Reading List: Food in Fiction

Warning: coming to our library at the moment may make you extremely hungry! We have everything food and we have it everywhere!

It’s not just our scrumptious range of cook books and foodie mags, not just our DVD collection of food shows such as Annabel Langbein’s Free Range Cook, or Chef Michael Van de Elzen’s The Food Truck series, not just the biographies by celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey but –  our inter-loan librarian Aroha has also sourced some fantastic fiction reads that feature gastronomy and culinary artifice dished up with a  side of romance, mystery, or drama.

These titles are perfect for enjoying in a warm spot with a thick wedge of deliciousness!


The Corrina Chapman Series by Kerry Greenwood:


Earthly delights

Heavenly pleasures

Devil’s food

Trick or treat

Forbidden fruit

Cooking the books


wicked-195x300The Lizzy & Diesel series by Janet Evanovich:

Wicked appetite

Wicked business

Wicked charms


Barry Crump:wild pork and watercress

Wild pork and watercress

Puha road




The case of the deadly butter chicken: from the files of Vish Puri, India’s most private investigator by Tarquin Hall





Bakery sisters by Susan Mallery2827647

Sweet talk

Sweet spot

Sweet trouble


Big Sky Pie series by Adrianne Lee







24867001Current Creek Valley by RaeAnne Thayne

The art of baking blind by Sarah Vaughn

Yes, Chef! by Lisa joy

The particular sadness of lemon cake by Aimee Benderlemoncake

The pumpkin muffin murder by Livia J Washburn

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl



Happy devouring!

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Librarian Recommended Reads: Five Minutes Alone by Paul Cleave

Paul Cleave
Five Minutes Alone

The saying ‘give me five minutes alone with that person’ usually means someone wishes harm to another in retribution for a perceived slight or injustice, and that is the basis for Paul Cleave’s new novel Five Minutes Alone: a Thriller.

Paul Cleave, an award winning New Zealand author, is known for his very graphic writing and doesn’t mince words on any given subject – and this title is no different!

Theo Tate and Carl Schroder are two Christchurch detectives on the hunt for someone who is meting out revenge for victims of violent crimes with the intention of satisfying the ‘five minutes alone’ wish of the victims or their families. However, innocent people are dying, and most of the police force support the revenge acts, making for a difficult investigation. Plenty of twists and turns in this book!

Read by Adrienne

Find  Five Minutes Alone  in our catalogue

About the author:

Paul Cleave, NZ Author

Paul Cleave, NZ Author

“Paul Cleave is an internationally bestselling author who is currently dividing his time between his home city of Christchurch, New Zealand, where all of his novels are set, and Europe, where none of his novels are set. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. He has won the Ngaio Marsh award for best crime novel in New Zealand, he won the Saint-Maur book festival’s crime novel of the year in France, has been shortlisted for the Edgar Award and the Barry Award in the US, and shortlisted for the Ned Kelly award in Australia.” (source Wikipedia)


You may also like:

The Laughterhouse

Blood Men

The Cleaner


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Recommended Teen Reads: We Were Liars by E Lockheart


Cadence is a member of the distinguished Sinclair family, whose wealth and privilege extend to owning a private island off Martha’s Vineyard where the family spend their summers. Cadence, her cousins Johnny and Mirren, and family friend Gat have a tight friendship and are called The Liars by the rest of the family.

This beautiful family are more than their surface and leading up to and though summer fifteen, Cadence’s father leaves the family, her Grandmother dies, and her Grandfather’s manipulative games begin to erode and then decimate the relationships between his three adult daughters.

Then Cadence is found to have suffered an accident that has left her with suspected traumatic brain injury, debilitating migraines, and amnesia around the circumstances of the event.

Summer seventeen, Cadence yearns for the company and comfort of the other liars, and to resolve the mystery of her accident; she fights to return to Beechwood Island where eventually the truth is revealed in a twist you will NOT see coming.

I hardly ever read books twice, and never within the space of two weeks, but this one I did, and every time I think about it, I want to read it again. (So basically it’s one of my all time favourites ever) It’s so well written that I truly never saw the twist ending coming. When it did, it wrenched me, and I’m not going to lie, there were tears and heart pangs.

Lockhart’s writing is so tight and so sublime, it’s digested, rather than read. I especially love the way she writes Cadence’s feelings. When her father leaves, Cadence/Lockhart describes it like this:

Then he pulled out a handgun and shot me in the chest. I was standing on the lawn and I fell. The bullet hole opened wide and my heart rolled out of my rib cage and down into a flower bed. Blood gushed rhythmically from my open wound,

then from my eyes,

my ears,

my mouth.

It tasted like salt and failure.

This title is in my top best ever books and on the second read I was able to appreciate Lockhart’s cleverness even more, while the ending tore me apart all over again.

Read (twice) by Raschel

Find We Were Liars in our catalogue here

About e lockheart:

e lockhart

e lockheart

E Lockheart is the pen name of Emily Jenkins.

She is known best for writing the Ruby Oliver quartet (which begins with The Boyfriend List), The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and We Were Liars.

Lockheart grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Seattle, Washington. After attending various drama schools and programmes, she graduated from Vassar and Columbia Universities with a doctorate in English Literature.

She currently lives in New York.

Also by E Lockhart:

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

(Also a fantastic book, great feminist themes!)

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Recommended Teen Reads: Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition by Katie Rain Hill

Rethinking Normal

Rethinking Normal

This is the story of Katie’s transition from Luke, a boy born in the bible belt of Oklahoma, into Katie – the girl she had always felt herself to be inside.

Katie’s story delves into the earliest memories of her childhood, many of them painful and raw. The honesty and the openness with which she shares her life is amazing and it’s hard not to be affected by her struggles to be heard and understood.

Still a teenager at the time of writing, this book is very easy to read and hard to put down. Katie takes us through her relationships with her parents, her friends, and boyfriends; rejections, acceptances, and finding her voice as an advocate for Trans* Youth. She also doesn’t flinch away from the physical details of her life and her process going on hormones and ultimately her gender reassignment surgery.

A great read for anyone questioning, or considering transitioning; parents of trans* children and teens, or anyone who would like to understand and be an ally. And even if you’re not, you’ll enjoy this honest and emotional memoir.

Read by: Raschel

Reserve Rethinking Normal: a memoir in transition here

About the author: Katie Rain Hill is a student at the University of Tulsa majoring in anthropology and sociology. She wrote this memoir while studying for exams, writing term papers, working part-time as a pharmaceutical technician, and advocating for LGBTQA rights. This is her first book.


You may also like:

Beyond Magenta: transgender teens speak out

The full spectrum: a new generation of writing about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and other identities

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Librarian Recommended Reads: The Umbrian Supper Club by Marlena de Blasi

The Umbrian Supper Club

The Umbrian Supper Club

A group of women (and very occasionally their partners) from the rural Italian town of Orvieto meet once a month on a Thursday night to partake in a scrumptious meal and drink from the array of boutique wines sourced from the surrounding vineyards.

Marlena prepares the sumptuous fare from recipes handed down to her from her family and invites her guests to comment as they devour her creations.

It is here where each woman tells of their own personal stories about growing old, family feuds, mafia connections, and of course the secret ingredients they use in the many recipes that they all have to share.

The beginning of the book is dedicated to Marlena and goes to be told from the point of view of the other women in the group: Miranda, Ninucia, Paolina, and Gilda.

There are a dozen recipes contained within the novel, a good combination of the skill of Marlena de Blasi not only as a writer but also as an accomplished chef herself.

Read by: Mako

Reserve The Umbrian Supper Club here


About the author: “Marlena de Blasi has been a chef, a journalist, a food and wine consultant, and a restaurant critic. She is the author of two cookbooks, Regional Foods of Northern Italy (a James Beard Foundation Award finalist) and Regional Foods of Southern Italy. She and her husband, Fernando, now direct gastronomic tours through Tuscany and Umbria.’ (amazon)

Other titles by this author:

Antonia and her Daughters


That summer in Sicily: a love story

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Librarian Recommended Reads: That Sugar Book by Damon Gameau



Sugar has been featuring quite heavily in the media lately with scientists and medical professionals producing new information about its negative effects on our health and the way it is hidden in seemingly healthy foods. We have had a definite increase in the number of borrowers seeking information around sugar and sugar-free diets who may be interested in this new title.

That Sugar Book is a tie-in to the documentary That Sugar Film. Styled on the likes of Super Size Me, the author, Damon Gameau, changes his diet to include 40 teaspoons of sugar a day for 60 days – the average daily sugar intake in Australia – and monitors the effect on his body. But rather than eating the obvious sugary items like chocolate, sweets, ice cream, or cake, the sugar must come from things marketed as ‘healthy’ foods.

Gameau explains how sugar damages us, and how easy it is to consume sugar without realising it, revealing the astonishing amounts of sugar hidden in supposedly healthy foods on supermarket shelves – such as low-fat yoghurt, muesli and children’s fruit snacks.

Although his calorie intake was the same as his regular diet, Gameau put on nearly nine kilograms in the 60 days. Within a couple of weeks, he had the beginnings of fatty liver disease.

That Sugar Book is a great read even if you’re not looking to change your diet. Gameau deals with a very serious subject but writes in a lighthearted way which keeps the reader interested rather than being bored by facts.

A staff favourite! Read by Adrienne and Raschel

Reserve That Sugar Book here


You might also like:

Super Size Me A DVD documentary on the effects of fast food

David Gillespie

David Gillespie


The Sweet Poison Quit Plan: how to break the sugar habit and lose weight by David Gillespie: An over view of why sugar is bad for you and how we get addicted along with information and strategies for quitting sugar and alternative proven recipes.




Sarah Wilson



The I Quit Sugar books by Sarah Wilson: gorgeously styled books from a self-confessed sugar addict. Wilson recounts her struggles with sugar and how she eventually quit sugar for life. Recipes and lifestyle advice for anyone looking to make diet changes.






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Librarian Recommended Reads: Girls will be girls by Emer O’Toole

Girls will be girls by Emer O'Toole

Girls will be girls by Emer O’Toole

Emer O’Toole inadvertently shot herself to fame by revealing her un-shaved armpits on television—an act so subversive that the clip went viral and she became entrenched in an epic media storm.

In Girls will be Girls Emer investigates how we are socialised to “perform” our assigned gender roles, what happens when we don’t, and how we might break down stereotypes that put us all in boxes and feel more comfortable in our much diverse bodies.

An easily digested read which doesn’t run light on research, witty and engaging, this book is a must-read for consolidated or emerging feminists (male and female), or anyone interested in gender-neutral parenting.

Read by Raschel

Reserve Girls will be girls here

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