Books & Brews: Heart Conditions / Saison du BUFF

heart conditions

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

Paperback-Cover

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

Books & Brews: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake / Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout

finalC3

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’ll admit, I did exactly the thing the old adage tells us never to do: I judged this book by its  cover. But you see it up there, right? How could you not fall in love, but if for some odd reason, the cover didn’t draw you in, the description would get you: Lou is a chef. Al is a restaurant critic who writes under a pseudonym and is known for his scathing reviews. He dines at Lou’s restaurant on a very off night. And by very off, I mean walked in on her fiancé with another women when she stopped by to surprise him with a coconut cake– off. Al skewers her restaurant in a review. Then the two meet at random in a bar and Lou accepts the challenge to show Al all the best of Milwaukee’s food scene. One caveat– no talking about work. As Lou’s business collapses, largely due to Al’s review, the two fall in love. Which is clearly problematic.

Here are just a few things I loved about Amy E. Reichert’s THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE: Continue reading

Books & Brews: Courtship of the Cake / Ballast Point’s Calm Before the Storm

COURTSHIP-OF-THE-CAKE-fina-high-res

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

This month I read Jessica Topper’s Courtship of the Cake. I’ll start with a warning – this book is going to make you want to eat cake. Even if you wouldn’t particularly list cake as your favorite dessert. Hummingbird Cake, loaded with fruit and spices and covered in a pineapple cream cheese frosting, yes please. It’s also going to make you want to get a massage. You’ll find yourself sitting on the stretch-y machine thing at the gym, thinking if only Dani were here with some essential oils to rub that spot between my shoulder blades, that would be so superior to this. That’s how well you get to know the characters in this book – so much so that you want them to hop off the pages and give you massages and bake you things. Continue reading

Books & Brews: All the Difference / Troegs’ Nugget Nectar

6b9bb5_3493bca2caae4ce69d88863d97c8548e.jpg_srz_p_311_473_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz

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

Up this month is Leah Ferguson’s debut novel, All the Difference. What struck me most about this book, even just reading the back cover description, was the unique plot structure. The story opens on New Years Eve with the main character Molly being proposed to by her boyfriend Scott. Earlier that day she learned she was pregnant. He doesn’t know about the baby and she’s not entirely sure how to answer his question. From that moment forward, in alternating chapters, we learn what happens if she says yes versus no to his proposal.You read that description and think, so the story moves forward but in two different directions? How does that work? All I can tell you is that is works really, really beautifully. And in the end Ferguson draws out some very poignant thoughts about fate, personal choice and resilience. Continue reading

Books & Brews: The House on Teacher’s Lane / Noble Rot

Two of my favorite things in the world are books and craft beer.  Out of this grew the idea that maybe pairings aren’t just for the table anymore; perhaps there is a perfect beer for every book . . .

About eight years ago, my husband and I bought the first floor of an old parking deck and renovated it into the space we now call home.  Recently, a friend recommended Rachel Simon’s memoir,  The House on Teacher’s Lane, because she saw striking similarities between the author and her husband and my husband and I.  It was a bit eerie.  Simon is a writer who also teaches at a college.  Her husband is an architect.  I write and teach.  My husband, while not an architect, did attend a summer architecture program at Colombia University and just generally has an amazing eye for design.  Simon captures this dynamic between two people who are creative in such vastly different ways, perfectly.  I can see entire worlds with characters moving through them in my head, but ask me to imagine all the baseboards in my house painted a certain color, and I’m at a loss.  Continue reading