Primary Genre(s): Fiction, Magical Realism
First Published: 5 Sep 2017 by MCD Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Page count: 259
My Format: Audiobook
Cover: Simple, but glows in the dark
Ending: Okay, but slightly rushed
Would I recommend it: Yes
Commission Link: https://amzn.to/2Hux3cu
My rating: ★★★★☆
Summary from Goodreads
Lois Clary, a software engineer at a San Francisco robotics company, codes all day and collapses at night. When her favorite sandwich shop closes up, the owners leave her with the starter for their mouthwatering sourdough bread. Lois becomes the unlikely hero tasked to care for it, bake with it and keep this needy colony of microorganisms alive. Soon she is baking loaves daily and taking them to the farmer’s market, where an exclusive close-knit club runs the show. When Lois discovers another, more secret market, aiming to fuse food and technology, a whole other world opens up. But who are these people, exactly?
I read Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by the same author back in 2016. I rated it 3 stars on Goodreads and I can honestly say that even after re-reading the synopsis of that book I can’t remember a thing about it. That may not completely be the book’s fault because I have easily read about 500 books since then, but it usually isn’t a good sign when I can’t recall anything about a story. Sourdough, however, I think may stay with me for a while because it was just so weird… in a good way. This is easily the quirkiest, oddest book I have read so far this year. Here are my pros and cons:
- I just read a book about an exceptional sourdough starter… and I loved it! For those that may not know, a starter is a fermented mixture of flour and water that contains a colony of microorganisms including wild yeast and lactobacilli. You literally have to keep it alive by feeding it every 12-24 hours it in order for it to be useful for baking. You can keep a starter alive for a very long time.
- This book is weird. Period. It is about a sourdough starter for Pete’s sake! Yet, it is interesting and it will keep you engaged.
- The characters are realistic and relatable.
- The engineer in me enjoyed the fusion of food with technology in this book very much.
- This would be a great summer beach read.
- Apparently the cover of the book glows in the dark – I listened to an audiobook version via Overdrive so I can’t confirm… but how freaking cool is that?
- You will learn something about making bread and other food items.
- You WILL want to go out and buy some sourdough – and you WILL look for a pattern on the loaf!
- The ending wasn’t disappointing, but I personally felt it was a tad rushed.
This is actually a tough book to review because it is really hard to describe. It is about robots, microorganism wars, farmer’s markets, and sourdough! What kind of nonsense is that?? But it works! In a strange, quirky way it actually works and it was a delightful distraction for a few hours. You really have to read it for yourself… I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Side note: I’m kind of thinking I need to go back and reread Penumbra now. I almost NEVER re-read books, but I enjoyed Sourdough so much that I WANT to remember Penumbra now. Perhaps I will put it back on my never-ending TBR list and see if I get back to it someday.
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