Of Food and Love

As a lover of food media such as the Great British Baking Show, as well as a lover of romances, I am definitely the target audience for romance novels that include a strong food-based storyline. If you are too, or want to see what that means, check out one of these recent romantic comedy novels featuring cooking competitions:

Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron
Reena has fiercely maintained her independence from her caring, meddling family, pursuing a career outside the family business and firmly rejecting her parent’s efforts at matchmaking. Recently laid off, her friends convince her to pursue a reality TV cooking competition for amateurs. The catch? Contestants must enter as part of a couple. Enter Reena’s hunky new neighbor, Nadim. New to town but already a fan of Reena’s cooking, Nadim agrees to pose as her fiancé for the show. As quick banter turns to real attraction, buried secrets from Reena and Nadim’s Toronto Indian diasporic community loom.

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#BookBingoNW2021 Beach Read

Fellow readers, let’s talk beach reads. Don’t be put off by the name – these can be read at the beach, sure, but also by a lake; in a park or on your lawn; on your couch – anywhere you’re taking some time for yourself. And any book can be a beach read*, so long as it is something you find gripping. To get started, here are suggestions for books across genres that grab you and don’t let go until you’ve turned the last page.

Looking to be kept on the edge of your seat? (or beach towel?) Go behind enemy lines with WWII spy Nancy Wake as she trains the French Resistance in Ariel Lawhon’s Code Name Hélène. Or enjoy a tale of revenge and ego as a film shoot in the Caribbean goes awry in The Siren by Katherine St. John. The dark side of office politics are on display in The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris, as editorial assistant Nella realizes the new girl isn’t what she seems. And when her husband disappears, newlywed Hannah and her stepdaughter Bailey race against time to figure out his true identity in The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave.

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What’s Cooking? Fall edition

The pandemic turned many of us — perhaps not willingly — into home cooks, resulting in cookbooks with long holds queues, printing delays and a publishing industry scrambling to meet demand. While dining in restaurants is resuming, many of us will continue cooking and baking at home for ourselves, family and friends. Here are a dozen of the fall’s most anticipated cookbooks, which focus on accessible, simplified recipes and techniques.

Early September. Kick the season off at summer’s end with The Weekday Vegetarians by Jenny Rosenstrach, and eat more veggies during the week for your health (and the environment’s), saving meat for weekends. Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski’s sophomore cookbook, Let’s Do Dinner, features balanced and flavorful fare. If you’re a foodie who enjoys the craft of cooking and an eccentric guide, Joshua Weissman: An Unapologetic Cookbook is the book for you.

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#BookBingoNW2021 Small Press

Those who follow the literary world know the agglomeration of mega-publishers that was once termed the “big six” long ago became the “big five,” and through yet another merger/acquisition will soon become the “big four.” It seems just a matter of time before we’re talking about the “big one.” Fortunately, there are many many small publishers out there bringing a panorama of distinct editorial styles and missions to bookstore and library shelves. As you approach this Book Bingo square, you may want to browse this mega-list of small and independent publishers from our catalog. Here are just a few of my own favorites from this eclectic list:

Archipelago Books specializes in beautifully produced international titles, often in their English language debuts, making them a sort of United Nations of literature. Their big cash cow has been Karl Ove Knausgaard’s popular soul-searching six volume memoir My Struggle, the kind of commercial success that most small publishers dream of, and one that helps underwrite a wide range of other less profitable but no less fascinating titles. Continue reading “#BookBingoNW2021 Small Press”

Book Group Picks, July 2021

Are you in a book discussion group, and looking for affordable ways to supply your group with books to discuss? The library is here for you! Each month or so, we’ll share a varied handful of titles, any one of which would make for terrific discussion, and each of which – at the time of posting – has a dozen or more copies currently available at our various branches. Let’s get started with this month’s batch:

Just Us: An American Conversation, by Claudia Rankine.
“The murkiness as we exist alongside each other calls us forward. I don’t want to forget that I am here; at any given moment we are, each of us, next to any other capable of both the best and the worst our democracy has to offer.” 44 print, 6 eBook copies available.

Interior Chinatown, by Charles Yu.
“…we made it our own place – Chinatown. A place for preservation and self-preservation; give them what they feel what’s right, is safe; make it fit the idea of what is out there. Chinatown and indeed being Chinese is and always has been, from the very beginning a construction, a performance of features, gestures, culture and exoticism, invention/reinvention of stylization.” Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. 20 print copies available. Continue reading “Book Group Picks, July 2021”