Hello again!

I’ve hit a reading patch where either I read slowly or instead read the first half of a book quickly and then get distracted by something new so I never finish the first book. But nevertheless, I have been reading some good stuff I want to mention.

Heat by Bill Buford is part a story about working for Mario Batali as a middle-aged writer for the New Yorker and part history of Italian cooking over the centuries. Since Buford spent over a year (or maybe even over two years) working for Batali and traveling to Italy to learn more, this book is chock full of details. I’m a sucker for long digressions in very thoroughly researched books. And I’m an even bigger sucker for books/documentaries/shows about chefs at work. It seems like such a high-pressure existence, and it’s such a contrast from cooking shows, which make it look so easy. Since Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential I love to dip into chef books.

Moving from obsessive chefs I tried a book by obsessive politicians, Jennifer Close’s The Hopefuls. The narrator is Beth, a writer married to a man who moves from the Obama campaign to DC to Texas to work on a statewide race advising a friend. It was a quick read with plenty of political and personal drama, and I liked it quite a bit more than Close’s debut Girls in Pretty White Dresses. This may have been my attempt to debrief after my husband’s primary race for a state house seat, which was a much smaller district than any of the campaigns in The Hopefuls. Anyway, I liked it a great deal.

Next, I read the first entry in Denise Mina’s Paddy Meehan series, Field of Blood, and plot-wise I was a little underwhelmed, but character-wise I was hooked. I hope the first book felt a little slow for me because Mina was setting the groundwork for more recurring characters.

Finally, the book I keep abandoning after 100 pages is Anthony Trollope’s Framley Parsonage. My first attempt faltered when I felt like I didn’t have enough context to read an edition without an introduction or footnotes, and my second attempt faltered when I got bogged down in politics. Now that campaign season is over, I’ll try it again.

Hope you are finding good reads during the last few weeks of the summer. I just started Margaret Millar’s Banshee, and I’m hoping I like it as much as her earlier stuff.

4 thoughts on “Hello again!

  1. I hope you’ll like the Millar, too, Rebecca. And I really hope you’ll like the Paddy Meehan series. I think Mina is such a gifted writer; she does create memorable characters, doesn’t she?

  2. Sounds like a lot has been going on in your life to distract you from reading. The book by Buford sounds good. I have Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential and have not read it yet. I think I would enjoy it, I am just not motivated to read non-fiction very often.

    I want to read Field of Blood, I have read Garnethill and liked it a lot.

    • Hi Tracy- I got into nonfiction because I was reading in short bursts. Let me know if you like the Bourdain! I just picked up the sequel to Garnethill because I didn’t really love Banshee, one of the latest Millar books.

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