Recommended Reads for Adults 2021

Recommended Reads are the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library's monthly series of books that can be found in our collection.

Washington Talking Book & Braille Library
July Recommended Reads

Summer’s here and the time is right for awesome recipes! Check out this month’s list of books all about the food experience: from cultural to communal; from indigenous to imported; from historical to hysterical, and more! Take a respite from the weather by reading these righteous and riotous treatments of all things comestible.

To request any of these books, please contact the library at 206-615-0400 or download the books by logging into your BARD account at

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg (DBC 16875)
Seattle-based author, food blog writer, cook and restaurant owner recounts her life here and abroad and offers many delicious recipes. The kitchen and cooking are central parts of her life, and her enthusiasm is fun and inspiring. 2009.
A Year Right Here: Adventures with Food and Family in the Great Nearby by Jess Thomson (DBC 6817)
Jess Thomson, a Seattle food writer, describes a year of food-related travel through the Pacific Northwest. One of her goals was to find food her young son, a picky eater with cerebral palsy, would like. Another goal was to survive long bike rides. Includes recipes. Some strong language. 2017.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (DB 26698)
Story centers on a cafe in the railroad town of Whistle Stop, Alabama, and on Idgie and Ruth, the two women who run the cafe. There are numerous real-life, minor characters in this tale that ranges from Whistle Stop to Valdosta, Georgia, Birmingham, and Chicago, and swings back and forth in time from the pre-Depression era to the 1980s. The core of this novel is the unusual love affair between Idgie and Ruth. Some strong language. 1987.
Greg Atkinson's In Season: Culinary Adventures of a Pacific Northwest Chef by Greg Atkinson (DBC 6952)
This collection of essays and recipes by a noted Pacific Northwest chef takes the reader through the seasons. His love of cooking and using local ingredients shines through. 2014.
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach (DB 76624)
Science writer and author of Stiff (DB 58302), Spook (DB 62108), and Bonk (DB 66788) investigates the alimentary canal to explore eating, digestion, and elimination. Uses anecdotes and research to explain the functions of taste, smell, saliva, gas, and mastication. Bestseller. 2013.
Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family by Priya Krishna (DB 95653)
Collection of family stories and recipes developed by the author's mother through her experiences growing up in India, moving to America, and traveling the world. Primarily vegetarian dishes sorted into the topics of essentials, mother sauces, vegetable mains, vegetable sides, breads, beans and lentils, grains and noodles, meat, desserts, and drinks. 2019.
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell (DB 69563)
New York, 2002. The author recounts learning to cook by preparing every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (BR 12229 and BR 12230). Describes the ways her culinary undertaking -- and the blog she wrote about it -- transformed her life from miserable to fulfilled in 365 days. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2005.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal (DB 82282 and BR 21172)
Chef Eva Thorvald came by her love of food as the daughter of a chef and a sommelier. Her mother left and her father died, but cooking sustained her through an awkward childhood. She went on to become one of the hottest chefs in America. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2015.
Little Farm in the Foothills: A Boomer Couple's Search for the Slow Life by Susan Colleen Browne (DBC 16948)
In this lighthearted tale for gardeners, nature-lovers, and dreamers alike, follow two Boomers in their pursuit of the New American Dream -- living closer to the land -- as they begin growing their own food, "living locally," and transforming an old clear cut into a little homestead in the PNW. 2009.
Noodle Shop, Books 1-3 by Vivien Chien (DB 95088)
Three mysteries featuring Lana Lee, who returned to her family's Cleveland restaurant after her relationship and job imploded. Includes Death by Dumpling, Dim Sum of All Fears, and Murder Lo Mein, in which a food critic dies after getting a threatening fortune cookie. 2019.
Onions in the Stew by Betty MacDonald (DBC 17001)
Humorous account of the author's life on an island in Puget Sound, where she and her family moved during World War II. 1955.
Potluck: Community on the Edge of Wilderness by Ana Maria Spagna (DBC 378)
Explores the enduring human connection to place, journeying from Tijuana to a California beach to Utah's canyon country -- and, always, back to a sparsely populated valley in Washington's North Cascades. Potluck focuses on the everyday gatherings that define the community: a makeshift wedding, an art gallery opening, a farewell potluck, a work party, a campfire, a political caucus, a funeral, showing the gift of community is deep, enduring and essential. 2011.
The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald (DB 37151 and BR 2721)
Reminiscences of life on a remote, run-down chicken farm in the Olympic mountains of Washington state. The author, survivor of an adventurous childhood but still unprepared for the realities of frontier life, keeps her sense of humor amidst the hard work, loneliness, and general denial of the constant struggle to accept her part of the bargain that her marriage requires. Bestseller. 1945.
The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber (DB 61678)
Author of Crescent (DB 57071) recalls her early life in upstate New York with an American mother and Jordanian father, whose bouts of homesickness for Jordan often had the family returning there for periods of time. Along with her reminiscences, Abu-Jaber includes recipes for many of the dishes she describes. 2005.
The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman (DB 91505 and BR 22334)
Chef Sherman shares recipes and cooking techniques rooted in Native American and First Nations traditions that use no European staples such as wheat flour and dairy products. Sections include fields and gardens; prairies and lakes; nature's sweets, teas, and refreshing drinks; the indigenous pantry, and more. James Beard Award. 2017.
The Way We Ate: Pacific Northwest Cooking, 1843-1900 by Jacqueline B. Williams (DBC 7078 and BRC 1198)
The pioneers and homesteaders in the Pacific Northwest raised and prepared much of their own food. This well-researched book follows food from the barnyard and garden to the dinner table. It describes the ingredients, equipment, and techniques the cooks used. 1996.
Upstream: Searching for Wild Salmon, from River to Table by Langdon Cook (DBC06949)
This book is about West Coast salmon and the people who love them. It describes both the life cycle of the salmon and their complex relationship with people. Some strong language. 2017.
Whatchagot Stew: A Memoir of an Idaho Childhood with Recipes and Commentaries by Patrick F. McManus (DBC00590)
Bestselling humorist McManus fondly recalls his Depression-era childhood with a cast of characters whose recipes are found in the volume's second half. His tough-as-nails mother: "just scrape off the burnt part"; his sister (and co-author, referred to as “The Troll”); and childhood friend Vern Schulz, among others, get a chance to shine. Recipes include grouse, wild turkey, pheasant, freshly caught fish, elk, bear and venison. 1990.