Genre doesn’t always capture what to expect from a book. Sometimes, some books have something ineffable about them, like a flavor. So, based on the popularity of the Netflix series, based on the book by Samin Nosrat, I offer a menu of salty, fatty, acidic, and hot books. (This also gives me a chance to recommend books that I really liked that I don’t often get a chance to talk about.)
Salt: These books are books with an arch sense of humor, books that are more likely to make the corner of your mouth smirk than make you laugh out loud. Salty books are witty, that say something we’ve all been thinking but don’t want to say because it might be a little too mean.
- Dear Committee Members, by Julie Schumacher
- The Girl in Green, by Derek B. Miller
- The Refrigerator Monologues, by Catherynne Valente
- Time’s Arrow, by Martin Amis (This one is possibly the saltiest thing I’ve ever read)
Fat: These books are unctuous, rich. They make you feel like you’ve had a full meal and, possibly, leave you with a book hangover.
- Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
- Once Upon a River, by Diane Setterfield
- Reincarnation Blues, by Michael Poore
Acid: These books burn. They’re not for everyone, but they are the kind of books that Kafka advocated to break through our frozen, internal seas. (It turns out I read a lot of this kind of book.)
- The Far Field, by Madhuri Vijay
- The Tusk that Did the Damage, by Tania James
- Ruby, by Cynthia Bond
- A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, by Anthony Marra
Heat: These books warm us up, comfort us, and leave us with a cozy glow inside.
- The Nutmeg Tree, by Margery Sharp
- Happiness, by Aminatta Forna
- These is My Words, by Nancy E. Turner
- Spoonbenders, by Daryl Gregory