Reading this week.

Reading this week has been a bit problematic lately. I have a policy of never giving negative reviews because book taste is subjective and, as a writer myself, I am fully aware of how much work goes into producing even quite a short novel. You may have gathered that the posts should really be titled read last week because I never put up a book unless I know what it's like thus, a negative review is avoided. Since my last reading post I have read five novels and a novella. One Judith Cutler mystery from the Lina Townend series. This was a re-read so I knew I'd enjoy it even though I never quite know what's going on. This was followed by two chick-lit/contemporary romance novels which were frankly awful and so won't get a mention here. The first was the fifth novel from a popular indie author and was utterly flat. I read her first novel and had exactly the same criticisms of that novel but she sells well so what do I know? The second was published by Carina Press and although the premise was interesting the author used the same two words so many times I had a touch of the screaming habdabs before I finished it. I went on to read a Victorian set novel which sounded promising but was actually so boring I almost feel asleep over it. The novella was by the same author and although it was better that's the only good thing I have to say about it.

Cooking Up a StormFinally,a book I can mention: Cooking up a Storm by Sue Welfare. I had been looking at this book for ages before I finally downloaded it and this one lived up to its promise. It's a fun read about Sarah, a young woman whose life suddenly collapses around her so she moves to the country with her two little boys. I laughed out loud on more than one occasion and although at first I thought I knew who the hero would be, for long periods of the novel I really wasn't sure. Highly recommended if you're looking for something light and feel good.

How to eat.

How To Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good FoodI began to learn to cook when I was in my early teens but it wasn't until my early twenties that I began to learn about food. For about ten years I had a subscription to Vogue magazine and although I took it for the clothes and the looks, one of the things I most enjoyed and usually read first, [after the customary look right through with a cup of tea] was the cookery column.. When I first started reading it was written by Arabella Boxer but over time I noticed a subtle change in tone and realised it had been taken over. The new writer was Nigella Lawson who, until then, had been deputy literary editor of The Times newspaper. I quickly realized that here was a person who cooked like I cook, who shared my love of food and learning about it, who understood  my reticence with certain dishes and who gave me the confidence to try new things.Needless to say when How To Eat was published in 1999 I fell on it. I still remember the Vogue photo's of her dancing with her husband John Diamond at the book launch looking fantastically glamorous with her trophy hair.
There is nothing chefy or prescriptive about the recipes in this book or about Nigella's attitude to food. The recipes are largely uncomplicated and where the ingredient list is lengthy or the cooking time consuming Nigella is there, handing out soothing guidance and encouraging us forward. She is the champion of the home cook.  I became a vegetarian thirty years ago and only re-introduced fish ten years or so ago so I have by no means cooked everything in this book  but I have made quite a lot from it and it is to How To Eat that I turn first for recipes of any kind. The pavlova we eat every weekend of the summer, the gravy we eat on Christmas day, the salmon fishcakes which freeze so beautifully, not to mention the fish pie recipe which inspired my own and the rhubarb recipes for which we specifically planted extra fruit. Every dish that I have made using this book has worked perfectly.
Often, when I have a little fallow time as something finishes in the oven or cooks on the stove, I pick up this book and read something. The television Nigella, National Treasure, is a mystery to me, we don't have a set. It is the Nigella of the books that I feel I know. The woman who writes so warmly and with such enthusiasm for food and life that just reading a page or two is satisfying. She is an extremely good writer and it is for this, as much as for the recipes that I love this book. It is part memoir, part food tutorial and always a pleasure to be indulged. There are many cookery books and writers in the world indeed, I have some of their books myself. For many the great Elizabeth David or Jane Grigson have been their inspiration and both have a place in my kitchen but for me, when I look for culinary companionship and understanding it is, and always will be Nigella Lawson.

Reading this week.

Twelve Days of ChristmasYes, we're still in Trishaworld and it's another re-read; the third read to be precise. I'm in the mood for Christmas but my husband's birthday is at the end of November so I usually wait until that's over before I start with Christmas preparations. This book is a nice fill-in. Holly Brown is expecting to have a very quiet Christmas sitting a house and dog while its owner is away but ends up running a house party for eleven people who get snowed in. I will say no more so as not to spoil it but I will tell you that it satisfies everything you might want in a story that runs from just before Christmas until just after Twelfth Night.
Amazingly, it actually snowed here today after a frosty start so the weather is clearly co-operating.
What are you reading this week?

Reading this week



Chocolate WishesOr more accurately, re-reading. I like Trisha Ashley's Mosses and Sticklepond novels and I was in the mood for something comforting. Her books fall into the romantic novel category but actually there really isn't much romance in them. A relationship develops between characters and there is a happy ending but we don't get much of the detail. What we do get is a blend of cooking, dogs, village life and friendship-all the things that make a happy life, at least for me!

LBLC Everywhere

NEWS!

I'm delighted to announce that Lizzie Braithwaites Last Chance is now available from Barnes and Noble/Nook and itunes/books as well as Amazon everywhere.

Out out out!

NEWS!

MY NEW NOVEL IS OUT NOW! Available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. Read the first chapter on Contemporary page.