My take: I'm mixing things up here and giving my opinion first because I enjoyed this book so much! I haven't read it through because that's not what you do with cookbooks but it isn't just a cookbook. Recipes you can find on the internet. These are whole experiences that are concisely provided in a book. As fun as it is to have everything at our fingertips via internet, a good cookbook can not be duplicated.
But this can also be a bathroom book. Don't get all grossed out or anything but the reason is that each recipe or featured recipes is preceded by a summary of the book for the club. Not the short little blurb that says nothing in particular but a well written summary that might even go through the book, giving more information than you'd find on a publicity site. They might be viewed as spoilers by some people. I find the more information given, the more interest is sparked.
Then there is the recipe; something that might have been mentioned in the book or appropriate for the time period and geographical location. Actually, when the publicist offered this book for review, I looked at the list of recipes and books (as seen below) and stopped at Chocolate Pie from The Help and laughed very hard. I still haven't seen the movie and might not ever but both the movie and the book do this recipe justice - minus one critical ingredient, I feel compelled to reveal.
Novel Thoughts is a little section at the end of the recipe where different book clubs have tried different strategies for either serving the dish or discussing aspects of the book. Interesting perspectives and helpful for book clubs. Also, in some sections, additional information is provided under "More Food for Thought."
As a general cookbook, it's good. I have better recipes for some of the dishes or easier and quicker, anyway but I don't have the most authentic which this provides. If I used the book for a book club, I might or might not use the exact recipe but I would definitely use the descriptions and thoughts. They are excellent starting points for conversation and discussion.
Summary of The Book Club Cookbook, Revised Edition
“Part cookbook, part celebration of the written word, [The Book Club Cookbook] illustrates how books and ideas can bring people together.”
“The Book Club Cookbook excels at offering book groups new title ideas and a culinary way to spice up their discussions.”
“If you’re in a book club, you’ll savor the stories of the many culturally and ethnically diverse book groups the authors interviewed as much as the recipes."
Whether it's Roman Punch for The Age of Innocence, or Sabzi Challow (spinach and rice) with Lamb for The Kite Runner, or Swedish Meatballs and Glögg forThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, nothing spices up a book club meeting like great eats. Featuring recipes and discussion ideas from bestselling authors and book clubs across the country, this fully revised and updated edition of the classic book guides readers in selecting and preparing culinary masterpieces that blend perfectly with the literary masterpieces their club is reading. This edition features new contributions from a host of today's bestselling authors including: