Book Chat Issue #30
Holiday reading and a carrot salad
Hello reading friends
I’ve been on a little holiday and have arrived home rather tired, but happy to have had the chance to see some beautiful countryside and do something a bit different. My husband is a big horse racing fan, so much of our time was spent looking at horses of various sizes and shapes. I especially enjoyed seeing the weanlings (horses less than one year old) but I took care not to call them ‘baby horses’.
I took two books with me but didn’t read either of them as I was too tired at the end of the day to start a new book. Both were books I wanted to read, but I just didn’t have the mental energy and ended up watching Netflix instead.
Choosing the right book for a holiday can be challenging. As well as choosing something that grabs your attention, you have to consider the weight and size of the book. If you’re travelling by plane you need to make sure it will fit into your hand luggage and check that the font size isn’t too small. Ebooks and audiobooks have made things easier, but I still like to take a physical book in case I have to wait in a queue or the plane is delayed. Being stuck somewhere with nothing to read is my idea of hell.
What’s your strategy for making sure you’re never without a book?
Best holiday reads
Holiday reading is different for everyone. Some readers relish the opportunity to immerse themselves in something long and challenging, but most people seem to gravitate towards lighter reads, either thrillers or romance. I read both, but have a particular affection for novels set in bookstores. Here are a couple of my favourites:
The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland. Set in a used bookshop in York, this novel tackles love, grief, violence, and friendship. Loveday Cardew, 25 and painfully shy, has worked in the bookshop since she was fifteen. Both she and Archie (her boss) have a low tolerance for customers who annoy them.
I don’t like people who giggle. Archie says there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of joie de vivre. He doesn’t like people who smell. I say you shouldn’t penalise people for their circumstances and books don’t care when you last washed.
I don’t like people who try to knock down the price or bang on about how they could get it cheaper on the internet. They don’t realise that, for a lot of rare books, if they search the internet they’ll end up with us anyway, but we’ll charge them postage too. I quite like it when that happens. A bit of schadenfreude really brightens up twenty minutes in a post office queue. I feel like Becky sharp from Vanity Fair.
This book is rather sad in places but has an uplifting ending. Highly recommended.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald is a charming small town romance set in Iowa. Sarah Lindqvist travels from Sweden to meet up with her long-time penpal Amy, only to find that her elderly friend has passed away. Desperate for something to do, Sara uses Amy’s book collection—a hodgepodge of classic literature, chick lit, and even erotica—to turn an abandoned hardware store into a neighbourhood bookstore. Her thank-you gift to the townspeople quickly becomes a tourist attraction, turning Broken Wheel into a hotbed of romance and progressive ideas.
As the cover says, this is a thoroughly enjoyable read.
What I’ve been eating
After a week of somewhat excessive eating and drinking, I’ve been looking through my recipe collection for some healthier options.
This recipe for 4 C salad was given to me by Helen, a regular reader of this newsletter and a good friend. It’s great for lunch or a BBQ.
It’s basically a mixture of grated carrot, shredded coconut, coriander and cashews, dressed with a lemony dressing, or just lemon juice. I usually add a bit of cumin as well. Sometimes I add dried cranberries too, which would make it a 6C salad.
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