Books & Brews: The Hating Game / Dogfish Head’s Beer for Breakfast

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a book I love with a pint to sip while reading it.

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At some point a few months ago, my friend Julia gushed about how much she enjoyed Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game. Then at my local writers conference in September, Sarah MacLean told me she loved it. Then my friend Lindsay read it, and sent around a message saying we had to discuss it. Clearly, with all this prodding I moved it to the top of my to-be-read list. And while we’re talking lists– it’s worth nothing that the novel was in the top ten of Goodread’s Choice Awards for romance and named one of NPR’s best books of 2016. A good book to round out my 2016 Books & Brews series, I suppose!

The premise of the story is classic, bitter work rivals who can’t stand each other, until eventually they start to piece together that maybe they very much can. An enemies-to-lovers story, if you will. Main characters Lucy Hutton and Josh Templeman are executive assistants for co-CEOs of a large publishing house who have a daily routine of disdain for each other. Things get complicated when they are forced to compete for a promotion. And even more complicated when the facade of hate starts to crumble.

Here what I loved about the book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: My Beer Year / Three Notch’d Brewing Company’s Biggie S’mores

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a book I love with a pint to sip while reading it. If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today, I hope your day is full of all your favorites, as well!

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I’ve mentioned before that I’m mostly a fiction reader, but that when I do pick up non-fiction it typically has close ties to food (aka, the delicious memoir)– so you can imagine my excitement when I heard about Lucy Burningham’s new book My Beer Year. Because you know if anything gets me more excited than food, it’s beer. The premise behind the book is that Burningham, a journalist who has written extensively about craft beer, decides to study to take the test to become a Certified Cicerone. If you’re familiar with the concept of a sommelier in the world of wine– someone who is able to identify styles by taste and know the history of a particular type of wine while also suggesting a food pairing– then think of a Cicerone as this to the world of beer. In My Beer Year, Burningham  shares the details of her journey to the exam, from visiting hop farms, to attending the Great American Beer Festival and traveling to Belgium to cleaning beer lines at a local brew pub.

Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: Triple Love Score / Sweet Potato Sage Ale

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Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. 

Brandi Megan Granett had me at poetry professor and anonymous online Scrabble poet. I’m a sucker for a story with some sort of university connection. Throw in some unexpected online fame and I’m totally intrigued. Granett’s, Triple Love Score, tells the story of Miranda, who teaches poetry at a small upstate New York college and for fun starts making small poems of words related to a theme on a Scrabble board and posting them to social media as Blocked Poet. Her posts start to gather a huge following, and when she signs on with a high-powered brand manager her popularity soars and suddenly there are book deals and merchandise and cross-country book tours in support of her brand. All good and well, except her old-friend Scott has reappeared after a six-year, unexplained absence. (By old-friend, I mean man with whom she was in love and waited for, before giving up and allowing her love to morph into anger.) And he’s brought his daughter with him. All this happens at the same time Miranda is in the midst of a fun, no-strings-attached, fling with Ronan— who’s headed home to Ireland in a few weeks. Which means it’s all very deliciously complicated.

Here’s what I loved about Triple Love Score: Continue reading

Books & Brews: Delancey / Legend Brewery’s Oktoberfest

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Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. 

I’m mostly a fiction reader, as is fiercely evident in a scroll through my previous Books & Brews posts. However, if I had to pick a close second– it would be memoirs. Specifically memoirs that involve food. I loved Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and Michelle Maisto’s  The Gastronomy of Marriage. I bought and cooked liver after Julie Powell made it sound so romantic in Julie & Julia. And… I can stop, clearly using “liver’ and “romantic” in the same sentence adequately demonstrates my love. Anyway, I was doing a little updating on Goodreads recently and noticed this delicious memoir* that I had added some time ago and figured I was due for a little break from the fiction. This month I read Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage by Molly Wizenberg. (*I think I’m going to officially call the sub-genre of memoir about food: “delicious memoir.”)

The book chronicles the birth of a business. It starts with the author’s husband making the proclamation that he is going to open a restaurant that serves the New York style pizza he loves, because he is unable to find an acceptable substitute in Seattle. She assumes it’s just another of his fleeting interests (like violin making or ship-building), but his interest doesn’t wane this time. Suddenly there’s a lease and a space to remodel and staff to hire and pizzas to make, and sides and desserts to plan and prep. Wizenberg’s memoir tells the story of both her whole-hearted involvement in the project and her ultimate decision to step out of the kitchen at Delancey.

Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: Results May Vary / Urban Family Brewing Company’s Death to Cereal

 

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Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday* of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. (*Except this month … I’m running a little late with August’s book. Which just means double the fun in September!)

Up for reading and pairing in August was Bethany Chase’s RESULTS MAY VARY (which, by the way, might have one of my favorite covers ever). The story opens with the main character Caroline discovering that her husband is having an affair with a man. And when I say husband, know that I mean high-school sweetheart turned husband, with whom she has spent the overwhelming majority of her life– so obviously her world is completely turned upside down. The novel chronicles Caroline’s attempts to make sense of the betrayal and learn how to move forward. The book totally lives up to it’s amazing cover (not that I was judging it by that, at all, in any way).

Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: From the Sideline / New Belgium Brewing’s Shift Pale Lager

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Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. 

This month I read Amy Avanzino’s second novel, FROM THE SIDELINE. Technically it’s the second book in her Wake-up Series, but I had no problem reading it as a stand-alone without reading the first book (though I really want to, now). In FROM THE SIDELINE, the main character, Autumn Kovac, reluctantly allows her only son to try out for the local youth football team. She’s terrified about sending her ten-year-old onto the field to be tackled by faster, larger, and far more coordinated children. She’s convinced he’ll sustain a head-injury, at worst, or be ridiculed by his peers, at other worst. Even though she can’t see any positive outcome, trying out for the team is only thing has made him happy since his father left– so she gives him the green light, certain he won’t make the cut. When he does, she finds herself thrown into a world she knows nothing about and finds out she has as much learning and growing to do as her son, if not more.

Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: The Life Intended / Bell’s Oberon

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. 

I didn’t intentionally choose to read Kristin Harmel’s THE LIFE INTENDED during the same month I turned 39, but I did. Have you ever had that experience where the exact right thing (a story, a song, a photograph) finds you at the exact right moment and you feel just a little more understood? That’s what this was like. Here’s why I loved the book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: Eight Hundred Grapes / Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch

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Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. The series kicked off in earnest in May 2015, which means it turns one this month. Happy birthday, dear Books & Brews, happy birthday to you…

The events in Laura Dave’s EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES take place against the backdrop of the yearly harvest party at a vineyard– which makes it a perfect read for this celebratory month. (Synchronization, perhaps. *winking at anyone who has read the book already*) However, unlike my quiet little confetti throwing on the blog, Dave’s novel is full of family drama, in all the best ways. The main character, Georgia, returns home to her family’s vineyard in search of the comfortable familiar. Instead she finds that everything (really, literally everything) has changed. Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: Heart Conditions / Saison du BUFF

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Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.

HEART CONDITIONS is the third book in Phoebe Fox’s Breakup Doctor series which chronicles the adventures of therapist Brook Ogden as she helps her clients through heartbreak, while navigating her own relationships with family, friends, and lovers. The concept is a fresh take on the age-old notion of physician heal thyself. As a writer, it’s the type or premise you read and think– that’s brilliant, why didn’t I think of that? Here’s what I loved about this book: Continue reading

Books & Brews: A Paris Apartment / 10 Barrel Brewing Company’s Cucumber Crush

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Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it, under the theory that there is a perfect beer to compliment every book.

I had been meaning to read Michelle Gable’s A PARIS APARTMENT for a long time! It was on my “to be read” list last year when I was in Paris. My plan was to pick up a copy at Shakespeare & Company and to read while I was in Paris (because reading a book set in Paris, in Paris… I mean really, would anything have been better). Alas, they did not have a copy on hand. Plan foiled, I turned to other books on my near infinite list. Then last month, almost exactly a year later and on vacation again, I was wandering through Powell’s Books in Portland. Out of the bazillions of books, what should catch my eye but  A PARIS APARTMENT. It was clearly meant to be.

Here’s what I loved about the book: Continue reading