Taking some time off for the holidays here…. I’ve been on a mystery bender and I thought I’d post some pithy comments about The Broken Teaglass, Emily Arsenault’s debut novel. And maybe something about Julia Spencer-Fleming and how I’m finally caught up on the Clare/Russ saga and am eagerly awaiting the next episode, due this spring.
But, no. Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, my newest acquisition, beckoned instead this morning, and the only mystery was this: Do I start with the Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles or the Chocolate Chip Chai Spice Shortbread?
I started with the Shortbread, and since the dough was too soft to cut without chilling first, I stuck it in the refrigerator and here I am at my keyboard. I think the shortbread will be yummy, but I may need to add some more spices to the dough to make it really sizzle. Either my cardamon is too old or my palate is on overdrive. At any rate, this is an awesome cookbook, the authors are funny and have a great perspective on food, and I am psyched about all the yummy things I’m getting ready to bake for Christmas presents. (Can you say Cranberry White Chocolate Biscotti??)
Did you ever wonder how dictionary publishers come up with their definitions? At the Samuelson Company, where The Broken Teaglass takes place, editors keep extensive citation files for individual words, with examples of where and how the words are actually used. And then they come up with definitions based on these citations. Lexicography is pretty heady stuff. I had no idea.
Teaglass tells a story-within-a-story, with clues to a decades-old murder hidden as bogus citations in the files. I want to root for first novels, and I did like this one quite a bit, intellectually. It’s interesting and clever, in a Joy of Words kind of way. But I need to fall in love with at least one character in a novel, even if it’s not the character you’re supposed to love, and I didn’t really care that much about any of them by the end of the book.
So I’m going back to cookies now.