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Old 03-01-2021, 12:22 PM   #1
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Feast & Famine • March 2021

Help select what we'll read and discuss next!


The topic is Feast & Famine.

This topic might include any book with some type of food or drink as a plot point or in its title, which there's a large variety of books that would fit that alone, but also it might be a book that has something to do with eating, drinking, feasting, hunger, thirst, starvation or famine, any of which could be as a plot point or in a title.


Detailed nominating and voting guidelines can be found here. Basically, nominations are open for about four days and each person may nominate up to three literary selections which will go automatically to the vote. Voting by post then opens for four days, and a voter may give each nomination either one or two votes but only has a limited number of votes to use which is equal to the number of nominations minus one. Any questions, feel free to ask.

We hope that you will read the selection with us and join in the discussion.

*

Nominations are now complete. Voting is now complete. Final results-
  • The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 291 Pages . Votes 0 . Run-off – . 2016 . Ireland, England & Canada

  • Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 307 Pages . Votes 2 . Run-off 3 . 2001 . England

  • The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jeffries
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 386 Pages . Votes 2 . Run-off 1 . 2015 . Malaysia & England

  • The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 367 Pages . Votes 2 . Run-off 1 . 2017 . U.S.

  • The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 272 Pages . Votes 1 . Run-off – . 2008 . U.S., Portugal & Switzerland

  • The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 256 Pages . Votes 2 . Run-off 0 . 1988 . U.S.

  • The Winemaker by Noah Gordon
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 342 Pages . Votes 2 . Run-off 2 . 2006 . U.S.

  • The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman
    Post . Goodreads . Preview . 387 Pages . Votes 1 . Run-off – . 2012 . U.S.

Last edited by sun surfer; 03-12-2021 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 03-03-2021, 01:30 AM   #2
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I thought there would be a lot of books that fit this topic but looking around at options I’m finding there really are a LOT, lol.
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Old 03-03-2021, 03:55 AM   #3
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My first nomination is The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, and it falls towards the latter half of the topic. The description for this historical fiction mystery really drew me in.

Goodreads . Preview . 291 Pages . 2016 . Ireland, England & Canada

Quote:
The Irish Midlands, 1859. An English nurse, Lib Wright, is summoned to a tiny village to observe what some are claiming as a medical anomaly or a miracle - a girl said to have survived without food for months. Tourists have flocked to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell, and a journalist has come down to cover the sensation. The Wonder is a tale of two strangers who transform each other's lives, a psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.
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Old 03-04-2021, 12:01 PM   #4
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Next I'll nominate Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris. The description sounds succulent.

Goodreads . Preview . 307 Pages . 2001 . England

Quote:
The novels of Joanne Harris are a literary feast for the senses. Five Quarters of the Orange represents Harris's most complex and sophisticated work yet - a novel in which darkness and fierce joy come together to create an unforgettable story.

When Framboise Simon returns to a small village on the banks of the Loire, the locals do not recognize her as the daughter of the infamous Mirabelle Dartigen - the woman they still hold responsible for a terrible tragedy that took place during the German occupation decades before. Although Framboise hopes for a new beginning she quickly discovers that past and present are inextricably intertwined. Nowhere is this truth more apparent than in the scrapbook of recipes she has inherited from her dead mother.

With this book, Framboise re-creates her mother's dishes, which she serves in her small creperie. And yet as she studies the scrapbook - searching for clues to unlock the contradiction between her mother's sensuous love of food and often cruel demeanor - she begins to recognize a deeper meaning behind Mirabelle's cryptic scribbles. Within the journal's tattered pages lies the key to what actually transpired the summer Framboise was nine years old.

Rich and dark. Five Quarters of the Orange is a novel of mothers and daughters of the past and the present, of resisting, and succumbing, and an extraordinary work by a masterful writer.
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Old 03-04-2021, 02:07 PM   #5
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Finally I'll put forth The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jeffries. This historical romance mystery looks just my thing and like something others here might enjoy.

Goodreads . Preview . 386 Pages . 2015 . Malaysia & England

Quote:
#1 International bestselling novel set in 1920s Ceylon, about a young Englishwoman who marries a charming tea plantation owner and widower, only to discover he's keeping terrible secrets about his past, including what happened to his first wife, that lead to devastating consequences

Nineteen-year-old Gwendolyn Hooper is newly married to a rich and charming widower, eager to join him on his tea plantation, determined to be the perfect wife and mother. But life in Ceylon is not what Gwen expected.

The plantation workers are resentful, the neighbours treacherous, and there are clues to the past - a dusty trunk of dresses, an overgrown gravestone in the grounds - that her husband refuses to discuss.

Just as Gwen finds her feet, disaster strikes. She faces a terrible choice, hiding the truth from almost everyone, but a secret this big can't stay buried forever....
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Old 03-04-2021, 09:46 PM   #6
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I had so many choices this month. The ones I'd narrowed down to my longlist before choosing my nominations included
Spoiler:

-The Cheese Monkeys by Chip Kudd
-The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
-Together Tea by Marjan Kamali
-Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya (and I especially love this title)
-Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran
-The Color of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe
-Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham
-Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
-Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris
-Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas
-The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
-The Apple Tart of Hope by Sarah Moore Fitzegerald
-Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetya (on the famine side)
-The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault
-The Cider House Rules by John Irving
-The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
-What's Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges
-Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

All these looked great and it was hard to pick three.
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Old 03-05-2021, 12:45 AM   #7
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My first nomination is The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See.

From Amazon:
Quote:
In their remote mountain village, Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. For the Akha people, ensconced in ritual and routine, life goes on as it has for generations—until a stranger appears at the village gate in a jeep, the first automobile any of the villagers has ever seen.

The stranger’s arrival marks the first entrance of the modern world in the lives of the Akha people. Slowly, Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, begins to reject the customs that shaped her early life. When she has a baby out of wedlock—conceived with a man her parents consider a poor choice—she rejects the tradition that would compel her to give the child over to be killed, and instead leaves her, wrapped in a blanket with a tea cake tucked in its folds, near an orphanage in a nearby city.

As Li-yan comes into herself, leaving her insular village for an education, a business, and city life, her daughter, Haley, is raised in California by loving adoptive parents. Despite her privileged childhood, Haley wonders about her origins. Across the ocean Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. Over the course of years, each searches for meaning in the study of Pu’er, the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for centuries.

A powerful story about circumstances, culture, and distance, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond of family.
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Old 03-05-2021, 12:47 AM   #8
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My second nomination is The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais.

From Amazon:
Quote:
The Hundred-foot Journey is the story of Hassan Haji, a boy from Mumbai who embarks, along with his boisterous family, on a picaresque journey first to London and then across Europe, before they ultimately open a restaurant opposite a famous chef, Madame Mallory, in the remote French village of Lumière. A culinary war ensues, pitting Hassan’s Mumbai-toughened father against the imperious Michelin-starred cordon bleu, until Madame Mallory realizes that Hassan is a cook with natural talents far superior to her own. Full of eccentric characters, hilarious cultural mishaps, vivid settings and delicious meals described in rich, sensuous detail, Hassan’s charming account lays bare the inner workings of the elite world of French haute cuisine, and provides a life-affirming and poignant coming-of-age tale.
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Old 03-05-2021, 12:50 AM   #9
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For my third nomination, I am going to borrow from your list. Thank you for finding it! I select The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver.

From Amazon:
Quote:
The Bean Trees is bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver's first novel, now widely regarded as a modern classic. It is the charming, engrossing tale of rural Kentucky native Taylor Greer, who only wants to get away from her roots and avoid getting pregnant. She succeeds, but inherits a 3-year-old native-American little girl named Turtle along the way, and together, from Oklahoma to Tucson, Arizona, half-Cherokee Taylor and her charge search for a new life in the West.

Written with humour and pathos, this highly praised novel focuses on love and friendship, abandonment and belonging as Taylor, out of money and seemingly out of options, settles in dusty Tucson and begins working at Jesus Is Lord Used Tires while trying to make a life for herself and Turtle.
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Old 03-05-2021, 12:54 AM   #10
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I had many other ideas that I wanted to nominate but really struggled with international availability in ebooks.

The Oysters of Locmariaquer by Eleanor Clark
The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K Fisher
The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin
Save the Plums by Ruth Reichl
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Old 03-05-2021, 06:19 AM   #11
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I'll nominate 'The Wine Maker' by Noah Gordon

Spoiler:
Josep Alvarez is a young man in the tiny grape-growing village of Santa Eulália, in northern Spain, where his father grows black grapes that are turned into cheap vinegar. Joseph loves the agricultural life, but he is the second son, and his father’s vineyard will be inherited by his brother Donat, the firstborn. Josep needs to keep his hands in the soil. He yearns for a job growing grapes and for an opportunity to marry Teresa Gallego.

In Madrid, an assassination plot, conceived against the political leader of Spain by men of wealth and power, creates a storm of intrigue that sucks into its vortex a group of innocent young farm workers in Santa Eulália. How Josep’s life is changed drastically by these events, and how, ironically, they gradually turn him into an inspired vintner with an evolving vision of life, is the fascinating story of The Winemaker.
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Old 03-05-2021, 06:22 AM   #12
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I'll also nominate 'The Plum Tree' by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Spoiler:
From the internationally bestselling author of The Orphan Collector comesa haunting and lyrical tale of love and humanity in a time of unthinkable horror. The debut novel from a powerful voice in historical fiction, this resonant and courageous saga of a young German woman during World War II and the Holocaust is a must-read for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Alice Network.
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Old 03-05-2021, 02:13 PM   #13
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The voting will start a little later once the first-post list is updated with everything so until then noms will stay open.


Great noms, drofgnal and Bookworm_Girl! I haven't heard of a number of these before and they all look really enjoyable and their settings alluring, such as The Wine Maker's setting in Madrid and the farming fields of northern Spain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookworm_Girl View Post
For my third nomination, I am going to borrow from your list. Thank you for finding it! I select The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver.
I'm glad you found something good from them! I thought of waiting until nominations were over to post those but I've done that before and then forgot to, lol, so I just struck while the iron was still on my mind, to mix up an idiom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bookworm_Girl View Post
I had many other ideas that I wanted to nominate but really struggled with international availability in ebooks.

The Oysters of Locmariaquer by Eleanor Clark
The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K Fisher
The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin
Save the Plums by Ruth Reichl
These all look very interesting too... the danged availability monster strikes again!

It is noteworthy that looking at all the nominations and possibilities in this thread, most of the food in the titles are lighter fare like desserts, fruits, side foods, etc. when it comes to a meal or feast. Maybe oysters are the closest. I'd actually looked for some books about more main course type fare such as meats like steak but didn't find much comparatively.
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Old 03-06-2021, 11:38 AM   #14
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Nominations are complete and voting is now open!

Voting will close exactly four days from this post.

Each person has SEVEN votes to use.
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Old 03-06-2021, 12:00 PM   #15
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One little tidbit I think is interesting, since I tend to notice things like this lol, is that this might be the most contemporarily written group of nominations we've ever had outside of a Contemporary month, with seven out of the eight from the 21st century, and yet despite that every one is from a different year.
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