My House Smells Like a Salad, and the Today Book Club Selection

tomatoes-01We have a garden:  the rabbits eat most of it.  We’re in a drought:  everything is burning out there.

We have dozens of tomatoes.  We have zucchini, so much zucchini.  Too bad you can’t give away tomatoes or zucchini this time of year. Everybody on our street has a garden.

Tomatoes are easy: sauce, soup, salsa, sandwiches, salads, tacos, quiche, chicken parmesan, chili, pizza.

We have State Fair-size zucchini.  It is huge by the time we remember to pick it.   Stir fry, stir fry…enough with the stir-fry.

And no one will eat my 10-minute tomato-zucchini sauce.  I invented it:  sautéed tomatoes in one pan, sautéed zucchini in another, and throw it all on pasta..

“No more,” everybody begs.

I don’t really want to cook when it’s 100 degrees.

And my house now smells like a giant salad.

You walk in and you are IN a salad.  The kitchen smells like a salad.  The sheets smell like a salad. My hair smells like a salad.  There is much washing of everything.

I spent the afternoon with the air conditioner off (it’s ONLY 98.1 degrees), windows open, and fans going.

It finally got rid of the salad.

Tonight we’re having bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwiches, and since I’m not cooking the tomatoes, it should be fine.

I have one fabulous recipe for a grilled cheese-zucchini sandwich, which you can find at the Big Girls Small Kitchen website.  It is the best thing to do with zucchini.


I am not a snob about genre books.  I like good science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, and the Twilight books.  Graham Joyce’s Some Kind of Fairy Tale and The Silent Land are superb literary fantasies. (I wrote about The Silent Land here.) My favorite writer, Jonathan Lethem, is the author of brilliant literary novels with elements of magic realism (Chronic City and The Fortress of Solitude).  His early books were science fiction.

So I was willing to try The Today Book Club’s choice of  Samantha Shannon’s The Bone Trash, oh, I mean The Bone Season, a dystopian novel.

I read 75 pages of The Bone Trash incredulously.

Oxford beauty writes bad genre book.

21-year-old Oxford graduate writes best-seller.

Is the Today Show Book Club aimed at fifth-grade Harry Potter fans?

I thought it was probably for middle-aged people.

I cannot imagine who they think their audience is.

This book has been marketed the hell out of.  Shannon is a 21-year-old Oxford graduate.  Her novel is the first in a series of seven.  The movie rights have been sold.  It has even been translated into other languages.  (Why?  Haruki Murakami she’s not.)

I very much wish I had not downloaded it onto my e-reader, because it is simply dead space there.  I cannot GIVE it away.

Read Janet Maslin’s brilliant review in The New York Times to get an idea of just how bad this is.

P.S.  My husband wants to know who picked the book.  Samantha Guthrie?  Al Roker?  Matt Lauer?  According to the website, it’s the Today Book Club team.  Will somebody get fired for this?

5 thoughts on “My House Smells Like a Salad, and the Today Book Club Selection

  1. Thanks, Rhonda! I usually love these book clubs. (Love the Oprah books!) I think they ARE going for a younger audience. I just went to Goodreads and people seem divided. Some do love this book, and talk about Y.A. and New Adult fiction. Then there are others like me who think it’s really bad…


  2. I enjoyed the comments on gardens, salads, zucchini. I found what I could read of Maslin’s article (I am not a subscriber and am apparently beyond my 10 hit limit) revealing; a book is not chosen for its quality, literary or moral; its aesthetic power (involving deep characters, absorbing story, wonderful images); or even autobiographical content (say exciting revelations). No, it resembles outwardly the outline of the semi-fictionalized career of authors whose books made a lot of money. So outwardly Shannon resembles Rowling; ergo, pay her hugely, market the hell out of her book and you’ve another blockbuster. The publishers did manage to fool enough of the public to get lots of sales at first ….

    This is the literary marketplace today.


  3. Yes, Ellen, there are some astonishing new books out there –and so it’s very disappointing when a book club chooses something like this. A marketing triumph. The TV people SHOULD depend on somebody who knows contemporary literature (though my guess is the PR dept. REALLY picked this). Oprah picked very good books, even at one time trying to get her book club members to read Faulkner. (And I wish I could send you some of our vegetables… so many!)

    Karen, great that you’re a vegetarian! We eat mostly vegetarian dishes, because they’re healthier. (But I’m not a vegetarian..) It’s safe to say that The Bone Season is not your kind of book. You will wonder what on earth made me buy it!


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