It’s back to school time for my family this week, and that means we are really busy. But in between Labor Day picnics and packing backpacks, I managed to read a bit this week. Here’s a look at a few books I really enjoyed this week:
Sourdough by Robin Sloan
I loved Sloan’s previous novel, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, and this is another great book. The main character, Lois, is a computer programmer working very long days in San Francisco, collapsing into bed exhausted each night, or at least on the nights when she doesn’t sleep at the office. New to the area, with few friends or interests outside of work, Lois is burning out fast. She starts ordering takeout meals from a pair of immigrant brothers and strikes up a friendship with them. But due to Visa issues, the brothers have to leave, and on their way out of town they bring her a gift – their sourdough bread starter. Lois knows nothing about baking, bread, or starters, but she’s determined not to let this gift die. Her research and trial and error lead her to becoming an amateur bread baker, selling her loaves to the chef at work, and attempting to win a spot at a local farmer’s market. The book follows Lois as her life changes dramatically, all because of some sourdough.
I really enjoy Sloan’s writing; it’s witty and really descriptive, without being too flowery. His characters tend to be quirky oddballs, just like most of us. In this novel, the characters are wrestling with the idea of technology changing the way things have always been – is that a good thing or not? Can technology improve upon the creation of food? Will that add to or take away from the comforting effects of food on our lives? Sloan isn’t offering the answer here; his characters have very different views on the subject, but it’s an interesting debate. This book comes out today!
I am usually a pretty fast reader, but I savor these books, and read them slowly. I first mentioned this mystery series in an earlier post about my favorite mystery series. There are 13 books in this series about a senior homicide investigator in Quebec. What I love about these books is that they’re about so much more than a murder mystery. After reading them, you feel as if the characters are people you know in real life, and the small town of Three Pines is one you are dreaming of visiting. If you want to give these a try, definitely start at the beginning, with Still Life.
The only bad thing about finally getting my hands on Glass Houses is that now I have to wait for the next book in the series. If you’ve got any other good mysteries I can read in the meantime, please leave me a note in the comments. Happy reading!