summer reading

i've recently rediscovered my local public libraries. i got a card awhile ago while studying for a certain standardized test in order to borrow some vocabulary CDs. i thought i would kill two birds with one stone--learn something and stay awake on the way to work. yeah, they didn't quite keep me awake. i did learn some words, but they are already long-forgotten.

anyway, here's my rundown of what i've read so far this summer. not reviews proper at all as after taking in all those words, i'm too exhausted (in a good way) to spit too many more out.

my sister's keeper, jodi picoult. finally. i know. but hey, i so don't keep up with bestsellers or current fiction usually unless i'm on a plane, so you're lucky i read this one. very good. makes you see such a difficult situation through each character's eyes pretty well. didn't cry as much as i was told i would, but was pretty consumed and emotionally disturbed by it. maybe it's all those korean dramas i watched growing up--i somehow predicted the melodramatic twist a couple of chapters ahead. definitely a page-turner and quick + interesting read. i read it in about a day as i am a crazy page gobbler.

julie & julia, julie powell. based on a blog that got the writer a book deal. read kind of like a blog. i prefer my real books not to read like blogs. a little too blog-like for a book without all the immediacy of a blog. honestly, while the premise was interesting, it fell a little flat. however, it was a quick, easy breezy read. i did appreciate and feel for the author as i'm in a similar life stage right now, but it didn't resonate as deeply as some other quarter-life, almost-30-crisising i've read by others.

kitchen confidential, anthony bourdain. loved this one. love his tone, sarcasm, and sense of humor. he's so bad, but i can't hate him. he's got that rascally charm that makes girls love bad boys. ok, so this one reads like a blog in that the voice is very personal, it's filled with colorful expletives and au courant slang, and there isn't much flow (each chapter is like a new blog entry...topically unified within, but not necessarily relating to the chapter that came before or after). ok, so maybe i don't mind my real books reading like blogs if they're this funny. i seriously LOL'ed at some stuff in here, which i rarely do while reading. some critics have said he gives an inaccurate, exaggeratedly depraved view of the pro cooking world, but even this outsider's sources have confirmed that it is fairly accurate of many if not most kitchens. my sources: the former executive chef of wegman's markets in a presentation he did to my "careers in nutrition" random college elective class (he was intent on warning all of us away and talking about how it had made him an alcoholic and had torn his family apart) and the chef de cuisine of a well-regarded LA restaurant who used to play basketball with the bear and still plays with ex-househusband.

my life in france, julia child with alex prud'homme. my favorite so far. i have been a julia child fan ever since we watched a few of her original the french chef shows in my high school french class. you can totally hear her distinct, screechy voice come through in the storytelling. love the overall life messages given along with the anecdotes from her life in france, finally finding her calling there at the age of thirty-seven, and memoir of her career afterward. even if they're a bit trite, they are palpably sincere and get even this jaded potato right there. she (and alex prud'homme) reinforced timeless lessons i've lately been learning about what's truly important in life, failure, and about the importance of process and completely experiencing something whether good or bad. again, i read this over a week but in just a couple of long, gorging sittings.

obviously, my reading style is all about gorging then starving for a long while. when i taste it again, this method does make reading quite yummy. now it's onto a more "real" summer reading list with rather drier content, since i've eased my way in with the above.


  1. "Feed the bitch!" That's my favorite line from Bourdain's book. :)

  2. i didn't cry too much reading "my sister's keeper" either, but i was definitely disturbed as hell for days afterward.

    and it's even more thought-provoking when you have a 13-year-old at home.

  3. I love the library but it's not nearly as fantastic as the "kate and Des bookclub"

  4. I always hear about Jodi Picoult, but for some reason I've never read any of her books.

    Have you read The Omnivore's Dilemma?

  5. This former library employee hasn't set foot inside a library for YEARS :)

  6. i puffy <3 bourdain! cook's tour was good, but not nearly as funny at KC. however, nasty bits, even though it's mostly a compliation of other works he's written for magazines and such, is hilarious. jim kept asking what was so funny ;)

    if you like cooking blogs in real time, i highly recommend 'The French Laundry at Home' blog -- she is cooking her way the the French Laundry cookbook and she is hilarious and very brave.

  7. I have read nothing in entirety so far this summer. I just remembered that I was reading The Broker on the plane ride because you mentioned reading. Where is that book...?

  8. bourdain is a god. kitchen confidential is good, but i think nasty bits might be a tad better. highly recommended.


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