Book Recommendations – Books About The Magic of Food

Book Recommendations with Varian: Diverse Books with Food. Varian the toad is sitting down, sewing a purple jumper, with a smile on their face with a chefs hat floating atop their head.

Hello friends! I hope you are having a wonderful week so far, and are enjoying some wonderful books.

In case you’re new to the Pond’s book recommendation posts, the recommendation posts are brought to you by Varian, the Pond’s very own Toadshifter who is knowledgeable in all kinds of magic! One of Varian’s ambitions is to get better at sewing, hence why whenever Varian has come up with their latest costume, they will always recommend a few books that inspired them!

If there’s one thing that I love more than books, it is food. Although there has been a dearth of books that explore food as something that is meaningful to culture, identity, and dreams, newer books have blessed us with some delicious and mouth-watering books about food.

Read More »

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim – A Love Letter To Food, Family and Culture but Unfortunately Let Down By Its Tedious Writing

book review natalie tan book luck fortune the quiet pond

Summary:

At the news of her mother’s death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn’t spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco’s Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses failing and families moving out. She’s even more surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother’s restaurant.

The neighborhood seer reads the restaurant’s fortune in the leaves: Natalie must cook three recipes from her grandmother’s cookbook to aid her struggling neighbors before the restaurant will succeed. Unfortunately, Natalie has no desire to help them try to turn things around–she resents the local shopkeepers for leaving her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realize that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along.

CW’s Review:

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune seemed like it had the recipe of an instant favourite: A story about a Chinese-American woman who returns home to face her demons, explores and celebrates the importance and power of food, and has themes of family, specifically generations of strong and fierce Chinese woman. To my immense disappointment, Natalie Tan has its heart in the right place but was, unfortunately and ultimately, an incredibly frustrating book to read.

Read More »

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett – A Genuine and Wonderful Story about Living with HIV, Teenagehood, and Sexuality

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett. Reviewed by CW, The Quiet Pond.

Summary:

Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly.

Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real–shy kisses escalating into much more–she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she’s terrified of how he’ll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too.

Simone’s first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on…

CW’s Review:

There are very few feelings that feel better than discovering that a book you were excited for was even better than what you hoped. It’s been several days since reading Full Disclosure and I’m still thinking about this book. From how it explores the experience of living with HIV, the experience of being a Black teen and how it is told with such a refreshing and genuine voice, to its empowering portrayal of teen sexuality. I’m so excited to tell you about Full Disclosure, which is my first favourite read of 2020.

Read More »

Pondathon: The End – The Battle is Over

Pondathon: Readathon side-quest available!

New to the Pondathon’s story?
Read this prologue first
 or read the previous chapter.

You close your eyes, reaching within you for a spell that will save Xiaolong. You remember everyone’s bravery, as they fought and protected and did everything within their power to save the Pond. You think of the warmth of your friends’ love, how their friendship feels like a home that could weather any storm, typhoon, or quake. You think about how you, small as you may be, are here, and that in itself is something incredible.

As all of your memories and your feelings and the immensity of your small power come together, a grand power rises within you. It feels like all the light in the world, the stars and the cosmos bursting behind your eyes. You feel limitless, infinite. You believe.

Read More »