Foodies Read 2015

I participated in this challenge (hosted by Vicki @ I’d Rather Be at the Beach) back in 2011. I have a hobby interest in food and cooking. I like to read about where food comes from and how to eat sustainably. One of the biggest challenges of living in Japan for me is cooking. It’s difficult for me to source and make the foods I love (if only I loved fish and seafood!). I hope that by participating in this challenge I’ll remember why I’m interested in eating right. I’m aiming for Pastry Chef (four to eight books). A trip to Thailand last month has really motivated to want to start cooking Thai food at home (even if that means waiting until I get back to Canada, where ingredients from far flung countries are easily available). Hopefully I can scrounge up enough ingredients here to make some of the dishes in my cookbook. These are some of the books I might try:

  1. Quick and Easy Thai: 70 Everyday Recipes by Nancie McDermott (cookbook)
  2. The Original Thai Cookbook by Jennifer Brennan (cookbook)
  3. Sous Chef: 24 Hour On the Line by Michael Gibney (memoir? non-fiction? fiction??)
  4. Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces by Gayla Trail (non-fiction)
  5. Salt, Sugar and Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss (non-fiction)
  6. The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber (non-fiction)
  7. Cooked: A History of Natural Transformation by Michael Pollan (non-fiction)
  8. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley (graphic novel memoir)
  9. Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks and Good Food by Jeff Potter (cookbook/non-fiction)

The last two I saw on Louise’s list and thought they sounded fun. Do you have any food-related book recommendations for me?

The Official 2015 TBR Pile Challenge

I participated in this challenge (hosted by Adam @ Roofbeam Reader) in 2011 and 2012. Now that I’m full swing into book blogging, I want to give it another go!


  1. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
  2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  3. The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle
  4. Three Day Road by Joseph Borden
  5. Predictably Irrational by Dan Arriely
  6. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  7. Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
  8. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
  9. Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss
  10. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
  11. Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman
  12. Quiet by Susan Cain
  13. Brain on Fire by Susannah Calahan (alternate)
  14.  Thank-you for Your Service by David Finkel (alternate)

    I think I’ve got a good selection this year. I am very interested in all the books on this list, even the alternatives. Have you read any of these books? Will you participate in the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge?

    To Be Read Tag

    A companion post to yesterday’s Tidying the TBR List“. As I mentioned yesterday, I like reviewing my TBR shelf at the end of the year. Here are some questions that made me think about how I use my ‘TBR pile’. Found via Jamie @ Perpetual Page Turner.

    • How do you keep track of your TBR?
      • I use Goodreads’ to-be-read shelf. I also have to-be-read-SUBJECT shelves so when I’m the mood for a certain type of read I can easily find one. This includes books friends have recommended to me, books I’ve read about online, books I spotted in the library, books to be published, books I’ve purchased. If I’ve come across a book somewhere, anywhere and I might want to read it, I add it to the Goodreads shelf.
    • Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?
      • I don’t really understand this question ^^; If it’s referring to books I own that are on the TBR, then definitely physical. In general – I have a list of books to read. I’ll read a book however I can get a hold of it. Usually that means physical books borrowed from the library or purchased for myself. However, since I’m living in Japan, now it means ebooks (borrowed or purchased). 
    • How do you determine what to read next?
      • Usually I go by whatever I’m in the mood for. I’m currently blazing through a YA fantasy trilogy that wasn’t even on the list, because that’s what I felt like reading. Occasionally I’ll decide to read a book just because it’s a new release. But mostly, I browse the TBR list to find something that suits my mood.
    • A book that has been on your TBR the longest
      •  On my Goodreads TBR shelf – Collapse by Jared Diamond, on the list since 7 February 2012.  (when I decided to really start using GoodReads in June 2012, I added a number of books I had listed in a Word document). But I’ve wanted to read The Silmarillion since grade seven…I’m so nervous about finishing it, though, I want to save it for as long as possible! (Silly reasoning, but that’s that. Next year probably I will give it a serious go.) 

    • A book you recently added to your TBR
      •  A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar – I hadn’t heard of this book until a friend recently reviewed it. It sounds like something I would enjoy, so I added it.
    • A book on your TBR solely for the beautiful cover
      •  Ooh, I try not to be swayed by covers…but if I was, I would have added Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen.
    • A book on your TBR you never plan on reading
      • In yesterday’s post, I wrote about nixing such books. There are still a few I like to think I’ll read some day…but probably won’t. One Hundred Years of Solitude is one such book.
    • An unpublished book on your TBR you’re excited about
      •  Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman – now that the Unwind books have wrapped up, I’m excited to see what he tackles next!
    • A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you
      • The Giver has the most GoodReads ratings on my TBR shelf (+950,000! The book with the second most ratings [speak of the devil – One Hundred Years of Solitude] has ~430,000).
    • A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you
      • I don’t get many personal book recommendations, so I think I’ll just go with The Giver again here. 
    • How many books are on your GoodReads TBR shelf?
      • 462 – for my first two years on GoodReads I kept it under 100, but there’s no containing it now!

    Leave a link (or an answer to any of these questions) in the comments if you fill in this tag!

    Tidying the TBR List

    I originally titled this post ‘Clearing out the TBR List’, but that’s actually just a small part of my annual TBR list review. Once upon a time I liked to keep the list under 100 books. Last summer, the list exploded and it’s been growing at a rapid rate since I got back into book blogging. Once or twice a year I like to comb through that list and remind myself of all the incredible books waiting for me. I also use that review time to make shelving adjustments (re-shelve books, create new shelves) and remove books I’m no longer interested in. I don’t mind having a big TBR list. I like to keep my choices open – sometimes I’ll start five dud books before I get to a really good one – and I don’t feel obligated to read everything on the list. But I do like to keep things tidy. After all, so many books, so little time! I realize this more with each passing year. I can afford to be picky about what’s on my TBR list. Factors for removal can include a book’s premise, reviews from friends or strangers, length, or any other arbitrary reason. A reason for removing one book might not be applied to another. I can be ruthless but I’m not too concerned. Even if I’ve mistakenly axed a great read, there are dozens more to fill its space. It’s almost frivolous to even bother with these removals but I like feeling that I made some effort toward getting the list under control 😉 I start with the books that have been on the list the longest and work my way through. Here are the books that didn’t survive the cut:

    1. Lolita – I tried it a couple summers ago, read maybe 50 pages, couldn’t get into it. I know it’s a great classic but that’s the only reason it’s on the list. I’m not at all compelled to read it, so good-bye. 
    2. The Great Reset – I bought this in an angry fit of book buying around the time it was first released (in 2010, the library had offered me three jobs but I couldn’t accept any of them due to scheduling). I regretted it immediately afterwards but have been holding onto it since then. Now it’s probably even less relevant to me. I’m finally going to pass it on. 
    3. Reading Lolita in Tehran – Another book on the list because I bought it, almost six years ago, from Shakespeare and Co. The premise sounds fascinating but a few times I tried to read it and it didn’t captivate me. Now after reading other reviews, I’m in no rush to read it. I’ll keep the book (it has a stamp!) but I’m taking it off the TBR list. 
    4. Ballad of the Whiskey Robber – Added last year on recommendation from a fellow WWOOFer. Doesn’t interest me much. 
    5. Internal Time – At one point I wanted to learn about this topic, but now I’ve improved my own sleep schedule so I don’t really care anymore 😛
    6. The Lusiads – A poem from the 1500s? How did this make it onto my list in the first place?! I think the story sounded good to me. I must not have noticed the form. 
    7. The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer – Not sure why this was on the list in the first place…I don’t really do letters.
    8. Corpalism – Recommended to me by a new-at-the-time Goodreads friend, I added it because I didn’t want to offend. Removing now cos it’s too long of a book for a story I have no interest in (and I’m no longer friends with that person :P) 
    9. Hawthorn and Child – After rereading the premise and the review that made me think I would like it, I no longer think I would like it much. 
    10. Sleep Donation – It looks okayyyyy, not something I’d usually read, but I think I mostly added it because of the cover. If perhaps there weren’t hundreds of other books I’d rather read, I’d give it a go. 
    11. The Three – I liked the premise but not the format. 
    12. Fangirl – John Green liked it and so did many other people, but I’m not sure why I ever added it to the list.
    13. Asleep – I tried reading it a few months ago, couldn’t get it into it, should have removed it then. 

    So I didn’t clear out too many…Does it even make a difference if I only reduced the list by ~3%?! But at least I got to browse through all the books and remind myself of all the amazing looking stories I want to read! Have I made any big mistakes in axing these books? Do you ever clear out your TBR pile?

    Upcoming Reading

    September is here! I’ve already got some posts lined up.  I only finished two books in August, but I started a third yesterday that I’m blazing through. The list of books I want to start reading in the next month or two is getting a bit of hand, so I thought I’d make a blog post to keep track and show you what’s in store now that I’ve settled in a bit. These are all ebooks that I own.

    • The Swallow: A Ghost Story by Charris Cotter- Everything in this book’s description appealed to me! The cover is cute as well. I started yesterday and I will probably finish it today.
    • July Crisis: The World’s Descent Into War, Summer1914 by Thomas Otte – This is a hefty book but it sounds like a really informative read.
    • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson – This is the book I won during the Summer Library Reading Challenge.
    • The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith – I’ve had this one for awhile, just need to get around to it.
    • Stripped: The True Story of Depeche Mode by Jonathan Miller – I’ve only read this book cover to cover once, maybe three or four years ago. I’m even more of a DM fan now and I really want to read it again so I picked up a digital copy to read here.
    • Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die  – I’ve joined a book club for the first time here because I think it will be a good way to socialize. I’ve never been interested in book clubs because I’m picky about what I read, but this book looks okay. 
    • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami – The new Murakami book, available in English as of August! It’s sitting on my iPad, patiently waiting to be opened…
    • Blood & Gold (The Ferryman and the Flame 2.5) by Rhiannon Paille – I’ve finished book two and am ready for this in-between-er.
    • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien – I really need to start this one, but I want to give it my full attention. I don’t want to rush through it or read it when I’m distracted by living in Japan. You only get one chance to read a book for the first time; I want to do it properly! 😛 It may be a little while yet…

    What’s on your reading list?