I’m not even going to lie, when Kacie tagged me in her post, my first thought was “How could you do this to me? Now I really want some chocolate!”
However, that’s no different from the other 23 hours and 59 minutes of the day, so.
Like I am with chocolate to eat, I’m constantly on the lookout for something interesting or new to read. Generally, “interesting” trumps “new” but when you are like me and you do have a dependence on the written word, well. In addition to chocolate and interesting stories, I also crave opportunities to share the books I love with everybody.
(I did change some of the chocolate prompts from the original post because I have fun with stuff like that, but Kacie has the original chocolate prompts in her post, if you’d like to see them)
Dark chocolate; or A Book With a Dark Subject | I first heard about Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward from a Tumblr post by another author I admire (I want to say it was Roxane Gay). I had previously read one of Ward’s novels, Salvage the Bones, about a Mississippi family in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina before reading Men We Reaped, which is a memoir Ward wrote to commemorate five young men she knew, including her brother, who died early. It feels tacky to say that Ward writes beautifully about hardship, but her writing leaves me wordless and teary-eyed.
White chocolate; or A Favorite Lighthearted Read | When I tell you this, you’re going to look at me funny, and I’m going to say, “I know, I know.” The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. There, I said it. And you’re probably thinking, “But isn’t that book about Dracula?” And yes, yes it is, and I’m still going to tell you that this book is super-duper fun. It’s got something for everybody. For you Dan Brown fans out there, it’s got a conspiracy. For supernatural fans, it’s got the Vlad the Impaler/Dracula/vampire element. And seeing as it takes place throughout areas of Cold War-era Europe, it definitely isn’t without its appeals to adventure fans, either.
Milk chocolate; or A Book That You’re Dying to Read; or A Book that Makes You Thirsty | The former rather than the latter, but I wanted to point out that nothing makes my mouth dry the way milk chocolate does. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a book I have been longing to read for a minute. The authors I like to read have said very nice things about it.
Chocolate with a caramel center; or A Book that Makes You Feel Gooey Inside | In 2012 I was 21, working 3 jobs, and living with 2 roommates who were swooning over 50 Shades. Once I discovered Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell on a “Michigan Authors” table at the local Schuler’s, I also got to swoon over a book. I’ll take your Katniss Everdeen and raise you one Margo Crane, because that’s really how I feel. Margo has had a rough time of it; her mother abandons her at a young age, her uncle has raped her, her father is killed in an accident. Her response is to steal a gun from her uncle’s locker and to take her rowboat out onto the river. And she further continues to be fucked over by men. But she changes, she survives. And I just cannot stop praising this book.
Chocolate chilli pepper; or A Book that Surprised You | Books can surprise a person on a few different levels. Outcomes, I find, are rarely surprising. More often than not, though, I can find myself surprised by how much I like a book. I enjoy books about people and the secrets they keep, something readers of Kate Morton probably also enjoy. The Secret Keeper surprised me not because of the outcome (the actual outcome should occur to you by the time you’re halfway done) but I did enjoy it, which is generally more than I can say for Morton’s other works. The pace was perfect, and it didn’t reveal too much all at once in the last few pages, which is a mistake I see in a lot of books.
Trader Joe’s dark chocolate almonds; or a Book You Are Just Nuts About | Really, I’d rather call this “Author You Are Just Nuts About” but I’ll throw out a book by my favorite author instead. How’s that sound? When I was in junior high school, I discovered Tracy Chevalier (and it’s ScarJo’s fault for doing Girl with a Pearl Earring). She’s best known for having written Girl with a Pearl Earring, but shortly after reading that I read Falling Angelswhich made such an impression on me that I could still to this day call it my favorite by her. For one, it’s centered around a cemetery. Two, Edwardian society. Three, suffragettes! Did I mention there’s a cemetery? It’s fantastic.
Hot chocolate with marshmallows (but only the colorful ones); or A Comfort Read | You’re going to get tired of hearing me talk about it, but The Red Tent by Anita Diamant has been one of my all-time favorite books since I was a senior in high school. While it draws on stories from Genesis (specifically the stories of Jacob and Joseph), you don’t have to be religious to appreciate or enjoy it. At its heart, The Red Tent is a story of female relationships and family, birth and death, and love and loss. One person I’ve recommended it to commented that they never felt so fulfilled by a book’s ending before. And really, that couldn’t be more true. Every time I finish reading it, I take a moment to hold myself, because it’s like I might burst if I don’t.
That’s it for today! As part of the challenge, I need to tag 5 people to complete the challenge next! So, I’m going to say that I want to see what Meg, Desiree, Harper, Gwen, and Lydia have to say for their favorite chocolate-book pairings! Friends, please take your time to construct your lists or plow through them (I took my time… a lot of it)!
What chocolate goes with your favorite book?