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At the beginning of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, the narrator, nearly nine year old Rose, recounts a moment she once had with her mother. From page 23-4:

I love everything, she told me when I was still little enough to sit high on her hip. I don’t know what I like! she said brightly, kissing me on the nose. You’re so cute! she said. So cute! You! You!

I sort of want to do that with this book–gather it up and exclaim, “You! You!”

This is a novel that skews surreal–Rose can taste people’s feelings in the food they cook–yet remains entirely grounded in very human relationships and emotions. Read the rest of this entry »

As I wrote yesterday’s post, it occurred to me that this blog turned two years old this week. It’s been another great year of reading and writing about reading. To celebrate, please leave a comment about the best book you read in the past year!

I don’t know if this really counts, since I read it before this year, too, but I have to give my vote to The¬†Boys of My Youth by Jo Ann Beard. I was re-reading a passage from it yesterday and the returns never diminish. Currently, I’m in the middle of Amy Bender’s The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake–it’s already a front runner for next year’s favorite.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

I generally want to punch people in the face when they say “I don’t read fiction.” Oh thanks–people like you are why I have no hope of ever making a successful life for myself doing what I love. I’m glad you’re fine admitting that.

And yet…I probably deserve my own slap on the wrist because I rarely read nonfiction. When there is so much fiction out there, it’s hard for me to consciously make the call to pick up nonfiction instead. But, recently, I found Ruth Reichl’s memoir, Tender at the Bone, on my bookshelf and thought that it might make a great summer read. The thing about nonfiction is that, since I don’t write it, I can enjoy it in a more unadulterated way. I’m not so much looking to learn from it, which is funny because that’s sort of the opposite of why other people might read it.

When I accidentally left Tender at the Bone at work, Lindsay lent me Sloane Crosley’s book of essays, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, for the subway ride home from her place. I never would have bought this book because my petty, catty side wants to hate Sloane Crosley–my age, cute, tons of media attention, two bestsellers, etc.–but of course I was curious.

In the end, I enjoyed both books. I flew through them, polishing off Ms. Crosley’s over a couple of subway rides and early morning cups of coffee, and Ms. Reichl’s on the beach. I’ll give you two guesses which one I liked more, though. Read the rest of this entry »