Extra! Extra! Children's Librarian Leads Discussion on Adult Books!

Once again, my job and food somehow end up intersecting. Every week, my division (Collection Development) has a meeting to try to keep our act together (or get our act together, depending on who you ask). I’m the only “kiddie lit” person there; otherwise, it’s the coordinator, the manager, and the two adult selectors. Our YA selector, just to keep things interesting, is in an entirely differently department. The result of all this is that I sit through a 2-hour meeting every week that has very little to do with children’s literature.

But – hark! – last week the “adult people” started planning their next genre workshop. They pick a topic (past topics have been graphic novels, literary fiction, and narrative nonfiction), limit the attendance to 15 people, and have a discussion about the characteristics of that genre. They ask everyone who attends to read at least one book from the genre beforehand. Some people participate because they either 1) know nothing about the genre and want to learn more, or 2) are passionate about the genre and want to meet others who feel the same. So the adult people were planning the next workshop and looking for topics. I couldn’t resist: I piped up, “What about foodie books?” I fully expected derisive eye-rolling because 1) I’m a “kiddie lit” person, 2) I’ve never even been to one of their genre workshops, and 3) everyone is so sick of me talking about food all the time. But no! I got nods and smiles and warm rays of light coming from the adult people. So I continued: “Not just cookbooks, because that’s a genre in and of itself. But I’m talking about books like Omnivore’s Dilemma, Alice Waters and Chez Panisse…books like that. Biographies, travelogues that center around food, tell-alls from the restaurant world.” So H. says, “That’s a great idea. Who wants to lead it?” Before I could clamp my big ol’ mouth shut, I squeak excitedly, “Me!”

So here I am. As if I didn’t have enough to do. But the truth is, I’m completely excited. I have a brief opportunity to expand my daily job to include children’s books and foodie books. It’s a rare opportunity so I fully intend on having fun and running with it. Naturally, I already have titles spinning around in my head:

Books I’ve Read

- The Amateur Gourmet: How to Shop, Chop, and Table Hop Like a Pro by Adam Roberts
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
- Don't Try This at Home: Culinary Catastrophes from the World's Greatest Chefs by Kimberly Witherspoon
- French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano (the book responsible for this journey I'm on)
- From Here You Can’t See Paris: Seasons of a French Village and its Restaurant by Michael S. Sanders (my review)
- Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl
- Heirloom: Notes of an American Tomato Farmer by Tim Stark
- Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
- Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
- Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
- The Perfect Egg and Other Secrets by Aldo Buzzi

Books On My To-Read List:

- Eating My Words: An Appetite for Life by Mimi Sheraton
- Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin
- In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
- Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Food by Herve This
- Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children by Ann Cooper
- Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor by Herve This
- My Life in France by Julia Child
- An Omelette and a Glass of Wine by Elizabeth David
- Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter by Phoebe Damrosch
- We’ve Always Had Paris…and Provence by Patricia Wells

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – there are about 10 books more on my to-read list that I didn’t even note here. Anyone have anything else for me to add to my booklist? Remember, it’s for posterity. I plan on bringing a big list to the workshop.

Eat, drink, and read whenever you’re not cooking

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