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Book Chat Issue #41
Best books of 2022 (so far) and a delicious toasty
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Best books of 2022 (so far)
Every so often I get into a reading slump. Does this happen to you? Although I carefully research my reading choices, sometimes it turns out that nothing in my reading stack is really hitting the mark. I suspect this is more about my mood (and level of concentration), so this week I thought I’d highlight some favourite books from the year, rather than focus on one book. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll have seen some of these before, but if you’re new, this will save you reading through previous editions (unless you really want to, in which case check out the archive).
Here’s a short list of my favourites:
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I must admit I’m a little bit smitten with Bonnie Garmus. I heard her interviewed and she seems like a lovely person (and she has a nice greyhound so she gets bonus points for that). I am also encouraged by the fact that she published her debut novel at 64 because it means there is hope for me yet. A copywriter by trade, she clearly has a gift for words. To aspiring authors of any age, her advice is simple: “Never, ever, ever give up. You cannot quit – that’s the death of it, right there.”
Lessons in Chemistry is set in California in the early 1960s and centres on one-of-a-kind heroine Elizabeth Zott – chemist, single mum, and reluctant star of a TV cooking show called Supper at Six – and her mission to challenge the status quo. I loved this book and am delighted that it’s going to be made into a TV series.
The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs is another book about food and cooking. (I’m sensing a theme here). A historical novel about cookery writer Eliza Acton, it explores the struggle for freedom and the power of female friendships. This is an easy read and something of a page-turner, but I was amazed to find that much of the information in the book is historically accurate. I’d like to read some of her previous books, especially Frieda, which tells the story of Frieda von Richthofen, wife of D.H. Lawrence and the real-life inspiration for Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a novel banned for more than 30 years.
Annabel also writes non-fiction pieces about food and longevity under the name of Annabel Street. Check it out here.
My third choice is All My Mothers by Joanna Glen. I think people are a bit sick of me talking about this book, but I have recommended it to several friends and they have all enjoyed it. Set in England and Cordoba, a medieval city in Spain, it’s a wonderful story about relationships and friendship, and what it really takes to be a mother.
Joanna read Spanish at the University of London, with a stint at the Faculty of Arts at Cordoba University in the south of Spain, so the detailed descriptions of Cordoba are especially enjoyable, but not overdone. It made me want to visit one day.
A short blog post
I wrote a new blog post. It’s about where to get good reading recommendations. Well here, of course!
A great sandwich
I went to a wonderful concert in the nearby city of Newcastle recently. I caught the train with a couple of friends and we stopped for coffee at a groovy little café.
I wanted to order a slice of treacle tart to go with my coffee, but since it was lunchtime I thought I should eat something more substantial, so I tucked into a veggie toasty and it was delicious. It had two types of cheese! I enjoyed it so much that I recreated my own version at home.
Sliced grainy sourdough bread
Gouda or cheddar (something that will melt)
Zucchini (sliced and cooked lightly in garlic and oil in a frying pan)
Broccoli (as above - slice thinly but don’t overcook, it should be a bit crunchy)
Assemble all the ingredients and cook in the same pan you used to cook the veggies until both the cheeses are melted. Press down lightly while cooking, so it all squishes together and doesn’t fall apart.
Well that’s all for now reading friends!
Look after yourself and your loved ones,
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