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Savoring Kentucky showcases the wonders of Kentucky's food, farms, farmers, restaurants, chefs, distillers, brewers, orchards and markets. We applaud local food, its producers and champions. We delight in news of improvements in food and food systems. We take pleasure in fine food. We thank our wondrous sponsors for supporting our work and local goodness all around.

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Rona Roberts's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)
Ordinary LightOrdinary Light by Tracy K. Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautiful, calm, wise, quiet story of a young life. Restrained; insightful, useful.

"If Home was a mood, it was like being caught up in joy and consternation at once, the kind of feeling that makes you glad for what you once had and glad, also, to have left it all behind."



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The SympathizerThe Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Honesty here: this book brought too much intense anxiety, with no characters I found appealing enough to suffer alongside. Amazing first effort. Not the right fit for me.

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The Light of the WorldThe Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm reading through it a second time. The tenderness Elizabeth Alexander brings to this story of a beautiful family living through terrible loss, and her extraordinary language, made me want to live in the world as Alexander sees it.

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Bukowski in a Sundress: Confessions from a Writing LifeBukowski in a Sundress: Confessions from a Writing Life by Kim Addonizio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sharply written, revealing, sometimes to the point of embarrassment, and yet the author's sharing of the life of an active writer is useful and strong.

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The Sport of KingsThe Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Morgan's intention to write her own book that can help us see race and racism more accurately contains some of the most exquisite writing I have read. And some of the most painful.

This book frustrated me at times. I dislike the ending, and disbelieve it.

Yet I honor this book as vital and necessary for our commonwealth of Kentucky as well as for our United States.

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Hello, World!

TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public SpeakingTED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris J. Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I give few books five stars. This book does precisely what it promises, and does all of it well.

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Art as TherapyArt as Therapy by Alain de Botton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ah - a controversy over whether this book and its main author are lightweights or properweights who help ordinary mortals live better lives. I'll take Door B.

But then I value the applied side of higher education as much as the theory-building facet. I think shop and horticulture and vocational agriculture and "human environmental science" (formerly home-ec) build better humans than any academic pursuits other than English, biology, and music.

The assertions throughout Art as Therapy that beauty and art can guide actions toward more satisfying lives ring true.

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Delicious!Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Food fiction pleases me and mystery fiction doesn't. Ruth Reichl wrote Comfort Me With Apples, one of the most influential books of my life. Her work for both good food and food writing enrich me and our world. I believe her genius is non-fiction, but admire the effort to write in a different genre. She works so hard and so constantly that she may become a marvelous writer of fiction, if she wants. This book is worth reading, especially if food fiction is your great pleasure.

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The Importance Of Being Ernest: The Life of Actor Jim VarneyThe Importance Of Being Ernest: The Life of Actor Jim Varney by Justin Lloyd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Straightforward, clearly written, and, appropriately, "ernest" story of successful central Kentucky actor Jim Varney, written by a patient, loving, and clear-eyed nephew.

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Setting the TableSetting the Table by Danny Meyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book to strengthen my understanding of the importance of hospitality in work and life. It did that very well.

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The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home CooksThe Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks by Kathleen Flinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book helps me envision how to organize events and support fledgling cooks. Now to figure out all the logistics. One learning -- it takes at least part of a village. Organize a team. I am so grateful to Kathleen Flinn for the work involved in trying out an idea that flamed up inside her, and then doing it. One learning -- it takes at least part of a village to do this well. Organize a team. Another: do fancier events to raise money for the classes, and invite some portion of the paying guests to come help prepare. Amazed that they will do it! (Not really - cooking together is magical and soul-satisfying, but still I needed this specific reminder.)

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Gray MountainGray Mountain by John Grisham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I was reading this book, I discounted much about it. The writing seemed a bit wooden, even thought I respect the intention to write about massive injustice.

A few weeks after I read it, the details of settings and situations stick with me, informing my reading about southwest Virginia, eastern Kentucky, rural West Virginia, and I am appreciative of Grisham's research work.

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