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Weekly Reads: Week 49

With my holiday shopping complete, I finally have time to read again! Between shopping, crafting and book swapping – I haven’t read very much at all. I started reading Heartless, but barely made it 30 pages in before I realized Moonglow by Michael Chabon was due back to the library in a few days! But, after a lot of force-reading, sadly, Moonglow was not for me – my first break-up in over a month. Perhaps I’d enjoy the novel more later, the characters are entirely unique and the jumbled plot a brave effort into capturing the prevailing spirit of the writer’s ailing grandfather.

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Froelich’s Ladder by Jamie Duclos-Yourdon

Besotted by a decades old grudge against his brother, Froelich has permanently perched himself atop a giant ladder held up by his nephew, until the day he’s mysteriously discovered missing. His second nephew takes on the search, seeking his uncle high and low, encountering Confederate assassins, a general store tycoon, and a cantankerous girl out looking for trouble. A “fairytale twist on the American dream”, Froelich’s Ladder explores the difficulty in remaining loyal while seeking our own ambitions.

“Indeed, when a person spent all his days on a ladder, what did he covet above all else? The chance to lie down, of course.”

I received a copy of Froelich’s Ladder from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. Immediately starting the novel, I was dazzled by the author’s wry wit, quirky characters, and sense of place. From the magical mysticism of the forest to the dangerous grit of the Wild West to the unsettling winds of the American coast, the novel is very much a tall tale of epic proportions with an equally strange and telling message. Many of the characters are faced with the difficult decision of either leaving home or facing an unhappy, ordinary life at home fulfilling the needs of others – while the answer is simple, the follow-through proves more difficult. With an underlying theme of alienation, the characters find their solution in friendship, finding they can pursue their ambitions and still remain loyal, only now, on their own terms.

Rating: 4 Stars        Goodreads

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The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook by Natalie Eve Garrett

An illustrated collection of personal, food-related stories and recipes shared by 76 beloved artists and writers from today, including authors Anthony Doerr, Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Curtis Sittenfield and even James Franco. From intimate narratives to foodesque fairy tales, The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook will surely make a unique Christmas gift for any reader on your list!

“The more I read, the more the connection between art, writing and cooking made sense: ideally all three are about something new. They all require some measure of vision, revision, faith, and magic, not to mention a high tolerance for disaster. All three also engage the senses, surprise and sustain us, and can be evocative. And, at their best, they can even be transformative.”

While I didn’t necessarily add any new recipes to my collection, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. What is a cookbook but a personal collection of stories – a family recipe handed down for generations made time and time again with your Grandma at Christmas, the dish you made to impress a new love, a college staple that leaves you wondering… why did I ever eat that! Every recipe has a story, and this delightful collection is no less. From Neil Gaiman’s eerie rendition of the omelet to Francesca Lia Block’s recipe for love, there’s no stone unturned in this comedic, heart-warming, and very personal collection of essays.

Rating: 4 Stars       Goodreads

What have you read lately?

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