Biography: Sweet, Spicy and Saucy

A question I have frequently been asked since starting this blog is "how do you read so many books?" or "do you really read all of those books you write about?". I have often answered that I read fairly quickly and that it’s not always necessary to read the entire book before writing a useful and engaging blog post about it.

But a sad truth that I am learning, as I become more committed to improving and professionalizing this blog is that with all the hours I spend online these days, I have much less time for reading. And I find myself wondering how you, my blog readers, feel about this. Do you think it’s OK for me to blog about books that I have not finished reading? Please take the poll or leave a comment and let me know. I’m genuinely interested in what people think about this.

My maternal grandfather was a well-traveled man. Behind the wheel of his car he visited many of the places worth visiting and as a country boy, he gravitated to more rural and less citified attractions than might have been my wont. But I always enjoyed hearing granddaddy talk about places that he had been to, and one of the most intriguing of these to me as a child was Hershey, Pennsylvania. Micheal D’Antonio’s Hershey, a biography of candy magnate Milton S. Hershey is as much a history of the town he created as of the man whose name to this day graces zillions of candy bar wrappers. Whether Hershey was a flagrant socialist, brilliant capitalist or major league humanitarian, or all three at once you will have to decide for yourself after reading D’Antonio’s engaging and accessible book. But whichever you decide, it may change the way you feel about chocolate bars forever. Recommended.

I was never a Huge fan of the Partridge Family, but I did watch the show back when I was growing up in the ancient days of three broadcast channels meaning you lived in a good sized city and cable was something the longshoreman used to strap crates down at the waterfront. And I always liked the spunky, trash-mouthed, red-headed little boy who inevitably seemed to get the best of the family’s professional manager. Years later, my late partner Joel saw Danny Bonaduce on a talk show and remarked to me that he was ‘Really cute. Kind of a creep, actually, but Really cute.’ And it was with that remark in mind that I picked Random Acts of Badness out of a stack of books I’d just checked in and brought it home. Having read some of it, I would add to my late partner’s observation only ‘but he writes well and the book is quite funny’. Recommended.

I love Paula Deen. She is so warm and funny and she makes the most delicious food and never ever looks down her nose at you. And in It ‘Aint All About The Cookin’ Paula dishes herself from soup to nuts, sharing all kinds of things most celebrities would find way too intimate or threatening to reveal. The book has the same warm and inviting tone as Paula’s television show. If you like Deen at all, do yourself a big favor and check out this book from the library, make yourself a Mississippi Mud Cake or a big ‘ol pan of brownies, brew a pot of good coffee and settle in to spend a few hours visiting with a great Southern lady. Very Highly Recommended.