A healthy appetite for literature. Devouring a good book. I think the fact that we talk about books and cake in much the same way makes it a perfectly acceptable subject to address on a food blog. Maybe the next cake I bake will be a page-turner, a true masterpiece (alas, it doesn’t seem to work quite as well the other way around.)
The worst situation I can possibly imagine is finishing one book and not having a new one to start right away. Every time I see a friend mention a good book, on their blog or on social media or casually in passing, I add it to my reading list, which seems to be growing faster than I could ever read (and I consider myself a pretty fast reader). I should probably watch less TV, and devote that time to reading instead if I want to even begin to catch up.
I’ve always been a fast reader. During my school years, I’d read practically a years’ worth of books during our two week Christmas vacation. It was really my only chance to read for fun and not for English class. I’d drag my parents to the bookstore where I’d guilt them into dropping a small fortune on a stack of new books for me to read. And even that wouldn’t be enough, and we’d end up back at the bookstore 2 or 3 more times before vacation was over. While I love the crisp pages of a new book, I’d go broke if I continued to buy all my books brand new. That and the fact that our bookshelves have been overtaken with props and dishware, I have nowhere to store them anyway. Have I mentioned that libraries are wonderful?
I thought I’d take a brief detour from recipe after recipe to share with you some of the best books I’ve read over the past year. I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to books, if the book keeps me reading I’ll usually give it 3 stars at least (or, ever the optimist, I’ll usually give it 3.5 stars). But I keep my 5 star ratings tightly guarded, and only the books that truly enthralled me, surprised me, delighted me to no end, get that coveted rating. And these are all worthy enough to share. I do hope you’ll add them to your own reading lists and enjoy them as much as I did.
(FYI there are lots of affiliate links in this post. Click if you want, or don’t. Just know that by doing so, you’re supporting my ravenous reading habit.)
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde – Literary buffs will love this book. It’s downright weird, witty, and utterly charming, taking place in a world where people are obsessed with literature, time-travel is commonplace, and books literally come to life. Once I finished it, I was delighted to discover it’s part of a series. I’m half-way through the second book right now and loving it just as much as the first.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – I’m not usually one for witches and vampires. I’ve never read Twilight. I don’t watch any of the dozens of vampire shows on TV. But I picked this one up on a whim and absolutely adored it. The characters, despite being magical beings, are likable and relatable. And the story is enthralling and original. I finished this book and immediately checked out the second book in the series, and enjoyed it just as much as the first. I am anxiously awaiting the third and final installment, due out this coming July.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – This series from Quirk Books (the same publisher as our cookbooks) is nothing short of delightful. A unique story about some truly unique children, told through fantastical fiction and a remarkable collection of historical images. I adored the first book, devoured the second (Hollow City), and am anxiously awaiting the third. Rumor has it it’s going to be a movie too, directed by Tim Burton. Um, how fabulous will that be?
11/22/63 by Stephen King – Let me start by saying this is not your typical Stephen King novel (I can’t do horror, books OR movies). It borders on historical fiction, a thrilling story based in fact, with a bit of sci-fi (time travel) thrown in for good measure. I couldn’t put it down. I even got Taylor to read this one (and he’s not usually one to stray from Michael Crichton or Tom Clancy).
The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett – Another book about books. And art. And love. And life. The author himself was an antiquarian bookseller and brings that knowledge and love of literature to this novel. The story takes you back in time through these old books, where they’ve been and the mysteries they’ve encountered.
Room by Emma Donoghue – This was not an easy book to read. It kept me awake at night, anxious and fearful and literally trembling. I cried, multiple times. And yet, I was so deeply moved by the story, despite not having any children myself, and I think anyone would be hard-pressed not to feel the same way after reading it. It’s the kind of book that you never forget. Read it. And weep. (Literally).
You know, reviewing books is harder than I thought. Expressing thoughts in writing about someone else’s writing? Not easy. I think I’ll stick to talking about food. At least until I’ve got another handful of 5-star books in my repertoire, and then maybe I’ll share again.
But now it’s your turn, what were some of the best books you’ve read in the last year?