Tag Archives: Nonfiction

The Sunday Salon: Three from ’93

The Sunday Salon.comWith a busy work week spent reading (and editing) all day, every day, I didn’t read much besides blogs in the evenings. But during this three-day weekend, I finished So Far from God by Ana Castillo and began The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood. Both were originally published in 1993, I noticed today.

I loved the first half of So Far From God, but I found the latter part of the book disjointed and even didactic. Being a fan of magical realism, I loved Caridad’s story. Loca was a stretch for me, however. Sofi came to life as an interesting character for awhile, but ultimately fell flat.

I’m about halfway through the audio version of Three Cups of Tea, and I hope it remains as absorbing and entertaining as it’s been so far. When I first began listening to audiobooks, I planned on nonfiction only – travel, food, and the like. But I’ve since enjoyed many works of fiction while driving, so I suppose I’ll continue to mix it up. Greg Mortenson’s quest to build schools in Pakistan began when he stumbled into a small village in – yep, 1993 – although his story wasn’t published until 2006.

The Robber Bride is the third of Atwood’s books I’ve read. I found it during lunch one day at a used bookstore, shortly after reading Caribou’s Mom review (link to Wendy’s site on the right). I’m wondering if Zenia will turn out to be anything like Zozie in JoAnne Harris’s The Girl with No Shadow – one of my favorite literary villains!

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Filed under audiobooks, Latin American authors

It’s Tuesday. Where are you? (Dec. 16, 2008)

tuesdaywhereareyouI found a fun site that asks you to share where your reading is taking you today – have you met some interesting people?

This Tuesday, I am 26 years old and have moved back to my rich family’s home in Jackson, Mississippi. It’s 1966 – the Civil Rights era – and fueled by gin, I am working with a theater group that has begun to cast black people in plays. I’m finally making my break from the bourgeoisie. I’ve studied creative writing under Eudora Welty and am transforming from a bored housewife into a playwright. (Ellen Gilchrist, The Writing Life)

In my car, I’m in 16th-century Chile with Doña Inés Suárez and Don Pedro de Valdivia, helping conquer a country by subjecting its indigeneous peoples to unimaginable violence and atrocities. But with care and compassion – in a healing, loving way, of course. (audiobook of Inés of My Soul by Isabel Allende)

Where are you and what are you up to in your reading?

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Challenge Number 2: Well-Seasoned Reader

Beth was right. I’m entering another challenge, this one from Book Nut:

well-seasoned-readerHere’s how it works:

Rule #1: The challenge runs from January 1 to March 31. (No cheating and starting before!)

Rule #2: You must read three books. After that, it’s up to you how much you want to read.

Rule #3: The books must:

have a food name in the title
OR
be about cooking/eating
OR
have a place name in the title
OR
be about one (or more) person’s travel experience
OR
be about a specific culture
OR
be by an author whose ethnicity is other than your own (see, I squeezed it in!)

I’ll leave it up to you to choose how the three books you read fit the criteria.

Rule #4: They must be middle-grade on up, but can be either fiction or non-fiction.

The purpose, this winter, is to take yourself someplace out of the ordinary, to go on a literary trip, whether that be challenging your expectations, discovering a new place, or enjoying the experience of reading about good food, places, and people.

How can I resist? This challenge is way too tempting. My three books will most likely be:

Gabriella, Clove, and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado – This book has been in my TBR stack for a couple of years, ever since I read Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands by the same author. I included this book in my list of selections for the themed reading challenge. This one counts as having a food name in the title and is by a Brazilian author – far from my southern U.S. roots.

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister – I mentioned this book in my most recent Sunday Salon post. Due to be released January 22, this book fulfills the “be about cooking/eating” requirement. Not to mention that I can’t wait to read it.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time will likely be my third read. It’s already in my Top 10 TBR list, and reading it will give me my dose of non-fiction this winter. Oh, and it sort of has a food name in the title and definitely is about a specific culture.

Stay tuned – there’s one more challenge I plan to enter. That should be enough for my first full year of book blogging. Then again…

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Sunday Salon: A Few New Finds

brrrWe’ve been experiencing an exceptionally chilly November for our area over the past week. Usually I read for an hour at least before bedtime. But last week, after snuggling under the down comforter, I was unable to read more than a few pages before growing sleepy…verrryy sleepy. The fact that I’ve been so busy at work didn’t help.

I did finally finish The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters, and I think I’ll review it later this week. Now I’m digging into The Heretic’s Daughter, historical fiction about the Salem witch trials written by a direct descendent of one of the victims.

A couple of nonfiction titles drew my attention this week. The Flavor Bible, written by husband-and-wife team Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, promises to show readers how to intuitively combine flavors and creatively use herbs, spices, and other seasonings to enliven their cooking.

Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory, by humorist Roy J. Blount, Jr. (of NPR’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me), sounds like a laugh-out-loud way to learn more about usage and the English language.

Another foodie book to be released in January, this one a novel, also sounds intriquing. The School of Essential Ingredients is described as “reminiscent of Chocolat and Like Water for Chocolate, a gorgeously written novel about life, love, and the magic of food.” Can’t wait to read this one.

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Filed under book chat, food, historical fiction, Latin American authors, Nonfiction, The Sunday Salon

A Girl Named Zippy

Who: Haven Kimmel

Why: A clever, amusing, engaging memoir of growing up in the Midwest. I listened to the audiobook version, although I also own the book. Kimmel has a new book out, Iodine,  that I intend to read, along with her two other novels, She Got Up Off the Couch and Something Rising (Light and Swift) . She now lives in Durham, NC, and is a graduate of the creative writing program at N.C. State University, also my alma mater and where I now work. But I would love this book regardless of any local ties, because it’s a happy, lovely memoir.

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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (audiobook)

Who: Barbara Kingsolver
When
: In winter, so you can begin preparing to eat locally
Why: It’s informative and equally entertaining. This audiobook changed the way I shop and eat. You’ll learn why it’s environmentally important to search for local growers. In retrospect, I wish I’d purchased the book for reference. The meal plans sound yummy!

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