Summer Reading for Foodies

Omnivore Books on Food is, by all accounts, a San Francisco gem. Though I haven't yet visited the 20-month-old bookshop, I'm eager to, as it focuses on cookbooks and other food-related reads both modern and vintage. In addition to a monthly newsletter, Omnivore also hosts frequent author visits, readings, and signings.

I asked Celia Sack, the bookstore's owner, to choose three of her favorite recent food-themed books, and to share a short description of each here with us. Here are her recommendations, in her own words:

Twain's Feast by Andrew Beahrs. I adore Mark Twain, but this gem isn't just for fans of the 19th century humorist. Beahrs explores the heritage foods of Twain's America: prairie chickens, San Francisco oysters and mussels, the canvasback ducks of Balitimore, and finds out what has become of them. A fascinating read about a time when everything in America was local and sustainable.

Farm City by Novella Carpenter. Take an abandoned lot in the Oakland ghetto, a burgeoning do-it-yourself movement in California's East Bay, and an irascible heroine who loves nothing more than a good dumpster dive to sate her pigs and chickens, and you've got Farm City. A joy to read, Carpenter takes us through the ups and downs of urban gardening, never veering to the saccharine without swinging back to the absurd.

Born Round by Frank Bruni. Former New York Times food critic Frank Bruni opens up about his problems with bulimia and his struggles with being a gay man in a big body. I'm not usually drawn to weight-loss-as-success-story books (which just highlight my own failures), but Bruni's surprising honesty and sense of humor shine through in this lovely memoir.

So go on, now: consider adding these books to your own summer reading lists. And to keep up with Omnivore Books, follow the shop on Twitter.

CHIME IN: What are your favorite food-related books?

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