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Top Ten Tuesday – Yummy Food Mentioned in Books

Hi everyone! It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time again for my monthly Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish. I participate about once a month, but each week there is a new, fun bookish topic for bloggers to create literary lists about. If you’d like to know more about it, check it out here.

Usually the topics each week are very book-focused, but today’s is right up my alley! Combining food and books, we have Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned in Books – yay! It actually took me a little while to compose the list because I wanted to try to pick foods that are more integral to the story or iconic because of their inclusion within the book, rather than just something mentioned in passing (as is often the case with my typical posts). I think I did a pretty good job coming up with this list, but what do you think? Anything you would’ve added?

1. Raspberry Cordial from Anne of Green Gables: This is my second Top Ten Tuesday mention of Anne in a row (I told you she made an impression), but I think it’s apt. The scene in the book where Anne mistakenly gets her BFF Diana drunk off not-raspberry-cordial is one of the more memorable in the book, and I remember the scene very vividly from watching the mini-series when I was a kid too. Though the actual drink never gets drunk within the story, Marilla’s raspberry cordial is famous in Avonlea and apparently quite delicious. I’ve always wanted to try it.

2. Fizzy Lifting Drinks from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: This is the only food (or drink) I’m including where I can’t remember if I’ve actually read the book rather than seen the movie, but either way this scene is so iconic. As a kid, thinking that there might be a drink out there that lets you fly was the most amazing thing I could think of. It’s such a fun concept, definitely the most imaginative food on the list.

3. Pumpkin Pasties from the Harry Potter series: You show me something made with pumpkin, and I can guarantee it’ll be gone before you know it. Ever since I started reading this series (which somehow makes it onto almost all of my lists…), I have been itching to try a pumpkin pasty. If I could only take a ride on the Hogwarts Express, my dreams could come true. Writing this little blurb prompted me to see how doable it was to make them myself, so I found this wonderful post with recipes for them (two ways!) – excuse me, while I run to the kitchen.

4. Cinnamon Bread from Once Upon a River: This recipe for cinnamon bread was one of the first ones I made for the blog, after reading Bonnie Jo Campbell’s Michigan-based story for one of my book clubs. I remember the description of this bread being so vivid it made me hungry. It was a much-loved recipe, perfect for this time of year, so I should probably revisit it.

5. Boeuf Bourguignon from My Life in France: Picking just one food from Julia Child’s memoir wasn’t exactly easy, but this dish is so indicative of French cooking and whenever I hear or read about it, I instantly think of Julia. I knew it had to be the one. It’s also a dish I have yet to tackle, though every winter I think to myself I should give it a try. It’s not hard, just time-consuming. Maybe this will be the year that I break out my Mastering the Art of French Cooking and finally make it… maybe.

6. The Fat Burger from 11/22/63: This historical fiction/time travel story is one of my favorites, and it all starts with a questionably cheap burger in a diner. The secret to it’s price lies in a closet that leads back in time – to September 9, 1958, to be exact. It’s there that Jake starts his journey to rescue JFK from his impending November assassination. Though this book is really long, I was riveted when I read it forever ago and it went by much more quickly than I expected. The burgers sound really delicious, and wasn’t food better in the good ol’ days anyway?

7. Dumplings from The Joy Luck Club: When I got the opportunity to make dumplings because of this novel early on in my blogging career, I was super excited. They may not have turned out as well as I hoped, but that doesn’t mean the ones Amy Tan is referring to in The Joy Luck Club aren’t absolutely delicious. After all, they’re made by experts for their weekly Mahjong game.

8. Minny’s Fried Chicken from The Help: While Minny’s “special” chocolate cake is probably more entertaining and memorable, I opted for an actually edible option instead – the scene where Minny teaches Miss Celia to make fried chicken for her husband is touching and makes me hungry every time.

9. Potatoes from The Martian: Truly, the potatoes in The Martian are a matter of life-or-death, and while they may not be served in the most appetizing manner, due to the culinary limitations on Mars, they are so clearly an important part of this novel. Cook yourself some yummier potatoes – mashed with butter, baked with all the fixings, or cut into delightfully crisp and salty french fries – and thank your lucky stars you’re here on Earth instead.

10. Swedish Dream Cookies from My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry: These cookies are mentioned often in this wonderful Fredrik Backman novel, usually referred to as just “dreams.” Until I did the research, I wasn’t sure they were an actual thing, but it turns out they’re quite common in Sweden. I made them for a blog last year, and as it turns out, they’re as easy to make as they are delicious!

This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books That Feature Characters Who Love Books

Hi everyone! It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time again for my monthly Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish. I participate about once a month, but each week there is a new, fun bookish topic for bloggers to create literary lists about. If you’d like to know more about it, check it out here.

Today’s topic is a bit of a freebie, where we’re able to fill in the blank in Ten Books That Feature Characters ___________, so I’m going with a super bookish list here. Books about books are among my favorites, but sometimes there are characters that come along in other kinds of stories that love books as much as I do, and I wanted to recognize those wonderfully bookish characters in Ten Books That Feature Characters Who Love Books.

In no particular order, let’s begin:

1. Matilda from Roald Dahl’s children’s novel of the same name: She is many children’s first exposure to how wonderful the world of books can be and how sometimes it can be a welcome escape. I think I actually saw the movie as a kid before I read the book, and since then I’ve also seen the Broadway musical, but the message remains the same – it’s okay to be different, you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to, and of course, there’s nothing quite like a good book!

2. Hermoine from (do I even need to say it?) the Harry Potter series: Hermoine is synonymous with reading. She can often be found in the library, or at the very least, pouring over a large volume somewhere. Books are an important part of many of her adventures (thank you, magical bags!) and usually hold the answer to help her and her friends get out of a sticky situation.

3. Anne of L.M. Montgomery’s beloved series, Anne of Green Gables: Anne has always been one of my favorite characters. Like Matilda, she used stories and her imagination to get her through tough situations, and like Hermoine, she is a lover of learning. Anne is a precocious trouble-maker who is also utterly charming, and as a result, worked her way into the hearts of readers everywhere.

4. Jo from Little Women: Not only a reader, but a writer as well, Jo was modeled after Louisa May Alcott herself. She is “boyish” and strong-willed, eschewing the traditional trappings of young women of her time in order to pursue a literary career. Jo is one of the reasons I wanted to become a writer when I was a young girl.

5. Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird: The daughter of a lawyer, Scout is intelligent with an inquisitive mind and reading comes as second nature to her. In fact, this wonderful quote is attributed to her: “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” I mean, that pretty much sums it up.

6. Hazel from John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars: Hazel and Augustus’s relationship blossoms after they agree to read each other’s favorite novels. Her last wish is to meet her favorite author, whose novel she gave to Augustus, and much of the story takes place in pursuit of that dream.

7. Henry from The Time Traveler’s Wife: Henry has a disorder that causes him to involuntarily travel through time, and his position as a librarian allows him a quiet place to disappear when he happens to. Not only does he work in a library, but Henry meets his wife Clare there for the first time, leading to one of my favorite love stories.  

8. All 6 main characters from The Jane Austen Book Club: This novel is full of Jane Austen fans and one newbie, who nevertheless dives into her novels wholeheartedly. This book makes me want to read Austen every time, and I love how deeply they feel about her novels.

9. AJ Fikry from The Storied Life of AJ Fikry: AJ Fikry owns a bookstore. He transforms many of the people into his town from non-readers into readers. The entire book is like a love letter to reading and he’s at the center of it.

10. Emilia from How to Find Love in a Bookshop: Another bookstore owner, Emilia Nightingale, rounds out my list. Like her father before her (also a wonderful bookish character), Emilia loves reading and spends much of the novel rescuing her father’s and their town’s beloved book haven.

Who are some of your favorite characters who love books?

This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

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Top Ten Tuesday (Back to School Edition) – Books to Spark a Love of Reading in Anyone

Hi everyone! It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time again for my monthly Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish. I participate about once a month, but each week there is a new, fun bookish topic for bloggers to create literary lists about. If you’d like to know more about it, check it out here.

Due to a short hiatus, I haven’t participated since June (here’s a refresher), but TTT is back again – just in time for back to school! Can you believe it’s that time of year already? All of the school supplies in the stores makes me wish I were going back to school, or that I had kids to get excited about it with… we’ll get there eventually. Excuse me while I go put a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils on my desk.The month’s theme is a “freebie,” so anything back-to-school is fair game. I’ve actually been thinking about what to do for a while now, and after going back and forth on a few options, I finally settled on: 10 Books to Spark a Love of Reading in Anyone. I know not everyone loves to read, but I truly believe it’s just because they haven’t found the right book (or type of book) yet. While many kids love reading as they grow up, it often becomes a chore in school, and sadly, that love dies.

This list includes some of my favorites, in a variety of genres, that hopefully – when recommended to the right person – can help them fall in love with reading all over again 🙂 Let’s get to it!

(These are in no particular order this week, just numbered so I can keep track.)

1. For the video game lover or people who like to get nostalgic about the 80s: Ready Player One

For a while I was recommending this book to everyone because I loved it so much. (And, yes, everyone who I told to read it loved it too.) It was immersive and imaginative and so good I didn’t want to put it down – everything a reading experience should be.

2. For fans of The Big Bang Theory and/or romantic comedies: The Rosie Project

I don’t remember how I stumbled upon this one, but it’s another one I’ve recommended widely since reading it. It’s a nerdy love story about an out-of-touch scientist trying to find “the one.” It also features a strong female character. It’s quirky and funny – I remember laughing out loud on the NYC subway as I read it. As a bonus, it’s a super quick read, so it won’t bog you down.

3. For someone looking for a beach read: We Were Liars

This young adult novel has intrigue, gossip and a surprising twist I didn’t see coming. Because it’s YA, it’s written in a really relatable way that’s easy to get into and stick with, and it’s not too long. It’s also won tons of awards and has almost 4 stars on Goodreads. Do yourself a favor and avoid spoilers!

4. For history buffs: 11/22/63 or The Nightingale

These are two very different books, but I really enjoyed them both.

Stephen King’s 11/22/63 tells the story of a man who goes back in time to prevent the Kennedy assassination, so it takes place mostly in the last 50s and early 60s (over and over again) and can get a bit into the nitty-gritty of the events leading up to that fateful November day. I was riveted and learned some interesting things too.

I read and posted on The Nightingale last year, but briefly it’s about a pair of sisters in France during WWII. It’s well-written and the story is worth reading, but given the subject matter, it can be tough to barrel through. This book has become a recent favorite for a reason, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone interested in WWII-era history. (Full thoughts and recipe here.)

5. For someone who wants to get into the classics: The Jane Austen Book Club

Classics are often tough nuts to crack – the language and references can be obscure and sometimes the pacing is slower than our modern attention spans are used to. That’s why I love this book. The readers in this book love (and I mean love) Jane Austen. You get to know a bit about each of her novels as the book club reads through them, but only enough to get you interested because you’re so engrossed in what the characters are doing. It always leaves me wanting to pick up a Jane Austen novel. (I recommend Pride and Prejudice, but this lovely book recommends Sense and Sensibility – you decide.)

6. For Leslie Knope-wannabes: Yes Please

Amy Poehler’s memoir is not only funny and endearing, it makes you think. Amy fills it with stories that will keep you entertained, but she also talks about what it’s like to succeed as a woman in a man’s world, how to have an amazing female friendship and why it’s ultimately rewarding to follow your passion (even if it’s hard). A quality read for any budding feminist.

7. For sci-fi lovers, or someone who was obsessed with yesterday’s eclipse: The Martian

Honestly, from page one of this novel I was hooked. People who don’t usually even read sci-fi (and I can probably be counted among them, since I read it pretty rarely) love this book. I don’t know much about science, but from what I’ve heard, the science is actually pretty solid so people who do know something about it won’t roll their eyes as they read it. It’s a survival story too, so once you’re in it, you won’t want to put it down until you know how it ends.

8. For your friend who’s always hungry: The Omnivore’s Dilemma or I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti

I was a little nervous to read The Omnivore’s Dilemma initially, but I was too intrigued not to. I loved that it really dug into where your food comes from and why quality is important. It wasn’t like a scary documentary, and it’s definitely not about giving up meat. Best of all, it’s written in a really approachable way, so you don’t slog through it like some other nonfiction books. So if you know someone who cares about what they eat and wants to learn more, this one’s for them.

On a slightly different part of the food spectrum, Giulia Melucci’s memoir pairs humorous bad relationship stories with delicious and comforting recipes that will have you wanting to run to the kitchen. It’s funny, uplifting, and there’s food. What more can I say?

9. For citizens of the world: The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

This true story by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon follows young female entrepreneurs in war-torn Afghanistan. Lemmon helps to expand on what we usually see in the media, showing Muslim women as individuals, not necessarily beholden to the men in their lives. They are optimistic, savvy and resourceful. They are survivors. It’s nonfiction that reads like fiction, and it will leave you enlightened and inspired.

10. For anyone: Harry Potter

Now, this may be a bit presumptuous – I get that not everyone loves Harry Potter, but I do think that it’s a series everyone should read (or at least try). If there are hesitant adults out there, find a kid in your life and read it with them. The quality time is unbeatable, and hopefully it will spark a love of reading and imagination in them too. JK Rowling’s books are not only entertaining, they’re insightful and full of lessons to be learned. If nothing else, there’s this: reading Harry Potter actually makes you a better person, so get on it. 🙂

I hope this list inspires you to share some wonderful books with budding readers out there, or even to create your own so you can wholeheartedly recommend amazing books you’ve read to others!

Until next time…

of interest

Top Ten Tuesday – Best Books You’ve Read in 2017 So Far

Hi everyone! It’s Tuesday, and it’s my first time participating in a Top 10 Tuesday list, which I’m super excited about. This is an original weekly blog meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish. I only plan to participate once or twice a month, due to other scheduled meme posts, but each week there is a new, fun bookish topic for bloggers to create literary lists about. If you’d like to know more about it, check it out here. Now let’s get to it!

These are in no particular order except that the first one was my absolute favorite:

One. Small Great Things 

This has been my only 5-star book so far this year, and while I’ve really enjoyed others, I loved loved loved this one. I have also recommended it like a million times. It’s a tough read, but it’s worth it – one that gets you thinking and provides a great jumping off point for discussion and future learning.

Speaking of which, this article was brought to my attention by Tanya from A Mindful Migration. I found it so interesting. If you’ve read the book, definitely check it out. If you haven’t, I’m sure you’ll get something out of it too. 🙂

Recipe Pairing: Trio of Bite-Size Appetizers

 

Two. Dark Matter

This fast-paced sci-fi book is another one that will get you thinking. Both Scott and I loved it, so it definitely has broad appeal! Recipe Pairing: Spanish Bean Stew with Chorizo

 

Three. Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

Ah, Lillian! This BOTM pick was one of the first books I read this year, and it was a lovely way to start 2017. I hope to be as vibrant and open-minded at the age of 85 as Lillian. Recipe Pairing: Oreo Cheesecake

 

Four. The Boston Girl 

This book was happy and hopeful, even though the lives of the characters were not at all easy. The first person narration drew me right in, and the simple, heartfelt story kept me interested through the end. Recipe Pairing: Chinese Fried Rice

 

Five. The Handmaid’s Tale

This book is a classic, and everyone should read it if they haven’t. I read it once a few years ago and liked it, but when I read it again this year, I loved it. So relevant right now. Recipe Pairing: Strawberry Pie

 

Six. The Royal We

Mostly this was a fun read, and I haven’t had a lot of those lately. It makes every girl think maybe one day they could be a princess. Recipe Pairing: Tea Sandwiches

 

Seven. Becoming Nicole/This is How It Always Is

I’ve read two books this year revolving around transgender children. Both were profound, and though the subject matter was similar, the stories were each unique. Both are very relevant today and are bound to lead to excellent discussions. This Is How It Always Is Recipe Pairing: Still deciding…any suggestions?

 

Eight. Lilac Girls

Set in WWII, this novel revolved around three characters following very different paths, all interesting in their own way. I’m always drawn to stories about this time period, and I couldn’t put this book down. Recipe Pairing: Poppyseed Cake (stay tuned!)

 

Nine. The Sisters Chase

Another BOTM selection, I started reading this book with high expectations, which it mostly lived up to. The twist towards the end made me want to go back and start reading it all over again. Recipe Pairing: Powdered Donuts (stay tuned!)

 

Ten. Kitchen House

Phew! I’ve been reading a lot of difficult novels this year. Another one for that list, this novel really blew me away with it’s intricate story and character development. Recipe Pairing: Cracklin’ Cornbread

 

Bonus. Beartown 

I don’t know if this truly belongs in my Top 10. I know everyone loves it, which is maybe why I’m on the fence. So much hockey, so much heartache. There’s no denying it was good, so it might be worth a second read down the road. Recipe Pairing: Almond Bear Claws (stay tuned!)