Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Expanded Research Reading List: Updated

Did I mention how I always loved research when I was in school? I can be methodical when I set my heart to it. Pulling different ideas together and seeing the connections - it can be very rewarding. Sometimes I wonder if I should have pursue a career in the research field.

I digress - because I can never think straight. This is an expanded reading list - I'm probably not going to tackle all of them. But it will be a good guide when I search the library.

The book I am most excited about is Wendy Johnson's Gardening at the Dragon's Gate. But the book seems to be under-going reprint or something. It's out of stock from the distributors and I will not be able to place an order for it at the moment. That, and it's not available from the local library. I sigh.

I'm reading Tender at the Bone right now, and loving it. Ruth Reichl's light and humorous memoir of the people who influence her culinary passions makes me want to read all her books. Hopefully this weekend I can pick up Comfort Me With Apples (Anyone else smiled at the M.F.K. Fisher reference? It takes very little to delight me) and Garlic and Sapphires.

I've re-organised the reading list. I started the list as part of the research for the novel I am writing (very slowly). I am interested in how we approach food, and by extension, how we approach the other aspects of our lives - family, friends,lovers - and aspirations. Oh, yes - the farming/gardening aspect is relevant.

So, I've divided the list into a primary reading list - books with themes directly relevant to my novel (oh, it sounds so exciting). Other books that are of interest - and I might pick them up one day just because I want to - I've included them in the Supplementary List.

Thank you for all the suggestions.

Slightly Updated Research Reading List:

Supplementary List:


Doc Martian said...

be sure and add 'the joy of cooking' to that. while it has some anecdotal matter... it excels in providing a huge range of methodologies for preparing food.

darkorpheus said...

Doc Thanks - but right now the list seems longer than I can cope. I'm thinking I might start trimming it down.

Jill said...

The Apprentice and Kitchen Confidential are two of my favorite food books - and I also love the ones by Ruth Reichl - have you read them? 'Cause you clearly need to add a whole bunch more books to that list. :-)

Bybee said...

My Life In France is on the TBR.
Your's so wonderful. I could just reach out and gobble the very words off your blog.

Anonymous said...

It's true, you could always add more to this list. But it's wonderful just as it is! Thanks for the visual of all of our suggestions. I'm printing it out!

darkorpheus said...

Darla Another recommendation for The Apprentice (and Bourdain - but I have Kitchen COnfidential on the shelves already).

I think I'm going to pick up The Apprentice tomorrow. :)

Bybee *Laughs* I can imagine. I had so much fun compiling this list. And I can justify doing this for work - since it's "enriching my product knowledge"! :)

TJ I agree with you and Darla. I can definitely add more titles onto the list - but it will most likely spin out of control.

I'll work on this list first. And maybe later add more titles onto it.

Or maybe I should just add stuff on for friends who are interested.

You think?

Carl V. Anderson said...

I was never a lover of the research in school. Maybe for a bit in elementary school, but by the time I got to college it was my least favorite thing to do. I guess I do research things on a smaller scale now for posts or other things and I certainly enjoy it. Probably all about whether you are doing it for yourself, and something you love, or being forced to do it.

Ovidia said...

I love Ruth Reichl & MFK Fischer (though she 'novelizes' without realising it, first time I cried on remembering not reading a cookbook was over her drunk recently fired waiter scene with all its impending war echoes... oh yes & her starving refugees hurrying past bloated cows lowing to be milked. Sorry got carried away) too!

Can I ask what your novel is about?

Not going to poach, just wondering whether you'd think of looking at Elizabeth David's 'An Omelette & A Glass of Wine' & Lesley Downer's 'Japanese Vegetarian Cooking'--a couple of my favourite books to read even if not cook out of!

darkorpheus said...

Carl I am surprised that you don't like research. Your blog features often show a depth of knowledge on the subject - which I always attribute to very thorough research (and passion).

Like you say: it's probably whether you like the subject - and whether you are forced to do it or not.

Ovidia I prefer MFK Fisher when she's more contemplative, or funny. Like the little oranges she would put on the radiator to eat, or the eating of snails. I LOVE "Consider the Oysters" - I did yearn for some oysters after reading it. But I resisted.

The NOVEL: *sigh* I wish I have a better idea on what it is myself.

I started off just wanting to write a fluff piece. The sort of fluffy romantic comedy with pink covers - but with a dykey-twist. Just for amusement. I wasn't going for yoga class, so I had all these free time.

But the moment I actually start to think about the story, the characters, it became larger. Suddenly more characters started coming into the picture, they started having relationships, unresolved conflicts, etc.

But I started wtih 2 main characters - Cecily and Charlie. the story explores why Cecily is a farmer, and why Charlie chose to be a chef - and how they made their choices for similar reasons.

I guess you can say the story is about finding your life's work, what it means to you, and finding someone who shares the same priorities.

I wrote something to Darla earlier in one of the other posts:

One of my lifelong questions is this: why we choose the profession we do? (Given that we have a choice, of course.)

Why be a chef, an artist, a farmer, a writer?

For some of us, the choice is a spiritual/deeply profound one. Sometimes coming to a profession can be just as mysterious as falling in love.

Why do you love this person, and not another? Why are you a chef, and not a banker?

The reasons are so personal, and so very interesting.

What does it mean to choose a path, and to dedicate your life to it?

And Bloglily wrote something about her own novel - "It’s a book about loving well, loving badly, wanting love, not needing love."

It raises a question that I often ask myself: do we ever "find" Love?

I have an idea at least, of how I might want to end the story. I have come to believe that often, we meet certain people whom we are "meant" to meet. Our lives are changed for having known them. But once they fulfilled their purpose, they move on - and it is futile to try to hold on to them.

It's something I have come to believe in from personal experiences, and from my own readings on Buddhist related books.

Don't think I make much sense on what the story is about. I hope writing this story will help me walk through some questions.

Bybee said...

I really liked Tender At The Bone...that recipe for schnitzel is one I've used again and again. I still smile when I think of the chapter in which Ruth's parents return unexpectedly early back home, and how Ruth uses her culinary skills to pull a fast one on them.

darkorpheus said...

Bybee Was it the chapter where she invited her friends over for the night - then they just sat around as she prepared breakfast?

Anonymous said...

ah, i love your lists! haha!

i'm an autistic list-writer myself...! :D

darkorpheus said...

JP Hee. It always feels so good - so accomplished to do up all these lists. ;p

purplefugue said...

Hey! have you checked out that cookbook cafe in Keong Saik Road? They've got a good selection of cooking fiction.

Hope you enjoy Comfort Me With Apples - great book!

darkorpheus said...

Kisane - Hah! I was around the area in March - we were celebrating my birthday at Whatever Cafe. I planned to drop by the cookbook cafe - but then we forgot all about it!

I was at the library today - and somebody else borrowed "Comfort Me With Apples"! Damn!