I've already shared on this blog my personal reading challenge this year--to read books from my library of unread books with the caveat that I can also read books that others might loan me, or books I download to my Kindle since I need mobile reading material available at all times for those stuck- in-waiting-room situations (or that's my justification). So far I've resisted the temptation to purchase new books. It's interesting to me that I can participate in the reading challenges I've seen so far by just going to my library shelves and selecting a book that I've been meaning to read.
Last summer I challenged myself to read books from my library shelves about Africa, though I didn't call it a Reading Challenge. I ended up reading six books. but I still have others waiting to be read. In Louisiana last summer we were suffering a drought with weeks of high temperatures over 100 degrees, and reading about Africa put things in perspective for me.
This year I'm already participating in the "Once Upon a Time" reading challenge as I've posted about earlier. I've covered fantasy and fairy tales so far, and I'm slowly reading a series of "short stories" that are retelling of myths. I'm not sure if I have an unread book that fits the folklore category or not, but there are many other options in this flexible challenge, The Once Upon a Time Challenge.
I recently was introduced to new blog, http://joyfullyretired.com/ that sponsors a "Foodie" reading challenge.
A food book for this challenge is defined as a book that is centered around food and/or drinks. It can be a cookbook, a food biography or memoir, a non-fiction about a specific food, wine, chef or restaurant, or a work of fiction in which food plays a major role. There are different levels according to the number of books you plan to read. I've selected the level, Pastry Chef, which means I intend to read between 4 and 8 books. I picked this level because it seems doable, yet challenging, and besides I love desserts! I'm drawn to books about food and probably own a dozen I haven't yet read, so this challenge is perfect for me. One of my favorite boards on Pinterest is my "Come and Get It" food board though I do more looking than cooking!
The food books from my library shelves that I plan to read include:
1. Murder Most Frothy, by Cleo Coyle, a mystery centered around the culture of coffee consumption
2. Heat, by Bill Buford, a non-fiction work about employment in restaurant kitchens
3. Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table, by Ruth Reichl, a memoir
4. An Unthymely Death, by Susan Wittig Albert, a collection of stories, herbal lore, recipes, crafts
5. In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, by Michael Pollan, his manifesto about food choices
6. Gumbo Tales: Finding My Place at the New Orleans Table, by Sara Roahen, before- and-after Katrina look at New Orleans eateries
7. A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table, by Molly Wizenberg, a collection of personal essays
8. Larissa's Breadbook: Baking Bread & Telling Tales with Women of the American South, by Lorraine Johnson-Coleman, a fictional depiction of some southern woman's lives told through their bread recipes
I've completed my first book in this challenge and it's a murder mystery--the fourth book in Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse Mystery series, Murder Most Frothy. I've read most of this series but somehow missed this particular book, published in 2006 by Berkley Prime Crime Books, so I downloaded the book to my Kindle.
Murder Most Frothy seems apropos for the first book in my Foodies Read 2 Reading Challenge. The mystery is full of food facts--I learned there are over 40 different names to represent MSG on food labels, making it difficult to identify. Detailed information is also provided about coffee--a good coffee blend has three elements: acidity, aroma and body; and coffee is good to use in meat dishes as a flavoring agent, tenderizer or marinade. Here in Louisiana my husband and I are partial to Community Coffee New Orleans blend, but a single cup in the morning is usually my limit. If I drank as much coffee as Clare Cosi does, I might chase murderers, too, because I certainly wouldn't be able to sit still.
Now I've got to abandon the reading life for a few hours and go dig in the dirt. We are trying to make the cottage patio bloom for summer!