Hello! Looking for some summer reading suggestions. Doesn't have to be a cookbook, or even a food-related book—just a good read. Thanks so much.
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Sarah is Food52's senior staff writer & stylist.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler (if only for the experience!)
And, haven't read these, but on my list: Kitchens of the Great Midwest, Modern Lovers (duh), When Breath Becomes Air.
I loved Homegoing!
PHIL is a trusted home cook.
How about summer Netflixing, does that count? I am watching Chef's table on Netflix. It really gives you insight in how a chef thinks.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
I'm on vacation and these are some of the books I've read so far.
Honey From a Weed by Patience Gray
Songbirds, Truffles, and Wolves by Gary Paul Nabhan
Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, How Desire Shapes the World by Aja Raden
The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
I just read Sweetbitter. On a food-unrelated note, many of my friends have recommended The Nightingale.
I recently read th Nightingale, I highly recommend it.
amysarah is a trusted home cook.
Are you interested in just fiction, or non-fiction too? Just recent books, or older ones as well? If you narrow it a bit, I can probably suggest several.
(Apropos, I think I may be the odd man out in not finding Sweetbitter all that. Didn't hate it, but wasn't wowed either. I found some of it affecting/interesting, some almost insufferable.)
"Toast" by Nigel Slater. LA Son by Roy Choi (but might not be such a great choice as there is a huge temptation to do all or most of the recipes).
The Tao of Pooh, first chapter. You can read the rest of the book, but it basically covers the same concepts as the first chapter. I've read Tao of Pooh cover-to-cover once, now I can't get past the first chapter because I know it's all the same.
It's like reading Tao Te Ching. Open that book randomly and whatever you read will teach the same basic concept as whatever you read previously in that book and whatever you will read next in that book.
Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Light fun summer "poolside" reading - The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect - rom-com in a book but with a very different (male!) sort of protagonist.
Just plain good reading and writing - well anything by Alice Hoffman but I am currently reading The Marriage Of Opposites, LOVED The Museum Of Extraordinary Things, and if you haven't yet RUN don''t walk to get The Dove Keepers.
Have you read The Son? It's amazing.
The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses, the first is a memoir, the second is a mash up of biography and fiction, both are fantastic.
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I, too, enjoyed The Rosie Project and The Glass Castle. I'm going to have to check out your other picks!
Nancy is a trusted home cook.
Few titles, but 2 approaches for summer or leisure reading.
More common, and in some ways more relaxing, is to read anything you want, popular, recent, good-trash or really-good.
Probably rarer is to use a chunk of time to read something that you always say you want to read and don't have time for. Just for pleasure. Or to grow in your professional, personal or family life.
For my recent good-trash reading, I am working my way through the books of Steve Berry, who I found when his latest book got great reviews. He writes thrillers based on historical puzzles (e.g. what if rival criminals, thieves and spy services discovered Napoleon's gold treasure, missing for 200 years).
For my I-wish-I-had-more-time project, I'm rereading Anna Karenina, last seen the year after I finished college (not yesterday). An updated version of the classic Garnett translation, and a slew of interesting books - how Russian-language criticism changed after the fall of the Soviets, comparisons to other classic 19C novels, etc.
And here's my third approach - no obligation to finish a book. Life's too short. If it doesn't catch you, give it up and find something you like :)
I recently read Shadows in the Vineyard by Maximillian Potter and loved it! Currently reading The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen on a completely different note and it's great so far.
The Girls by Emma Cline. Great book.
I'm currently reading The Children by Ann Leary. It's really good, makes me want to look up her first book and read that also.
Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.
The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley is great preparation for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, coming up next year. Don't roll your eyes--the book is the story of a man who chases around Europe buying questionable relics for the collection of a German bishop and king. It is a funny read, but gets to the heart of some of the issues that brought the Reformation to a head.
Not exactly breezy beach reading but if you like murder mystery meets psychological analysis almost anything by Elizabeth George. I have only read Inspector Lynley books, I think she has a new series now also.
Mostly I just want to be included in all the incoming answers! I recently read and loved Gods of Gotham (dark but so good!). If you want a lighter read, I'll admit that I really enjoyed the Divergent series. YA fiction is good for some page-turning brain candy. I'm considering re-reading Louisa May Alcott as an adult. And my best summer reading suggestion is browsing the cheap, used selection at your local (brick and mortar!) bookstore. That way, if you get halfway through and want to stop, no guilt - because it was cheaper than a cocktail! Cheers!
I recently read The Last Chinese Chef and liked it and I re-read Gift From the Sea by Ann Morrow Lindbergh. There is a new edition to celebrate the 50th Anniversary. Nice things to contemplate while having quiet beach moments.
All from the YA shelf, but I really loved them all:
Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell
Amy & Roger's epic detour, Morgan Matson
How I live now, Meg Rosoff
Meg is a trusted home cook.
All My Puny Sorrows, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya Von Bremzen. Want to read a lot of the books above as well. Hoping to finish Divergent series!
Have you read The Secret History, also by Donna Tartt? I liked it much better than The Goldfinch, which I found to be wordy and self indulgent on the author's part (I will use ALL of the words! More than once! Because I can!) I mean it's good but could have been cut back by at least a quarter. Kinda like people on Cooking shows using Everything In The Pantry.
Yes, I loved Secret Histories. But I quite liked Goldfinch too, though it wasn't always as riveting a read as SH. The wordiness didn't bother me - reminded me of an epic Dickens novel, e.g., Great Expectations (semi-orphan's tumultuous and highly detailed life story story/colorful or eccentric characters who mold his identity, etc.) But I agree some parts dragged! Speaking of Donna Tartt, The Little Friend is also worthwhile - sort of a Southern Gothic (a la To Kill a Mocking Bird, Eudora Welty, Faulkner, etc.) - stylistically closer to SH than Goldfinch.