A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title

When I made this fairly random category, I was secretly hoping for recipes. Lots of recipes. Either cookbooks or cozy mysteries. Are there recipes in romance novels? Are there even romance novels with a food theme? There must be, given what other niches exist in the genre. I was sorely disappointed, and I’m thinking in 2020 I should include a “chocolate or coffee” category if this year’s beverage category doesn’t turn out how I hope.

Blueberry Muffin Murder
by Joanna Fluke
The key feature of any food-themed cozy mystery is whether it includes recipes. This one has eight, including the titular muffins. Therefore, however unbelievable the plot, and however ridiculous the romance, it is a great cozy mystery. Unless you’re gluten intolerant, in which case, the baking theme might not work for you. Sorry.

2019 Categories
A book with a three word title
A book with a plant in the title (since it’s just called a blueberry bush anyway)

The Little Pumpkin
by Shelby Bauer (Pontius) & Tyler Volk
As we all know, our food wants us to eat it. This is not exclusively the thinking of the cow in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. No no, clearly, fall gourds desire it too.

2019 Categories
A book with a plant in the title
A book you can finish in a day
A book with pictures
A book with a three word title
A book about something fun (Halloween is fun!)

The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck
Yes, I absolutely knew this one would turn up. Point the first, the title is supposed to imply that eventually the poor and oppressed will get angry enough and stomp the bejeezus out of their oppressors (hint: capitalists). Hasn’t happened yet, but maybe this time late stage capitalism won’t get to conveniently reset itself? Point the second, the bad person does not “harvest the grapes of wrath” much less do so by getting clapbacked for being an asshole CEO. The grapes of wrath are harvested by an angry angel and then god smashes them to bits. Think guillotine, not mean Twitter comments.

2019 Categories
Complementary books: Sanora Babb’s Whose Names Are Unknown (fun fact: Steinbeck worked from Babb’s own notes while she was working on a novel on the same topic as part of her work for the Farm Administration. He probably didn’t know she was also working on a novel about Okies during the Great Depression. Unlike Steinbeck, she came from an impoverished family and lived through periods of homelessness and anti-Communist persecution. She also was white and married a Chinese-American man before that was legal.)
A book with a confusing title (the book is about the creation of the wrath, referring to a deeply layered and really complex metaphor which you cannot reduce to a clickbait headline, so stop trying news outlets.)
A book based on a real event
A book featuring an unpopular job (migrant farm worker!)
A book with an emotion in the title
A book involving a resistance movement (unionization efforts count)
A subversive book (in his own time, at least)
A book with a plant in the title (should really be “grape vine” though, in that case)

The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google
by Scott Palloway
Negative reviews of this book fall into two categories, with strong gender correlations. Wanna-be tech bros: I hate this book because I feel personally attacked by his hatred of my favorite evil corporation. Women: This book is trash because of its uncited, scientifically unsupported claims about human psychology and sociology that are super sexist.
Fascinating.

2019 Categories
A book with footnotes or endnotes (they would not stand up to peer review)
A book with no pictures on the cover (I’m not counting the logo nods)
A book with a subtitle
A book based ona real event

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
by Phaedra Patrick
Ah, another entry in the strange contemporary fiction genre of “learning about a far more interesting woman through her (insufferable) widower”. I blame Ove. It might be unfair, but I shall.

2019 Categories
Complementary books: Actually, yes, compare and contrast to A Man Called Ove. Or, from the same author, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, a story in which the person discovering the interesting woman has legitimate reason to not have known more about her
A book with a confusing title (the charms are physical not emotional, and belonged to Miriam. Arthur has no charms, whether on a bracelet or in himself)
A book with an emotion in the title
A book with a blue spine

Strawberry Hills Forever
by Vanessa Berry
Confession: I haven’t actually read this. I can’t have because I don’t live in Australia, and it’s a paperback-only collection of articles from Aussie zines. Basically, I’m waiting for one of the many random Aussies in Irish hostels to turn out to have it. It could happen. Hey Aussies: come to Ireland, bring your zines and Indigenous publishing. I’ll bake you cookies.

2019 Categories
A book with pictures
A book with a three word title
A book with a confusing title
A book based on a real event
A book from a genre you forgot (zines!)

Plum Tea Crazy
by Laura Childs
Aha, here’s another cozy mystery. I knew we couldn’t stop at just one. It has no less than ten recipes. Any more, and it will simply be a mystery themed cook book. Which actually, sounds like a fantastic idea…

2019 Categories
A book with a three word title
A book with a plant in the title (either should really have “tree” appended but… eh?)
A book that is meant to be funny
A book with a drinkable thing in the title

Pineapple Girl
by Betty Neels
Ah, vintage romance. No ripping of bodices, and many hijinks sustain the 70s status quo. There is, at least, actually a pineapple involved, but not in any sort of Urban Dictionary worthy way (we should probably be grateful).

2019 Categories
A book with a plant in the title
A book you can read in a day

Peach Pies and Alibis
by Ellery Adams
And now we have more cozy mystery, this of the paranormal variety. It passes the sniff taste, for it does indeed contain recipes. For pie. Please remember it next Pi Day, it may come in handy. Yes, I realize you can just fire up a search engine and find a pie recipe that way, but where’s the fun in that?

2019 Categories
A book with a plant in the title (again, really should be “peach tree” but I am generous and forgiving. At least to my fellow Habiticans)
A book with furniture on the cover (finally!)
A book involving a supernatural creature

Oranges are Not the Only Fruit
by Jeanette Winterson
Initial thought: well, duh. Second thought: the author is British. I’ve seen how the British eat, I am familiar with the 5-a-day campaign, this might, in fact, be news to them. Third thought: oh, right, metaphor.

2019 Categories
A book with a plant in the title
A book based on a real event (it’s a fictionalized autobiography)
A book by an #ownvoices author (lesbian protagonist, lesbian author)

Olive Kitteridge
by Elizabeth Strout
It appeared once last year, and it appears once this year. I don’t take any credit for that, since it’s most likely due to its Pulitzer status, and we all know how I feel about those. This book is less memento mori and more de senectute. Note: if you feel dumb for not knowing one or both of those phrases, you’re fine! I don’t know how to conjugate/decline Latin, or I would have made a clever joke about remembering old age instead of death.

2019 Categories
A book with a plant in the title (see again, comments on the word “tree”)
A book you can read in a day (maybe)

More Blueberries!
by Susan Musgrave & Esperanca Melo (Illustrations)
Ah, the desperation book. When you’ve got three days left in the year and you really need a fast fruit book, there’s a picture book for that. And there can never be enough blueberries. Especially proper wild Quebec lowbush berries. Yum. Incidentally, this could have counted for last year’s twins category.

2019 Categories
A book with pictures
A book you can finish a day
A book with a blue spine
A book with a plant in the title
A book about something fun
A book that is meant to be funny (or horrifying, when you consider small children and the staining power of blueberries)
A book by more than one author

Jonny Appleseed
by Joshua Whitehead
Wow. Damn. Uh, so if you want some more context for Whitehead’s novel, you could read his withdrawal from a LAMBDA award, or his intensely intellectual Twitter.

2019 Categories
A book by an Indigenous author
A book you can read in a day
A book by an #ownvoices author

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
by Fannie Flagg
Thinly veiled lesbian relationships in novels, 1980s? Allowed. The same but in early 1990s movies? Apparently not. But cannibalism is a-okay! America, you’re weird. Oh, and surprisingly, there are recipes in the book!

2019 Categories
A book with a plant in the title
A book by an #ownvoices author (I think? Flagg is known to have had lesbian relationships herself, so…?)
A book with a place in the title
A book with a drinkable thing in the title (I mean, “cafe” is French for coffee, but this is a real stretch here…)

Eight Hundred Grapes
by Laura Dave
Although usually I hate the term, this is definitely what people think of when they say “chick lit”. Carry on if you wish, but know that Pineapple Girl is probably steamier, and this book lacks any serious wine appreciation for the reader.

2019 Categories
A book with a three word title
A book with a plant in the title
A book you can read in a day (or a plane flight)

Cherry Lips or Cherry Lips
by either Milk Morinaga or Lacey Dearie
There were two books with the same title. One is a yuri (lesbian romance, often erotic) manga, by major (now mainstream-ish) artist Milk Morinaga. Her Twitter feed is all cats and lesbians. The other book is some gonzo otome, to borrow a term from Japanese pop culture. An otome story is one in which the main character is female and has a choice of many men who are really into her. Basically, the reverse of the more (in)famous harem genre. Obviously, Dearie’s not Japanese nor writing manga, but if the shoe fits!

2019 Categories
You have to choose one first!

The Secret Diary of Apple White
by Heather Alexander
This is too much twee for me. I am dead. I have expired. I have ceased to be. I am eliminated from this plane of existence.

2019 Categories
A book you can read in a day
A book with a plant in the title (close enough)
A book about something fun (a dance. Which is fun if you are an extrovert or really like dancing that much)
A book that is meant to be funny

Honorable Mention from the Grave:
Pi from Raspberry

6 thoughts on “A book with a fruit or vegetable in the title

    1. Then I am very sad none turned up for the challenge last year. Since recipes are less common in them, I assume they are not used as a metric of the quality of the romance?

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      1. Well… not by me, at any rate.

        Food themed romances tend heavily towards the baked goods, though I did just read a historical (Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas) that includes a vegetable soup recipe.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I wasn’t thrilled with the one Fluke mystery I’ve read, but the cookie recipe I got from it was well worth the price of admission. In the 15 years I’ve been living at 5000+ feet above sea level, it’s the only one I’ve had success with. No matter how much I tinker with other cookie recipes, I end up with either hockey pucks or gooey puddles.

    And did you know that MWA occasionally publishes a cookbook? I never managed to snag a copy of the most recent edition, but somewhere around here I have the one I took to Bouchercon 2001 for signatures.

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    1. I only recently learned that about MWA, entirely because my boss has one (in which she has a recipe). I’m not sure how much I’d trust them as cookbooks, though, since, uh, yeah my boss is a terrible cook. Her books aren’t food themed, so one would not generally expect her to provide good recipes anyway.

      I’ve always been bad at cookies, and I got a camping cookbook that was otherwise 200 worthless recipes, but it had a trail cookie recipe in it that’s just been amazing and remarkably resilient to the vagaries of baking in hostels.

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