Book Review: The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman

The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman is my first read off my 2012 TBR Pile Challenge list.

Do you ever go back and look at your TBR list on Goodreads, Amazon Wishlist, or however you may keep track and suddenly realize you can’t remember why you put it on your list? This was one of those books for me and why it was one of the ones that was definitely going on my 2012 TBR Pile Challenge list, because it had obviously been there long enough for me to not remember why it was on my TBR pile.

That being said, I actually went into the book pretty blind, not knowing what quite to expect. I didn’t even read the blurb on Goodreads about it, and since I read it in eb00k form I didn’t have the back of the book blurb either. I actually like to do that fairly often, I like to go into a book without preconceptions about what it’s going to be about or what it should be about.  Sometimes this is great and makes for a great reading experience, other times I accidentally get half way through a book and realize it’s a horrible romance novel ( no offense to fans of romance novels, they are just for the most part not my cup of tea). But I digress, on to the book review!

The Cookbook Collector centers around two sisters, Emily and Jessamine Bach. For sisters, they couldn’t be more different. Emily is very focused, business oriented and driven to become a successful business leader with her new internet business.  Meanwhile Jessamine (who goes by Jess mostly in the book) is dreamy, an activist, and much to their father’s despair is studying philosophy.

I think for a large part this novel was about two women on different paths growing up, changing in ways that they thought they never would and how they world was changing so fast in the early 2000’s. They discover a lot about themselves, their family and their love life.

And you say, what about the cookbook collector? I actually spent a large chunk of this book wondering where the cookbooks were. One of my favorite things about this book is that part of it takes place in a dusty antique bookstore that is Jess’s place of employment. I am a sucker for any book that includes old books and research. This book has both. Jess’s boss is approached by a slightly odd woman who’s uncle has passed away. While hesitant at first to let him see the collection, she finally relents and lets them into her uncle’s house. Where they find cookbooks stuffed in every conceivable (and inconceivable) nook and cranny of the uncle’s kitchen. Cataloging and working with this collection becomes a central part of Jess’s story and her character development.

I’ve felt like maybe I’ve rambled and not explained this clearly but in a way it’s because I don’t want to give away much of the story. I think one of the reasons I enjoyed it was because I went in not knowing what to expect and was able to take the journey with Emily and Jess. You can relate to both characters and see their side in things, at times I felt Emily’s concern for Jess and was wondering at the same time how on earth she could make that choice and others I was with Jess wondering why Emily didn’t see what she was doing and how it was effecting her life.

So if it’s been on your TBR pile for a while like mine, give it a chance. It was a good quick read and I think most will enjoy.


Here is the rest of my 2012 TBR Pile Challenge List.


On Tap Tuesdays 1-10-12 and I Think I Have a Problem

Hello everyone! Happy Tuesday. On Tap Tuesdays are my weekly posts about what I plan on reading for the week.


On Tap for this week:


The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman –  This is the first book I’m reading off my list for the 2012 TBR Challenge! 

Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman – I have this in audiobook form and I haven’t been able to get into it yet, I may end up switching to an ebook  for this one.


As for my problem. I was listening to a book podcast the other day and realized something. I really don’t have a favorite author anymore. I don’t have that author that I immediately want to have their book that’s newly published. The only thing that has came close lately is wanting a book that is next in a series because I enjoy the series, not exactly the author. Anyone else have that problem? Who is/are your favorite author(s)?

I haven’t always been this way, I did have a favorite author or two a few years ago, but after several disappointments they have fell out of favor with me. Maybe I need to go on a reading adventures to find new favorites?

2012 TBR Pile Challenge

I’ve decided to sign up for the 2012 TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Roofbeam Reader.

You have to pick 12 books from your TBR pile that have to have been published prior to January 1, 2011. You also pick two alternate books in case one of the books you picked you just can’t get through. You have to post your list ahead of time and link it to Roof Beam Reader’s post. You can get more information about the challenge by clicking the image above.

Here’s my list:

1. The Sweetness at the Bottom of The Pie by Alan Bradley

2. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

3. The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

4. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austin

5. The Housekeeper and The Professor by Yoko Ogwa

6. The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst

7. Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott

8. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

9. The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl

10. The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian

11. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

12. The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman

Two Back Ups: The Eleventh Plague by John S. Marr, John Baldwin

Dark Angels by Karleen Koen

Looks to be a pretty decent list to me. Hopefully the challenges I have signed up for will keep me motivated through out the year and hopefully I’ll get some galleys to review in there as well! This is my first year that I’ve signed up for any challenges so I’m excited! What challenges are you signing up for next year?

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