Foodies Read Challenge – Wrap-up


Despite being focused on food, the Foodies Read Challenge provided quite a bit of diversity. I read books that included cannibalism, a book that was a thinly disguised memoir, and stories that hinged around death. Some of these books made me hungry. Others, not at all (pickled wolf’s heart anyone?). Continue reading

What’s in a Name Challenge Wrap-up


It’s that time of year when the reading challenge wrap-up posts begin. I’m starting with the What’s in a Name challenge.

The challenge was simple – read one book that fits each of the six ‘categories’ – Continue reading

‘The Cookbook Collector’ by Allegra Goodman

Despite the somewhat whimsical title, The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman is anything but. Instead, it’s a finely wrought, detail-rich story about start-ups, relationships and a collection of old and rare cookbooks.

The blurb reads:

“Two sisters, opposite in every way: twenty-eight-year-old Emily is a CFO of an internet start-up, twenty-three-year-old Jess is a graduate student in philosophy. Pragmatic Emily is making a fortune in Silicon Valley, romantic Jess works in an antiquarian bookstore. Emily’s boyfriend is fantastically successful. Jess’s boyfriend is an environmental activist. But the dot-com bubble must burst, while Jess’s work on a cache of rare cookbooks uncovers strange erotic drawings and marginalia that bring her closer to their mysterious collector… Rich in ideas and characters, The Cookbook Collector is a novel of substitutions: reading cookbooks instead of cooking, speculating instead of creating, collecting instead of living. But above all it is about holding on to what is real in a virtual world: love that lasts.”

This surprising book had been sitting in my TBR stack for quite some time – I had dismissed it as ‘middle-aged-chick-lit’ (mum-lit?) and was waiting for the right time to tackle it – it’s quite hefty at 417 pages. What I didn’t expect was a Franzen-esque style story  – beautifully detailed characters, complex histories (but carefully incorporated into the story at appropriate times) and multi-layered plot lines. Goodman probably HATES the Franzen comparison but since finishing this book I have also read lots of reviews that draw Jane Austen comparisons. Continue reading