The Book Jam Blog
Read our latest reviews
Some may have let Mother's Day pass by without getting the mothers in their lives the perfect gift. Don't fret. Some of us mothers would honestly prefer to buy the perfect book for ourselves. This purchase might be part of celebrating and honoring our motherhood or, quite honestly, it might be just because. Just because it's Monday. Just because we don't feel like answering any more emails and would rather be whisked away by a gorgeous story. Just because finding yourself the right book at the right time is simply the best.
We have two books to recommend if one is making such a purchase as well as for anyone simply looking for a good book. Enjoy and Happy Belated Mother's Day to all.
Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl (2019). Speaking of buying one's self the perfect gift, I did just this very thing this morning with Save Me the Plums. And I couldn't be more satisfied with my choice. Though only twenty pages into this book that tells the tale of Reich's years at the helm of the now defunct Gourmet magazine, I already can't wait to return to it tonight. Reichl's writing is, as always, well...delicious. Whenever I start one of her books, I feel as though I've entered a wise friend's warm and fragrant kitchen to hear another interesting tale of a fascinating life spent pioneering in food and publishing. Not only is the conversation easy, interesting, and though-provoking but this friend always prepares us the perfect dishes to accompany our chat (and shares new recipes with me to take home afterwards such as 'Spicy Chinese Noodles'). Many may be familiar with Reichl's other enjoyable memoirs that have been published over the decades such as Tender at the Bone that tells of her eclectic youth and how she fell in love with cooking in the first place and Comfort Me with Apples that chronicles her early adult years in Berkeley, California as a young food writer, hippie, and restaurant reviewer. Then there's Garlic and Sapphires that describes her busy tenure as the head restaurant reviewer at The New York Times all while also raising her young son Nick. They are all three worth going back to and slowly savoring if you haven't had the chance to already. With Save Me the Plums, Reichl pulls the hungry reader in right away with descriptions of taking food tours of New York City with her father as a young girl. There are scenes from German delis and of her, not yet a teenager, cooking a whole suckling pig with what else? A recipe from an old, loved edition of a Gourmet cookbook. I'm now on the page where she's completely caught off guard at being offered the job of Editor-in Chief at Gourmet while still at The Times. Will she take it? Though I think I already know the answer, I can't wait to find out what happens next. ~ Lisa Cadow
The Searcher by Tana French (2020). Prior to The Searcher I had not yet read Ms. French, which I know is almost sacrilege. Perhaps it's because my Book Jam partner Lisa Cadow loves her so much; thus, I know she will review every Tana French book and I just don't pick them up. But for some unknowing reason I picked up The Searcher and well loved it. The Searcher has a quiet pace, that allows you to enjoy living in a small town in Ireland for awhile. This pace allows you to grow to love Cal, the ex Chicago cop who relocated to this town after his marriage fell apart - for reasons he still does not understand - and his job just got too hard after 25 years to successfully navigate and keep mentally healthy. Ms. French also allows you time to think about domestic abuse, the harm of drugs on those who use and those around the users, and starting over (as well as home repair), all while being entertained. (I emerged more empathetic and sympathetic for people in all those categories.) Well written and lovingly paced, it's just a great escape for anyone. ~ Lisa Christie