book

1) Sacre Cordon Bleu-What the French know about cooking by Michael Booth

Gloriously entertaining tale about how travel writer/journalist Michael Booth fulfils his “ultimate foodie fantasy” by enrolling at Le Cordon Bleu, “whose wise and cranky French chefs begin to transform him into a professional, tutoring him in the fascinating, bizarre and occasionally arcane ways of classical French cooking. Meanwhile, he and his family try to adjust to the challenges of life in Paris: dealing with the Park Nazis, sweet-talking the Metro police and trying not to look when the neighbours start having sex out of their window”.

The book also includes a few recipes (that I’m hoping to try, even though my minimal knowledge of French food has been gathered through reading, and not actual tasting or cooking). I found myself chuckling (quietly) as I flipped the pages… Thought of including an excerpt here (I love British wit) but I’m so spoilt for choice I don’t know which to quote! Seriously thinking of buying this book (the one I’m reading is from the library). Seriously, I love the local libraries.

(I have seriously used too many parantheses.)

2) The Uncommon Reader, by Alan Bennett

From the back cover:
“Led by her yapping corgis to the Westminster travelling library outside Buckingham Palace, the Queen finds herself taking out a novel by Ivy Compton-Burnett. Duff read though it is, the following week her choice proves more enjoyable and awakens in Her Majesty a passion for reading so great that her public duties begin to suffer. And so, as she devours work by everyone from Hardy to Brookner to Proust to Beckett, her equerries conspire to bring the Queen’s literary odyssey to a close.”

Wickedly funny and concise writing. I love this! Reminds me of Literature class.

3) Everything She Thought She Wanted by Elizabeth Buchan

Very forgettable and draggy.. I was struggling to get to the end. The story develops in the lives of two women, ” one a career-driven late-20th-century professional and the other a 1950s housewife”. The former doesn’t want kids, much to the disappointment of her husband, which leads to tension in the relationship, particularly as her career as a fashion consultant is taking off brilliantly. The latter gets involved with a young student, leading to various complications.

4) Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler

A compilation of essays by various writers, about the pleasure/challenge of eating alone. Some are brilliant, some a little disappointing, but overall an interesting read that I don’t regret.

“I have friends who begin with pasta, and friends who begin with rice, but whenever I fall in love, I begin with potatoes.. I have made a lot of mistakes falling in love, and regretted most of them, but never the potatoes that went with them.”
from Nora Ephron‘s “Potatoes and Love: Some Reflections”

5) Shopgirl by Steve Martin

I missed the 2005 film adaptation, so I can’t compare the two, but I quite enjoyed this story about Mirabelle Buttersfield, an evening glove salesgirl at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills. Two men figure romantically in her life: a middle-aged, womanizing Seattle millionaire and a socially inept and unambitious slacker. Does it make sense if I say the book is both light and dark, heavy yet light?

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I know I should spend my free time on studying Japanese, but I can’t seem to stop reading.

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