Marie’s Reading: “Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books” by Cara Nicoletti ; illustrations by Marion Bolognesi

VoraciousIsn’t it great when you find an author who’s a kindred spirit?  Cara Nicoletti is the same age as me, loves food, loves to read, and loves to write about both.  After reading her book Voracious (as well as her blog, Yummy Books), I  feel like we’d be friends.

Nicoletti’s work is charming, warm, funny, and intelligent.  She’s an astute reader who clearly has a lot of passion and a depth and breadth of reading behind her.  She’s just the type of person you’d want to talk about books with as you cook a meal together.  Her book grew out of her blog, which in turn grew out of her book/cooking club.  Really, what an utterly amazing idea, a literary supper club.  I wish I’d thought of it.  (My idea was to read and drink my way through Tequila Mockingbird.  Nicoletti’s idea is a lot classier.)

As I mentioned, Nicoletti and I are the same age, so I got a real kick out of hearing what books she liked when she was a kid.  That was my favorite section of her book, and I enjoyed the piece about Little House in the Big Woods in particular.  In looking over her blog I got embarrassingly excited when I saw “Stacey’s EmergencyBrown Butter Pecan Brownies.    Along with everything else we’ve got in common, we felt the same way about the Babysitters Club.  This is one paragraph among many that made me laugh:

Recently, on a particularly overwhelming day, I impulse-bought Babysitter’s Club Book #43: “Stacey’s Emergency” at a used book store. The dilemma in the book is this: Stacey loves chocolate, but Stacey has diabetes so she cannot eat chocolate. Ignoring her diagnosis, Stacey steals Ring Dings from Claudia’s house and stuffs them in her purse, she eats chocolate bars in the privacy of her bedroom, foams like a rabid animal while making fudge at a babysitting job, and (ROCK BOTTOM), even shoves M&M’s in her mouth in the bathroom of a commuter train. Eventually, Stacey gets really really sick because, you know, cause and effect.

“Charming” is the word I keep coming back to when I think about Voracious.  I was charmed, by the sheer passion, by the fun, by the love of reading, by the love of food.

Howards End Is On the Landing: A Year of Reading From Home by Susan Hill, My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss, Classics for Pleasure by Michael Dirda, and the lovely lyrical novel Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer would all be wonderful choices, both for tone and content, to pick up after Voracious.  Or after an afternoon of reading Nicoletti’s blog.



Marie’s Reading: “Bellman & Black” by Diane Setterfield

bellman and blackHaving read and adored Setterfield’s debut novel, The Thirteenth Tale, I had so been hoping she’d write something else.  Imagine my Snoopy-esque dances of joy when I heard about the imminent publication of Bellman & Black.

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Marie’s Reading: “Howards End Is On the Landing: A Year of Reading From Home” by Susan Hill

9781846682667I enjoyed every single moment of reading this book.  I’ve mentioned before how I love books about books and the reading life, and Hill’s collection of short pieces about her year of reading her way through her home collection is charming. Continue reading