I am nothing if not an incorrigible reader. My mom says that when I was little, I was so intent on learning how to read that when she gave up on me, I ended up teaching myself. While my two sisters were busy with their dolls and tea sets, I much preferred to cozy up on the couch and read the day away. Even today, whenever my sisters and I go shopping together, they’ll head for the clothing stores, while I jet on over to the bookstores.
Now that I’m an adult, I have more money to buy more books and an entire room to keep them in. I spend an embarrassing amount of time each week at Fully Booked, so much so that I swear the employees think I’m a renegade staff member or something. I also used to spend an obscene amount of money shopping online for books at Amazon, 35% shipping charges be damned. Those days are beind me now; I often wheedle, whine, and bribe my sister to bring books back for me from her annual sojourn to the States.
What do I read, you ask? Books about food, of course! Cookbooks, baking books, food science, and food literature. It’s all food, and it’s all good. I call it inspiration.
I always have at least one book by my bedside, my “read-in-progress,” if you will. And then I always have at least one cookbook there as well. I also have two dictionaries, one for my room and one for my library, as well as highlighters to mark pertinent passages, which I later transfer to a notebook that I refer to often. The photo you see above is what’s by my bedside right now: anthologies of the past years’ best food writing, an insider’s book on the restaurant industry, the best book on “pie” that I own, and of course, my dictionary.
My favorite English teacher and my editor both said the same thing to me: if you want to be a good writer, you have to read good writing. So I feed on words. It’s a life force that pulses through me, giving me purpose and process. Reading is an art in itself.
Take a peek at my cookbooks.