Oh boy. When I checked my Goodreads page to see what I read in the last eight weeks and wanted to write about, I was sad to see that the pickin’ is slim. Ouch. It is a proven fact that I read less in the summer: there’s jam to be made, sun to be basked in (kind of, this year, but the temperatures have stayed over 70 all week!) and my annual week in Maine to be enjoyed. I remember years ago taking four or five books with me to Maine and finishing most of them– when did I have time to read? Now I barely crack them open outside of the airport. I don’t mind one bit. There are family members to talk, swim and paddleboat with; dogs to wander the camp road with; lobster to be eaten; and card games and Scrabble to be played.
So, here are my meager offerings… but there’s some good news. Though there may not be many books for me to share, the June/July crop is a good one. If you’ve read any of them, please comment with your own thoughts. Happy reading!
Food in Jars by Marisa McLellan. A must-own cookbook for anyone planning to make jam, pickles or other jarred goods, chock-full of recipes that are mouth-watering and easy to follow. Don’t think this is just a basic how-to; I read through each recipe like a bedtime story and would have an easier time naming the recipes I don’t plan to make. Even the size of this book is pleasing. I was lucky to attend a reading/cooking demo at Book Larder in May to hear Marisa talk about her process and recipes and will treasure my book and the note she wrote to me.
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I can’t lie: I totally blew this novel off for the longest time, finally reading it only because it was the June selection for my book group. The cover is boring and the synopsis sounded terribly depressing. Though there was a fair amount of frustration and sadness generated by the main character and plot, it’s an intriguing read and I am glad I stuck with it. There really is a language of flowers, with each blossom symbolizing a different sentiment, and that part of the story was fascinating. Beware handing someone a thistle…
The Listeners by Leni Zumas. I didn’t set out to read only angsty, heart-wrenching books this summer, I promise, but this is another heavy story made tolerable by the pure emotion Zumas brings to her writing. Incredible. There’s so much love and hope to get you through the unbearably sad sections of the story. Hug your sister after you read this, and your parents for good measure.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. The perfect follow-up to the last two books I talked about, Bernadette is a quirky, fresh novel set in the eyebrow-raising world of helicopter parents in Seattle. It was especially fun to recognize some of the cleverly-veiled references to places (and people!) I know around the city. A quick and fun, but not purely fluffy, read that will make you wish there was a sequel handy; look for it in bookstores on August 14th.
An honorable mention listing goes to The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz; I am not quite ready to talk about it because I am still absorbing all the goodness. It is wonderful. I want to ferment everything! Stay tuned for more detailed information about this useful, will-be-tattered resource that’s the newest addition to my kitchen library.