Tag Archives For: travel the world

travel the world in books
25 Oct, 2015

International YA Books

/ posted in: Reading

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Egypt and England

Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1)Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Nigeria

Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent,” with latent magical power.

India

A Time to DanceA Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

Veda, a classical dance prodigy in India, lives and breathes dance—so when an accident leaves her a below-knee amputee, her dreams are shattered. For a girl who’s grown used to receiving applause for her dance prowess and flexibility, adjusting to a prosthetic leg is painful and humbling.

Ireland

The Accident SeasonThe Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

England, New York, and Peru

The Bane ChroniclesThe Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This collection of eleven short stories illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality, flamboyant style, and sharp wit populate the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices.

Iran

If You Could Be MineIf You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.

So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.

Brazil

The Summer PrinceThe Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

The lush city of Palmares Tres shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him (including June’s best friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.

Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Tres will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.


Where to Start

I don’t consider myself to be much of a YA fan at all. Most of them annoy me.  But in this list I’m crazy enthusiastic about all of them except maybe The Accident Season.  One part of that made me grumpy but probably wouldn’t bother anyone else.

The Summer Prince is the book I’ve recommended the most on blogs this year.  Usually I recommend it for people wanting to diversify their reading.

Akata Witch has a main character who lives in a home lined with books and whenever anyone magical learns something important they are rewarded with money falling from the sky.  I want that to be true.

Pick up any of these books for great stories!

 

 

 

24 Oct, 2015

Books about Food

/ posted in: Reading

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I read a lot of books about food.  I love them.  Here’s some of the ones I’ve read this year that are set outside of the United States.

Nonfiction

Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and ForgivenessLife from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness by Sasha Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Over the course of 195 weeks, food writer and blogger Sasha Martin set out to cook—and eat—a meal from every country in the world. As cooking unlocked the memories of her rough-and-tumble childhood and the loss and heartbreak that came with it, Martin became more determined than ever to find peace and elevate her life through the prism of food and world cultures. From the tiny, makeshift kitchen of her eccentric, creative mother, to a string of foster homes, to the house from which she launched her own cooking adventure, Martin’s heartfelt, brutally honest memoir reveals the power of cooking to bond, to empower, and to heal—and celebrates the simple truth that happiness is created from within.

Vanilla: Travels in Search of the Ice Cream OrchidVanilla: Travels in Search of the Ice Cream Orchid by Tim Ecott

 

From Papantla in Mexico-“the city that perfumed the world”-to the Indian Ocean islands, Vanilla traces the story of the vanilla plant and its secretive trade. From the golden cups of Aztec emperors to the ice-cream dishes of U.S. presidents, Vanilla has mystified and tantalized man for centuries. The only orchid that produces an agriculturally valuable crop, vanilla can mask unpleasant tastes and smells, but also makes pleasant tastes stronger, smoother, and longer lasting. Because it has over four hundred separate flavor components, choosing premium vanilla beans is as complex as judging the aroma and taste of fine wine. Vanilla finds its way into over half of all dessert products sold worldwide, as well as the finest perfumes, well-known brands of rum and vodka, and even Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Yes, ChefYes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

It begins with a simple ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her prepare a roast chicken for dinner. The grandmother is Swedish, a retired domestic. The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations.

Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors RemixedAfro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed by Bryant Terry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

African, Caribbean, and southern food are all known and loved as vibrant and flavor-packed cuisines. In Afro-Vegan, renowned chef and food justice activist Bryant Terry reworks and remixes the favorite staples, ingredients, and classic dishes of the African Diaspora to present wholly new, creative culinary combinations that will amaze vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.

This is the only cookbook I’ve ever seen that comes with book recommendations for some of the recipes.

Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the WorldBanana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World by Dan Koeppel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

To most people, a banana is a banana: a simple yellow fruit. Americans eat more bananas than apples and oranges combined. In others parts of the world, bananas are what keep millions of people alive. But for all its ubiquity, the banana is surprisingly mysterious; nobody knows how bananas evolved or exactly where they originated. Rich cultural lore surrounds the fruit: In ancient translations of the Bible, the ‘apple’ consumed by Eve is actually a banana (it makes sense, doesn’t it?). Entire Central American nations have been said to rise and fall over the banana.

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese FoodThe Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8. Lee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

If you think McDonald’s is the most ubiquitous restaurant experience in America, consider that there are more Chinese restaurants in America than McDonalds, Burger Kings, and Wendys combined. New York Times reporter and Chinese-American (or American-born Chinese). In her search, Jennifer 8 Lee traces the history of Chinese-American experience through the lens of the food.

Fiction

Soy Sauce for BeginnersSoy Sauce for Beginners by Kirstin Chen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gretchen Lin, adrift at the age of thirty, leaves her floundering marriage in San Francisco to move back to her childhood home in Singapore and immediately finds herself face-to-face with the twin headaches she’s avoided her entire adult life: her mother’s drinking problem and the machinations of her father’s artisanal soy sauce business.


Where to Start

I loved Banana!  I still drop random banana facts into conversation and now I only buy organic bananas.  Actually, all these books were really good.  Try them all!

This is a good time to announce that I am taking over the Foodies Read Challenge in 2016.  If you like reading about food, this is a great place to get more recommendations and to link up your reviews.  Stay tuned for more information in November.

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