Friday, September 9, 2016

Weres Wanna Know: What's Your Literary Palate Cleanser?

Weres Wanna Know is a new discussion feature where we share a topic that's been on our minds and invite you to share your thoughts as well.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about palate cleansers. My boyfriend's brother has gotten into wine tasting and has become obsessed with finding the ideal one. I've heard about the cleansing virtues of certain foods from lemon sorbet to apple slices.

You're probably asking yourself why I'm talking about palate cleansers on a book blog. Well, I just got done with a massive steampunk and paranormal binge. It had me kind of burned out on those genres even though there are a ton of books in each I want to read. I'm not a TV person so taking a break from reading to binge a TV series doesn't work for me as a reset. But thanks to the boyfriend's brother, I started to think that I needed a literary palate cleanser. So I applied the concept to my reading and guess what? It worked!

Literary palate cleansers aren't a new concept. Looking back over my Goodreads data for the last few years has shown that I've unconsciously used the idea in the past. The difference is that this is the first time I've thought about it and deliberately applied the concept. I shouldn't be surprised that it worked. I know everyone has their own go to genre they read all of the time but I'm curious what you read when you take a break from your normal genre. So I want to ask:

What's Your Literary Palate Cleanser?

For me, I tend to read nonfiction and cookbooks. Yeah. I totally just said cookbooks. I'm a scientist so I like researching things and reading cookbooks is a kind of research I can get behind. Most are more than just a collection of instructions you can follow that allows you to put together the fixings for a delicious meal. I've learned the differences between different cuts of meat, how to choose the best ground beef for a recipe, the history of a particular dish, or why the author loves a specific recipe. There is so much more to cookbooks than the recipes and I love reading them. I also love coming away with recipes to try because I love food and cooking. Random weird but awesome fact: a lot of libraries have cookbooks you can check out so you don't have to go out and buy the expensive suckers.

Outside of cookbooks, nonfiction is my go to palate cleanser. I don't read a lot of it every year because I'm a scientist and my work life is full of nonfiction reading but I enjoy the ones I've read. I like to pick up memoirs like It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell, motivational/inspirational/philosophical books like The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, microhistories like The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean, history surrounding a specific event like The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen, and nonfiction that documents the making of something like Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter. They satisfy my need for random bits of knowledge while providing a different reading experience from fiction. I'm totally that person you want on your trivia team at pub night because I know a lot of random facts.


What do you read when you need a break from your favorite genre?
Also, do you have any nonfiction or cookbook recs for me?
Let's discuss!

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