Cooking, Reading

The It’s-Not-a-Book-Report Report

11 Mar , 2018  

These are the books I’ve read or bought since I wrote “Curing the Reading Drought.” The cookbooks, Roger Ebert’s The Pot and How to Use it, and The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann will require a bit of creative adaptation; they have, in fact, inspired me to begin work, with a friend, on a cookbook of our own. You see, all these cookbooks imply that none of their recipes will work with the type of rice cooker I own, but I have come to believe that’s not entirely true – and that mine may be better suited to some things that seem to go overlooked in all the other rice-cooker cookbooks out there.

Still, there are a few kinks to be worked out; I baked a cake in my rice cooker, yesterday, and the outside had to be garroted off with a fine bit of string. The inside, though, was springy and moist.

Glancing around at the two (differently sized) rice cookers I got for my birthday, and small stack of rice cooker cookbooks and various ingredients clearly intended as “experiments,” my husband asked if I’d joined a new religion. More like Cult of the Rice-Cooker, I conceded.

One-Pot Adas Polo

One-Pot Adas Polo

He may be onto something.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying young adult fiction more than I have grown-up adult fiction. But after finishing the trilogy of Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Unravel Me, and Unite Me, I dove into Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists. This fascinating novel, peopled with somewhat aloof but rather quirky characters that are hard not to like, made me ponder questions about life, about fear and fearlessness, and about how knowing – or thinking that we know – something can affect how we live our lives. What would you do if a mysterious fortune teller foretold the exact date of your death when you were just an impressionable child? Would it free you to live out your dreams while you may, or would it paralyze you with fear? What emotions would run through you as the date you were given came inexorably nearer? How would it affect your relationships? Would you tell anyone, or would you keep it a closely guarded secret? Which would bother you more – to believe that your life would be all too brief, or all too long? The Immortalists is an intriguing examination of all these questions, as played out by four adult siblings who, as children, went to see a fortune-teller reputed to have an uncanny knack for knowing when a person would die. Did the woman really have any mysterious powers at all? Or was the seed of an idea planted in a young mind enough? It is an excellent, engrossing book; I highly recommend it.

I pre-ordered Pacifica, by Kristen Simmons, on a whim, as I did Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours. Both will have to wait, as my daughter sent me Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, by Cheryl Strayed, for my birthday. Recommendations from loved ones who know me well have a way of rising to the top of the TBR pile, just like cream. Or creamy, chocolate truffles.

Holly Jahangiri

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; and A New Leaf for Lyle. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young at heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.

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