Love and Saffron

My latest fiction read was the delightful novel Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love by Kim Fay

It wasn’t the food element that drew me in. I was intrigued by the setting — Los Angeles and Washington State in the 1960s.

I picked up this book because it is a story of female friendship. And most importantly, I picked up this book because it is a story told through letters. 

(Many of you may not know, but I have a pen pal who lives in Japan. We have been writing since 1993! While we do occasionally send an email, most of our communication happens through hand-written letters. Under my bedside table, I have a box where I keep all her letters.)

Here are just a few snippets from the novel to share with you:

“Los Angeles is such a varied place. There are foods from dozens of countries at our Grand Central Market alone, and there is a different country in every corner of the city. At the risk of sounding like a shill for the tourism board, Armenia, Italy, Poland, Portugal, India, Greece, you name it and you will certainly find it here.”  (This passage was taken from a letter dated September 30, 1963, but I think it is just as true for 2022.)

“Personally, I don’t enjoy the phone. It feels impersonal to me, which might sound strange since a voice in one’s ear is a cozy thing. But when I’m on the line, I can mend or play Solitaire, while with a letter I must pay close attention. There is unequaled satisfaction in composing words on a blank page, sealing them in an envelope, writing an address in my own messy hand, adding a stamp, walking it to the mailbox, and raising the flag. It’s like preparing a gift, and I feel like I receive one when a letter arrives — yours most of all.”

“I will treasure our midnight conversations, especially about our hidden selves. To think we are made up of so many different layers, and we may never meet all of them before the big sleep. I have been thinking about your comment, about how when we are very young we are so sure of who we are. I admit, there have been times when I longed to be fifteen again, confident that I knew absolutely everything about myself. But I prefer the viewpoint you have been pondering since Francis’s encounter with the saffron. The less we cement ourselves to our certainties, the fuller our lives can be.” 

Book Lover = Book Buyer

Why do you buy the books you do? (Notice how I just automatically assume you’re a book-buyer.)

I just finished reading Emily Henry’s People We Meet on Vacation (so enjoyable, 4-stars on Goodreads). And now comes the hard part — deciding which book to read next. 

I looked at my over-flowing books-to-read shelf and realized I buy books for different reasons.

Recommendation from a friend:

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert 

Read and loved a book written by this author and felt compelled to buy the author’s latest release:

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Brighter By the Day: Waking Up to New Hopes and Dreams by Robin Roberts

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

These Precious Days: Essays by Ann Patchett

Watched and/or listened to an author interview and was then inspired to purchase their book:

All In: An Autobiography Billie Jean King

Love & Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food, and Love by Kim Fay

Heard good things about the book:

Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Heard good things about the book and met the author:

After Happily Ever After by Leslie A. Rasmussen

For my own knowledge as I write my memoir-in-essays:

Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer’s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving your First Book by Courtney Maum

Blueprint for a Nonfiction Book: Plan and Pitch Your Big Idea by Jennie Nash

Your turn readers. What books are on your shelf waiting to be read? What motivated you to buy them? Please share; I’m always looking to add titles to my “want-to-read” list.