Hello reading friends!
First of all, a big thank you to all the lovely people who came along to the inaugural book club meeting. I know lots of people couldn’t make it for various reasons, but we had a good group and it was fun!
The discussion ranged from why the book had such a clunky title (The Storied Life of AJ Fikry doesn’t really roll off the tongue), to whether we prefer books with neatly tied up endings (there were different views on this). All in all, it was good to chat to other book lovers.
At the end of the session we shared some of our other favourite authors. Suggestions included CJ Sansom (the Tudor mystery series), Shirley Jackson (We have always lived in the castle), Louise Penny (The Inspector Gamache series) and Taylor Jenkins Reid (Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo).
The next book club pick is The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. We’ll be meeting in June, date to be confirmed.
What I’ve been watching/reading
Have you had a chance to see the film called The Quiet Girl? It’s a beautiful movie based on the novella Foster, by Irish writer Claire Keegan. Both the book and the film are heartbreaking, but gorgeous.
Keegan’s more recent novella is similar in nature. Small Things Like These is a slim book that makes you think deeply about how we show up in the world and what we stand for. If you don’t normally read literary fiction, I recommend this book as a good place to start. It’s easy to read, but very powerful.
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2022, the novella tells the story of Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant who is faced with the choice between remaining silent and being complicit in a wrongdoing, or taking an action that might end the comfortable life that he and his family enjoy.
Furlong had come from nothing. Less than nothing, some would say. His mother, at the age of sixteen , had fallen pregnant while working as a domestic for Mrs Wilson, the Protestant widow who lived in the big house a few miles outside of town. When his mother’s trouble became known, and her people made it clear that they’d have no more to do with her, Mrs Wilson, instead of giving his mother her walking papers, told her that she should stay on, and keep her work. On the the morning that Furlong was born, it was Mrs Wilson who had his mother taken to the hospital, and had them brought home. It was the first of April , 1946 and some said the boy would turn out to be a fool.
What I’ve been cooking
As you know, I love salad, but when the weather turns cooler I like to rustle up some simple soups. Recently I made spring vegetable soup (even though it’s actually Autumn here) which is basically all the leftover veggies in the fridge sautéed in olive oil and garlic and then simmered in chicken or vegetable stock until soft. If you want to add some protein but don’t feel like eating meat, why not fry a few chickpeas and chuck them on top?
Simply drain a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and pat them dry with kitchen paper. Sprinkle with herbs of your choice. I used Za’atar (a middle eastern spice mix) but you can use whatever you like, and fry until golden brown all over. Pop them on your soup and grate some lemon rind over the top. Any leftovers can be added to a salad for a bit of extra oomph.
Well that’s all for now. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to chime in. I love hearing what books you’ve been reading and what you’ve been eating.
Until next time, keep well and look after yourselves.
I love soups year-round and to add to yours regarding fresh veggies in the frig...I use the bits of any, drop in low sodium chicken broth, and seasonings, cook soft, puree, and add a bit of whipping cream if you like. Great way to use up odds and ends. Did not think of frying chick peas. Great idea!
Hi Marg, Thanks for the chat. I will endeavour to catch The Quiet Girl, I do like movies similar to that style. Small things like these looks enticing too and I love the chickpea addition to your soup, we had our first soup of the year tonight actually, lentil and veg. Thanks again.