Book Chat Issue #24
Books that keep you up at night and homemade bread
Hello reading friends!
Welcome to my newsletter for curious people. If you’re looking for some great book recommendations, you’ve come to the right place.
This week has been pretty warm with lots of thunderstorms and heavy showers, so I’ve spent most afternoons lying on my bed reading. This is my favourite way to avoid doing more productive tasks, including writing. Oh well.
I like this advice though…
For fast acting relief, try slowing down.
What I’ve been reading
Because I’m such a lazybones I managed to read two books, both of which I enjoyed immensely. They were quite different in tone, but shared themes around pregnancy and motherhood.
The first was Jane is Trying by Isy Suttie, an English comedian and writer. It’s a sweet and funny story that touches on some serious issues.
Jane and her partner are trying to get pregnant and the pressure is causing cracks in their relationship. When Jane finds out that her partner has been unfaithful, she decamps to her parents house in a regional English village and gets a job in a bookshop with a suitably idiosyncratic bookseller, while trying to work out what to do next.
This is a book about trying to start afresh when your past haunts you, and the realities of being an independent adult. Highly recommended.
The second book was The Hush by Sara Foster. It’s a thriller set in the not too distant future when the multiple problems of pandemics, climate change, populism, misinformation and eugenics collide to produce a scary social experiment around birth control.
The characters are great, it’s fast moving and very believable. It’s not gory, but it’s a bit creepy in places, so avoid it if you are expecting a baby or trying to conceive. Recommended for fans of dystopian thrillers such as the The Handmaid’s Tale. A compelling read that might keep you up past your bedtime.
What I’ve been listening to
I often don’t sleep very well, so I enjoyed this podcast from Joanna Penn where she talks to Dr Anne Bartolucci about how to improve your sleep and your creativity.
In the podcast they talk about the myth of the 8 hour sleep and give some tips for improving the quality of your sleep.
I think the amount of sleep you need depends on many factors including your age, the weather, and what kind of work you’ve been doing so I was chuffed to hear her agreeing.
I wrote a blog post about how much sleep we really need. You can read it here.
What I’ve been baking
A fellow blogger posted a photo of some oat bread that she had made from a recipe in the Tassajara Bread Book. Some readers might remember this cookbook from the olden days - also known as the 1970s - when all good hippies were baking their own bread with wholemeal flour. I was thrilled to find out that the Tassajara Zen Centre ( a Buddhist retreat in San Francisco) is still open and thriving.
I decided to have a go at making my own loaf from this recipe. It turned out really well but was fairly sweet. I used a combination of white, wholemeal and brown rice flour because I didn’t have any rye flour on hand.
That’s all for this edition!
Happy reading everyone and don’t forget to let me know what you’re reading.