I’m also joining the Foodies Read challenge again this year. The goal is to read any book that is somehow related to food, be that a cookbook, a foodie memoir, or a murder mystery in which the killer slays his victims using only spotted dick.
The challenge levels are as follows:
- Short-Order Cook: 1 to 3 books
- Pastry Chef: 4 to 8 books
- Sous-Chef: 9 to 13 books
- Chef de Cuisine: 14 to 18
- Cordon-Bleu Chef: More than 19
I’ll be aiming for the Pastry Chef level again, although I would like to read more than the bare minimum this year. My initial choices, which may change, will be:
- Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain
- How To Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food by Nigella Lawson
- Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl
- Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France by Peter Mayle
- Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
- Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery
- The Dinner: A Novel by Herman Koch
- Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 2 – Sake by Tetsu Kariya
I will be taking part in the Back to the Classics 2017 challenge to read classic books that fall into twelve categories. The more you read, the more entries you receive for a draw at the end of the year.
- Complete six categories, and you get one entry in the drawing
- Complete nine categories, and you get two entries in the drawing
- Complete all twelve categories, and you get three entries in the drawing
Here are the categories and my tentative choices:
- A 19th Century Classic: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
- A 20th Century Classic: The Seeds of Time by John Wyndham
- A classic by a woman author: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
- A classic in translation: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
- A classic published before 1800: The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
- A romance classic: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
- A Gothic or horror classic: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
- A classic with a number in the title: Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome
- A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title: Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck
- A classic set in a place you’d like to visit: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
- An award-winning classic: Dune by Frank Herbert
- A Russian Classic: The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The second challenge I took part in this year was the Foodies Read challenge. My goal was the 4 – 8 book level, and I ended up just barely coasting in having read four books.
- French Milk by Lucy Knisley
- Heat by Bill Buford
- Double Cup Love by Eddie Huang
- Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang
I enjoyed all four, but French Milk was probably my least favourite. I wanted it to be more about food and found it to be mainly about moping about in Paris.
Both of Eddie Huang’s memoirs were entertaining and interesting, and I’m excited to to see what he comes out with next. He’s an acquired taste, but if you can deal with his personality he does have a lot to offer.
My favourite of the bunch was Heat, which surprised me. I held off reading it for quite a while thinking that it wasn’t really my thing, but the amount of research he did and the quality of his writing won me over. It reminded me of how much I enjoy food writing when it’s done well.
I’ll be joining again in 2017, and will post the kick-off list soon.
The Back to the Classics Challenge 2016 was one of the two challenges I took part in this year. The goal was to read classics from twelve categories. There’s a draw associated with how many you read, but I mainly take part because I love lists.
When I first joined in on this, back in 2012, it really gave me a push to incorporate more classic fiction into my reading. This and The Classics Club actually changed how I read for the better over the years, so I’m a big fan of taking part in these reading prompts.
Here’s my 2016 list:
- A 19th Century Classic: Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome
- A 20th Century Classic: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
- A classic by a woman author: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
- A classic in translation: Laughter in the Dark by Vladimir Nabokov
- A classic by a non-white author: Incomplete
- An adventure classic: She by H. Rider Haggard
- A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- A classic detective novel: Incomplete
- A classic which includes the name of a place in the title: Incomplete
- A classic which has been banned or censored: Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college): Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- A volume of classic short stories: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
I read nine of the twelve categories (two entries). Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) and The Grapes of Wrath were my favourites. I feel bad about skipping the non-white author category, as I do want to make an effort to diversify my reading, so I’ll have to make a point to rectify that in the new year.
I’ll be signing up for the 2017 challenge as well, but we’re going on holiday soon, so I don’t know how much I’ll get done before I leave. I probably won’t be posting any new challenges or year wrap-ups until January (when everyone will be nice and sick of reading those).