“Eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably.” – C. S. Lewis
I couldn’t agree more, Mr. Lewis.
I don’t understand people who protest about eating while reading. Really, you’re missing out. What do you gnaw on when a scene becomes unbearably tense? How do you divert the urge to gobble up an incredibly pretty book?? And this is besides the food itself! A few crumbs won’t hurt you, my child – eat and read.
Why don’t we start now? We will be talking about cake, so go grab yourself a slice and settle down comfortably.
Now, let’s get down to business.
Today, I’m doing the #CakeFlavouredBooks
tag, which I’ve pinched from #bookstagram. Cake is a delectable food and we need more of it in our lives. We can also always do with more books. Thank goodness, then, for this tag that stirs our appetite for both, will send us out to rove in cake and book stores, and will empty our pockets fill our hungry stomachs and minds. Feel free to magpie this tag for your own blogs! Just remember to give the acknowledgement due to bookstagram. And you must love cake.
Without further ado,
1. CHOCOLATE CAKE — a dark book you absolutely love
I LOVE chocolate! I think chocolate is to dessert what salt is to savoury foods – dessert doesn’t taste right unless there’s some chocolate in it.
Chocolate cake spells guilty pleasure and I think it’s the same for dark books. How can I read these books, with all the stabbing and poisoning and lives being torn apart? How can I be enjoying myself when my favourite characters could be dead the next page? But that’s the best (or worst, depends how you look at it) thing about dark books: not the killing, but the terrible insecurity of not knowing who’s going to be killed next. I want DREAD and PANIC. I want to be on the edge of my seat, knuckles white as I grip the pages, furiously stress-eating my chocolate cake.
People don’t fall dead much faster than in A Song of Ice and Fire. George R. R. Martin clearly believes that the pen is a mighty sword and he wields it mercilessly. I remember being stunned when Ned Stark died in the first book because I had thought he was a key character. He was. In the first book, anyway. The point is he was still killed off. I think I felt most insecure when Joffrey killed Lady (Sansa’s direwolf). SHE WAS AN INNOCENT CREATURE. WHO IS SAFE?? No one.
2. VANILLA CAKE — a light read
When I hear vanilla, I think warm and fluffy. The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is a vanilla book. It’s a coming-of-age novel set in 1950s England and follows the escapades of Penelope Wallace, her bewildering friend Charlotte, and Charlotte’s cousin Harry, who is a sardonic magician. Between the eccentric characters, the excellent banter, the Fabulous Fifties vibes and the delectable teas at Aunt Clare’s, how could I not fall in love? I read it in (more or less) one sitting.
3. RED VELVET — a book that gave you mixed emotions
I’m alll YES for red velvet so I don’t understand why it’s being used for this prompt.
Anyhoo… I’m about to give what may be a #unpopularopinion. Don’t hate me, okay? I would offer you a red velvet cupcake as a peace offering, but I lack Mr. Wonka’s television transportation technology.
A book that gave me mixed emotions was the
Divergent series. I love the factions and I enjoyed the science fiction, especially the serum-induced simulations. I thought the twist reveal about the genetic engineering was fantastic. I liked the exploration of the concept of whether all people, because they’re human, are equal and should have the same rights/opportunities. But.
Here are some of my complaints:
- I really liked the first book, but after that, I think the pace of the story began to drag. It made me feel as though things were purposely being slowed down so that the story would be a trilogy.
- The romance between Tris and Four somewhat overwhelmed the plot. A lot of time is spent gauging the status of their relationship and this is one of the things that slowed the story down.
- I would have liked there to have been more focus on conflicts in the society. As the series went on, the narrative increasingly turned inwards, focusing on the characters’ personal emotional turmoil. I want to know how divisions visibly affected other people’s relationships, particularly families.
- I didn’t feel for the characters. To be completely honest, my only emotion when Tris died was a kind of shock/surprise. I wasn’t devastated. A main character dying should devastate you, shouldn’t it??
It may be that all the hype around the series led me to have high expectations. For a debut, I think Veronica Roth did massively well.
4. CHEESECAKE — a book you would recommend to anyone
CHEESECAKE FTW! I would gladly recommend cheesecake to anyone, but I don’t have a book with which I would do the same. There isn’t really a one-size-fits-all when it comes to books? Everyone has their own tastes. There are even people who don’t like cheesecake, if you can believe it.
But, since we have this prompt, let me just say that I think The Lord Of The Rings is one of the greatest things ever written and you need some of that in your life. Preferably, all of it. You can do it in small bites and the magic helps it go down easier – or at least watch the films. Please?
5. COFFEE CAKE — a book you started but never finished
Although I don’t drink it much, I like coffee and coffee-flavoured foods. I haven’t ever left a cup of coffee unfinished before. Sadly, I cannot say the same about books. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I start a book and don’t finish it. Usually, I see a flying pig afterwards. I don’t like doing it and the books I do it to always nag at me from the back of my mind.
Most recently, I started and then stopped reading Angela Merkel, The Chancellor and Her World. Having next to no prior knowledge about German politics, I quickly lost track of the various political figures and the (really long) party names. I am still curious about Merkel, though, and I may try to read the book again another time, when I have the patience and will to concentrate.
The unfinished book that I can never shake from my conscience is Robinson Crusoe. I started reading it several years ago and I found it about as engaging as a patch of dry grass. I mean, HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO WATCH YOU BUILD A SHELTER AND HUNT FOR DINNER? DO SOMETHING. If only he had had a volleyball named Wilson. As it was, I was bored to tears and had enough log wood and turtles’ eggs to last me a lifetime. Still, I feel guilty, because if I had held out a little longer, it seems he meets some natives and things get a little more interesting. I’ve forgotten where I left off,
so to finish it now, I would have to start from the beginning and I’m not sure I have the strength.
6. CARROT CAKE — a book with great writing
Carrot cake makes me think of rabbits – the kind of rabbits in Peter Rabbit, who probably have ovens and bake their own carrot cake.
There are so many books that I can mention for great writing, but I want to talk about The Gift of Rain. The book is by Tan Twan Eng, who is one of the only two Malaysian authors that I’ve read*. The story is set in Malaya, prior to and throughout its occupation by the Japanese during World War II. It was partly patriotism and partly curiosity about Malaysian history (which, shamefully, I do not know much about) that made me pick up this book. It did not disappoint.
Tan Twan Eng has an incredible way with words. The prose in this book is just so beautiful. The metaphors are perfection and the author is particularly adept at scene setting. I could smell and feel everything. Some of the lines are so good they send a thrill down my spine. Take this one: “Time felt like smoke in an airless room in the palace, seeming not to move at all, but to hang suspended.”
*The other Malaysian author is Tash Aw, who has written a contemporary novel called Five Star Billionaire. Another Malaysian author, Felicia Yap, will be making her debut this August! She has written a philosophical/sci-fi thriller called Yesterday. I am intrigued.