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Two great reads

April 16, 2009
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I’ve just read two books I had to share here.  They are like night and day, but I liked them both.  If you’re looking for a good read, you can check them out.  And if you read them, I hope you come back so we can chat.

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister might appeal to all you foodies out there. This is a lovely book where people from various walks of life meet in a once-a-month cooking class.  They all bring their own pasts and baggage, but the friendships that they form are meant to outlast the cooking class.  And, oh, I would love to take Lillian’s cooking class.  I want Lillian to be my friend.  What’s stayed with me the most is thinking about time while I bake.  It took time for that tree to grow and for that fruit to ripen or for that cow to grow and produce milk to be made into butter, so why am I trying to rush through the baking experience?  I’m trying to slow down while I bake and enjoy the process more.  It’s been really nice.  Oops.  Did I just get hokey?

When the Elephants Dance is an amazing book.  It’s so well-written and the author seamlessly moves from one narrator to another and from one time period to another.  This was her first novel and it’s GOOD.  You can check out an interview with Tess Uriza Holthe here, where you can read more about the book too.

This novel is set in the Phillipines at the end of WWII, during the last week of Japanese occupation.  We meet one family and their friends – all of whom are hiding from the Japanese in the basement of the family home.  There are unflinching looks at war, mixed with the legends and myths of the Filipino people.  It is superb storytelling.  I finished it and just sat back and thought, “Wow.”  I love when an author gets under my skin like that.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. sumshay permalink
    April 17, 2009 2:25 pm

    Funny, I requested When The Elephants Dance from PBS just last week (of course, it still hasn’t arrived). And I even thought that I hope it is good so I could finally recommend something to you.
    How do seem to always find and read them before I get a chance?!

    Well, at least I can say “great minds think (and read) alike.”

  2. April 17, 2009 3:54 pm

    I am always looking for good books and these sound great. I am currently reading The Sharper Your Knife the Less you Cry, but once I finish that I think I’ll be picking up The School of Essential Ingredients. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

  3. April 17, 2009 4:34 pm

    Oh, The School of Essential Ingredients sounds like a wonderful read! I am going to look for it this weekend. Thanks for the review and recommendation!

  4. April 17, 2009 4:39 pm

    I’m “supposed” to be reading a book (Bliss) with my friend. It’s been about THREE weeks since we “started”. I love her but it’s not going to work. She reads sporadically and I read everyday. I’ve had to not read the book & it’s starting to get good. I guess I’m going to have to tell her that we can’t be reading buddies. :(

    Thanks for two more suggestions. As I break it off with her & finish up Bliss I’ll be back to pick one of your suggestions.
    ~ingrid

  5. April 17, 2009 6:53 pm

    Adding Elephants to my wish list (this is what Shelfari can be useful for–I finally have somewhere I can keep track of books I want to buy & read)
    I might try to get it next week, sounds so good!

  6. oneordinaryday permalink
    May 1, 2009 8:58 pm

    I really hope you all stop back after you’re done reading…

    – Shell

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