The Foodie Book Club of Sebastopol, a group of men and women from the mid-30s to the well “seasoned,” reads fiction and nonfiction and has even dipped into poetry at times, but all their selections offer some element of food and drink, even if it’s just a sliver or a sip.
The club meets at the Sebastopol Regional Library at 6 p.m. on the last Wednesday of every month from January to October, and on a slightly irregular basis during November and December.
Participants are encouraged to bring a tasty dish to share that is inspired by (or in revolt to) some aspect of the book. All are welcome, from mature teens on up, but a keen interest in food is a must. The club has recently read the following titles, submitted by Mathew Rose, branch manager of the Sebastopol Regional Library:
“The Belly of Paris” by Emile Zola. The. Foodie. Book. Hands down the most delicious book ever written. Florent, the main character, encounters many colorful characters, scents, and tastes during his sojourn at Les Halles (the central food market in Paris.) There is a section of this book known as “The Cheese Symphony.” Required reading for any foodie or fiction aficionado and an all-time favorite of The Foodie Book Club.
“Gulp” by Mary Roach. Foodies love how things taste and savor rich smells of food. They wish there was a better word for mouthfeel than “mouthfeel.” And after the savoring, smelling, swallowing? Roach proves a humorous tour guide through the alimentary canal with equal measure of “ick” and fascination.
“Casino Royale” by Ian Fleming. The book that launched a franchise. An action packed spy adventure, but was Bond a foodie? Can you taste the difference between shaken and stirred?
“Alice Waters and Chez Panisse” by Thomas McNamee. Much like the Velvet Underground was the band that launched a thousand bands and Helen’s face was the face that launched a thousand ships, Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse is credited with making California cuisine a “thing” and has influenced a thousand restaurants. Reading the history of that storied institution proved mouth watering. Even through the details of personality clashes in the kitchen, the story was delectable.
“Chocolat” by Joanne Harris. This is a tale of romance and hijinks served with a dollop of magical realism, a pinch of religiosity and a sprinkling of mystery. Magical realism isn’t your thing? Eat some chocolate while reading and discussing. Everything is better with chocolate.
“Lunch Poems” by Frank O’Hara. A leading figure in the New York School, Frank O’Hara seems the kind of guy you want to have a Coke with. His poetry is vibrant, fast, and refreshing; a perfect pairing for a deli sandwich on a lunch break.
For more information, go to sonomalibrary.org/good-read/book-groups/foodie-book-club-at-sebastopol-regional-library.