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Friday, July 19, 2024 at 5:08 PM

What’s Cooking on Kelli’s Bookshelf

What’s Cooking on Kelli’s Bookshelf

Greetings friends - happy to see you a few pages earlier in this issue of The Fallon Post. 

Welcome to 2024! As you may be aware, my friend Allison and I share many of the same interests: a passion for the written word, showing love for others through home-cooked meals, and The Muppets. In this special cross-over episode, I asked Allison if we could swap articles so that I could recap a year of reading, and she would be obligated to share one of her family's treasured recipes. I'm not going to lie. I want the recipe.

Since 2014, I have logged the books I read as a part of the Goodreads Annual Reading Challenge. The challenge invites folks to set a reading goal for the year and track progress as they update their reading status. In 2023, I set a modest goal as I stepped away from leisure reading while I was completing my degree at WNC. I just barely eked it out with a whimsical novel, Nina George’s “The Little Village of Book Lovers.” Here are the books that I gave a five-star rating on Goodreads this year. All titles are available from the Churchill County Library or through an inter-library loan.

“The Lost Art of Mixing” - by Erica Bauermeister: This is a novel about food, community, and families built by choice. It plays out in a restaurant that is the embodiment of all that I ever dreamed of as a culinary professional. The story is touching, accessible, and beautifully written.

“No Two Persons” - by Erica Bauermeister: This novel is worthy of a five-star review. The publisher describes this book as “One book. Nine readers. Ten changed lives.” It is a book about a book, reflective of the reality that no two people experience a book in the same way.
“Other Birds” - by Sarah Addison Allen: This was the first of many of her books I read in 2023. I found so many beautiful sentences and ideas on these pages. My favorite: “There are birds, and then there are other birds. Maybe they don’t sing. Maybe they don’t fly. Maybe they don’t fit in. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be an other bird than just the same old thing.”

“The Island of Missing Trees” - by Elif Shafak: This book tells the story of the island of Cyprus through the eyes of two young lovers separated by political and cultural division. It is an equally heart-warming and heart-breaking story about love, the threads that connect us with our neighbors, and the things that we allow to drive us apart.

“The Seed Keeper” - by Diane Wilson: A compelling narrative about the importance of seeds is told through the perspective of four generations of Dakota women who protect them in order to preserve their way of life and the survival of their family.

“Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” - by Gabrielle Zevin. This novel tells the story of the love and friendship shared by two game designers through thirty years of collaboration. The story leads us to confront questions of identity, failure, disappointment, and redemption through our relationships with others. Ultimately, this book is about the need for connection and belonging.

“Parable of the Sower” - by Octavia Butler: A speculative fiction book published in 1993 and set in 2024. It was illuminating to read her envisioning of a time thirty years in the future as a reader in 2023. While actual life is not as dire as Butler envisioned, many of the struggles that she describes ring true. This is a hard read with graphic descriptions of the worst things that people can do to one another.

It is also a transformative tale with characters emerging from tragedy, coming together to form a community, cultivating hope, and working together to build something beautiful.

As we start our 2024 book journey, remember there is not enough time to waste a moment reading a book you don’t like. You have my permission to put it down without finishing to start something else. Happy reading.