About Me

Ithaca, New York
MWF, now officially 42, loves long walks on the beach and laughing with friends ... oh, wait. By day, I'm a mid-level university administrator reluctant to be more specific on a public forum. Nights and weekends, though, I'm a homebody with strong nerdist leanings. I'm never happier than when I'm chatting around the fire, playing board games, cooking up some pasta, and/or road-tripping with my family and friends. I studied psychology and then labor economics in school, and I work in higher education. From time to time I get smug, obsessive, or just plain boring about some combination of these topics, especially when inequality, parenting, or consumer culture are involved. You have been warned.

Friday, August 10, 2012

#71: The Cookbook Collector

The Cookbook Collector, by Allegra Goodman
(New York: The Dial Press, 2010)
"Heralded as 'a modern-day Jane Austen' by USA Today, National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Allegra Goodman has compelled and delighted hundreds of thousands of readers. Now, in her most ambitious work yet, Goodman weaves together the worlds of Silicon Valley and rare book collecting in a delicious novel about appetite, temptation, and fulfullment.

"Emily and Jessamine Bach are opposited in every way: Twenty-eight-year-old Emily is the CEO of Veritech, twenty-three-year-old Jess is an environmental activist and graduate student in philosophy. Pragmatic Emily is making a fortune in Silicon Valley, romantic Jess works in an antiquarian bookstore. Emily is rational and driven, while Jess is dreamy and whimsical. Emily's boyfriend, Jonathan, is fantastically successful. Jess's boyfriends, not so much -- as her employer George points out in what he hopes is a completely disinterested way.

"Passionate, surprising, rich in ideas and characters, The Cookbook Collector is a novel about getting and spending, and about the substitutions we make when we can't find what we're looking for: reading cookbooks instead of cooking, speculating instead of creating, collecting instead of living. But above all it is about holding onto what is real in a virtual world: love that stays."

Opening Lines:
"Rain at last. Much-needed rain, the weathermen called it."

My Take:
A good read -- perfect blend of being interesting enough to keep me turning pages, but substantial enough for me to care about the characters. Not big on weighty matters while I was home last week, or, for that matter, since I've come back to work (and soul-sucking travel) this week. 

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