The other week, I was finally able to keep my promise to Sofia to get her own library card. Once we filled out the requisite forms and went to the children’s section (all themed up in Wizard of Oz), she almost seemed overwhelmed by the sheer number of books to choose from. She asked me how many books she could take, and I said “How many do you want to borrow?” She thought about it for a moment, then said “Five”. Well, she picked out five in less than a minute. She stopped and said we could go now that she’d chosen five. I told her we could borrow a few more if she wanted. She just stared at me in awe. We ended up with nine books. So, here’s a peek into what we’re reading right now:
I’m always interested in novels and that have to do with food or cooking, and I’d read great reviews about Sweetbitter. The book follows a young woman as she moves to New York and works as a server in a popular restaurant. The moody atmosphere and rolling existential crises the main character moves through reminds me of my own life in the Big Apple as a naive twenty-something.
I’ve never read any David Mitchell books, though I’m aware of their complexity and how he likes to play with time/space. I picked up Slade House on a whim while killing time at the Pittsburgh airport, and couldn’t put it down. It’s a riveting sort of whodunit that always throws you off just as you think you’ve got things figured out.
One of my literary heroines is Isabel Allende. I’m always moved by the imagery and elements of magical realism in her books. (If you’ve never read her memoir Paula, I suggest you buy or download it immediately.) I’ve just started reading The Japanese Lover, but already am drawn into this other world of Allende’s making.
Sofia is unaware of the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, and her literary picks are based completely on the cover illustrations. She was immediately drawn to Leaves by David Ezra Stein. The cute little bear goes through his first fall, winter, and spring, teaching kids about seasonal changes.
Of the nine books, I picked out a couple that were Caldecott winners, because I want the kids to also read books of literary quality. I chose Maurice Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen, which she didn’t want to read at first because the cover confused her. Once we began reading it, though, she enjoyed it very much and wanted to read it again.
Like me, Sofia is a big fan of TV shows and books about food. She picked Carrot Soup because carrots are among her favorite vegetables. What’s adorable about this book is that there is an actual recipe for carrot soup at the end (see below). Of course, Sofia insisted on having carrot soup for dinner the next day. It was actually really delicious! A little tip: a bit of dill (I used dried dill weed, but fresh would probably be even better) made all the difference.
Rabbit’s favorite carrot soup
(From the book by John Segal)
2 pounds carrots–washed, peeled and shredded
4 14 ounce cans chicken broth
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
salt & pepper
5 sprigs fresh dill or parsley, minced
1. Saute the onion and celery in butter in a large covered pot until tender.Add the shredded carrots and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer with the pot covered for about half hour.
3. Let cool slightly. Puree the mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add dill or parsley. Serve.