Sister Reads January | Cooking and Black History

Welcome to Sister Reads! Vernell and I are joining forces this year to talk about what is probably our very favourite thing, yes even more loved than crafting: books! Growing up books were everywhere over our home. Our mum is an English teacher, and so we had shelves filled with literature from around the world: Britain, the US, Africa, and of course the Caribbean. We were both avid readers as children, and that love followed us into adulthood.

This year we will be posting a monthly book review on the last Friday of every month: a brief recap of the books we read during the month. We invite you to tell us about what you’re reading in the comments below too!

This year my reading goal is 64 books. This is the same goal I set last year, and I made it to 62 reading frantically on the night of December 30th. 64 books means just over five books a month. I’m already behind, having only read two books in January, (A Homemade Life and The Third Life of Grange Copeland) but I’m not worried. I always start the year off slowly, as I use January for reflection (and recovery from the holidays!), so I know I’ll be back in the swing of things next month.

Sister Reads January at Callaloo Soup - 2 book reviews

A Homemade Life

I started the year by reading A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. It’s a collection of stories and recipes from the creator of the blog Orangette. I was vaguely aware of her blog, but had never read it. After reading the book I am now! Not only did Molly share 53 very delicious sounding recipes, but also stories from her life including her childhood and adolescence. She waxes poetic about her time spent living in Paris, which of course totally sucked me in. To top it off this is probably the first book of its ilk that I’ve read that made me actually want to make all the recipes shared. So much so that I plan to cook my way through the book this year. The recipes range from simple to more involved, and cover basics like potato salad (her dad’s recipe), her mom’s chocolate cake, and Molly’s own twist on recipes and meals she has come across throughout the years. I was pretty much drooling as I made my way through the book, and could already envision which meal I could make when.

Have you read this book? What did you think about it?

Want to read this book? You can pick it up here at

amazon.com 

amazon.fr

or the book depository

The Third Life of Grange Copeland

I love Alice Walker, and of course The Color Purple is her iconic novel that everyone knows. I was really looking forward to reading Grange Copeland, the first novel she wrote, and it didn’t disappoint. It kept me spellbound, though not in the same way as The Color Purple did.

The book recounts the life of black tenant farmers in Georgia, the state that Alice Walker grew up in. It’s definitely a tough read as the stories told are brutal and at times extremely depressing.

My main takeaways from the book were 1. all the things I learned about life for sharecroppers in the deep south in the early part of the twentieth century, and 2. an appreciation for the unexpected heroine who emerges at the end of the book. The story didn’t leave me as satisfied as The Color Purple, but it confirmed my belief that Alice Walker is a superb storyteller.

Have you read this book? What did you think about it?

Want to read this book? Pick it up here at

amazon.com

amazon.fr

or the book depository

Looking Ahead

I’ve already started on my third book for the year, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. Look for that review next month! I’m also gearing up to read the following books:

Hidden Figures
Sag Harbor
I am The Messenger
Britt-Marie Was Here

Those should get me back on track to meet my goal!

This year I plan to blog lots more about books and reading, as it really is my favourite thing. And I want to get you involved too, because I love discussing books with other readers. I’m excited to announce that I’ll be launching a free online book club in February for this purpose!!

If you want to be notified when it’s all ready to go just sign up for my Books & Reading newsletter. You’ll also get a free printable checklist to track all the books mentioned on the Gilmore Girls.

So. What are you reading right now? Have you set a reading goal for the year?

Let’s go see what Vernell has read so far.

Book Reviews - The Third Life of Grange Copeland and A Homemade Life

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  • Love books that have recipes. Can’t wait to see what you make.
    I need to add that Alice Walker to my TBR list!

    • Francine

      I still need to get started on that cooking project lol

  • Anne Marquet

    I am good at reading but terrible at taking the time to write reviews… but I’ll try!
    So far I have read:
    – Karitas (books 1 and 2) by Kristin Marja Baldursdottir [story of both the personal and artistic lives of a female islandic painter born in 1900; loved it, especially the first book )
    – La porte des enfers (Hell’s gate) by Laurent Gaudé (story of a father who walks down to Hell through a secret door to bring back his young son who was a colateral victim in a street shooting in Italy; it sounds weird… and it kind of is, but it’s well written and it grew on me)
    – Autobiographie d’une courgette by Gilles Paris (an animated movie based on this book was released a couple of months ago in France – I loved it; beautiful and sad yet funny story of a young boy who accidently shot his abusive mother and got sent to a “foyer” (ie where children with difficult family backgrounds or circumstances are permanently or temporarily placed) where he builds new bonds with other children and adults – great, once you get past the fact that it is written as a 10ish yo boy!)

    Books read, reviews to follow:
    – Higher than the sea by Francesca Melandri
    – The company you keep by Neil Gordon

    Read in February so far:
    – birth of a bridge by Maylis de Kerangal (not my fave of hers, but well written as usual )

    • Francine

      Thanks for sharing! Every year I vow to do some reading in French, but it never happens. I love the sound of Autobiographie d’une courgette, I think I’ll pick it up for a French read this year. hell’s Gate sounds interesting too.

  • Jessica Thomas

    I’ve set myself the goal of 200 books this year. I made it to 189 last year so am determined to break that record! I’ve read some incredible ones already (39 so far) but a main one that has stuck out is Lily and the Octopus. As a dog lover, i’m normally a bit cautious around books that feature dogs- i’ll never be the same after Marley and Me. But this was incredible and i’m now recommending it to everyone i meet. The odd (but brilliant) title makes sense by the second or their page and it is in every way a celebration of what our pets do for our lives. This book will stay with me forever.
    Also amazing was the biography of Alan Turing and Andrew Hodges. I’m dyslexic with regards to numbers so the descriptions of the maths that defined much of Alan’s life went over my head but the personal descriptions of Turing were amazing and really highlighted who he was as a man. A long but well worth-it read. Branching off from this i read The Bletchley Girls- a biography/memoir of the last surviving ladies of BP. Featuring dialogue from interviews, this book is a valuable contribution to the historical field and very empowering. The topic of WW2 has been covered excessively by media ad this book shines some light on which adaptions got it ‘right’, which i found very interesting indeed. I hope there are some little gems in this review for someone looking for their next rainy day read.

    • Francine

      Wow! I cannot wrap my head around reading 200 books in a year. I’ll be cheering you on! 🙂 I tend not to read books about pets, they always make me sad, but I’ll check out Lily and the Octopus. I am a bit of a math nerd too, so the Turing/Hodges biography sounds intriguing.