I wish I can read all day.

1) the bright forever, Lee Martin
Haunting story about a nine year-old girl who goes missing, told non-chronologically through different narrative voices, including the voices of the brother, the tutor, some neighbours and at times, the omnipotent narrator.

2) 100 food experiences to have before you die, Stephen Downes
Gave up when I was barely one-third through. I love reading about food, but this is devoid of everything that makes food writing delectable. The writing’s dry, the tone self-absorbed, and the choices heavily¬†slanted towards Australian food.

3) In Bad Taste? The Adventures and Science Behind Food Delicacies, Dr. Massimo Francesco Marcone
Incredibly fascinating! The writer, a food scientist, travels to far-flung places to investigate the production processes of highly-valued delicacies such as bird’s nest, kopi luwak (coffee brewed from beans that are found in the faeces of the civet cats) and argan oil (pressed from argan nuts that have been passed out by goats). He puts himself in dangerous situations to get a first-hand experience of these processes, and brings samples back to the lab to test the claims that these delicacies are superior to their counterparts. Although the writing reminds me of school essays (albeit well-written ones), the subject matter kept me hooked.

“I fully realize that most people would find it strange to voluntarily consume something that had passed through an animal’s GI tract and excreted from its anus. Kopi Luwak and argan oil are just two such products. While many might find these foods repulsive and disgusting, however, I dare say most people would not give the matter a second thought if they were unaware of the food’s origins. After all, people don’t get squeamish about consuming honey… I wonder whether most people realize that after the bee ingests the nectar, it goes to the ‘honey stomach’, where it mixes with bodily secretions (enzymes) to get the chemical process started. It is finally regurgitated or ‘thrown up’ in the hive where it continues to be transformed into what we know and enjoy as honey. Yummmmmm!

Kopi Luwak coffee and argan oil come out the back end of the animal while honey comes out the front end. So what’s the big difference? You tell me!”