3 Stars: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
After pausing in this novel for a looooooong time I finally spent some evenings and finished her up! It is a very visually pleasurable read with great imagery that you can imagine as you read. You fall in and out of love with the characters as the story weaves on.
A nice light read (one that shouldn't take months) :) and great for book club! I found some fun Italian treats to taste on for this time around. Enjoy!
Amazon: Hailed by critics and loved by readers of literary and historical fiction, Beautiful Ruins is the story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962...and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.
MENU: Taste of Italy
Caprese Salad Skewers
from Williams & Sonoma
Pesto Chickpea Pasta
Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups
3.5 Stars: Save the Date by Jen Doll
A light easy summer read. I enjoyed her stories (although some felt like tangents) but her take on weddings was fun and I felt like the message at the end was a least worth the read. If you're looking for something easy, brainless and entertaining add this to your summer reading list.
When thinking about foods for this book club I thought while it might be obvious let's go for wedding food. :) Hope it's enjoyable and maybe reminds you of your own festive day! Next Month's Book Club: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.
Amazon: Weddings. They’re fun, festive, and joyful, and at a time when people marry later in life—and sometimes not at all—they offer endless opportunities to reexamine love and what we want for ourselves, regardless of whether or not our aim is a walk down the aisle. In Save the Date, Jen Doll charts the course of her own perennial wedding guesthood, from the ceremony of distant family members when she was eight to the recent nuptials of a new boyfriend’s friends.
Mini Caprese Skewers
from Williams and Sonoma
Lemon Gnocchi with Spinach and Peas
from Vegan Good Things
from Divas Can Cook
4 Stars - The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Such a fun read! Don Tillman is the literary version of TV's Sheldon Cooper. And I love them both. An unpredictable love story that warms your heart by the end. Don is a geneticist and Rosie as a PHD candidate and their unlikely meeting, story and relationship is worth picking up this book for. Ironically after finishing the book and starting this post I discovered there is a sequel that I'll be adding to my to-read list to check out at once.
I'm changing up the book club posting a bit on here- going with once a month and announcing the next book at that time. Trying to get these done once a week has been pushing it for me!! Next month's book: Save the Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest that I'll post mid-June. In the meantime, check out this month's menu and hope that you enjoy it!
Amazon: The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.
MENU: Standardized Meal Planning by Don
from Add a Pinch
Grapefruit, Salmon and Avocado Salad
from Martha Stewart
Mango & Peach Ice Creams
3.5 Stars - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
What a delightful read! A collection of letters from Guernsey Island to London and back again. You fall in love with the various characters and their stories during the occupation. The main character Juliet was my favorite followed closely by her closeted BFF Sidney. Their interactions made the book for me. I also enjoyed the somewhat hidden love story that wasn't at the forefront of the novel but made for a very nice ending.
As this was a book club about a book club it was fun to choose food for our menu. Of course we had to feature "roast pig" and "potato peel pie" in some form but there were also a few attempts at desserts that tried and failed. Hopefully that won't happen to me or you! Enjoy!
Amazon: January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….
Menu: Book Club for a Book Club
Pigs n Blankets
Potato Peel Pie
from Sustainable Guernsey
from Betty Crocker
4.5 Stars: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
What a great book! It was a bit longer than the other books I've read recently but the story was wonderful. You ever get the feeling of mourning characters after you finish a book?? Kind of like they died when the story ended (note this isn't what happens in the book). That's how I felt. I was so sad to be finished with Marie-Laure's story.
I am a big fan of historical fiction so this book was right up my alley. It told two stories that eventually resulted in one; from one side (French girl) and the other side (German boy). Read it. Seriously. Make your book club put it on the list.
Choosing a menu was a little difficult because really everyone was starving during WWII. But I did do a little digging and I think I can up with something pretty tasty. Hope you all enjoy this book and the food!
Amazon: Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
Baguettes & Cheese
Spinach & Cheese Omelet
from Yummy Books
2 Stars - The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
Not my favorite book we've ever read for book club, but I made it through the book. I didn't mind the writing style but the plot was a little plodding for me. I felt like it took forever for anything to really happen. And really as soon as I finished the book I'd forgotten it.
Since it was set in the Balkan region I decided to try that out for our menu for the evening. Even if the book isn't great doesn't mean we can't eat well!! Enjoy the eats!
Amazon: In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife.
Menu: Taste of the Balkans
Stuffed Red Peppers
from SBS Food
Meat and Potato Gratin
from Port & Fin
For the crepes:
5 Stars - Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
What a book! I'd say it's a cross between Revolution (canceled ABC show), Hunger Games and Night Circus. I loved that art was interwoven into the post-apocalyptic storylines. I read this book so fast I couldn't wait to find out what was happening to each character/storyline.
If you're a fan of any of the shows/books I've mentioned above- do yourself a favor and read this book. It's not very long and it really draws you in. A perfect book club choice!
When I was picking out food I tried to pull from the various storylines as well as think about what would be left to use once the world kind of ended. Hope you enjoy!
Amazon: An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
Fresh Fish Ceviche
from Serious Eats
3.75 Stars - Landline by Rainbow Rowell
I had heard such great things about this book (Goodreads 2014 of the year list) and after loving Rowell's Eleanor & Park I decided to try this one out as well. E&P is more of YA fiction whereas Landline is adult fiction. I have to say after a bit of slow start I got drawn into the book and read it in about 2 days.
The story is a little far-fetched with the magical landline phone - but hey who of us actually has a landline around anymore? You never know what it could be capable of... A really nice read and one that I think would be great for book club. As far as the menu- it was a little difficult considering how much Georgie barely eats but I managed to find a few food items in the book. Enjoy!
Amazon: Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply—but that almost seems beside the point now.Maybe that was always beside the point.
Menu: Neal's Specialties
from Betty Crocker
Grandma's Christmas Cookies
3.5 Stars - One Plus One by JoJo Moyes
It took me a little to get in to this book, it didn't read as fast for me as Me Before You which made me a blubbering mess. However once I had some time to focus (IE: a flight to California) I had no trouble getting through the pages. I spent a lot of time rooting for the main characters to just get together already but of course the entire book is about that journey so I had to have a little patience. Tanzie and Norman are the best characters that make you laugh and cry and really make the story.
When I was thinking about book club for this it seemed only natural to pull from the meals the characters ate on their epic road journey to Scotland (except no stomach problems this time!!). Hope you enjoy the eats and definitely plan on reading this one for your book club!!
Amazon: One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You
MENU: Roadside Eats
from King's Hawaiian
Chicken & Veggie Kabobs
from Taste of Home
Homemade Crunchie Bars
from Kitchen Tested
4 Stars - Yes Please by Amy Poehler
I heart Amy Poehler. Her book made me laugh and I actually felt like I could hear her telling me the stories as I was reading it. I've ready a few comedians memoirs: Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling. They do not disappoint. Each one has a different flair but they each tell it like it is. Poehler's Yes Please is no different.
I loved reading about her time on SNL and then building, creating and finishing Parks and Rec. I finished watching the show just after I finished the book. Perfect timing if I do say so myself. Read this book. Whether it's for a book club (which is more fun) or just because you need a break and a laugh. It's fast, easy to read and so worth it.
When I was trying to think of a menu to go with Yes Please I decided a late night food menu would be the best. Amy basically doesn't sleep and works many many late nights in her comedy career so what better to fuel book club than late night food!? Hope you enjoy!
AMAZON: Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central's Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy's one-liners?
MENU: Late Night Eats
Ice Cream Sandwiches
from Two Peas and Their Pod