Candy Freak by Steve Almond is a nice read at Halloween.
I’ve mentioned before that I like to read food books around Thanksgiving. Actually, I seem to have a strong sense of timing around a variety of books. Sure, a lot of my reading is tied to release dates, or when I get to the top of the holds list at the library, but because I get to schedule the books for my Pageturners groups, I get to indulge my timing quirk. A lot.
A Candy Book at Halloween
It was pretty obvious to me that I should schedule Candy Freak by Steve Almond to be read around Halloween. The book is about the candy-obsessed author making a tour of several small, regional candy operations around the country - some of the small companies that have to compete with the likes of Hershey, Mars and Nestle. My group had a lot of fun talking about our candy nostalgia and sampling some of the regional candies that we found around town.
In some less anticipated timing, our conversations turned to what's happening in our economy. We talked about the candy business, which, like many industries, is dominated by a few large companies that can spend resources on advertising, and whose large sales volume allows business practices that make competing tough for the little guys.
A Book About Help at Thanksgiving
My quirky timing is also how we came to be reading The Help by Katherine Stockett in late November, a few days before Thanksgiving. I wondered, when would the average person most want to fantasize about having someone to help with the cooking and cleaning? (This was before I actually read the book and discovered that there is more going on in The Help than just talking about maids in the 1960s.) Now that I’ve read it, though, some part of me still thinks that the timing was apt. The book is also a meditation on the meaning of family, and gives depth to the experiences of those whose job was to be at the beck and call of someone else’s schedule - nice to think about as family and friends gather for Thanksgiving.
A Desert Planet During a Monsoon
Lastly, for our January selection at Fairview-Columbia Library, we read Dune, by Frank Herbert. I hadn’t read this one before either, but I figured that the dreary winter month of January was the perfect time to read about a fantastical desert planet called Arrakis. This Hugo and Nebula Award-winning book creates one of the most fully realized settings in literature, where water is so precious that they preserve every last drop. Little did I know that I would be reading it during some of the heaviest rainfall of the month! As someone who appreciates our damp climate, I found it reassuring to be able to look out the window and shake off some of the heat and desperation. And to also remind myself that giant sandworms aren't out to get me.
I’ve never asked my Pageturner folks if they mind (or if they’ve even noticed) my manipulation of our reading schedule. When they find out I hope they will just shake their heads and say something like “Oh well, she has to amuse herself somehow….” and then get back to reading our next selection.