Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fall Reading Challenge: A Second Bite of the Apple by Dana Bate #FRC2014

This fall, members of the Vise Library are going back to school by participating in a Fall Reading Challenge. We have received copies of several books from publishers for honest reviews. We hope that you enjoy these reviews (and books)!

The book for our Food Journalism class is A Second Bite of the Apple by Dana Vate.

About the book:

Sydney Strauss is obsessed with food. Not with eating it--though she does that too--but with writing about the wonders of the gastronomic world, from obscure fruit hybrids to organic farming techniques. Since food journalism jobs are more coveted than Cronuts®, Sydney pays her bills working for one of TV's biggest egomaniacs--until she's left scrambling for shifts at a local farmers' market. 

Stacking muffins for the Wild Yeast Bakery isn't going to win her any James Beard awards. But soon Sydney is writing the market's weekly newsletter, and her quirky stories gain attention from a prominent food columnist. After years of putting her love life into deep freeze, she's even dating again. And then Sydney gets a shot at the story, one that could either make her career or burn it to a crisp--along with her relationship and her reputation...

At the beginning of this book the main character, Sydney Strauss, is being let go from her job as a producer for a morning television show.  It is at a very bad time (when does losing your job happen at a good time though?) because it is just around the holidays and Sydney is behind on her rent because of some dental work that her insurance did not cover.  By coincidence she gets a job for a bakery (with a ornery owner)  at a local farmer's market.  Around the time she starts her job, she meets Jeremy and eventually agrees to go on a date with him.  However, there is something in Jeremy's past that she has a hard time getting over.  Sydney really likes Jeremy though and tries to look past what happened with Jeremy's sort of shady past.  After sometime at the farmer's market, she is approached to write for the newsletter for the market.  She wants to focus on the human interest aspect of all of the vendors in the market.  Her videos and columns for the newsletter get her some attention from a local paper and agrees to write for them.  She desperately wants a job as a food journalist and feels like working for the paper will be her way in.  Sydney learns about a major scandal and uses someone she is starting to care about to get a scoop to land her a job with the paper.  She does something unethical herself in the process and  she manages to ruin a ton of relationships and trust that she has from friends.  Even though she gets the big story, it makes Sydney question whether she is cut out to be a food journalist and if she can be trusted.  

This is another book involving a lot of secrets.  The secrets keep building up on Sydney to where eventually she loses some control.  She is not only keeping her own secrets, but secrets within her own family.  This book makes Sydney take a long hard look at herself and who she really is.  She learns that people can make mistakes and some people deserve second chances.  Sydney also finds out that some of the relationships she has with her family members are not really the way she has perceived them over the years.  At times you feel bad for Sydney with what she has done to herself and hope she makes it out.  I will say one of my favorite scenes in the book is actually when everything in her world is crumbling around her.  This scene has someone from her past and future in it, along with the FBI.  I won't give anymore of that away, but I found myself laughing out loud at some of the exchanges that were happening.  I enjoyed this book quite a bit and think it will make people think about their own mistakes (along wither other people's mistakes).  This book shows that even if people set out with good intentions to help, the process of doing things can really affect them and the other people around them.  This book also shows that when people make mistakes now in the internet age that the mistake can go on forever, even when other people trying to move on. 

Buy the book:
·        Amazon Paperback

About the author:

Dana Bate is the author of A SECOND BITE AT THE APPLE and THE GIRLS' GUIDE TO LOVE AND SUPPER CLUBS, which earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly and has been translated into five languages. Before writing fiction full time, she was a Washington producer and reporter for PBS's Nightly Business Report, where she won the Gerald Loeb Award for a series she produced on the Indian economy. She studied molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University and received her master's degree from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, where she won the Harrington Award for outstanding promise in the field of journalism. She lives outside Philadelphia with her family.

Connect with the author:
·        Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authordanabate
·        Twitter: https://twitter.com/danabate
·        Website: http://danabate.com/
·        Goodreads

If you want to find out more about the Fall Reading Challenge and the rest of our course schedule, click our student ID above!

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