Cooking, Tiny Houses and Cold Places – A Year of Reading

According to the e-mail I got from Goodreads, I managed to read 150 books last year.

Which sounds great until I remembered that I have no tv, kids or pets to distract me from reading! Looking back on that list, I noticed some themes popping up that were a bit quirky and might inspire future reading.

Growing A Feast
The Kitchen Counter Cooking School

Cooking is always at the top of the list - it is nearly impossible for me to walk past a new cookbook with full color photos. But this year I found myself reading about the art of cooking more. I started off thinking about where the food grows with Growing a Feast - a lovely look at farm to table reality. Then there were Kathleen Flinn's fabulous books about cooking school - both her education in France and the school she taught in Seattle - The Sharper the Knife, The Less You'll Cry and The Kitchen Counter Cooking School.  And to throw in a fiction tale of cooking, I'll include Erica Bauermeister's The Lost Art of Mixing - you'll want to end up in this restaurant with this group of friends, and you will need tissues before the book is over.

The Big Tiny
Tiny Homes

Next was my exploration of tiny houses.  At 875 square feet, my own house isn't very large, but these books went way beyond that in terms of fitting what you need in a small space. Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter was written by Lloyd Kahn - a true guru of every kind of offbeat house you can imagine. You can get lost in his books for days. After watching a great documentary about building a tiny house, I was inspired to read The Big Tiny by Dee Williams.  A true maverick when it comes to building, she did most of the work on her house by herself. I love her sense of place and community.

City of Thieves
Between Shades of Gray

Finally, over the summer I just wanted to read books about places that were cold. And it ends up Russia was the place to be. City of Thieves by David Benioff took me to Leningrad and Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys took me to Siberia - both during World War II. A modern look at cold weather involved an off-the-charts bike ride in Cycling Home From Siberia by Rob Lilwall.

All in all, an eclectic mix of genres.  What were your reading themes for 2014?

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