I had a fantastic week of reading, and finished up two surprising books - one that left me speechless and one that had me eating all of the food - just what I needed!
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
I read this book with my jaw dropped open, flipping pages as quickly as I could. It is both ugly and wonderful, so I guess the title works. I love novels that turn a moral issue on its side and force the reader to re-examine their own viewpoints. Halfway through this disturbing and fascinating book, I had no idea what fates I wanted for the characters.
This was our book club selection for November. I’m *so glad* that I get to discuss it with others, but the date of our next meeting (the 26th) is way too far away. I have to discuss it NOW!
Oh yeah, I have a blog for that.
If you have a thick skin and don’t mind “what the heck?!?!”-ing your way through this story, I would definitely recommend it. As a bonus, the interview with the author is solid gold.
I rated this 4 stars on Goodreads. One component wrapped up in a bit of a sloppy way for my taste, which was the only reason I couldn’t give it 5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed my friend Angie’s review, and promptly read it after marking the book as finished. In regards to making a recommendation, I agree with her statement, “Would I recommend this book to my friends? It depends on the friend. It was gritty and raw, often profane, and frequently explicit. It was also beautiful, and eye-opening, and thought-provoking.”
Pair with: You know what? Just try not to eat with this one. Nothing in this book really stirs up an appetite.
Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist
Lately I’ve been reading two books a time: a physical library book chosen from my TBR list and an electronic book for my Kindle phone app that I select via Modern Mrs. Darcy’s E-book deals page. With those, sometimes I go in almost completely blind. With this one, I knew it had to do with food and contained recipes. Sure, why not? I like food.
Initially I was a little worried, because the author laid her foundation for the book by sharing that it would be about food, faith, and the experiences that we have around the table. Now, I’m a spiritual person, but I don’t usually select books with faith as a primary focus. I’m always worried I’ll wind up reading a 250 page sermon, and I don’t wanna! Still, I kept on with it, because – as mentioned – I do enjoy food.
I’m so glad I did! If the author had dialed this book two or three degrees in any other direction, it wouldn’t have worked, but instead it landed perfectly with me. What is most likely a compilation of blog posts and recipes came together to be part memoir and part “ode to food.” Yes, she weaved in some spiritual insights throughout, but I found them to add true value as opposed to being preachy in any way. Plus, she peppered these lightly enough that I feel like your average foodie Atheist would probably still enjoy this book, overall.
I gave this book 5 stars! I came away with many great recipes, lots of restaurants I’d like to try, and I also now want to have all of my friends over to the house for dinner. I found the author to be incredibly smart and insightful. I’m so pleasantly surprised! I can’t wait to discuss this book further with you at my house later this week when I make you a bunch of food and we have heaping platefuls and seconds and multiple drink refills and laugh and chat until the candles burn out.
Pair with: I advised you not to pair the other book with anything, but you’ll want to make sure you have heaps of food on hand at all times while you read this book. This includes: crusty bread, goat cheese, bacon, chocolate mousse, Caesar salad, red wine, sweet potato fries, fresh berries, strong lattes, more goat cheese, croissants, watermelon, a vat of chicken chili, and a blueberry crumble.
I'm almost halfway through a wildly popular book. The librarian said, "Man, this book won't stay on the shelves. It's *always* on hold for someone!" So far? It's well written but is all sorts of depressing and kinda predictable.
Mom of four, wife of one. By day I fund-raise with coffee, by night I read with wine and chocolate.