Thursday, December 24, 2015

Title: The Hundred-Foot Journey
Author: Richard C. Morais
Genre: books to movies, food, cooking, immigrant fiction

The Hundred-Foot Journey had been on my "movies to watch" list since it debuted in theaters last year. I finally watched it last month in order to earn some extra credit for my Food and Culture class. After learning that it was based off a book, I, of course, had to read it.

This is one of the rare occasions where the movie is better than the book! The move is charming, delightful, bright and colorful and gives the viewer a craving for Indian food at the end. The book is more somber. The pacing of the book is much slower than the movie, especially the first five chapters. In the book, Hassan's character starts out as a bit crude and rough around the edges and his job as the cook in the family's restaurant was by accident. In the movie he is portrayed in a more sentimental light with the natural cooking gift that was guided by his mother since he was a small child. The main characters in the book and the movie are the same but the plots points differ considerably. It wasn't a terrible book but I was expecting it to be more uplifting.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Title: Voyager
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Genre: historical fiction, romance, time travel, fantasy, books to TV

Aahhh, another semester is over and I have a few weeks of fun reading ahead of me. Diana Gabaldon's books are waaayyyy too addictive to read during the school year when I need to be focusing on homework and research papers so her books are always a delicious treat to me at the end of a stressful and busy semester. Her books are also difficult to categorize: they are a blend of historical fiction, romance (not too much!), time travel and fantasy. They are also hard to talk about with others without giving away major spoilers....

In this third installment in the Outlander series we get to see how Jamie deals with the aftermath of not dying at Culloden (not well at first). His life is spared by an English commander and he is sent on his way back to Lallybroch. Meanwhile, back in 1968 Claire, Brianna, and Roger follow the paper trail to find out what happened to Jamie after the failed Stuart Restoration. Soon Claire makes the momentous decision to go back to Jamie and she finds him... and discovers a lot of "surprises" not mentioned in the historical record: smuggling, sedition, an illegitimate son, a loveless marriage, etc. Of course Jamie and Claire are thrust into one adventure after another as they venture across the Atlantic Ocean to rescue Jamie's nephew: pirates, plague ships, hurricanes, slave revolts, etc. Oh, and the best part? The connection between the kidnapping and an old "nemesis."

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Like Water for Chocolate

Title: Like Water for Chocolate
Author: Laura Esquivel
Genre: Hispanic literature, cookbooks, romance, magical realism

I had heard for years that this was an excellent book along with its movie adaptation although I had no idea what the storyline was about. I finally watched the movie a few weeks ago for an extra credit opportunity for my Food and Culture class. I really struggled with how to tie this movie into our class discussions and readings and after reading the book, I think my difficulty was due to the fact that it's hard to define the genre of this book. It has elements of magical realism interspersed with recipes, romance, and family drama sprinkled with tiny bits of Mexican history and culture.