So it’s October, and frightfully close to Halloween (may I interest you in our Halloween Spooktacular?), so I figured I’d cover something topical – Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure by Samira Kawash – because whether you celebrate All Hallow’s Eve or not, you’ll likely find it nigh impossible to avoid the sight of candy as the day nears.
While I suppose it would be difficult to make any discussion of candy dull and boring, Kawash does an especially wonderful job keeping the writing lively and inserting a dose of her personality in every chapter as she takes us along the history of candy in North America. The incredulity with which she introduces a rather sophistic argument from a party advertising candy as an entirely wholesome and nutritious food will crack you up, and her exasperation at finding so little information about candy in what look to be promising tomes of histories about food in America is palpable. That being the case, though, she makes sure to write in their defence where it’s due, as when pointing out that information about nutrition was woefully incomplete then, which lets the reader have a better understanding of the times and perceptions. Kawash’s tongue-in-cheek attitude while discussing the history of candy is fitting, and the ambiguities she talks about as to what even constitutes candy, and how arguments for and against candy have at points not made much sense or – even worse – built on the exact same “evidence”, is delightful.
Intimate, personal, and heartfelt. These memoirs will take you on a personal journey.
What is it about memoirs? Is it a voyeuristic streak in the reader? What motivates us to read what celebrities and others have to say about intimate parts of their lives? Perhaps we seek inspiration, perhaps reassurance that for all their glamour famous people have the same mundane problems as we do. Then there is the non-celebrity memoir, why do we want to read about someone else’s friendships, childhoods or family relationships?
Reading any of our Adult Summer Reads: Moving Memoirs selections answers some of these questions. It does help put our lives in perspective to realize that others, famous or not deal with the same highs and lows, health issues both physical and mental, loves, losses and general vicissitudes of life as the average person.
I came across this book at a book event a few month ago. Not knowing much about Mozart or starling, I started reading not knowing what to expect (except for the fact that the person at the even spoke highly of it).
I usually read non-fictions pretty slowly, but not this time. Mozart’s Starling is a lighthearted charming little book inspired by starlings, the most hated birds among ornithologists since it is considered an aggressive invader to the local species, and the fact that the most well respected composer in the world Mozart had a pet starling during his most productive and turbulent years of his short life. In order to understand the bird and how it is like living with one, Haupt raised a baby starling. This book is a mixture of fun facts, unknown history, and reflection on inspiration, harmony, and the natural world.
Part natural history, part story, Mozart’s Starling will delight readers as they learn about language, music, and the secret world of starlings.
You might also like…
The Urban Bestiary
The Hidden Life of Trees
Wesley the Owl
The Thing with Feathers