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Book Review – Consider the Fork

considerConsider the Fork — Bee Wilson

Consider the Fork is a history about cooking and eating and everything else food-related. It describes not only how a refrigerator works but also every failure and minor success along the way, as well as how refrigeration changed cooking, and why it took the French so much longer to adopt  than it did Americans. Bee Wilson doesn’t restrict her book to the realm of large appliances, however. In fact she explains how some simple devices, like the wooden spoon, have remained basically unchanged for centuries, while others, such as the vegetable peeler, weren’t perfected until very recently. And most interesting, for any homer baker, is the story of why Americans are just about the only people on earth dumb enough to measure flour by volume instead of weight. For anyone who loves to cook, loves to eat, and loves history about cooking and eating, Consider the Fork will have you considering forks, stoves, and everything in-between.

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Book Review – Wave

waveWave — Sonali Deraniyagala

I’ve read a few memoirs about loss, but Wave easily takes the cake, if cake were appropriate in such circumstances. Sure, death is a part of life, and writers can occasionally craft an amazing narrative out of death. However, Sonali Deraniyagala, during the horrific tsunami of December 2004, lost her husband, both her parents, and her two sons. The degree of this personal tragedy is unfathomable for most people. What makes Wave incredible, despite its difficult subject matter, is that the tragedy is unfathomable for the author as well. She doesn’t say that everything happens for a reason. She doesn’t feel thankful that’s she’s been put through an ordeal and that’s she’s grown stronger because of it. Instead, she’s angry, suicidal, and depressed. She feels jealousy toward other families that have fared better. She struggles, as one would expect, and she continues to struggle, year after year. Nothing is glossed over, and because of this brutal honesty, Wave is a remarkable work and a beautifully written, if harrowing, exploration of profound loss. The audiobook is available through ListenAlaska.

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