I meant to post this list about two months ago, when summer turned into autumn. The leaves were beautiful, the weather mild and the only thing to complain about was the dwindling daylight… but now… it is straight up winter. And I’m deep in the holiday season. As a matter of fact, I just finished making a batch of toffee to send out to family. But before all this Christmas bustle began, I read my way through the autumn. I do most of my reading during my commute. I ride the bus to and from work, so rather than appearing as a target for the crazy people, I bury my face in a book. I’ll even put headphones on to give the APPEARANCE that I am listening to music, even though nothing is playing. Don’t judge.
Here is what I’ve been reading:
1) The Elegance of Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. I just started this one. For the second time. I’m not sure why I gave up on it previously. It is set in Paris, that is why I’m reading it. I love Paris and I need a little armchair travel. Plus, it has gotten some great reviews, so I’ll see if i can make it through this time. It is about the eccentric people (and children) who live in a high-end apartment building in Paris.
2) The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi W. Durrow. This one is set in Portland! It’s about a half black, half danish girl sent to Portland to live with her grandmother after a family tragedy. It’s about growing up, race, and recovery. It’s very well written and fun to imagine as the action takes place in Laurelhurst Park, Oaks Park, and Pioneer Courthouse Square to name a few.
3) The Twelve by Justin Cronin. This is my favorite genre of fiction, post-apocalypse. It is the second book in a trilogy and I’ve been waiting for two years for it to come out. The first book is an 800 page tome called The Passage. It is basically a story about the people who have survived a disease that turns people into Vampires. Not Twilight vampires. More aggressive, less human vampires. I think people who enjoy the Walking Dead will love this series. I plowed through The Twelve in only a week.
4) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. How could I have forgotten this book from my photos?!?! This is one of the best page-turners I’ve read in a long time. It is a mystery book about the disappearance of a woman. Her husband quickly becomes the prime suspect, both in the eyes of the law and the media. As someone who works in the media, I found it to be an interesting look into the psychology of the husband. How should you act if your wife disappears? Is there any way you WON’T attract suspicion? At the end of each chapter, I changed my mind on whether or not he killed her.
5) The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. The Smitten Kitchen is one of the most popular food blogs on the Internet. I’ve been reading and cooking from it for years… and the cookbook does not disappoint. For the most part, this is food you can REASONABLY cook for dinner after work. Plus there’s a substantial dessert section. I just finished a mind-blowing batch of her Apple Cider Caramels.
6) Stash Happy: Felt by Amanda Carestio. My guilty pleasure is craft books. I haven’t made anything from this one YET, but I will. I have a huge stash of felt and I’m ready to use it. There is a pin cushion, sewing machine cozy and some baby booties I want to try.
7) Sweet Confections: Beautiful Candy To Make At Home by Nina Wanat. As I mentioned before, I’m making a lot of candy right now (it’s a little Christmas tradition my husband I have started) and this book is pure inspiration. To be honest, I’m a little hesitant to recommend the recipes. (I’m going to get a little candy nerdy for a second, hold on to your hat.) Their recipe for toffee has you cook the sugar all the way to 300 degrees, this is well into the hard crack stage! In my opinion, toffee should only be soft crack, which is around 280 degrees. Ok, I’m done. But the photos and ideas in the book are great. There is a recipe for Pumpkin Caramels that I might try.
8) Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. In between all these other books, I read my first e-book (or is is iBook?) on my iPhone. It was a free download and I have to say I enjoyed reading it on the phone. I still prefer paper books, but there is a time and a place for everything. The “Number 12” bus may be the place for iBooks. As for the story… it was excellent! I have always loved pirates and this book is where it all started. It appears that pretty much all the pirate lore we have today, is from Treasure Island. It was exciting, a little scary and funny at times. Yo hoho and a bottle of rum!
So what’s on my winter list?
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker, and The Dog Stars by Peter Heller are on my list… that is, if I ever make it through The Elegance of Hedgehog.