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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Take 10: Fiction for Foodies

Last night marked the end of another semester of warping the minds of-- oh wait, I mean teaching-- future readers advisors at Dominican as the students presented their final projects.  The bad news for me is that I will be frantically grading terms papers and presentations over the next 2 days.

But, the good news for you, the readers of this blog is that these students did a lot of great work and I will spend the next few days sharing it with all of you.

Back when I started RA for All in August of 2007, I was motivated by two factors. First, I wanted to way to promote the great work we Readers Advisors do to help readers each and every day.  But, second, I had been so impressed with the work my RA students were producing that I wanted a way to share it with the wider world.

Nights like last night, prove I have not wasted the last 4 years of my life.  We had so many interesting annotated reading lists and reading maps last night that I am excited, happy, and proud to share them with all of you.

Today I will begin with Brigitte's fabulous annotated list entitled "Fiction for Foodies."  Note that along with her excellent annotations which strike a balance between plot and appeal, she also includes 3 more readalike options for each title.  So you are really getting 40 suggestions in this list of 10 titles.  These titles also appeal to a wide range of readers, and include options in many genres.

Also, please note that any original lists by myself, my co-workers at the BPL or my students get the tag "Take Ten."  You can use this tag to access more great reading lists.  Look back here to RA for All for more in the coming days.

So here is Brigitte's "Fiction for Foodies" list:


Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin
This novel’s protagonist is Angel Tungaraza, a passionate baker living in an international apartment complex in post-genocide Rawanda. Her neighbors come to her for her wisdom, as well as her baked goods. This book may appeal to readers interested in baking, stories with strong female characters, or African Fiction.

Read-Alikes: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rawanda by Rosamond Halsey Carr
The Calligrapher’s Daughter: A Novel by Eugenia Kim


Crescent: a Novel by Diana Abu Jabar
Thirty-nine-year-old Sirene works as a chef in a Lebanese restaurant owned by her overprotective but loving family. Sirene leads a relatively sheltered existence, until she falls in love with one of her customers… a handsome professor of Arabic literature. He, in turn, falls in love with her cooking. This book may appeal to readers interested in stories about Middle Eastern cuisine, family-owned restaurants, or women in Arabic culture.

Read-Alikes: A Map of Home: A Novel by Randa Jarrar
Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea
The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf: A Novel by Mohja Kahf

Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery
On his death bed, French food critic Pierre Arthens tries to recall the one perfect flavor he tasted in his youth, a memory which he believes has influenced the course of his entire life. This book may appeal to readers interested in food critics and French cuisine, or stories about memories and dying wishes.

Read-Alikes: Food and Culture: A Reader by Carole Counihan
Remembrance of Repasts: Anthropology of Food and Memory by David E. Sutton
We Are What We Ate: 24 Memories of Food by Mark Winegardner

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
Because of her supernatural ability to taste the emotions of others in the foods they have cooked, Rose Edelstein gains unwanted insight into the secret feelings of those around her. As a result, she grows up to regard food as a curse and a burden. This book may appeal to readers who enjoy cooking and eating, or readers who enjoy books with a unique premise or gifted characters with special abilities, especially children.

Read-Alikes: The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To by DC Pierson
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran
Three sisters, Marjan, Layla and Bahar Aminpour, flee the Islamic Revolution in Iran and seek refuge in Ireland, where they open the exotic Babylon Café, drawing curiosity (and in some cases, trepidation) from the locals. This book may appeal to readers interested in the Islamic Revolution, immigration, cultural fusion, and the restaurant business.

Read-Alikes: Chocolat by Joanne Harris
The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

The Recipe Club: a Tale of Food and Friendship by Andrea Israel
Lilly and Val have been friends since childhood. They correspond through a series of letters, which include their favorite recipes. Following a long separation, Lilly and Val must decide whether their friendship is salvageable. This book may appeal to readers who enjoy cooking and recipe swaps, or to readers who enjoy books about women’s lives and relationships.

Read-Alikes: A Year on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball
Friendship Bread: A Novel by Darien Gee
The Owl & Moon Café by Jo-Ann Mapson

Roux Morgue by Claire Johnson
San Francisco pastry chef Mary Ryan is excited to begin her new job as an instructor at a prestigious culinary institute. Unfortunately, her first week is soured by the presence of homicide detective O'Connor, investigating a series of strange food-related deaths at the school. This book may appeal to
readers who enjoy books with culinary themes and chef protagonists, or readers who enjoy murder mysteries.

Read-Alikes: A Good Day to Pie by Carol Culver
Death by the Dozen by Jenna McKinlay
Tragic Toppings: A Donut Shop Mystery by Jessica Beck

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
Eight students gather in Lillian's Restaurant every Monday night for cooking class. Each character faces difficulties in his or her own personal life. Lillian teaches them to use cooking as a means of therapeutic escape. This book may appeal to readers with an interest in cooking and restaurant ownership, or readers who enjoy books with an emphasis on human relationships.

Read-Alikes: Georgia’s Kitchen by Jenny Nelson
How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O’Neil
The Love Goddess’ Cooking School by Melissa Senate

The Various Flavors of Coffee by Anthony Capella
In 1896 London, poet Robert Wallis accepts a commission from coffee merchant Samuel Pinker to categorize and describe coffee flavors. He falls in love in the process, with his lovely assistant… Pinker's daughter, Emily. This book will appeal to readers with an interest in coffee, 19th century London, poetry, and romance.

Read-Alikes: The Coffee Trader: A Novel by David Liss
The Devil’s Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee by Stewart Lee Allen
Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How it Changed Our World by Mark Pengergrast

White Truffles in Winter by N.M. Kelby
This is a historical novel based on the life of legendary French chef Auguste Escoffier. Escoffier was torn between love of his wife, poet Delphine Daffis, and his mistress, actress Sarah Bernhardt. The sensuality of food is discussed against a backdrop of romance. This book will appeal to readers with an interest in French chefs and French cuisine, historical fiction, intrigue and romance.

Read-Alikes: Escoffier: Le Guide Culinaire by Auguste Escoffier
The Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula McLain
Sarah: The Life of Sarah Bernhardt by Robert Gottlieb

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