Posts Tagged ‘Aimee Bender’

As part of our mission to promote authors, the joy of reading, and to better understand the craft of writing, we’ve paired with the The Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont to present an ongoing series entitled “3 Questions”.  In it, we pose three questions to authors with upcoming visits to the bookstore.  Their responses are posted on The Book Jam during the days leading up to their engagement.  Our hope is that this exchange will offer insight into their work and will encourage readers to attend these special author events and read their books.

Today we feature Ann Hood, the best-selling author of The Knitting Circle, The Red Thread, and Comfort, among other works.  She has been the recipient of a Best American Spiritual Writing Award, a Best American Food Writing Award, a Best American Travel Writing Award, the Paul Bowles Prize for Short Fiction, and two Pushcart Prizes. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

She will appear at the Norwich Bookstore at 7 pm on Wednesday, December 11th to discuss her new book – Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting.  In this book, twenty-seven writers tell stories about how knitting healed, challenged, or helped them to grow. For instance, Barbara Kingsolver describes sheering a sheep for yarn. Ann Patchett traces her life through her knitting. Reservations are recommended. Call 802-649-1114 to reserve your seat.


1.What three books have helped shape you into the author you are today, and why?

Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk,  Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler, and What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver.

2.What author (living or dead) would you most like to have a cup of coffee with and why?

F. Scott Fitzgerald. Not only do I admire him as a writer, I think he would be an awful lot of fun.


3.What books are currently on your bedside table?

Aimee Bender’s new story collection, The Color Master, a South African  mystery called Random Violence by Jassy Mackenzie, and Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys.

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Listen now to  BookFeast Sept 20 2010 or download at http://www.box.net/shared/2o52yfet3j

Lisa and Lisa return from a lovely six week reading haitus to talk books and the theme this time is food.

Why food?  Well, Lisa LC is wrapping up a summer with the crepe cart at Vermont and New Hampshire farmers’ markets and J Lisa C has enjoyed bringing her kids to the cart for dinners of buckwheat crepes with delicious fillings.

In addition, both Lisas are heavily involved in organizing BookFeast: read it and eat, a series of events sponsored by the Norwich Public library to get people thinking about books, reading, food and community.

Thus, we seem to be reading books either by design or by accident that have something to do with food or feasts or cooking or taste.  Our discussion led from a memoir (a format J Lisa C ususally avoids and Lisa LC loves) to two pieces of eerily similar non fiction.   From our discussion we have a few food books we would recommend to others:

Spoon Fed: how eight cooks saved my life by Kim Severson —  With this frank memoir, Severson, takes the reader from Alaska to San Francisco and New York and always back home to the midwest of her childhood.  She covers topics as diverse as overcoming her destructive habit of excessive drinking, Italian American kitchens, coming out as a lesbian, and finding love and then motherhood and more love.  She manages to write about herself without seeming self obsessed and it was refreshing to see her mother included with the more famous Marion Cunningham, Ruth Reichel, Alice Waters and others she discusses.  We both enjoyed meeting the challenging, funky, honest person contained in these pages.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel by Aimee Bender – Lisa LC discusses the magical realism threading in this tale of familial neuroses. The main character can literally taste the emotions of whomever prepares her food, giving her unwanted insight into other people’s secrets.  Bittersweet and not terrific all the way through, this novel is worth looking at, especially in combination with the pick J Lisa C brings to today’s show.

Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong – J Lisa C LOVED this novel. Seriously LOVED all the aspects — the southern setting, the main character and her unique speech affliction, her beloved great uncle, the changing relationship with her best friend and her mother, her descriptions of both the mundane and profound aspects of life — work together for a truly, truly enjoyable read.  She is truly sad she can never read it again for the first time.

We will leave food behind for books about Pakistan and Iceland and possibly politics. (Why?  Stay tuned for the next shows.)  In the meantime, for additional information about Norwich’s October and November BookFeast: read it and eat, please visit www.norwichpubliclibrary.org.

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