Adult Summer Reading: Read Outside the Box

Will you be joining Audra and I at the July 12th meeting of the Cookbook Club? Of course you will! There’s delicious food and lovely conversation–a perfect summer evening. You can also use it to fulfill a few of the Read Outside the Box challenge categories! At our July meeting we will be bringing recipes from food memoirs or food novels. Here is my top pick for each:

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Food Memoir–The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber (fulfills Food Memoir/Food Novel AND Foreign Writer or Setting): A vibrant, humorous memoir of growing up with a gregarious Jordanian father who loved to cook. Diana Abu-Jaber weaves the story of her life in upstate New York and in Jordan around vividly remembered meals: everything from Lake Ontario shish kabob cookouts with her Arab-American cousins to goat stew feasts under a Bedouin tent in the desert. These sensuously evoked meals in turn illuminate the two cultures of Diana’s childhood – American and Jordanian – and the richness and difficulty of straddling both.

Food Novel–Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies by Laura Esquivel (fulfills Food Memoir/Food Novel AND Foreign Writer of Setting): Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit. The classic love story takes place on the De la Garza ranch, as the tyrannical owner, Mama Elena, chops onions at the kitchen table in her final days of pregnancy. While still in her mother’s womb, her daughter to be weeps so violently she causes an early labor, and little Tita slips out amid the spices and fixings for noodle soup. This early encounter with food soon becomes a way of life, and Tita grows up to be a master chef.

Adult Summer Reading: Read Outside the Box

The Slimmest of the Slim

To prove just how much Audra and I want you to succeed this summer. I am providing a list of some super-short books to kick-start your reading challenge!

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  1. Woolgathering by Patti Smith Patti Smith tells real and imagined stories from her childhood. 80 pages.
  2. Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments, with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies by Laura Esquivel Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit. 245 pages.
  3. Cries for Help, Various: Stories by Padgett Powell Presents a collection of short stories that cover the topics of longing, fear, work, loneliness, and cultural nostalgia. 182 pages.
  4. Stuart Little by E.B. White Stuart Little is a mouse born to a family of humans and lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. 131 pages.
  5. Whale Rider by Witi Tame Ihimaera As her beloved grandfather, chief of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, struggles to lead in difficult times and to find a male successor, young Kahu is developing a mysterious relationship with whales, particularly the ancient bull whale whose legendary rider was their ancestor. 152 pages.