A Newsletter for Lovers of Books and Food
from the authors of The Book Club Cookbook
Book clubs from San Francisco to Boston continue to send us their favorite
reading and recipe suggestions. We're pleased to share them in this issue of
Book Bytes, along with other creative tips--how your club can support a vital
literacy program, or raise funds for your school or favorite cause.
We're especially excited to introduce our new program, "Invite an Author", a
directory of authors ready to chat with your book club on the phone. Those who
have tried it tell us that conversations with authors have sparked some of their
liveliest book club meetings. We hope you'll give it a try!
Please take a moment to enter our contest to win subscriptions to “Bookmarks”
magazine--a terrific resource for your book club, or just write to tell us about
your book club or favorite reads. We’d love to hear what you’re reading--and
--Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp
In this edition of Book Bytes:
INVITE AN AUTHOR
WHAT SHOULD YOUR CLUB READ--AND EAT--NEXT? A Cuban memoir with a pineapple
rum cake… and more!
WIN A SUBSCRIPTION TO “BOOKMARKS” MAGAZINE FOR EACH MEMBER OF YOUR BOOK CLUB
HOT PICKS! A classic read and recipe from the South Carolina coast
HELP CHILDREN LEARN TO LOVE READING
A NOVEL APPROACH TO SCHOOL FUNDRAISING: “Meet the Author” Book Club
AND THE WINNER OF OUR LAST CONTEST IS…
INVITE AN AUTHOR TO JOIN YOUR BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION
Many authors have recently signed up for THE BOOK CLUB COOKBOOK's new "Invite an
Author" program. Whether your book club reads fiction, non-fiction, romance,
young adult, or children's books, these authors are eager to join your next book
club meeting by speakerphone.
Here's your chance to learn the story behind a book or how the characters were
created--all in a lively discussion with an author.
We feature a terrific assortment of authors--from best-selling authors to
emerging writers--who would be delighted to speak with your group. And new
authors are joining our program daily!
Please note that this is not a contest and there is no charge to use "Invite an
Click below to invite an author to one of your book club meetings.
Click here to receive Invite an Author updates through our newsletter:
Let us know how the discussion goes!
WHAT SHOULD YOUR CLUB READ NEXT?
When it comes to choosing books, nothing beats a recommendation from a book
club. We’ve asked book club members about their favorite selections, and we're
pleased to share their advice with you, along with some of their food pairing
The Unnamed Book Club in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts recommends:
WAITING FOR SNOW IN HAVANA by Carlos Eire
“This is a memoir of a young Cuban boy growing up during Castro's revolution,
who was separated from his parents and airlifted out of Cuba to the United
States. The book is beautifully written, almost poetic with its dream-like
memories and metaphors.”
Paired with: Pineapple rum cake
"Just Here For the Food" Book Club of Goffstown, New Hampshire recommends:
THE MASTER BUTCHER’S SINGING CLUB by Louise Erdrich
“Fidelis Waldvogel grew up during World War I and the war haunted him throughout
his life. We liked reading of how he came to America and made a life here,
bringing some of the old European traditions with him, including his work as a
butcher and memories of the singing clubs of his past. We’re sure that the many
twists and turns in this novel will keep you turning the pages into the wee
hours of the night as it did our members!”
Paired with: German Chocolate Cake, German Potato Salad, Kielbasa and
Sauerkraut, Kielbasa, Potato and Cabbage Stew, and St. Pauli Girl Beer.
The Gourmet Readers of Attleboro, Massachusetts recommends:
LOST HORIZON by James Hilton
“Written in the 1930s, LOST HORIZON foreshadows dire things to come (war and
devastation), and explores Eastern philosophy and ideas which seemed so new
twenty or thirty years ago. You'll find some interesting thoughts on meditation,
aging, the art of "moderation," and of course, a description of Shangri-La.”
Food recommendations: Chinese food, because the book is set in Tibet, especially
Pomelos (an Asian grapefruit), which are mentioned in LOST HORIZON.
BBB Book Club of the San Francisco Bay Area recommends:
WHEN THE EMPEROR WAS DIVINE by Julie Otsuka
"We all felt that Otsuka’s story of local Japanese being taken to internment
camps during World War II went right to the heart. She set up the difficult
scenario of a mother preparing to be wrenched into the unknown without her
husband by her side (he had already been taken prisoner and sent to an unknown
location). The descriptions were exquisitely simple and yet full of irony. After
reading the book group members researched the period and visited internment
sites in the San Francisco Bay Area. We were surprised to find just how wide the
hysteria from the bombing of Pearl Harbor had stretched."
Paired with: a traditional Japanese lunch - homemade sushi, fresh fruits, tea.
WIN A SUBSCRIPTION TO “BOOKMARKS” MAGAZINE FOR EACH MEMBER OF YOUR BOOK CLUB!
Has your book club prepared food to match the theme of your reading selection?
If so, tell us about it! We're looking for the most creative, compelling pairing
of food with a book – fiction, non-fiction, classic, or whatever your book club
likes to read. Please send a brief description of your favorite literature/food
pairing by May 27 to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Each member of the winning book club will receive
a one-year subscription to “Bookmarks” magazine, an excellent resource for
helping your club choose titles. (Limit: 15 members)
For more about “Bookmarks”:
To read about our last contest winner, scroll to bottom of page.
HOT PICKS: A BOOK AND RECIPE TO SAVOR
The Book: THE WATER IS WIDE (Houghton Mifflin, 1972) by Pat Conroy
The Recipe: ISLANDER CRAB SALAD from GULLAH HOME COOKING THE DAUFUSKIE
WAY (University of North Carolina Press, 2003) by Sallie Ann Robinson
As a child, Sallie Ann Robinson cast shrimp nets, fished, crabbed, and slopped
hogs on South Carolina’s Daufuskie Island, accessible only by boat, where West
African-influenced Gullah culture has thrived for centuries. Over the years, she
watched the old ways of life slowly disappear as friends and family moved off
island. Sallie Ann’s cookbook, GULLAH HOME COOKING THE DAUFUSKIE WAY preserves
the recipes of her native Sea Islands – dishes such as Runaway Fried Chicken and
Pickin’ Oyster Stew – along with stories of life growing up on Daufuskie.
Recently, we had the pleasure of serving on a “Narrative Cookbooks” panel with
Sallie Ann at the Much Ado About Books book festival in Jacksonville, Florida.
We also met author Pat Conroy, who first encountered Sallie Ann in 1969, when he
spent a year teaching in a two-room schoolhouse on Daufuskie Island. Conroy
chronicled this memorable year in THE WATER IS WIDE. When we talked, Sallie Ann
proudly revealed that she is “Ethel” in Conroy’s memoir, and that she consulted
on the new film version of THE WATER IS WIDE, to be released by Hallmark Hall of
Fame later this year. Meeting Sallie Ann and Pat made reading THE WATER IS WIDE
especially meaningful, but we recommend it to anyone interested in a
page-turning story of a young teacher fighting to educate students that others
have all but abandoned, or a peek into the history and rich culture of Daufuskie
Crabmeat was a staple for Sallie Ann’s family as it is for most islanders, who
crabbed with traps, nets or twine. Conroy says his year on the island was one of
the “best-fed” years of his life, and Sallie Ann’s Islander Crab Salad makes a
wonderful accompaniment to a discussion of Conroy’s THE WATER IS WIDE.
- 2 cups crabmeat
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- ½ medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and diced
- ½ teaspoon ground thyme
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
- black pepper
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise (more or less to taste)
- lettuce for bedding
- celery tops for garnish (optional)
Place the crabmeat in a bowl. Add the onion, bell pepper, eggs, thyme, garlic
powder, sweet relish, black pepper to taste, and mayonnaise. Combine thoroughly,
but gently to avoid bruising the crab. Serve over lettuce with celery tops as a
garnish and sprinkle with paprika. Be sure to refrigerate until eating time.
Yield: 4-6 servings (or 4 cups)
YOUR BOOK CLUB CAN HELP CHILDREN LEARN TO LOVE READING
For the past fifteen years, the Boston-based Reach Out and Read (ROR) program
has promoted early literacy among thousands of families living in poverty
throughout the United States. In hospitals, health centers, and pediatric
practices, physicians and nurses give each child an age and developmentally
appropriate book at every well visit between six months and five years of age.
They also encourage parents to read aloud to their young children, promoting a
family-wide love of literacy. ROR is working to make certain every child enters
school ready to learn.
Now, Reach Out and Read is asking book clubs for help. With its new initiative,
Pass the Book, the organization hopes to raise $3 million to purchase books for
children growing up without them, and they are asking individual book club
members to sponsor a ROR child. A twenty-five dollar donation will buy a library
of ten books--a full course of Reach Out and Read for a child. Why not ask
members of your book club to give what they can, and see how many children your
group can sponsor?
Reach Out and Read offers a terrific opportunity for book clubs to help the
future book club members of America learn to love reading!
For information on Reach Out and Read:
For information on Pass the Book:
A NOVEL APPROACH TO SCHOOL FUNDRAISING: “MEET
THE AUTHOR” BOOK CLUB
A few years ago, novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz was trying to figure out a way
to contribute to her children's school's fundraising effort. Cupcakes and car
washes weren't her forte, so she decided to create a "Meet the Author" book
group in which participants would make a donation to the school. It would be
much like a conventional book group, but with one important difference: the
books' authors would attend and participate in the discussion.
On average, fifteen book club members gather in Korelitz' living room each month
to meet authors such as Chang Rae Lee, Cheryl Mendelson, Kate Moses and Patricia
Volk. As an author of three novels, Korelitz' contacts with fellow writers
helped her quickly form the list of guest authors. Located one hour from New
York City by train, Princeton provides easy access for area authors to visit the
group, and Korelitz also invites authors who are passing through on book tours. "It's been very gratifying to watch the participants learn about what goes into
writing a novel or memoir," says Korelitz, the only writer in the group. "There
is a general misconception out there that novelists meticulously plot and plan
their books before they write a word of prose, and it's been fascinating to
watch the book group members discover how untrue that is, at least for the
literary authors we invite.”
If you are interested in inviting authors to visit your book group in person or
via speakerphone, visit our Invite an Author directory:
Jean Hanff Korelitz, author of THE WHITE ROSE (Miramax Books, 2005), is featured
on the Invite an Author directory.
AND THE WINNER OF OUR WINTER BOOK BYTES CONTEST IS…
Congratulations to the thirteen members of "The Happy Bookers", who
meet monthly at the Sullivan Free Library in Chittenango, New York.
The Happy Bookers won the prize for the best mystery and culinary pairing
in our Winter Contest for their discussion of FREE MAN OF COLOR by
Barbara Hambly. To complement this mystery set during Mardi Gras in the 1830's,
Club member Deb Rose made Sweet Potato Pecan Pie (with a recipe from a local
restaurant, Syracuse's Dinosaur Bar-be-Que), along with Southern
Pecan flavored coffee. Each member of the winning book club received a
copy of Alexander McCall Smith's THE FULL CUPBOARD OF LIFE: MORE FROM
THE NO. 1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY, the latest novel in
the Mma Precious Ramotswe series, and a sampler of red bush tea, or
rooibos (Mma Precious Ramotswe's favorite beverage) from Kalahari Red
Tea, along with a Ladysmith Black Mambazo mini-CD.
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