Umami Mart

Another Michelin-starred stop during my short trip to Hong Kong last year. Are you surprised at how much we ate? But believe me, it wasn’t a chore and we hardly put on any weight. Check me out at Umami Mart: Slightly Peckish!

In bookish news, I’ve just finished reading the very addictive The Quick by Lauren Owen which seems to herald a revival of all things literary gothic. I approve. I’m now ensconced in all things Marguerite Duras with The North China Lover, another study of her adolescent love affair that played such a big part in her life, and Outside: Selected Writings, a selection of her reportage pieces, in anticipation of the Institut Français’ event about her work and life. And I’ve also started Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing for my book group which is very different from anything I’ve read before. I’m not sure how I’ll get on.

And, I squealed when I received this in the post. I cannot wait to read the final volume in Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy, The Book of Life!

Book of Life wine

Umami Mart

I’m writing about vegetarian temple food and claypot rice in Hong Kong this week so do head over to Umami Mart: Slightly Peckish to check me out!

In bookish news, I’m still pondering upon the brilliant but perplexing The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton which I finished last week and have started two very different books, The Quick by Lauren Owen and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, finally and after being hassled by all my friends.

I also went to two bookish events. The first was the book launch of Clare McGowan’s The Dead Ground which was held at the wonderful Goldsboro Books. I haven’t read the series but it looks very interesting. The second event was Less Than Three, an evening of readings presented by 3:AM Press and the Quietus at The Hospital Club, of which I will write in more detail later. Suffice it to say it was very inspiring to be amongst so many talented people.

Umami Mart

is back again. Follow my culinary infatuation with Hong Kong and check out what other delicacies I unearthed on my trip there at Umami Mart: Slightly Peckish. This week is all about Shanghai crab!

In bookish news, I’m dying to see Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel (The Royal Tenenbaums is one of my favourites) twinned with the sudden surge in interest in the novels of Stefan Zweig who is Anderson’s muse. I happened to come upon one copy of Zweig’s work, The Post Office Girl, at my library and nabbed it. I also got a copy of Muriel Spark’s The Driver’s Seat as I’d been meaning to read her and it’s short.

The last few months have also seen the phenomenal popularity of Joanna Walsh aka Badaude’s year-long celebration of women’s writing which has swept the country. Read Women 2014 began as a series of cartes de voeux which Joanna drew with names of her favourite women writers on the back. As she solicited recommendations on twitter, it snowballed and showed how much interest there was in women’s writing from both women and men.

I’m compiling books by some of my favourite and often neglected women writers such as Françoise Sagan, Marguerite Duras, Amélie Nothomb, Ann Patchet and more and hope to join in too. Follow the hashtag #ReadWomen2014 on Twitter and check out Joanna’s blog.


What about you?

Umami Mart

It’s been a while, right? It doesn’t mean I haven’t been eating. At the end of last year, I did a runner for my birthday and flew to Perth with my friends and stopped in Hong Kong on the way back. It was 3 days of eating and sightseeing and boy did we manage to eat lots and lots of incredible Chinese food. And we insisted on only Chinese food. And we started with Tim Ho Wan, the Michelin-starred dim sum joint where you have to queue with the locals and there is no special treatment. But it is SO worth it. Check me out at Umami Mart: Slightly Peckish!

In bookish news, I finally finished parts 1 & 2 of Haruki Murakami’s chunkster, 1Q84. I’ll review it once I finish part 3 which I am dying to read. It’s proving to be one of my favourite Murakami novels at the moment. I’m currently trying to finish Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!, my pick for this month’s book group which I can only describe as different.

Upcoming is a brand new literary festival hosted by Daunt Books, details here, on March 27th and 28th. Some quality sessions including one to celebrate Virago Modern Classics. Deborah Levy will be there and they will be discussing Barbara Comyns, one of my favourite authors! So do put it in your diaries. I recently swung by Daunt Books in Marylebone and got myself one of their canvas bags in navy and a copy of Sisters By A River.

I’m so glad that Virago is bringing Comyns back into print. I wouldn’t have discovered her if not for Simon T kindly sending me an out of print copy of Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead which was magnificent. More people need to read her!

Sisters By A River

Slightly Peckish Tuesday

23 October, 2012

Ah, how I’ve missed thee Umami Mart. This year has been über-hectic and I’ve taken a little hiatus from my food writing this summer what with things getting on top of each other and a bad upper back. A combination of acupuncture, salonpas and time seems to have given me a reprieve for the moment. However, in the meantime, Kayoko and Yoko have transformed Umami Mart into a brick and mortar store. It’s an amazing achievement and I am dying to visit!

But things are settling down and my stomach is grumbling. Check out a hidden little French gem in the heart of Bloomsbury at Umami Mart: Slightly Peckish! I didn’t really want to share this but I love you all so much. How could I not?

In bookish news, Mo Yan has won the Nobel Prize in Literature this year and is the first Chinese writer to do so. Have any of you read his work? Hilary Mantel has wowed the Booker judges again and strode off with this year’s prize. How wonderful. I loved Wolf Hall for its exciting storytelling and immediacy and can’t wait to read this one. I’m also reading Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles, this year’s Orange Prize winner and although I’m not even halfway, I’m totally in love with it. It’s beautifully written and not what I expected at all. I didn’t think I could be so captivated by the classics (even though I do love the classics, it does have a rather dry image).

Caroline and Lizzie are hosting German Literature Month II next month if you fancy reading some translated fiction. And Bellezza is doing a readalong of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood in November if you’d like to join her too. And I’ll leave you with an article on Murakami in The New Yorker. Just because.

Do also check out Badaude’s contribution to the Whipple Museum‘s first art book, The Rules of Form: Sonnets and Slide Rules.

And the picture is of my homework tote by Anya Hindmarch. Don’t you just love bags that have book on it (as well as inside it)?