself a voracious reader, devouring books, and books of any kind.  Cara Nicoletti is the same kind of reader, loving books probably a little more than I do (if that’s even possible! In Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books, she talks about some of her favorite books, and the memories that she associates with these books, and recipes that correlate with those memories, and the books’ themes. As a trained pastry chef, she now works as a butcher, which she describes as a family business. Interestingly, she also has an English degree from NYU, and her love of food and books inspired her to start the blog Yummy Books.

The blog has an amazing recipe index that will make you drool – and the recipes that she shares in the book are some that I can’t wait to try. Although I love to cook, I doubt that I can recreate some of her dishes. It sure doesn’t hurt to try though! The Chocolate Babka recipe looks amazing – and reminds me of a certain hilarious Seinfeld episode. Her recipe for Biscuits with Molasses Butter sounds perfect for a chilly Spring morning (or any other morning, or any time during any time for that matter). It goes along with her memory that she shares about To a Kill a mockingbird, one book that she describes as a favorite growing up.It was a book that her father passed down to her, one that conjured up so many images and ideas of the south.

“Along with the characters, I fell in love with Southern food, too – or at least with the idea of it. There were cracklin’ bread and scuppernongs, dewberry tarts, peach pickles, hickory nuts, cherry wine, butter beans, and a Lane cake ‘loaded with shiny’ – I barely knew what any of it was, but I knew it all sounded better than anything I ate at home.”

The book is separated into three parts: childhood, adolescence and college years, and adulthood. Her school years are filled with books that are usually required reading – but they include some really great books, Anna Karenina, Middlesex, Great Expectations. In adulthood she gets deeper into books, and loves discussing them with friends. It’s here in this last section that she talks about her experiences in New York, and what really inspired her writing. She talks about her first crappy apartment in Brooklyn, which appropriately sounds like the size of a shoe box. Here, to make the apartment livable, she christens the kitchen with book-inspired baking.  She describes losing a job that she seemed to like, and the impact that had on her life.  It’s very personal – and I love that about the book.  So many of my favorite books bring good feelings and good memories.

If I were better with words, and a better writer (and probably at cooking & coming up with great recipes), I feel like I could’ve written this book. I love talking about books – and I guess she really does too!  I enjoyed her stories, and have read and enjoyed some of these books – and I’d really enjoy trying out some of her recipes!


Wake Me When It’s Summer

unnamedLately we have been so busy, I feel like I need a serious break!  I am so ready for summer, but have a little bit longer to wait.  Finals are coming up in a couple of weeks, and I will be so glad to be done with this semester!  But before then, or even after that, I’d like a day – or even a weekend, with just some time to relax, and a stack of good books to read.  But that doesn’t seem to be a possibility any time soon, yet I know that easier days are just around the corner!

Last week, my daughter and I spent the afternoon at the beach, and it was like a sign of good times ahead.  We’ve had some warmer weather here lately, and we’ve been taking advantage of that.  I just started read Fates and Furiesand so far am loving that.  I’m still reading, and still running, and those are the things that keep me sane.

The last five books I read were:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Dark Places

Slaughterhouse Five


A Long Walk to Water

I just picked up Illuminae at the library, and have heard so many good things about it that I can’t wait to start reading it.  I’m looking forward to warmer weather, time off from work and school, and some days spent relaxing at the beach!


Celebrating National Library Week

libraries-transform-nlw-promoNational Library Week began Monday, and it is celebrated this year April 11th – 17th. It is a celebration of libraries, literacy, books and a recognition of the contributions libraries make to their communities.  Actually today, Wednesday April 13th, it is National Bookmobile Day. I have mentioned several times before my love of libraries. It’s a love that began at an early age – my Mom is a reader, and I remember many afternoons and evenings spent browing and reading books at the library. I have shared that love with my daughter, who also enjoys getting new books at the library.  We were there this afternoon and came home with no less than 20 books!

Libraries have evolved since I was a kid – they now offer many more services.  Besides being the best place in the world to get books, there are many more things the library does to help communities.  And actually this year’s theme for NLW is Libraries Transform.

How to celebrate: You can go to the American Library Association’s website, take part in their campaign “Because”, and tell them why libraries are important!  This is a shareable/postable picture, to help spread the word.  According to their website, there are over 100,000 libraries in this country.  Lets support these libraries and recognize their contributions to our communities!

You can also celebrate this week by visiting your library!  Enjoy, and happy reading!

My Reading Passport

unnamedSo finding out what authors are from VA and MO got me thinking if I could put stamps in a passport for author’s hometowns or where they lived when doing most of their writing just how many would I have? I started by looking up the authors on my bookshelf here at home then moved on to the bookshelf in my classsroom. I chose not to look up every author I’ve ever read as that could take forever, lol, but I did look up my favorite authors.

Arizona – Jenn McKinlay: Library Lover’s Mysteries

California – Betty Hechtman: Crochet Mysteries and Yarn Retreat Mysteries

Colorado – Mildred D. Taylor: Logan Family saga

Connecticut – Madeleine L’Engle: Wrinkle in Time and its sequels

         Suzanne Collins: Hunger Games trilogy

Florida/Virgina – Sherryl Woods: Chesapeake Shores

Hawaii – Lois Lowry: The Giver and Number the Stars as well as numerous others

Illinois – Terry Brooks: The Shannara Chronicles

Maine – Stephen King: really do I need to list any books LOL

Maryland – Nora Roberts: too many to name but my favorite is the Chesapeake Bay quartet

Massachusetts – R.A. Salvatore: Drizzt the Dark Elf books

Michigan – Christopher Paul Curtis: Bud, Not Buddy and Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963

Minnesota – MaryJanice Davidson: Undead and series

Mississippi – Charlaine Harris: Sookie Stackhouse books

Missouri – covered in my MO post

New Mexico – Gary Paulsen: Hatchet series

New York – James Patterson: too many books to count adult and YA, but my fave is the Maximum Ride series

Louis Sachar: Holes and many many others

Veronica Roth: Divergent trilogy

North Carolina – Jan Karon: Mitford Chronicles

Ohio – Margaret Peterson Haddix: Among the Hidden series, The Missing series, and more

Sharon Creech: Bloomability is one of my fave YA boosk

Oklahoma – S.E. Hinton: The Outsiders

Pacific Northwest – JoAnn Ross: Shelter Bay and Castlelough series

Pennsylvania – Lloyd Alexander: Prydain Chronicles

Jerry Spinelli: again so many YA books including Stargirl and Milkweed

South Carolina – Caroline B Cooney: Face on the Milk Carton set and more

Texas – Rick Riordan: Percy Jackson series and more

Emily March (at least this is what I can find): Eternity Springs series

United Kingdom – James Herriot: All Creatures and many more memoirs about his veterinary practice

J.K. Rowling: nothing need be said right?

Vermont – Katherine Paterson: Bridge to Terabithia

Washington – Orson Scott Card: Enderverse books and more

Debbie Macomber – Cedar Cove and many more

Susan Wiggs – Lakeshore Chronicles

So what would your reading passport look like? I know I have more but I had to stop somewhere lol!!

New Fiction Friday: Food Whore

IMG_0523I seem to be reading a lot of books about food lately. I just finished reading Food Whore, which I really liked. I read it right after reading Kitchens of the Great Midwest, which I loved. Both centered around strong female characters, Tia, the Food Whore, was a budding food writer and restaurant critic in NYC. Eva was a foodie, venturing out on her own – creating the most sought after reservation anywhere in the midwest.  I think that’s really where the similarities end, with their youth, and shared loved of food. Jessica Tom is the woman behind this book, and there’s a lot of her in Tia. Both are Yale graduates, and both have serious foodie cred.

9780062387004_p0_v2_s192x300After graduating from Yale, where she had focused on food writing – even contributing to the school’s newspaper, and gaining even more experience working on a food/restaurant blog, she moves to NYC. There, she enters an NYU food program, working on a graduate degree.  In her first semester there, she has a new apartment, new roommates, and a new internship. Her internship is at one of the hottest restaurants in the city. It’s new and exciting, and gives her a taste of the cutthroat restaurant world of the city.

It’s not exactly the internship she wanted, and not the one she applied for. She has to tough it out though – otherwise she might have to leave her grad program. With her work there, and schoolwork, she doesn’t have much time leftover for one of her other loves – writing. Her dream job is working for the NYT, and would love to be mentored by the Times’ head food writer, Helen Lansky. It’s this desire to work with her that introduces her to Michael Saltz, who is Lansky’s assistant.

This is when the story gets really good. It involves blackmail, deceit, a little seduction, and she ultimately loses touch with the person she was when she first got to New York. She still loves food, but with her work with Saltz, she’s drawn into a scandal that could possibly jeopardize everything.

I really liked the story – though it didn’t really compare to Kitchens.  After reading Kitchens, I was wishing there had been recipes in the book – of some of the food that had been mentioned. In Food Whore, I wasn’t exactly thinking the same thing – the restaurants she worked at and visited in NY served trendy, concept food, that didn’t really sound that good.  It was still a good read – though didn’t provoke the same cravings that Kitchens did.

Enjoy, and happy reading!

The Book Concierge

9780393248456_p0_v1_s192x300One of my favorite things to listen to in the car, or while I’m working at my computer, is podcasts.  I regularly listen to NPR’s most popular shows via podcast – as I’m not often able to hear the shows when they normally air.  One of my favorites is NPR’s Books podcast.  I love to talk about books – and I love this podcast because they do just that!   Through their Book Concierge, and their podcast, they review their favorite (and not so favorite) books, interview authors, and upcoming books and publishing issues.

One of the best parts of the Concierge’s website is the list of best books from last year – I’ve read a bunch of them already, but if you’re looking for a good book to read, this is a great guide.  What’s even better about the list – and about the site in general – is that it will recommend something based on the books you’ve already read, and what genres you like.  Just like any good conierge!

One thing I haven’t used yet, but after browsing through their site a bit more, is there list of kids books.  Usually, when at the library with my daughter, there’s no shortage of great books.  After years of visiting a few of our city’s libraries, I feel like I’ve read everything already.  Now, I know that can’t possible be true, but with this list I hope to add a few more good books to my daughter’s TBR list.

Up next for me is Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, recommended by a great book concierge!   Interested in the Concierge?  Browse the website – there’s even an app!  Enjoy and happy reading!!

26 Books in 2016

When 2016 started, I had quite a few goals for the year.  A few I am still tackling (due to an injury I am falling short of my fitness goals), a few I am still working on. Only one of those goals is a really fun one – one that is a little easier to accomplish than the others.  This year I’m participating in 26 Books in 2016, which was started by BringingUpBurns.  When I first started, I didn’t pay that much attention to what I was reading, and wasn’t really reading with a purpose – with the intention of marking off each thing on that list.  Surprisingly, I’m still able to mark a bunch of things off the list:

A book that will make you laugh – Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling

A book based on a true story – A Long Walk to Water Linda Sue Park

A book with a 1-word title – Voracious Cara Nicoletti

A book from the library – This is basically every book I read, but I’ll add the last book I finished here, Food Whore Jessica Tom

A book with a number in the title – 44 Scotland Street Alexander McCall Smith

A book with a murder or a mystery – Career of Evil Robert Galbraith

So far, I’ve read 8 out of the 26 books.  I have a lot more to read!  I’m not sure what’s next for me on this list, I need to put a few new books on my TBR list. I’m excited to reread a fave from childhood – maybe Charlotte’s Web, that’s something my daughter and I can read together.  Maybe something from the challenged classics list?  A bunch of these I have already read (though not this year), a few I’ve been wanting to read for a while and haven’t done it yet.

It’s not too late to join this challenge – or find another one like it.  Have fun and happy reading!!