The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

The revolutionary era of Mexico seems to be a popular literary backdrop these days, which I appreciate because it shines a light on an era that I personally know little about. Growing up in New Mexico, the connection with Mexico was of course a significant part of our culture, and I have a vivid memory … Continue reading The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

Velvet was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Having read pretty much everything that Silva Moreno-Garcia has written, including a few of her most excellent short stories, I was prepared to love Velvet was the Night, if only for the noir-ish title and the gorgeous cover. I love noir in both literature and film, and of course I fell madly in love with … Continue reading Velvet was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Sixteen Pleasures by Robert Hellenga

Un uomo mediterraneo. Doesn't that have the loveliest ring to it? It translates from the Italian to "a Mediterranean man" but it means so much more than that bland phrase. Un uomo mediterraneo is elegant, dapper, romantic, tips his hat to ladies, dresses immaculately, does not rush through life but rather meanders joyfully, enjoys all … Continue reading The Sixteen Pleasures by Robert Hellenga

Episode 12 of “Cooking The Books” Podcast Now Available!

The latest episode of my podcast "Cooking The Books" just dropped and it's a good one! We're talking South American politics, poetry, and the joys of the humble and sensual tomato, so check it out at: https://anchor.fm/cookingthebooks/episodes/Pablo-Nerudas-Ode-to-Tomatoes-and-the-Sensual-Pleasures-of-Tuna-Stuffed-Tomatoes-eockfo https://anchor.fm/cookingthebooks/episodes/Pablo-Nerudas-Ode-to-Tomatoes-and-the-Sensual-Pleasures-of-Tuna-Stuffed-Tomatoes-eockfo

The Heartbreaker by Susan Howatch

You wouldn't normally think that the Church of England would make for scintillating reading, but you'd be sooooooo wrong if you start reading the "Church of England" series written by British author Susan Howatch. I stumbled across one of them going on 15 years ago now, and was hooked. The series is broken up into … Continue reading The Heartbreaker by Susan Howatch

REPOST – Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

I originally posted this blog in May 2017.  Today marks two years from the date that my idol Anthony Bourdain died. One of my biggest culinary influences, as well as someone who changed my worldview in general, I loved, respected and honored his work and who he was as a human being. I hope you … Continue reading REPOST – Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

I found The Fifth Gospel to be quite a great read, fast-paced and adventurous, but with a fascinating historical and Biblical premise as the storyline. It's simple - a Greek Catholic priest living in The Vatican must defend his brother, also a Greek Catholic priest but one attached to the Pope's staff, who is accused … Continue reading The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

Ode to Tomatoes (A Poem) by Pablo Neruda

I don't know about you, but I've never been big on poetry. The rhythm and meters necessary to appropriately read poems just bog me down. I love hearing poetry read by someone who understands how it should be enunciated, but when I try to read poetry, either in my head or out loud, I sound … Continue reading Ode to Tomatoes (A Poem) by Pablo Neruda

Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland

I went into this book expecting a nice, escapist type of read as I recovered from minor outpatient surgery this past weekend. It was recommended by two friends of mine as a book filled with art and food and set in France, and both of them were sure I'd love it. I minored in Art … Continue reading Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

If I could have any set of books with me on a desert island, I'd choose the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, the Johannes Cabal books by Jonathan L. Howard, and The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series by the one and only Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This mysterious, lyrical, dark and yet oddly uplifting series, set … Continue reading The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon