Some food for thought . . .

June 10, 2009 at 3:34 pm 13 comments

A few weeks ago, I was writing an email to Carolyn, from The Thrillionth Page. I’d been talking about the difficulty I’d been having with writing my “challenge” review for Sea Swept to be posted at Bridget’s, from Good Books, Bad Books.

vanilla ice creamUsually, I need to write my reviews immediately after finishing at book. My propensity to be distracted by the new and shiny mean that the odds of writing a review diminish greatly the more that time passes between reading the book and writing the review. However, though I was committed to writing this one, but I couldn’t place my finger on why I was reluctant to do so.

Here’s some of my angsting about it to Carolyn:

It’s so much harder for me to write something if I don’t feel strongly about a book, and the book was good (not great,) so it’s hard to get enthusiastic about writing about it . . . I have this whole thing I’ve been wanting to do about how NR is like vanilla ice cream. Very good vanilla ice cream. Hagen Das [sic], even. But, vanilla ice cream, nonetheless.

Now, before the tomatoes start being thrown, let me say: I really like vanilla ice cream. Also, I’m not disrespecting Ms Roberts. However, this feeling came back to me as I was listening to Rising Tides (the second book in the Chesapeake Bay series) this week.

The writing is good, in a “I know what I’m in for” kind of way. But, to be perfectly honest, I rarely order vanilla ice cream. Usually, it’s the more exotic chocolate, coffee, or nut flavors. Or maybe lemon custard, tart and tangy. In the same way, while I’ll finish the NR series I’m reading, idk if I’ll start another. When given the choice, I’ll pick up (books by other contemporary romance authors) SEP or Lisa Kleypas. Crusie or Shalvis.

pringlesThen, a couple of weeks ago, while reading JR Ward’s Lover Eternal, I kept thinking “Pringles.” (Yes, I do think about food this much.) Because, (as I said in my mini-review of LE): The books won’t change the world, but the are so much damn fun to gobble up! Total junk-food reading and very satisfying.

I feel the same way when my husband brings home a can (a can, for chissakes!) of Pringles, his favorite junk food. I don’t know why he’d choose them, those dehydrated, shaped chips. But, when my tongue hits the salty side of that chip, I’m done for. And, when I open a BDB book I’m done for as well. 

Now, I have to say that when I lived in Santa Cruz one of our favorite things to do was to go to a candy shop that served a very unusual vanilla ice cream sundae. It was topped with a chile/peach sauce that was amazing (cool, creamy, sweet, and spicy) in its unexpectedness. There’s something to be said for the versatility of vanilla.

Now, I’ve got to go off and search for the literary equivalent.

Do you have any food/book combos that come to mind?

Entry filed under: Ramblings.

Just finished reading . . . Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge Just finished reading . . . Crash Into Me

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. orannia  |  June 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    …very unusual vanilla ice cream sundae…topped with a chile/peach sauce that was amazing (cool, creamy, sweet, and spicy)…

    See, now I’m hungry 🙂 I like the food analogy though. You have to eat to survive…and I like to think that I need to read to survive (or at least other people need me to read if they want to survive 🙂 Kidding!

    Some books are your meat, vegetable and potato kind…some are so sickly sweet you can only have them in small doses…and some are like decadent chocolate cake with hot chocolate sauce…absolutely perfect.

    Sorry, still working on example 🙂

    Reply
  • 2. Lori  |  June 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Oooo, orannia said that well. Some are meat and potatoes, your “staple” authors. Some too sweet (some old categories come to mind here).

    I have to say I agree with you about NR being a bit vanilla. She’s never been my cuppa. I’m a chocolate girl. Still a “stick to the basics”, but with a bit more flavor, LOL.

    Reply
  • 3. JenB  |  June 10, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    I think the vanilla ice cream analogy is PERFECT! That’s how I feel about NR. She’s good, but none of her work stands out to me. While I’ve never disliked a NR book I’ve read, I wouldn’t pick one up if other books are available. Just like going to Baskin Robbins. I’d *never* order vanilla there.

    Reply
  • 4. Renee  |  June 10, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    orannia: Yes, there are definite “meat and potato” reads where they are substantial and satisfying –for me that would be like Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, I think. Hmmm –decadent? Would erotica, maybe Sam Kane? lol Love it!

    Lori: Who would you say was chocolate?

    JenB: It’s almost embarrassing how much this was bugging me at the time I read Sea Swept. Not “hate,” you know? And, BR would definitely require some mint chip or jamocha almond fudge. 😉

    Reply
  • 5. Barbara  |  June 10, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Hey Renee!! Wow, I never really thought about food/book combos. But I definitely get the whole “Meat & Potato” reads. BTW, I LOVE vanilla icecream. It’s so underrated!!

    Reply
  • 6. Renee  |  June 10, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Barbara: I think that I think about food too much. lol
    Yes, there is a reason why it’s the most popular flavor! 🙂

    Reply
  • 7. Carolyn Crane (CJ)  |  June 11, 2009 at 7:20 am

    Cute! Yes! Yes! Pringles. Aren’t they good? And perfect for BDB. Well, How about the Anita Blake series as pizza? It’s substantial, yummy, it fills you up, though the first books were thin crust – yummy! But later she went to deep dish, and while yummy, the balance is gone. I am hoping ST marks a return to thin crust. OMG, I’m hungry, too! We ordered pizza last night, and I didn’t get enough, and I was SO starving.

    Reply
  • 8. KatiDancy  |  June 11, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Hm. Well, I’m a mint chocolate chip kind of girl.

    But it’s an interesting analogy you mention about Nora Roberts and vanilla ice cream. I’ll be the first to say that she is an absolute auto buy for me and is my favorite author. But yes, there is a constancy about her books. And I can see why, if for no other reason than sheer proliferation, that people would begin to find every book the same. But for me, it IS that constancy that makes her so comforting. She has a stable of heroines and heroes that she mixes and matches, and for me, it works.

    I think probably because I am a total creature of habit and her books are consistently satisfying to me. They give me smart heroines, heroes I usually like and a sense of place that always makes me want to go wherever the book is set. But I think when you have 280 million books in print, it’s easy to understand why people feel that way about her writing.

    But for me, Nora is a sure thing. I know when I open her book that I’ll most likely fall in love with the hero and the setting. It’s her constancy that endears her to me.

    Reply
  • 9. Renee  |  June 11, 2009 at 9:19 am

    CJ: I love it! She went from thin crust (yes, my favorite) to deep dish, huh? I’ve got hopes for Skin Trade, too, based on Doug’s review. Balance is good.

    Kati: You make a good point about the consistency, and knowing what you get with NR. Sort of those comfort reads Katibabs was posting about. I do have to say, I really like the strength of her heroines. I think it’s one of my favorite thing about the books I’ve read by her.
    A “sure thing” in an author is a rare thing. And, there’s nothing like putting yourself into the hands of an author who writes with confidence and skill. The author that comes closest to that for me is Kelley Armstrong.

    Reply
  • 10. willaful  |  June 11, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I actually started reading Roberts recently for just about exactly that reason. It’s the ole reliable. You know what you’ll get, you know it’ll do the job. And to continue the food metaphor, she clears the palate after a really spicy read.

    Reply
  • 11. Renee  |  June 11, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    willaful: Cool! It’s funny, cause I always view historicals as my palate cleansers. And, you know, it’s for that same reason. 🙂

    Reply
  • 12. Rosie  |  June 13, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Renee, your post certainly gave me something to think about. I can’t recall that I’ve ever made food associations with reading or a particular book before. Of course now that you’ve suggested it, I’ll probably start.

    Reply
  • […] the hood talk still makes me giggle, but boy, what fun books! I’ve posted before about their Pringle’s factor for me. I’ve only read the first 2, but when I did read them, I did not want to put them down […]

    Reply

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