It’s no surprise that I’m passionate about books (I am a librarian, after all). And while I read books for enjoyment year round (in the winter usually while riding my exercise bike), summer means pool books!
I have to be much more choosy about my pool books. Not based on content, but based on how cheaply I can buy them! Pool books always carry the risk of being splashed by the unexpected cannonball. Or, I sometimes even bring my book into the pool as I walk laps while reading (exercise and reading really are a match made in heaven, in my opinion).
Because of this, my pool books come from those I can find at garage sales!
Cue today’s book, one I got at a bag sale (fill a bag for a set amount) at a local book sale. The premise sounded interesting enough in a sappy rom com kind of way so I thought it was perfect for the pool, in many ways.
Then I started reading and oh. My. goodness. It was so bad! Here’s my GoodReads review:
Bookends by Liz Curtis Higgs
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Oof, where to start?
Let's start with the things I liked:
-The book inspired me to learn more about the Moravian Church
-Being a Christian book, there was no smut or swearing!
Things I did not like:
-The characters! They are written very poorly.
-Let's start with Emilie. Poor Emilie was having an identity crisis throughout the story - was she actually British or just wanted to visit England? She seemed to swing between the two. She was also unrealistically rigid and uptight and became a caricature instead of a character.
-Moving on the Jonas - slightly more likeable, but no one can possibly be as dense as he was written. You know who gives someone 5 unsolicited pets in 5 week? A crazy person who has no idea who he's dating (but instead he pats his own back because he's acing this dating thing) Yeah...no.
-And finally, let's talk about Sara (the co-worker's 4 year old). Can there be a more annoying child? Based on this story, I don't believe the author has ever talked to a real 4 year old.
-While I enjoy faith based books, they are often (as this one is) way too heavy handed. I imagine that, as an author, it would be difficult to put into text the small conversations faithful people have with God on a day to day basis. As.a result, the reader get slapped in the face with faith instead of it being natural woven into the story.
Overall, the book was full of ridiculous situations with ridiculous characters. I thought about abandoning the book several times, but kept reading because it was the only book I had at the pool with me.
View all my reviews
Yeah, it was bad. I really only kept reading because it was the book I had in my pool bag and in this extremely hot summer, the kids and I have been spending a lot of time at the pool!
Lucky for me, there were several foods mentioned quite descriptively and even a recipe included at the end of the story! Having never heard of a “Love Feast” or the Morovian church, I was fascinated with this tradition and set out to recreate the Love Feast buns described in the book.
This proved to be challenging. Morovian Love Feast rolls certainly exist, but not the powdered sugar coated confection described in the book. Recipes available online leaned toward a sweet roll flavored with citrus.
I knew immediately that my family would revolt. So I took some liberties. I made a slightly sweetened roll (that is also great as a hamburger bun). Then I made a lemon glaze (more in tune with the recipes I found online), and added a dusting of powdered sugar (as mentioned in the book).
The roll was reminiscent of a donut (but not quite). Personally, I preferred them unadorned either by themselves or as a bun for sandwiches or hamburgers!
Adapted from The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Oxford
1 cup warm mashed potatoes (unseasoned)
½ cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 ½ tablespoons yeast
¾ cup sugar
½ cup warm milk
½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoons salt
5-6 cups flour
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
powdered sugar for dusting
To make the mashed potatoes, boil 2-3 potatoes until tender. Peel and then mash.
Place the water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and set aside until the yeast is foamy. Add the eggs, milk, butter, salt and half the flour. Mix until smooth.
Switch to the dough hook and gradually add the remaining flour until a smooth, slightly sticky dough is formed.
Place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover and set aside to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.
Punch down and divide into 2.5 ounce pieces. Shape each each piece into a ball and place on baking sheets. Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on wire racks. If using as sandwich of hamburger buns, stop here. Use or freeze buns.
To make a dessert bun, make the glaze by mixing together the lemon juice and powdered sugar. Brush over buns. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar and serve.