Summer Bookworm 2019: Bookish Updates, Favorite Cookbooks, Fun Recommendations and How Reading Any Book Can Help Us with Our Relationship with Food
Did you hear? It’s officially Summer! I hope you’re as excited as I am for these lazy days of summer under the sun. I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks, and although the work at Brownble never stops, I get an almost total break from teaching for two whole months! We’ve got so much up our sleeves when it comes to Brownble. One of the perks of my two occupations is that when school season stops, the most exciting things at Brownble begin. It’s when we brainstorm and film the bulk of new courses, it’s when so much of the recipe testing takes place. It’s the time of year when I come up with new exciting series for the blog and podcast, and when I’m sometimes at my most creative, especially in the kitchen.
In spite of all this work (which is always the most fun part of what we do), we spend so much time by the pool, and we take the dogs to beautiful reservoirs, rivers, forests, to the mountains, and throughout all of these, and especially while Carlos barbecues and I for once get to sit and relax in the meantime, I always have a book with me.
You probably know this about me by now if you follow us on Instagram, or if you’ve listened to our podcast before, but reading is such a big part of my life. This includes wonderful cookbooks which I usually read from cover to cover just like novels, awesome fiction (mostly contemporary fiction), and lots of memoirs and other non-fiction books. Last year, right around this time I told you all about my bookish life, how I choose books, my book pet peeves, and some of my favorite titles (check out that post here or listen to ep. 90 of The Brownble Podcast), but so many books have passed through my hands since then that I thought we would make this a yearly tradition.
Another wonderful bookish update I have is that Carlos has started reading a ton too! Especially when he has time between patients at the hospital. It’s been one of the most fun things for me, as we can now talk over dinner about the amazing twists and turns. The whole dynamic works like this, I read books following all my little traditions (which I talked about here), and from those, I recommend the ones I know he’ll love (he prefers fiction to non-fiction). So far he’s loved them all! Now I only have to wait for a bit after finishing a book and I can endlessly talk about the surprising endings that previously had me hitting my head against the wall because I didn’t have anyone to share them with. He’s loved many of the fiction titles I share below.
Why Books Have Helped me So Much with My Relationship with Food
Reading has always been one of my favorite downtime activities. Together with journaling, it has been one of those amazingly helpful tools for healing my relationship with food, because it's been a huge ally in helping me with my anxiety. This is of course true when reading some of the amazing books I mentioned here, that are all about emotional health when it comes to our relationship with our bodies and food, or when it comes to navigating the world as a vegan. These books are wonderful when some of us are far away from courses or workshops, or when we can’t afford therapy or personalized care. It’s a way to shorten the distance between us and professional support. Although these books have been a Godsend (and you’ll be able to check out so many other titles through our library using the big button at the end of this post), and were detrimental to my healing, just the act of reading has a soothing and healing effect in and of itself.
Reading a good thriller can help you escape your anxious mind for a bit. Reading a great drama about family dynamics or relationships can help you get a different perspective and practice putting yourself in other people’s shoes. A delicious cookbook (while playing some tunes of course) will give you a moment in the kitchen with yourself and the celebration that cooking and ingredients can provide.
Sometimes when we’ve been struggling with our relationship with food, with our body image, with taking more steps in the vegan direction, or when we’re reading up on the basics of vegan nutrition, it can be so easy to get caught up in a vicious cycle of resource/ guru collecting. Sometimes, what we need is a little space, we need to be able to see that even when we’re working on something in ourselves, we can benefit from giving information and insights some space to settle. Especially if we’ve been restricting food, or overworrying about food, it can be such a huge help to realize there are so many other wonderful things to pay attention to. It can feel like a relief to suddenly paint a picture, make a loaf of bread, watch a movie, knit, head outside, and yes, read a book. Even when the book has nothing to do with food, nutrition or mental health, it can be a wonderful source of relief and self care to dedicate some time to other things you find interesting or entertaining.
Today I’m going to update last year’s post with some of my favorites from this year, the titles are all listed below, but if you’d like to hear more about each of them, do listen in to the podcast version, as I’ll give a brief synopsis of each of them.
Let the bookish fun begin!
A little note before we begin: We’re Amazon affiliates so if you use the links below to purchase, we get a little kickback at no additional cost to you! However, nothing we ever recommend comes from anywhere other than the huge love for these titles and their authors and we would recommend them regardless. So if you’d like to support a local bookstore instead, I’m all for that too.
Favorite Cookbooks I Tried This Year
Veggie Burger Atelier by Nina Olsson (Some recipes include cheese but she always recommends a vegan alternative)
Reposteria Vegana by Cristina Martínez Gutierrez and Luis Cortes Frau (in Spanish, linked to Amazon Spain)
The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum (for when you’re up for a challenge. Not a vegan book but many recipes are vegan by default and you can practice with making your own vegan substitutions)
Cookbooks I’m Dying To Try
Vegan Christmas by Gaz Oakley
The SuperFun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Pure Artistry: Extraordinary Vegan and Gluten Free Cakes by Emily Lael Aumiller (for when you’re up for a sweet challenge)
The Professional Chef by The Culinary Institute of America (for when you’re up for a challenge. A non-vegan resource all about professional techniques and being in a professional kitchen)
The Professional Vegan Cookbook by Brian P. McCarthy (for when you’re up for a challenge)
Gluten Free Vegan Baking for Every Occasion by Sara McGlothilin
Favorite Fiction I’ve Read This Year
The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Favorite Fiction “Light” Reads for the Pool This Year
One Day in December by Josie Silver
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Favorite Non-Fiction I’ve Read This Year
The Only Girl in the World by Maude Julien (A powerful memoir about the resilience of human beings, although with a big trigger warning, as the topics of child abuse, physical, mental and sexual abuse are present throughout the book, so proceed with caution if you’re a highly sensitive person, or have gone through trauma, and make sure to take good care of yourself afterwards).
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown (everyone should read this book!).
Don’t Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller
Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
Looking Forward to Reading
Educated by Tara Westover
The River by Peter Heller
The Mindful Self Compassion Workbook by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer
Everything I never Told You by Celeste Ng
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Here’s to wonderful book reading while your feet are warmed by the sun and buried in the sand. Don’t miss more of our recommended titles when it comes to veganism, cooking, changing your relationship with food and more by clicking the button below.