I own seven delightful cookbooks, but my favorite is Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. Most of the recipes contain pictures and are easy to follow. A colorful banner references recipes that are fast, easy, low fat, or a favorite. It’s a 3-ring binder, so I can easily remove the page with the recipe I want. The book contains reference tabs for everything you could possible want to make and has an emergency substitutions and equivalents list. The ingredients are listed in the order I’ll need them, and they’re all something I know the grocery store carries.
It’s simple to use and comprehensive. Nowadays, it’s all about quick, easy meals without sacrificing your health. This cookbook delivers beautifully.
Isn’t that what we want in our novels, too? We want a fast-paced story, easy to read and follow, dazzlingly clever and comprehensive. We want a story deliciously inviting, one we can easily lose ourselves in without realizing it. We want a story that’s so believable we don’t feel too guilty investing all our time reading when we should be writing or cooking dinner or changing diapers. And we strive to write stories that way, too.
It’s funny how cookbooks have evolved over time, just the way novels have, to cater to our fast-paced lifestyle. Though Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking saw a boost in sales recently, would it have without the success of the movie Julie and Julia? How many of those people are still cooking from it since the novelty has worn off? Actually, now that I think about, it probably was revised and updated to appeal to current times.
It’s no wonder that it’s harder to invest our time in the classics, those novels we were forced to read in high school or college literature classes. That’s why I like to give the classics a second chance. Now that I know the probable reason for not liking them is because I’m too cultured in my generation, shaped like a robot to read fast! think faster! time is of the essence! next! move on! It shouldn’t be so difficult to sit down and enjoy reading run-on sentences, lengthy paragraphs of character and weather description, flowery dialogue with words you only ever see on the SATs. But these days, it is.
Thanks to Elizabeth Spann Craig for inspiring me to write this blog post! See her post on fast-paced books.
I have not been endorsed to promote any cookbooks. Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook truly is my favorite from which most dinners arrive every night. I mean, I make the meals. The book doesn’t deliver the meals. Wouldn't that be marvelous!
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
“When a man is in doubt about this or that in his writing, it will often guide him if he asks himself how it will tell a hundred years hence.” ~Samuel Butler
What are your thoughts on how our faster lifestyle and shorter attention spans have changed/are changing writing, publishing, and marketing?