Summer, 2006
A Newsletter for Lovers of Books and Food


What's on your summer reading list?

We continue to hear from book clubs with great reading ideas. When a club recommends a title, we always ask for details - Why did the book appeal to your group? How did it spark lively discussion? What foods, if any, did you pair with the book? - and then we pass the information on to you. In this newsletter, we're especially pleased to share ideas from some old friends - book clubs we featured in THE BOOK CLUB COOKBOOK.

For our part, we're savoring some free time this summer after completing the manuscript for a new book about youth book clubs, to be published in 2007. We'll keep you posted!

Please feel free to send suggestions for features you'd like to see in BOOK BYTES, and take a moment to tell us what you’re reading – and eating!

Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp


  • BOOKS AND BITES: Reading suggestions from book clubs
  • BOOK CLUB RECIPE: Peach Ice Cream
  • ENTER A win books for each member of your book club
  • INVITE AN speak to your book club by phone

    Reading suggestions from book clubs
    The Book Club of San Diego, California recommends:
    THE GLASS CASTLE by Jeanette Walls (Scribner, 2006), 304 pages

    "We were unanimous in our enthusiasm for this provocative memoir. Jeanette Walls's story of growing up in a deeply dysfunctional family is both engaging and uplifting. We appreciated Walls's matter-of-fact style as she tells about her childhood experiences with an intelligent but alcoholic father, and an irresponsible mother who the doctors in our group believe was probably mentally ill. We discussed whether court intervention could have helped this family. The resilience and resolve of the children in this story are impressive, and make this book uplifting rather than depressing. The book also made us feel that, as parents, we ourselves are doing pretty well!"

    The Bookwomen of Encinitas, California recommend:
    MARCH by Geraldine Brooks (Viking, 2005), 288 pages

    "Our group agreed that it was quite bold for a contemporary author to undertake writing a companion book to a classic like LITTLE WOMEN - and that she did so successfully. Based on the diaries of Bronson Alcott, the novel LITTLE WOMEN, and extensive Civil War research, MARCH allowed us a glimpse into the familiar story of the March family from a completely different perspective. We enjoyed our discussion of how Reverend March's high ideals impacted his decisions, and ultimately his family. The familiar historical figures and events, from key figures of the Transcendentalist and Abolitionist movements to the gruesome realities of the Civil War, lent the book a sense of depth and vitality. After reading MARCH, we all viewed Marmee and her daughters a little differently, and some of us went back and re-read LITTLE WOMEN."
    Paired with: A dinner of grilled summer vegetables (eggplant, peppers, portobello, onion, zucchini, and yellow squash), corn pudding, and a garden salad, all in keeping with Reverend March's vegetarian sensibilities, and boysenberry-apple pie for dessert.

    Ladies of the Lake Book Group of Encino, California recommends:
    SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN by Lisa See (Random House, 2005), 272 pages

    "SNOWFLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN is a beautiful, enchanting, sometimes sorrowful story of two young women growing up in nineteenth-century China, and the friendship they develop that sustains them throughout their lives. Snow Flower and Lily meet at the age of seven and despite isolation and repression manage to communicate in a secret written language called 'nu shu.' Our group was reminded of the oppression of women for centuries and in all cultures, and the crucial role female friendship has played in giving women solace and in helping them advance. The period detail, especially as it relates to foot-binding, is emotionally charged. A 'must-read' for women!"

    Danner's Books Mystery Book Club of Muncie, Indiana recommends:
    BONE COLD by Erica Spindler (Mira, 2001), 512 pages

    "Anna North survived an attack by a madman twenty- three years ago in which the attacker cut off her little finger. Anna has become a writer of thrillers, but she writes under a pen name and finally feels safe. Then the letters from a disturbed fan start to arrive and a very close friend of hers disappears. Could her past be linked to the disappearance of her friend and the murder of three women in New Orleans? Our group was intrigued by the fact that, even after twenty-three years, Anna still wasn't safe from the madman. The book left you with the feeling that even though you take precautions, if someone wants to do you harm, they will find a way. We talked about how believable the characters were and how well Spindler developed them. This was a real page turner - you had to read just one more page before going to bed."
    Paired with: Homemade peach - bone cold - ice cream.

  • (See Recipe)

    Peach Ice Cream
    When book store owner Susan Danner wanted a “bone cold” recipe to pair with Erica Spindler’s mystery of the same name (see book recommendation above), she settled on peach ice cream, a frosty favorite her family has enjoyed for years. Although the recipe makes a large quantity, “it never lasts very long because it is sooooooooooooo good,” says Danner. “This recipe makes twenty to thirty normal servings, but we usually use large cereal bowls, so it goes fast.” The members of her mystery book club, who meet at Danner’s Book’s in Muncie, Indiana, agreed that it was a chilling match for the title.

    If you’re planning for a smaller gathering, just cut the recipe in half.

    Danner found the recipe, from the Jordan Pond House in Bar Harbor, Maine, in THE FORD TREASURY OF FAVORITE RECIPES FROM FAMOUS EATING PLACES, edited by Nancy Kennedy (Simon & Schuster, 1946).


    This recipe requires an electric or hand-operated ice cream maker. After combining the ingredients, follow instructions on your ice cream maker to freeze the mixture into ice cream. You'll need to freeze the ice cream in several batches, depending on the size of your ice cream maker.

    Danner says she uses equal amounts of whipping cream and half-and-half in place of heavy cream.

    3-1/2 to 4 pounds fresh ripe peaches (about 8-10 medium peaches), peeled and pitted
    5-1/2 cups sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup lemon juice
    3-1/2 quarts heavy cream (see note)

    Cut peaches into chunks and mash with a potato masher. Add sugar, salt, lemon juice, and cream. Use an ice cream maker to freeze into ice cream.

    Yield: 20-30 servings

    to win a copy of HUNGER AND THIRST for each member of your book club
    Send us an email by August 10, and we'll enter your name in a contest to win free books for your book club! The winning book club will be drawn randomly. Each member of the winning book club will receive a copy of Daniela Kuper's HUNGER AND THIRST, a novel about a Jewish family in 1950s Chicago. (Limit: 15 members)

    To enter the drawing, click on the link below, and send us a message saying "ENTER DRAWING." Also include your name, the name of your book club, and the city and state where your book club meets.

    Congratulations to Karen Sagun of Valrico, Florida, the winner of last month's book club contest. Karen's book group, the Bloomingdale Book Babes, meets at the Bloomingdale branch of the Hillsborough County Library. Each member received a copy of POPE JOAN, Donna Woolfolk Cross's dramatic novel about the only woman ever to sit on the throne of St. Peter. And, the group will chat about the novel with the author later this summer!

    to join your book club discussion
    Our directory of authors ready to chat with your book club on the phone continues to grow. This month, we're pleased to welcome Christopher Castellani, author of A KISS FROM MADDALENA and THE SAINT OF LOST THINGS to the program.

    To browse our complete list of authors and their books, click on the link below. You can also download our INVITE AN AUTHOR flier, which makes it easy to share details of the program with your book club. Once you've decided which author(s) you'd like to invite, contact the author(s) directly through our website and arrange a date to speak with them. We hope you'll give it a try!

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