What do you read when you're not reading about food and cooking?

My book group is in the doldrums. We've read hundreds of books together, but lately we haven't been enjoying them. (Currently reading "Moo" by Jane Smiley. None of us are academics. It's a political satire, but kind of one-note. Hard to like characters, drawn in cliches. Yawn...) So I got to thinking--maybe the people who inspire my cooking could also inspire our reading? Nothing is off limits. What have you read lately that you've loved?

  • Posted by: drbabs
  • February 17, 2012


HalfPint July 31, 2012
I usually read mysteries in my spare time (like my train ride home from work). Currently loving Michael Lee West's "Gone with a Handsomer Man" and "A Teeny Bit of Trouble". I'm also a fan of Janet Evanovich's Lizzy & Diesel supernatural series about a pastry chef and an ongoing search for biblically-enpowered stones. Then there's Kerry Greenwood's mysteries starring Corinna Chapman, the bread baker.

Not interested in "Fifty Shades of Gray" because I just find the subject matter kind of boring. Sort of like a "been there, read that" kind of thing ;)

Loved The Hunger Games trilogy except for that last book which felt like it was rushed out to publication.

Liked Lisbeth Salander trilogy (Millenium Trilogy?). Worth slogging through some of the writing which can be so dry and aimless at times.

BoulderGalinTokyo July 31, 2012
Ahhh, culture shock! I think I've read only 10 books on this list. Thank you drbabs for asking a great question. Always waited until I went back to the States to stock up on books but now I can put my iPad to work @ Amazon. Love the internet!

Just read a novel called Balance of Power by Richard North Patterson. It's about congress and our government and how their manipulate it so they don't have to pass legislation-- in this case GUN legislation. Really reminded me of our latest financial ....
drbabs July 28, 2012
I hope y'all don't mind my revisiting this question, but I just have to share. I've read 2 books that are absolute page turners: 11/22/63 by Stephen King (750 pages and I read it in 3 days) and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. (Brilliant thriller and deconstruction of marriage). Enjoy!
Panfusine March 7, 2012
Just treated myself to a set of 3 books by Herve This.. a treat for both the geek & the cook in me!
aargersi March 6, 2012
oh and Half Of A Yellow Sun!!!
aargersi March 6, 2012
A load of my faves are already listed but -

for some magical stuff, Neil Gaiman - Neverwhere, American Gods, and Anansi Boys

I LOVE Barabar Kingsolver, if you haven't read Animal Vegetable Miracle, you should, and The Lacuna is GREAT.

Fun travel journal stuff from Bill Brtson - A Walk In The Woods is laugh-out-loud funny, all of his stuff is fun to read

The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake - enjoyed greatly

Rain Of Gold - great Magical Realism

ANYTHING by Isabelle Allende (except Paula - I didn't like that one)

now I want to hop over to Amazon :-)
drbabs March 7, 2012
Abbie, I love Barbara Kingsolver, too, and I think that Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a must-read for all of us who care about where and how we get our food.
mrslarkin March 5, 2012
Another excellent young adult/sy fy/fantasy book is The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. Just finished it. Highly recommend.

Now onto Goon Squad and loving it so far.
drbabs March 7, 2012
I've now read Goon Squad about 4 times. I love that book so much. I've found that reading it again brings so much more of it into focus. It's really rich and well written with lots of surprises.
Robin O. March 5, 2012
A Woman of Independent Means has always been a favorite of mine.
BoulderFoodie March 3, 2012
I loved Let the Great World Spin! Just finished Cutting for Stone. One of those kind of books you just can't put down!
drbabs March 4, 2012
I liked Let the Great World Spin, and I never finished Cutting for Stone even though I love Abraham Verghese's non-fiction books. I had so much trouble getting into it. I guess I'm going to have to try it again.
ATG117 March 3, 2012
Great books! The other two are ones I've read more recently. They are not on the same level as Goon Squad and History of Love, but they were definitely good reads. And I love Howard Jacobson (Kalooki NIghts). I had the chance to meet him. His humor is very dry and definitely not for everyone, but I think both he and his books are brilliant.
ATG117 February 23, 2012
Some suggestions: A Visit From the Goon Squad, In the Garden of Beasts, Let the Great World Spin, A History of Love, Kalooki Nights. In the food lit category, I really want to read Talking WIth My Mouth Full by Gail Simmons. I think I'd really like her, and I find her career trajectory very interesting and inspiring in the way of follow your passion advice...
drbabs March 3, 2012
Wow I just saw this, ATG, and I have to tell you that Goon Squad and The History of Love are 2 of my favorite books EVER.
LucyS February 23, 2012
So true! Though as a lifelong P&P fan, I'm afraid I didn't really enjoy Death Comes to Pemberley because I didn't like how the author treated Elizabeth. How are you liking it so far? I hope you'll let me know what you think!
creamtea March 5, 2012
I'm liking, but not loving it. I see what you mean about the author's treatment of Elizabeth. What I love about Jane Austen is her language. Nobody can imitate her gift of understatement. Also, there's more humor in her works, whereas this is a bit dry as a bone.
creamtea February 23, 2012
I'm actually reading Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James. Because there were never enough Jane Austen novels.
em-i-lis February 23, 2012
Have y'all read Fraser's Penguins and/or Half the Sky? Both are super-compelling. I really enjoyed Waiting for Bones by Donna Cousins- a new release, it's such a fun read. I tore through it. Eating Animals is very(!) thought-provoking, and I've not found it heavy-handed at all so far.
susanm February 22, 2012
one of my favorite authors is ann patchett. her latest book, state of wonder, is staggeringly good.
it's the kind of book that when you finish reading it you need to take a break from reading for a while because you just need to live with it for a while. i've already re- read it since it came out last summer.
Niknud February 22, 2012
Great great question! Some of my all time favorite books are in no particular order.... Forever by Pete Hamill (he also wrote Snow in August which is similarly fantastic), Kent Haruf wrote two books, Plainsong and Eventide which are so sparce and beautiful in their language that you want to cry at the prose. Davita's Harp by Chiam Potak. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. And pretty much anything by Mark Helprin: Refiner's Fire, Memoirs from an Ant Proof Case, Soldier of the Great War - he is one seriously talented author! And if you're willing to put in the effort of slogging through the first 120 pages, Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace is great. And (can you tell I like to read?) Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is truely lovely even though it's not my normal genre being sci-fi. And well we're on the sci-fi bend, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LaGuin (spelling?) is great!
iheartjuliachild February 22, 2012
currently reading the paris wife. but prior were 2 books i couldnt put down...The Help and Water for Elephants. i read both of those in a weekend. my husband was getting frustrated with me because i would lock myself in a room and read from sun up to sun down but i couldn't physically stop....i had to know what would happen next!

after reading all the reccomendations, i'm adding Blood, Bones and Butter to the list. just requested it from the library!

my problem is, i find an author i like then i read all the books they have written. for about 6 months all i could read were Jodi Picoult.
healthierkitchen February 22, 2012
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was one of my favorites growing up! I must have read it twenty times. I gave it to my daughter a few years back (she's now almost 17) and she loved it too.
beyondcelery February 22, 2012
@healthierkitchen Me too! I still make sure there's always coffee available in my kitchen for anyone anytime. I love the idea that everyone needs a luxury, no matter how poor they are.
LucyS February 23, 2012
Me too! I read it in elementary school and loved it.
vvvanessa February 22, 2012
Wonder When You'll Miss Me by Amanda Davis. So, so beautiful.

I recently started A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. Way old-school, but a lovely read so far.
susan G. February 21, 2012
Wonderful story, especially for those who love books for the things that they are as well as the story they tell:
The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield.
lorigoldsby February 21, 2012
I also loved "The Book Thief"...one of my favorite children's books to read aloud (for ages 8-80) is Jill Paton Walsh's "The Green Book"...it says so much about our love for books in only 70 pages!

Right now we are reading "One Thousand White Women" for book club...personally, I'm on a "wife" kick...just finished "An American Wife" and now reading "The Paris Wife"

If you have an adolescent daughter...mine lLOVED the Libba Bray series...A Great and Terrible Beauty"
drbabs February 21, 2012
We read and liked 1000 White Women, and I loved An American Wife.
susan G. February 21, 2012
If they haven't come up yet -- the novels of Amy Tan, especially The Bonesetter's Daughter. Other Chinese women authors, drawing on the contrast between the life in China, the family dynamics -- ancestors of the present generation and the present, sometimes with back and forth parallel stories.
At the blog www.theperfectpantry, there is a list of food related books that are not cookbooks, worth checking -- look under the header for Bookworms in the Pantry. (I submitted a list of food-centric mysteries.) My latest in that category -- The Fortune Cookie Chronicles (Jennifer 8. Lee), Peppers (Amal Naj), Daughter of Heaven (Leslie Li, another Chinese family in America).
AntoniaJames February 19, 2012
Add your answer here
Bevi February 19, 2012
The Alexandria Quartet is one of my favorite old school time/space continuum collection of 4 novels - set in Alexandria, Egypt. Lawrence Durrell. Also, early short story collections by Ellen Gilchrist.
Bevi February 19, 2012
The Alexandria Quartet is one of my favorite old school time/space continuum collection of 4 novels - set in Alexandria, Egypt. Lawrence Durrell. Also, early short story collections by Ellen Gilchrist.
sheredel February 19, 2012
my choice is Season of Second Chances, Diane Meirer, wow, loved it, just loved it, set in Western Mass college town, she's a professor! what great dialogue and the story...check it out, also Maine about a extended family visiting in Cape Neddick, and well, read it!
luvcookbooks February 19, 2012
The Madonnas of Leningrad is one of the best novels I've read in years, have given multiple copies because it's a novel that can expand me as a person (also desperately want to visit Leningrad, but that's another story). Really enjoyed Townie by Andre Dubus III but it is dense and dark. Let's Take the Long Way Home is a great book about friendship and love of dogs. Rereading a biography of Elizabeth David, Writing at the Kitchen Table, very interesting, mild tarnishing of hero.
calendargirl February 19, 2012
WRITING AT THE KITCHEN TABLE has been on my list for a while, luvcookbooks! Love what you said; i guess mildly tarnished heroes are the best kind. Now I will move this book up to the top.
drbabs February 19, 2012
We read Madonnas and loved it, and I also loved Let's Take the Long Way Home.
calendargirl February 18, 2012
If you enjoyed Isaac's Storm you will be mesmerized by The Devil in the White City. He has a brand new one, can't remember title. But I just re-read your original query and it occurred to me that there might be ways to bring your book group out of the doldrums in addition to new books. I remember when I lived in Boston and my book group was in a blue funk... we re-vitalized things by taking a month off, inviting a new member, changing the order of things a bit... just enough tweaking to shake us out of our routine and get our groove back. Good luck!
drbabs February 19, 2012
Great suggestion. We did just invite a new member, and after finding out that we all agreed that Moo would make a better doorstop than book, we decided to take this month off. Most of them read Devil in White City. I rejected his new book because it's about Nazi Germany which I've had quite enough of. (we're all Jewish and have read tons of books about the Holocaust.)
calendargirl February 19, 2012
Oh right, now I remember about Larson's newest. Also, I hope this comment shows up in the right place... I realize I don't know how to add a reply when the little reply arrow doesn't appear at the end of the comment I want to respond to.
calendargirl February 18, 2012
This is a terrific question, drbabs! I am playing catch-up but one of my favorites is The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson. It is real page turner, and true, about the making 1893 Chicago World's Fair and its primary architect and the tale of a serial killer, one H.H. Holmes who poses as a physician. Chilling, fascinating. A wonderful compendium of letters is As Always, Julia which is the correspondence between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, as Julia was trying to find a publisher for Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Very fun. Just finished Slow Love by Dominique Browning, memoir by the last editor of House and Garden with lots of funny food stuff, bits of sharp wisdom and insight. I enjoyed it, though there are moments when it is a bit too self-involved for me.
drbabs February 18, 2012
Thanks, calendargirl! We read Erik Larson's book about the Galveston hurricane. He's a great writer. Thanks for the other suggestions.
drbabs February 18, 2012
Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions. I've read many of them already, but some I haven't heard of and will explore with my group. Thanks so much!
mrslarkin February 18, 2012
Two more great books...Read them back-to-back: Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy. Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett.
dymnyno February 18, 2012
Wow! Great pair of books to read consecutively. The story of the friendship between Lucy Grealy and Ann Patchett is incredible reading.
drbabs February 18, 2012
Oh, mrslarkin and dymnyno, I always knew we'd be friends. I read Lucy Grealy's book when it was first published-- 1994? and Ann Patchett's book about her when it was published as well. They are two of my favorites. I must reread them. Thanks for the suggestions.
boulangere February 18, 2012
Yes, anything by Ann Patchett. Run, The Magician's Wife, Bel Canto are probably my favorites. Bel Canto would be wonderful for a book group because it is based on a true event.
drbabs February 18, 2012
I've read all of Ann Patchett's books. Love her.
RebeccaCooks February 18, 2012
The Good Soldier (Ford Madox Ford) is one of my all-time favorites. A Confederacy of Dunces (John Kennedy Toole) is a hilarious book. The Rule of Four (Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason) and The Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zafon) are both engrossing, smart mystery/thriller stories. And two books I read recently and haven't been able to stop thinking about are Death and the Penguin (Andrey Kurkov) and Hygiene and the Assassin (Amelie Nothomb).
Louisa February 18, 2012
If you liked Confederacy of Dunces try Cooking With Fernet Branca--also very funny.
CarlaCooks February 18, 2012
What a fun question! And it's so nice to pick up some suggestions from people's answers. Two of my favorite authors are Margaret Atwood and Jose Saramago... I would highly recommend any of their works. Atwood's Oryx and Crake, while not a 'foodie novel', has some interesting thoughts on the future of food (genetic modification and things like that). I also love John Irving's works. I have also greatly enjoyed Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale. A fun read is Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth and its sequel World Without End, both of which center around the building of a cathedral in 12th and 13th century England. Follett's newest work, Fall of Giants, which centers around WW1, was also fun. I most recently enjoyed Ann Pratchett's State of Wonder, which was on a recommended reading list from NPR.
SKK February 19, 2012
Love all of Ann Pratchett's work!
mrslarkin February 18, 2012
hmmmm....feeling slightly self conscious that our book club would spend very little time talking about the book, and the rest of the time just hanging out, eating and drinking. ;)
healthierkitchen February 18, 2012
the one I was in was just like that!
ChefJune July 31, 2012
Well, but you can't think if you are hungry or thirsty, so that makes perfect sense to me. ;)
sexyLAMBCHOPx February 18, 2012
I enjoy historical novels. I 'm finishing up Catherine the Great by Robert Massie and Ken Follets World Without Ends was - ahmazing!!!!
Tarragon February 18, 2012
Can't wait to read Catherine the Great. Nicholas and Alexandra by same author was fabulous and I highly recommend.
sexyLAMBCHOPx March 3, 2012
Hi Tarragon, I ust recieved via Amazon Nicholas & Alexandra. I have been catching up readings of classics, To Kill A Mockingbird, War & Peace (amazing!), Womwen of Brewster Street. Thanks for the reco and keep them coming, priate email or through this thread. I read more than watching tv. : )
Darlene C. February 17, 2012
Loved reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern! For the food lover, there are elaborate magical dinner parties and magical circus food. Was contemplating hosting a Night Circus themed dinner party.

Also, another engrossing read was The Art of Fielding: A Novel by Chad Harbach. I'm not a baseball fan, but I loved this book.
dymnyno February 17, 2012
I loved "The Sense of an Ending" by Julian Barnes, "The Paris Wife and I am currently reading "The Cat's Table" by Michael Ondaatje (if you liked "The English Patient, this is even better!).
Louisa February 17, 2012
Have to add my favorite new children's books: "A Ball For Daisy" and "Me...Jane."
sexyLAMBCHOPx February 18, 2012
Dymnyno - Did you enjoy The Paris Wife?
Louisa February 17, 2012
I too tend to read straight through an author I like --Donna Leon (mysteries set in Venice) because her characters are charming and they eat well, but right now I'm starting Edward St. Abyn and Elizabeth Taylor (fiction). I just finished The Science of Yoga because everyone was talking about it. The Hemingses of Monticello is a fascinating look into history and has been among my favorite non-fiction.
drbabs February 18, 2012
Did you like The Science of Yoga?
Louisa February 18, 2012
The Science of Yoga has a lot of the history of yoga, the history of the research, and some about best practice. No more shoulder stand without a blanket!
CHeeb February 17, 2012
I stay on a diet of largely European writers fiction. When I start I cannot seem to get enough of an author I like, and read until I've exhausted volumes that have been translated into English. My favorites lately, seem to be Italian- Donna Leon or Andrea Cammilierri ( a Ruth Reichl recomendation) ; Scottish- Ian Rankin; and Norwegian-Jo Nesbo and Steig Larrson . When I'm in a mood for classic foodie writing, MFK Fisher's Art of Eating is always good to pick up for an essay to two. Not in a Foodie mood, but needing short essay reading material, pick up Paris Review of Books essays ...Amazon and UPS are my best friends...ch
boulangere February 18, 2012
Donna Leon, yes! I read all the Brunetti books in order on my Kindle, and am chewing my fingernails waiting for the next. Last summer when the daughter and I were in Italy, we wanted to go to Venice (naturally), but I had to tell her that the only way we could afford it would be if Brunetti finally gently informed Paola of our, uh, relationship, and invited us to stay with them. Which surely would have cost less than €450 per night. I cannot imagine that he would have permitted us to stay in a place whose comments made reference to the rodent droppings in the shower.
MTMitchell February 17, 2012
Class Warfare by Stephen Brill was interesting and it might be a good book club book because education reform always seems to generate discussion and varied opinions (full disclosure: I work in education reform/policy so I might be biased but it wasn't super wonky and it made some of the new policies, initiatives, etc. really accessible to any reader). Paul Auster's books tend to be good discussion generators, at least in my view. And now I want to read other books people recommended!

Voted the Best Reply!

mainecook61 February 17, 2012
A few recent nonfiction picks: Ian Frazier's Travels in Siberia and Peter Englund's The Beauty and the Sorrow. The first is self-explanatory and the second is a history of World War I as told through the diaries, letters, and memoirs of the participants. It is riveting. And why not a look backward to the fiction of Edith Wharton: The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence. Finally, if you read Jane Eyre as a teenager---read it again. You'll either love it for the first time (if you suffered back then) or love it more.
mainecook61 February 17, 2012
A book that will get the book club talking: Russell Banks's Lost Memory of Skin. And two fine books about being an adolescent: Skippy Dies by Paul Murray and (my favorite) Paul Mitchell's Blackswan Green.
AntoniaJames February 17, 2012
This is such an interesting question. I read and write, all day every day, often after dinner for an hour or two, for my client work (and none of that reading is from books -- all emails and legal documents), so when I have free time I'm usually outside hiking/backpacking/bicycling, etc. or in the kitchen. My bedtime reading often involves cooking one way or the other! I like non-fiction books relating to the history of food, and some memoirs, e.g., anything Ruth Reichl has written, including her compilations of essays from "Gourmet", "Toast" by Nigel Slater, "Blood, Bones and Butter" by Gabrielle Hamilton etc. Bill Bryson's recent "At Home" was interesting and a fun read. I've read everything he's written and generally have enjoyed it, though it can be rather common and vulgar at times. I write a lot of letters (yes, letters, not emails) to keep up with all the friends I've made throughout my life who don't live nearby. That takes a lot of time, so between that, and cooking dinner every night, and getting exercise outdoors before dinner, I actually don't read that much any more. But I'm now inspired to search out some of the community's recommendations. ;o)
MTMitchell February 17, 2012
I just finished Blood, Bones and Butter and I really liked it. I second the recommendation.
Louisa February 17, 2012
I really enjoyed Blood, Bones and Butter--she's a very honest writer, and her family life was fascinating!
Also liked Bryson's At Home.
SKK February 17, 2012
THE WHISTLING SEASON by Ivan Doig, outstanding. This is one of Diog's best - and I am a fan of his.
drbabs February 18, 2012
beyondcelery February 17, 2012
I've been reading the Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series, by George R.R. Martin. It has me making pine nut oatcakes (http://beyondcelery.blogspot.com/2012/02/pine-nut-oatcakes.html), shepherd's pie, and roasted potatoes and root veggies. I'm now considering tackling lamb.

Other books I love: Ender's Game, The Foundation series, Cloudstreet (by Tim Winton).

Be careful if you read the Rum Diaries. I assume I'm not the only highly-suggestible reader/eater out there!
drbabs February 18, 2012
Interesting--I've never heard of these--thanks for the suggestions.
fiveandspice February 17, 2012
I hear you Devangi! I'm mostly stuck reading insanely dense academic papers, but a few books that I just love (they aren't new, but they're amazing books) and are great for a bookgroup are: English Passengers by Matthew Kneale (I cannot say enough good things about this book); Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks (so sad, but so beautiful); Out Stealing Horses by Per Peterson; The Elegance of The Hedgehog. My mother (who has been in the same bookgroup since before I was born!) recently told me they read Child 44 which was amazing but super intense and they also loved City of Thieves. And, it's a little fluffy, but if you haven't read Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, you should. It's sweet.
p.s. I didn't like Moo at all either, and I even am an academic!
healthierkitchen February 17, 2012
Both my teenaged daughter and I loved the Elegance of the Hedgehog. One of my alltime favorites. The movie was actually very well done too.
drbabs February 18, 2012
I know a lot of people have liked it. Such a strange title!
boulangere February 18, 2012
Moo, no I. I am so not a Jane Smiley fan.
Mr_Vittles February 17, 2012
HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE by Dale Carnegie is in my top three of all time. It has changed my life in so many ways. Highest recommendation.
healthierkitchen February 17, 2012
Also liked the Art of Fielding.
Devangi R. February 17, 2012
Ohh! Right now I am only reading my social work license books, sob sob...I have to get two certifications.one LSW and another CSVA - Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate. no more fun..But, I love books based on inspiration and thrillers...my recent last read "Joy VS Success" by Geet Sethi, famous billiards player is really a nice one..
drbabs February 18, 2012
I bet you can't wait till you can start reading for fun again.
pierino February 17, 2012
On my night stand right now; QUITE ENOUGH OF CALVIN TRILLIN, ABSOLUTE MONARCHS by John Julius Norwich (I read a lot of history). Waiting in the wings; THE ART OF FIELDING by Chad Harbach and Alan Furst's SPIES OF THE BALKANS. It's about time I reread Mark Kurlansky's COD. For book group reading I'd recommend THEN WE CAME TO THE END by Joshua Ferris. It was one of the New York Times "Best Ten Books of the Year" in 2007. Disclaimer, the author is a friend of mine.
pierino February 17, 2012
Another thought in the history category; CLEOPATRA by Stacy Schiff. Beautifully written.
drbabs February 18, 2012
Thanks, pierino. I don't usually choose historical books--not my favorite--but I'll check them out. I've wanted to read Then We Came to the End.
dymnyno February 18, 2012
I really liked "Then We Came to The End" (even if he is a friend of yours ; )
pierino February 19, 2012
If you decide to read THEN WE CAME TO THE END you have to promise not read the final sentence until you actually get to the end. It's what makes the book work so well. Josh is absolutely one of America's finest young writers, and he never writes the same thing twice.
boulangere February 19, 2012
I'd like to read my way through your night stand, pierino.
Panfusine February 17, 2012
my latest books, Palace of Illusions by CHitra Banerjee Divakaruni.. (mythological chik litt) & Jaya - an illustrated re telling of the Mahabharata by Devdutt Pattanaik.
drbabs February 18, 2012
Such interesting suggestions, Panfusine. Thanks!
mrslarkin February 17, 2012
GREAT question drbabs.

Right now, I'm reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I like it, ten pages in, so that's a good sign. ;)

One of my all-time favorite books is The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall. Our book club loved this one. And his other book The Lonely Polygamist is awesome, too. Both are hilariously funny and heart-achingly sad at the same time.

I loved all the Charlie Huston books - mostly pulp noir genre (lots of violence, death, mystery, and all-round bad-assery.)

And I also love all the books by Joe Hill (Stephen King's son). Very dark horror/thrillers.

sexyLAMBCHOPx February 18, 2012
The Hunger Games has been recomended to me but isnt it a adolescent book?
mrslarkin February 18, 2012
yes, it's one of those young adult books that straddle the line. My 20-something nieces loved the whole series. Movie is coming out soon.
drbabs February 18, 2012
If you want funny, read This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. And a wonderful young people book that's really great and moving is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. (Although I've sworn off books about the Holocaust after reading Sarah's Key.)
boulangere February 18, 2012
The daughter is hooked on The Hunger Games books. The last time she was as hooked on a series that she recommended to me was the Twilight books. Within 2 weeks, I'd read them all. You may now know more about me than you really wanted to know.
healthierkitchen February 19, 2012
For a book with such a depressing premise, i thought This is Where I Leave you was hysterical, too. And I am totally with you on Sarah's Key. Kind of wish I'd skipped it. Am interested in Nathan Englander's new collection of stories though
Midge February 17, 2012
Goon Squad was hands down one of the best books I've read in a long time. I also recently read and liked The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. Oh and The Believers by Zoe Heller, which I picked up randomly in an airport and loved. Both good book club material.
drbabs February 18, 2012
Thanks--we loved Eugenides' Middlesex--one of the few books that we all liked equally. We also read The Believers. (I forgot about that till I looked it up.)
debsiegel February 17, 2012
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver is great - it's one that's best read with a book group though because it's pretty dark, but there's LOTS to talk about.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant is a favorite of mine too, as is Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer 1943-1954 by Jeffrey Cartwright (actually by Steven Millhauser - that's the full name of the book).

sexyLAMBCHOPx February 18, 2012
Red Tent was awesome
mrslarkin February 18, 2012
Red Tent was one of our favorites, too. Gotta love the Old Testament.
drbabs February 18, 2012
I never could get into the Red Tent, but I've been wanting to read We Need to Talk About Kevin. The Red Tent is my sister's favorite.
Kristy M. February 17, 2012
I loved that book!
dymnyno February 18, 2012
Me Too!
Gabriella P. February 17, 2012
I'm a magical realism junkie, so I'm quick to recommend something by Marquez as my go-to. But lately I'm trying to venture into things written in this century. I just wrapped up Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. It was completely different from what I would normally pick up but I enjoyed it, it was a quick read and fun to talk about.
drbabs February 17, 2012
Gabriella, please tell me what else you have read that you've liked. You and I have the same taste in books. I loved A Visit from the Goon Squad.
healthierkitchen February 17, 2012
I loved that too - have you read the Madonnas of Echo Park?
drbabs February 18, 2012
No--thanks for the suggestion!
boulangere February 18, 2012
Love in the Time of Cholera
Kristy M. February 17, 2012
There were a few great books on our "52" list: http://www.food52.com/blog/2888_the_food52_52
Community-tested and approved!
drbabs February 18, 2012
Thanks, Kristy. I loved Blood, Bones and Butter. I wonder if my book group would.
boulangere February 18, 2012
I'm almost finished with it and have very much enjoyed it, too. I've had a few can't-put-it-down moments with it, which I always take as a good sign. This afternoon I was in a coffeeshop and a woman asked what I was reading. I held up the book and said it was really good. She read the title out loud, then stood up and moved to another table.
luvcookbooks February 19, 2012
just decided to read Blood, Bones and Butter with a book group. will keep you posted after our meeting in late March. i loved the book, as much for its coming of age in New York City and identity themes as for the food, although the food was also great. brings up some interesting moral questions as well. went out for lunch at prune after reading it with a friend. discussed book in hushed tones while eating lunch.
calendargirl February 19, 2012
luvcookbooks, am about to read BLOOD, BONES AND BUTTER prior to an early March meal at Prune. Can't wait!
pierino February 19, 2012
I love Prune. If you go order the tripe if it's on the menu. Wonderful.
calendargirl February 19, 2012
Thanks for the tip, pierino! I had tripe as a teenager and didn't like it one bit, but that was then. I have been salivating over the menu online. Have tried to get in there on many other trips to NYC without success, so this will be a treat.
Bevi February 19, 2012
Blood Bones and Butter is a great quick read, but there is quite a bit of juicy stuff to ponder.
pierino February 19, 2012
Prune is incredibly tiny. I've had really good luck getting in there on my last two visits. And this is a really great food neighborhood including Jewish deli's (Russ and Daughters) and knisheries one block south on E. Houston.
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