Like many girls, I grew up with Anne Shirley. I adored her big imagination and found it amusing to watch her get into and out of trouble. Just as important to the story are Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, the brother-sister duo who give Anne a home at Green Gables. In her latest novel, Marilla of Green Gables, Sarah McCoy explores what life was like for the Cuthberts before Anne arrived.
The young Marilla — idealistic and eager to please — reminded me a lot of precocious Anne, which is not what I expected. Still, we’re all young once, and I thought Saray McCoy did a wonderful job showing Marilla’s transformation from a clever, spirited teenager to the woman we came to know in L.M. Montgomery’s novels. Though for some reason the story felt more modern to me, I thought she captured Avonlea beautifully; I found myself wishing I were there yet again.
I chose Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo as my Book of the Month in June last year because people were raving about it, and at the time, it seemed like a perfect summer read, light and juicy. Summer came and went and I never picked it up. The book’s cover and its title struck me as a little more salacious than I must have initially thought, and the longer it sat on my shelf, the less I wanted to read it.
Still, I kept hearing about it and it was always in the back of my mind. Finally, when I joined the Book Challenge by Erin (8.0), I decided to add it as my “book with a character’s name in the title.” I am SO glad I did, and I am SO sorry I judged it by its cover for so long. I devoured this novel, which told a beautiful and unexpected story cleverly executed.
Evelyn Hugo was a glamorous actress whose success looked easy from the outside, though it often came at a price. She became entangled – and disentangled – with various men throughout her career, sometimes for love and sometimes with a different endgame in mind. This, of course, is the premise of the novel and the story Evelyn decides to share with an obscure reporter – one of the great loves of her life, both known and unknown.
Happy Fall! I’m Grace from A Literary Feast, here at The Hungry Bookworm as a happy guest writer. Megan and I discovered each other’s blogs a few weeks ago and felt an instant kinship. Food in literature isn’t the most prevalent topic on the Internet, but we both love writing about it! I’m so honored that she wanted to introduce my work to you, her readers. I hope you enjoy this post with these fall-perfect book and drink recommendations.
Any time of the year is a good time for reading. There’s just something about fall, though. Cooler evenings, rainy days, falling leaves… doesn’t it make you want to curl up by the fireside with a warm drink and a cozy read? Me too. That’s why I’m giving you a list of the coziest books and drink pairings to carry you well into the winter.
As much as I adore the Anne of Green Gables series, I prefer to read it in the spring. (Don’t ask me why – maybe it goes back to my Spring Break binge-reads. We bookworms know how to party.) As a whole, though, I think that L.M. Montgomery’s books are so perfect for cozy fireside reading. If you haven’t read beyond Anne, you have so much to look forward to! I love The Story Girl for, yes, the stories, but also for the coming-of-age and turn-of-the-season themes. I haven’t met one her books that I don’t like, so here are a few more suggestions while we’re at it: Pat of Silver Bush, Emily of New Moon, Kilmeny of the Orchard, and Among the Shadows: Tales from the Darker Side.
It’s been a few years since I read The Story Girl, but I remember two things that influenced my drink pairing: Felicity loved to cook and there was an orchard on their property. I’m sure she would enjoy a fancy fireside drink. To pair with The Story Girl, try this Slow Cooker Caramel Apple Cider from Tastes Better From Scratch. Can you just imagine how amazing your house will smell?
“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” Although I can’t give you specific details because so much water has passed under the bridge since I read this book, I consider it one of the coziest books I have ever read. Everyone I know who has read it has felt that the book’s homing instinct is spot on. Written in letter form and celebrating the love of all things literary, this book will warm your heart on a chilly fall night.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is set in England on a small island. Islands are known for their fog, and England is known for its tea. I can’t think of a better drink to pair with this book than a warm London Fog. Although the directions aren’t proprietary, I chose this London Fog recipe by Yours Truly, G because of her custom infographic drawing. Super cute!
This is a book that I just reviewed on A Literary Feast, and it fits into this list perfectly. It’s not a thriller nor is it scary, but it is a delicious Gothic mystery that should be read by flickering light. Set primarily in an old manor in Cornwall, England, this story is narrated by 24-year-old Philip who is green, arrogant and stodgy beyond his years but also utterly confounded and besotted by the first female to reside there in decades. A female who, incidentally, may (or may not?) be the cause of his beloved guardian’s death. You’ll change your mind more than once!
The food in My Cousin Rachel is traditional Cornish fare. Apples are prevalent, and their cider is prized. Pair this charming book with a mug of perfect wassail. Here’s a Mulled Wine Wassail recipe with a light buzz from A Spicy Perspective (non-alcoholic version also available).
To be honest, this is the first book that came to mind when I was thinking of “cozy books.” It’s also the first book I read by this author, although I have since devoured them all. Sugary sweet without being saccharine, Allen’s stories transport you into a world with a sprinkling of magic, where food goes beyond symbolic. Need I say more? You’ll leave this book wearing glasses a shade or two pinker in hue.
You can’t curl up by the fireside with a book called The Sugar Queen without adding some calories to your drink. With the picture of peppermints on the book cover, this book begs to be paired with a Peppermint White Hot Chocolate (this recipe from Creme de la Crumb).
If I read Anne of Green Gables in the spring, fall is when the world of Harry Potter beckons. Fall heralds back-to-school, and what school is more exciting than Hogwarts? Harry Potter needs no introduction, but I am excited to say that this link leads to a new version of the first book. Or should I say “versions,” because there is one for each Hogwarts House, with different covers and illustrations and extra content specific to each! (I may have a problem. I already own one boxed set as well as a set on my Kindle and already have plans to buy the new fully illustrated ones. Have you seen them? Look here! They’re gorgeous.)
You must know where I’m going with this one: let’s drink some butterbeer! I’ve tried making it cold before, and it turned out to be really good! We’ll try a hot version this time. Creamy and butterscotchy – my mouth is watering already. Here’s a Hot Butterbeer recipe courtesy of Feast of Starlight.
A magical circus spun into existence by two dueling magicians. This book transports you into worlds of fancy among the highest stakes imaginable. You’ll have to think existentially at times, but never fear – the author weaves the plot seamlessly, and you’ll be as captivated as the members of the circus audience. If you love books that paint pictures in your mind, you will love the images that The Night Circus creates. This is the stuff that dreams are made of.
What to drink with such a magical book? I know what you’re thinking, and I’m not going to do it. Whatever that crazy Unicorn Frappuccino thing was, that you can now find copycats for all over Pinterest, has to go AWAY. I get a sugar coma just looking at pictures. Such overkill. Blech. I have something else in mind. Here’s a hot drink that (hopefully) isn’t quite as sickeningly sweet, and looks like something that would be served at a fairytale night circus. I think Savor and Savvy has nailed it with this recipe for Pink Velvet Hot Chocolate.
I saved my favorite for last. If you were to ask me what my favorite Disney movie, fairytale, or Broadway show was, I will mostly likely tell you that it’s Beauty and the Beast. Belle is the perfect heroine: bookish, brainy, and adventurous. And this book by Robin McKinley is my favorite version of the story. Before I had kids and my reading time shrank down to the size of a “poor, provincial town,” I reread this book every year without fail. Until I can resume that lovely tradition, I am passing it on to you! Be my guest.
For such a special book, let’s take the time to make a special drink. Give a nod to the book’s most familiar symbol with this Spiced Rose Latte from Brit and Co. You may have to plan ahead to have these ingredients on hand, but I think that the results will be well worth it! (Invite me over, too, because I would travel far for an evening of reading Beauty by the fireplace with a Spiced Rose Latte!)
Hopefully this list has offered a few ideas for a blissful evening in. If you liked this post, I’d love to invite you back to my blog, A Literary Feast, for more food-and-book combinations you may enjoy! And, please add your own favorite fireside reads (or beverages) to the comments below.
As you would probably expect, I read a lot when I was a kid. I remember reading my first chapter book (Black Beauty) in first grade, leading to a slight obsession with horses that continued into middle school. I have fond memories of my mom reading to my sister and me at night, with books like Stuart Little and The Borrowers that fueled my early interest in writing stories of my own. I also devoured The Baby-Sitters Club series and Nancy Drew novels, though honestly anything I could get my hands on was fair game. However, there were a few key books I’d missed (mostly because I watched the movies and/or didn’t realize they were based on books in the first place) such as The Little Princess, The Secret Garden, Little Women, and The Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve rectified many of those misses in recent years, but A Wrinkle in Time was still outstanding.
For those of you who don’t know, there’s a movie adaptation coming out next year starring Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon and Oprah, which is what really prompted me to pick it up at last. That and the fact that I found out the main character is named Meg. She and her three brothers live at home with their mother, who is a scientist. Their father, also a scientist, is no longer home and (depending on who Meg is talking to, or perhaps it was how I read it) it’s implied that he’s just gone on some sort of scientific mission and will be back eventually, or that he’s dead. Two of her brothers are twins and quite athletic, and Charles, her youngest brother, has a unique way of reading people. It is because of this skill that three mysterious beings named Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which come into their home and ultimately take Meg, Charles and their neighbor Calvin on an adventure that will change their lives forever.
Since it’s a children’s book, it didn’t take long to read – I think I read it in an afternoon. It was absolutely entertaining, but because it had quite a lot of science (real or otherwise) and had some really abstract concepts, I found myself wondering, “Is this something kids can really understand?” (If any of my readers who read this as a kid and as an adult can provide some perspective here, that would be helpful.)
I decided to make hot chocolate to go along with this book, because not only is it comforting, but it features prominently in the scene where Mrs. Whatsit first appears, on a dark and stormy night. It was actually quite dark and stormy the night I concocted the hot chocolate myself, so I think it worked out nicely. 🙂
I followed a recipe from Ashlee Marie for the World’s Best Hot Chocolate and thankfully it was very straightforward. (Nothing more frustrating than just wanting something quick and comforting and finding out you don’t have the right ingredients or it’s a hassle to make.)
First, I combined the cocoa, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Then, I added the water and brought the mixture to a boil. I allowed it to boil for 1 minute, before adding the milk. Then, I continued heating the hot chocolate until it was the temperature we like – not too hot, not too cold. Probably a few more minutes is ideal, at most.
I poured it into our mugs and topped them with whipped cream, which I always like to cool it down and break up the richness of the chocolate. We settled down in the living room while the storm boomed around us and enjoyed!
I have never read Ann Patchett before, even though Bel Canto has long been on my to-read list. I had requested her latest novel Commonwealth from my library shortly after it was published last summer and it only just arrived. From the first chapter, I found it slowly engrossing. That is to say, it’s not an action-packed page turner, but I became so absorbed in the characters that I happily followed their stories over the decades the novel covers.
The story of two families – four parents, six children – begins at Franny’s christening celebration, which is transformed by an unsuitable gift of liquor and a backyard full of orange trees. So, too, are their lives forever changed. We follow both families, which is a muddled mix of estranged spouses, sort of step-siblings and a black sheep or two, through the next 50 years of their lives.
A lot of the drama seems to happen in memories or flashbacks, but as with all families, nothing can be buried too deep and has lasting effects on each of them, even if they deal with it in their own ways. Once grown up, Franny becomes an avid reader and a cocktail waitress, giving her the unique opportunity to end up dating a successful novelist. This, too, has an effect on the family – one I’ll admit I didn’t expect.
It’s hard to say too much without spoiling Commonwealth’s bigger plot points, so I’ll get right to the recipe – this time, a cocktail. I didn’t use gin, which even those at Franny’s party thought an odd pairing with orange juice, but instead went with a more traditional vodka-based drink, the Orange Drop.
First, I made a simple syrup – equal parts granulated sugar and water – and allowed it to fully cool before mixing the rest of the drink.
Then, I measured it out before adding a citrus-flavored vodka and orange juice. With a quick stir, I poured the cocktail into two rocks glasses, more akin with the glasses used spur-of-the-moment at the party. Again, not to be too fussy, I garnished them simply with half an orange slice each, and served with ice.
If you need to make simple syrup, add equal parts granulated sugar and water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Cool completely before using in drink mixture.
In a measuring container with a spout, add the vodka, orange juice and simple syrup. Stir with a spoon. Pour into glass of your choice.
Add ice according to preference. Garnish with an orange slice, if desired. (Add an additional splash of orange juice, if you prefer a slightly less stronger drink.)
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Since the new Netflix series Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life just came out last weekend, I’m taking this opportunity to spend a whole week in Stars Hollow, so to speak. This is the first of three posts, all including recipes found in the Eat Like a Gilmore cookbook.
It is pretty well-documented that Rory Gilmore read 339 books throughout the seven seasons of the original show. For a while I’ve had the list saved in my book spreadsheet (yes, that’s a thing I have) as sort of a #bookgoals thing, but until now, I hadn’t really compared what I’d read with what she’d read. What a great way to kick off Gilmore Week.
Along with a cocktail and an appetizer, of course! But first, if you’re interested in my tally, click below. The books I’ve read are in green, and the books still hanging out on my to-be-read list are in blue.
Obviously I don’t love the Russians as much as Rory does. Check it out.
1984 by George Orwell The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank Archidamian War by Donald Kagan The Art of Fiction by Henry James The Art of War by Sun Tzu As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner Atonement by Ian McEwan Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy The Awakening by Kate Chopin Babe by Dick King-Smith Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie Bel Canto by Ann Patchett The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath Beloved by Toni Morrison Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney The Bhagava Gita The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy Bitch: in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy Brave New World by Aldous Huxley Brick Lane by Monica Ali Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner Candide by Voltaire The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer Carrie by Stephen King Catch-22 by Joseph Heller The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman Christine by Stephen King A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse The Collected Short Stories by Eudora Welty The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare Complete Novels by Dawn Powell The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas Cousin Bette by Honor’e de Balzac Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber The Crucible by Arthur Miller Cujo by Stephen King The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon Daisy Miller by Henry James Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D David Copperfield by Charles Dickens The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Deenie by Judy Blume The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx The Divine Comedy by Dante The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells Don Quijote by Cervantes Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn Eloise by Kay Thompson Emily the Strange by Roger Reger Emma by Jane Austen Empire Falls by Richard Russo – I remember picking this up and starting this back in high school… Not sure if I finished it, so for now it will remain on my TBR list Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton Ethics by Spinoza Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves Eva Luna by Isabel Allende Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer Extravagance by Gary Krist Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 1 of The Lord of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce Fletch by Gregory McDonald Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut Gender Trouble by Judith Butler George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg Gidget by Fredrick Kohner Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford The Gospel According to Judy Bloom The Graduate by Charles Webb The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Great Expectations by Charles Dickens The Group by Mary McCarthy Hamlet by William Shakespeare Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (#4) by J. K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (#1) by J. K. Rowling – She must’ve read them all, right? A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare Henry V by William Shakespeare High Fidelity by Nick Hornby The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende – Recently finished! Blog coming next week How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss How the Light Gets In by M. J. Hyland Howl by Allen Gingsburg The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo The Iliad by Homer I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres In Cold Blood by Truman Capote Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan + Pork Dumplings Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain The Jungle by Upton Sinclair Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken Life of Pi by Yann Martel The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen Little Women by Louisa May Alcott Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton Lord of the Flies by William Golding The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold The Love Story by Erich Segal Macbeth by William Shakespeare Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert The Manticore by Robertson Davies Marathon Man by William Goldman The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides The Miracle Worker by William Gibson Moby Dick by Herman Melville – This one I half-read in high school, but I won’t count it here because I have no interest in ever picking it up again. The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich Night by Elie Wiesel Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Old School by Tobias Wolff Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens On the Road by Jack Kerouac One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexander Solzhenitsyn One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan Oracle Night by Paul Auster Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood Othello by Shakespeare – the only Shakespeare play I actually enjoyed in school Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan Out of Africa by Isac Dineson The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton A Passage to India by E.M. Forster The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Peyton Place by Grace Metalious The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Property by Valerie Martin Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw Quattrocento by James Mckean A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi + Cream Puffs Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin The Red Tent by Anita Diamant Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman The Return of the King: The Lord of the Rings (Book 3) by J. R. R. Tolkien R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton Rita Hayworth by Stephen King Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert Roman Fever by Edith Wharton Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf A Room with a View by E. M. Forster Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi Sanctuary by William Faulkner Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Several Biographies of Winston Churchill Sexus by Henry Miller The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon Shane by Jack Shaefer The Shining by Stephen King Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton Slaughter-houseFive by Kurt Vonnegut Small Island by Andrea Levy – tried and couldn’t finish (assigned reading for my study abroad in London during college) Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker Songbook by Nick Hornby The Sonnets by William Shakespeare Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning Sophie’s Choice by William Styron The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach The Story of My Life by Helen Keller A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams Stuart Little by E. B. White The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry Time and Again by Jack Finney The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith The Trial by Franz Kafka The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom Ulysses by James Joyce The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe Unless by Carol Shields Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett Walden by Henry David Thoreau Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Grand total: I’ve read 59, with another 28 on my TBR list.
How many have you read? Let me know in the comments!
My friend and fellow Gilmore Girls fan, Deanna, was just as excited as I for the recent revival, so when I proposed a day full of Gilmore-inspired cooking and eating, she was totally on board. We made something from every section of the cookbook, but we will start in true Emily Gilmore fashion – with a cocktail and an appetizer.
For our old-fashioned gimlet, we needed simple syrup, limes, ice, and gin. Don’t forget the shaker!
To make a simple syrup, combine equal parts water and granulated sugar in a saucepan, heating over medium-high heat to dissolve the sugar. Once it thickens and becomes syrup-y, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool (for at least 5 minutes). To make 2 gimlets, you’ll need 4 tablespoons of each.
While that cooked, I juiced some limes and cut them into slices for garnish.
Then we could really get down to business – mixing the drinks. To the shaker, already half full of ice, Deanna added 6 ounces of gin, 3 ounces of lime juice and the simple syrup. She shook it for two minutes (or a little longer, while I snapped pictures), and then the drinks were ready!
Drinks in hand, we began making the Salmon Puffs, one of Emily Gilmore’s most highly sought-after hors d’oeuvres. See how we exude confidence?
First, we prepared the salmon filling. Deanna removed the skin and then I cut the salmon into smaller chunks before adding into the food processor. We also added the lemon juice, cayenne pepper and dill. Once it formed a coarse paste, we added the mustard and maybe a little bit extra cheese. After just a bit more processing, the salmon filling was ready.
If you don’t have a pastry cutter (I left mine at home), hopefully you have a dixie cup lying around. At exactly 2” in diameter, it makes an excellent substitute once you cut out the bottom. We were excited at our ingenuity. (Cheers! Take a sip of your classy gimlet.)
We were easily able to eek out 9 additional rounds from our pastry dough, perhaps you can get 10! The goal is to end up with at least 30 puff pastry circles, but no more than 40 as you won’t have enough filling. Place them in your mini-muffin pan and push them down to form small cups.
Once the pastry cups are complete, use a fork to poke holes in the bottom of each. Then, using a pastry bag with a wide tip or a small kitchen spoon, fill them with the salmon mixture.
Make sure your oven rack is in the center before placing the pans in the preheated oven. After 12 minutes (or possibly a few more – ours took 15), the salmon puffs should be ready. If the salmon pops off of any of them, simply push it back down into the newly puffed cup.
Using a skewer or toothpicks, form a hole in the center of each to ready for the garnish. Place 3 pieces of chive into each hole so that they are sticking straight up.
Put on a platter and serve. Hopefully people at your fancy cocktail party won’t be able to get enough! We sure couldn’t!
½ – ⅔ cup fresh salmon, skin removed (you probably only need a 4-5 oz fillet)
¾ tsp fresh dill
¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp grainy deli-style mustard
4 tsp Port Salut cheese, rind removed (can substitute Muenster)
2 puff pastry sheets
Chives, for garnish, cut into approx. 90 1-inch pieces (3 per puff)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Move rack to center position.
In a food processor, add salmon, dill, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Process until a coarse paste forms. Add mustard and cheese. Process until the mixture is smooth.
Lay out a sheet of thawed puff pastry (follow directions on package) on a lightly floured work surface. Use a round 2-inch in diameter cutter [in a pinch, the bottom of a dixie cup works] to cut circles from each sheet. [Original recipe calls for 30. We were able to cut 39 circles from our sheets and had enough filling to create 39 finished puffs.]
Using a mini muffin pan or tart pan, press a round of dough into each cup. Use a small form to poke 10-15 holes into the bottom of the dough.
Using a spoon, fill each cup with about 1 teaspoon of the salmon mixture. [Original recipe recommends using a pastry bag with a wide tip and piping in the filling.]
Bake puffs for 12 minutes.
Salmon may have popped up during baking. If so, press back down into pastry.
Remove puffs to a plate or serving platter. Use a skewer or two toothpicks to make a hole in the center of each puff. Place 3 pieces of chive into each hole, so they are sticking straight up. Serve.
Emma Cline’s The Girls turned out to be the perfect novel to close out summer. It follows 14-year-old Evie Boyd during the last summer before she leaves her home in Northern California to begin boarding school. Although heavily based on the Manson cult, it is not the charismatic leader who draws Evie in but one of the girls instead.
After wondering at the girls from afar, it seems fated when Evie’s busted bike chain leaves her stranded. The girls (and Guy) pull up in their bus and rescue her back to their ranch for the summer solstice party. The celebration is nothing like a traditional party, watermelon broken open on the picnic table while greedy children dig at it with their fingers. Evie sees past the dirt, decay and deviance. She is entranced.
Suzanne, one of the girls, is entranced as well – but with the group’s leader Russell, always attuned to his presence and ready to follow his every whim. Over the course of the summer, Evie becomes similarly obsessed with Suzanne. Though she leaves the ranch often, it’s the thought of Suzanne that keeps Evie going back, and it’s because of her that Evie pushes the boundaries of her prior life.
Dependent on donations and stolen food, meals at the ranch are meager and infrequent. As the summer lolls by, the girls reach near-starvation yet remain devoted to Russell. Any appearance of food is a cause for celebration, any remaining sense of etiquette gone until the food, too, has disappeared.
Lemonade is a drink that invokes long, lazy days – a summer classic. When you add in some watermelon, to call back to the summer solstice party and the “sticky juice” one of the girls drips all over the floor during a trip off the ranch, it makes an excellent fit for Cline’s novel.
I found Cooking Classy’s recipe for watermelon lemonade and made some this past Labor Day Weekend, a fond farewell to summer.
I cubed about a quarter of my too-large watermelon and pureed it, using my food processor in two batches. Starting out with 4 cups of puree, I ended up with about 3 cups of juice once I strained out the pulp.
I ended up using 5 lemons for the juice, with an extra leftover for garnish. I combined the water, lemon juice and sugar using a wooden spoon until the sugar was dissolved. I only needed to use the ⅔ cup recommended – it was a little tart, but it worked really well once mixed with the watermelon juice. Add some fresh mint and ice and serve on a hot day.
6cupscubed seedless watermelonchilled (2 lbs after removing rind)
3/4cupfresh strained lemon juicechilled
2/3cupgranulated sugarmore or less to taste
Ice and fresh mint for serving
Add watermelon to a blender and pulse until well pureed (there should be about 4 cups). Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.
In a large pitcher whisk together water, lemon juice and sugar until sugar has dissolved. Stir in pureed watermelon. Stir in ice and mint (alternately add ice and mint directly to individual cups and pour lemonade over). Store in refrigerator.
From: Cooking Classy
If you don't have time to chill the ingredients then just use more ice in place of some of the water. Yields about 8 cups.
As a bonus, here’s my puppy Beta, who enjoyed her first taste of watermelon while I made the lemonade.
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