Fall, 2006
A Newsletter for Lovers of Books and Food


As fall approaches, book clubs across the country are meeting again and planning their reading agendas. That's where we can help! Our newsletter features new book recommendations - three fascinating non-fiction titles and a classic - that will get your group thinking and talking. Don't forget to check out our great fall recipe from a book club, and take a moment to enter a drawing to win books for your group.

Many of you have told us how much you appreciate reading suggestions, so we've created a new page on our website where you can quickly access book recommendations from all our past newsletters. Click the "Book Recommendations" button on our home page to browse the list.

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 fall!

Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp


  • BOOKS AND BITES: Reading suggestions from book clubs
  • BOOK CLUB RECIPE: Applesauce Spice Cake
  • ENTER A DRAWING...to win copies of Jacquelyn Mitchard's lastest novel for each member of your book club
  • INVITE AN AUTHOR...to speak to your book club by phone

    Reading suggestions from book clubs
    Ravenous Readers of Vero, Beach, Florida recommends:
    TALES OF A FEMALE NOMAD: LIVING AT LARGE IN THE WORLD by Rita Golden Gelman (Crown, 2001), Nonfiction, 320 pages

    "This account of very different cultures and parts of the world is fascinating. The author lives in Central America for a few years, and then she goes to Bali, where she rents a room for many years and learns the country's language and culture. She also uses Bali as a base to travel to other, less developed locations in Indonesia. In a sense, she creates a new family for herself from those she meets abroad, and the personal connections she makes shows that travel is as much about people as it is about places. The book depicts the situation many middle-aged women find themselves in--empty nest and divorce-- and shows that for some women those endings open the door to freedom, travel, and an entirely different life. We found that message inspiring, although we also realized that not everyone would embrace the option she chooses. "

    WOW (Women of Words) of Green Valley, Arizona recommends:
    FIRST MOTHERS: THE WOMEN WHO SHAPED THE PRESIDENTS by Bonnie Angelo (William Morrow, 2000), Nonfiction, 451 pages

    "Our book club really enjoyed FIRST MOTHERS. Angelo, a veteran reporter and writer for TIME, gave factual accounts of the presidents' mothers along with colorful background information. The book is fairly long so we divided the chapters among our members with each reviewing one of the mothers. We discussed how each mother was a "pusher" for success. Education was stressed in their homes. The biggest difference seemed to be money. Some were from impoverished but hardworking environments and others were from wealthy backgrounds. After all the mini- reviews we had a general discussion and discovered that we all had read more than our own assigned chapter."

    Paired with: a fruit pie from the chapter on Richard Nixon's mother, "Fifty Pies Before Breakfast." "Nixon's mother used to get up very early and bake fifty pies to sell in their roadside market. Nixon would drive the truck into the city at the crack of dawn (or earlier!) to pick up supplies, and spend the pre- breakfast hours with his mother cutting fruit, rolling dough, and baking the pies."

    Thoreau Reading Group of Concord, Massachusetts recommends:
    WILL IN THE WORLD: HOW SHAKESPEARE BECAME SHAKESPEARE by Stephen Greenblatt (Norton, 2004), Nonfiction, 386 pages

    "We were overwhelmed by the depth and breadth of Greenblatt's knowledge of Shakespeare and his ability to write in such an accessible manner. Most of us learned an enormous amount about Shakespeare and the world he lived in. We discussed Shakespeare's religion, writing processes, business sense, family relationships, sexual orientation, and, most of all, his impact on the theater and his ability to produce plays that still feel current and relevant. We were also struck by the number of new words that Shakespeare created in his work."

    Bookenders of Lee's Summit, Missouri recommends:
    SO BIG by Edna Ferber (1924; Harperperennial, 2000), Fiction, 272 pages

    "At the age of nineteen, Selina finds herself teaching in a farm town outside of Chicago after the loss of her father. Having grown up accustomed to finer things, she is now living in a farmhouse without conveniences. She marries a widower and after a few years, becomes a widow herself with a young son, and is determined to raise him to be successful. Ferber writes of all classes of people in turn-of-the-century Chicago: the poor, the farmers, the working class, a woman in a man's world, and the rich. We talked about the physical characteristics Ferber refers to in people, such as their hands, their smile, their eyes. Ms. Ferber was a noted feminist, and in this book she made her female characters strong and at times controlling. Money was another strong theme. The characters who earn their money, respect it, and those who inherit money, do not. Ms. Ferber's small book has more details, characters, themes, and layers, than most books written today. A must read."

    Paired with: apple desserts to reflect the book's farm setting, including apple pie and applesauce spice cake (see recipe)

    Kathy Hayes served this recipe for Applesauce Spice Cake adapted from THE BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS COOKBOOK when her Missouri Bookenders book group discussed Edna Ferber's SO BIG (see book recommendation above), a novel partially set on a midwestern farm. Hayes also served apple pie and a bowl of apples, all to reflect the book's farm scenes and numerous references to apple desserts.

    Note: Hayes uses 1/4 cup canola oil and 1/4 cup butter in place of 1/2 cup butter.

    1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine (see note)
    2 cups granulated sugar
    2 eggs
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    1 1/2 cups applesauce
    1/2 chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
    1/2 cup raisins (optional)
    Confectioners' sugar or whipped cream for topping

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13x9x2- inch pan.

    2. Cream butter, and gradually add sugar, creaming until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well after each addition.

    3. Stir together dry ingredients, and add alternately with applesauce to creamed mixture. Stir in nuts and raisins, if using.

    4. Turn batter into prepared pan. Bake at about 45 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch. Cool in pan.

    5. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar or top with whipped cream before serving.

    to win a copy of Jacquelyn Mitchard's new novel CAGE OF STARS for each member of your book club
    Send us an email by September 20, 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 Jacquelyn Mitchard's CAGE OF STARS, about a twelve-year-old Mormon girl, Ronnie, who is grief-stricken after the murder of her two sisters. Although her parents come to forgive the murderer, who is mentally ill, Ronnie plots vengeance. The Washington Post called CAGE OF STARS "nearly impossible to set down." (Limit: 15 copies)

    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. Please submit just one entry for each book club. You're welcome to enter each month!

    Congratulations to the Newcomers Book Club of Fredericksburg, Texas, the winner of last month's book club contest. Fifteen members of the group received a copy of Daniela Kuper's HUNGER AND THIRST, a novel about a Jewish family in 1950s Chicago. The group will enjoy a chat about the novel with Daniela Kuper this fall.

    to join your book club discussion
    Our directory of authors ready to chat with your book club on the phone continues to grow. 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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