2021 Reading List

Food, memories and emotions are closely linked in our brains. A taste of something can transport you to another time and place, or maybe you avoid certain foods based on past experiences or connections. In addition to cooking, I also enjoy reading about cooking because everyone approaches it in different ways: through passion, survival, nostalgia, or luck. My friend taught a culinary writing course at Portland State University recently, and many of the food memoirs I read in 2021 are included in the course reading.

food memoirs

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2020 Reading List

Whatever grand plans I originally had about the books I was going to read in 2020 went entirely out the window about halfway through March, along with many other plans. I still tried to focus on authors who were Black, indigenous, immigrant, queer or part of other marginalized groups, but when the libraries unexpectedly closed, my reading options was suddenly limited to whatever I bought from my local bookstore or was already in the house. These 42 books span 81 years, from 1939 to 2020. Several of the books link to comparisons of the original texts and film adaptations.

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Comparisons: Girl, Interrupted

“Girl, Interrupted” is the 1993 memoir by American author Susanna Kaysen. The title comes from the 1658 painting created by Johannes Vermeer called Girl Interrupted at Her Music – the author visits the painting at the Frick Collection in New York several times in the book. The text was adapted into a psychological drama film in 1999 that was directed by James Mangold, and starred Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie and Clea DuVall.

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