This month’s Book Club Sneak Peek is a little different. The nice people over at La Brea Bakery are sponsoring this post because they want to shine the spotlight on the importance of #BreakingBread with our loved ones. Find out how we used bread to add joy to our The Boys in the Boat book review!
Think back to some of your favorite memories with friends and family. Did they involve food?
We all know that food does more than fuel our body. It provides the center for friends and family to gather, connect, and feed needs on social, emotional, and even intellectual level. This is clear when I get together with some of my closest friends for book club, where we discuss our latest group read. There is always food, and lots of it! Sometimes I think we even do more eating than discussing the book :).
This month’s pick was The Boys in The Boat by Daniel James Brown. It was recommended to me multiple times over the years so I was happy to finally read it! Before I dive in to this book (and spoiler alert, it’s amazing) I want to set the scene on what we were eating, and how I used La Brea Bread (recipe included).
You may have caught this in my last Weekending post, but our lovely host provided a pizza bar!
Pizza had some friends.
I decided to bring an appetizer, and I knew that La Brea French Baguettes were the perfect size for slicing because of the sample that I had when their tour was in town, and my wheels started turning (no pun intended) ;).
I’m in love with feta cheese so I decided to make Feta Cherry Slices. You can make these with almost any cheese, and spreadable is probably best, but crumbled is what I had and they still tasted great! The most important part is the quality of the bread.
I sliced them into *about 1/2 inch pieces and chopped up some dried cherries.
Simply mix the cherries and cheese, and after brushing the oil on the bread and briefly baking you spread/place the cheese mixture on top, drizzle with honey, and bake some more. Viola! Done. I would definitely recommend serving these warm or right out of the oven.
Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for….(drum roll please). The actual review!
The Boys In The Boat Book Review
The Boys In The Boat
Author: Daniel James Brown
For readers of Unbroken, out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.
It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.
Perseverance and the inward drive to survive and thrive.
Poverty and economic collapse
What did you know about crew before reading this book and how have your opinions changed?
How do the Olympics today compare to the Olympics back then?
What aspects of life in the 1930s stuck you most deeply?
When the coach saw the Olympic boat come together for the first time, why do you think that moment was so important for him?
The discussion was great surrounding this book because it really captivated us. We spent a lot of time discussing Germany and the Olympics because we were all shocked at the intentional cover up and manipulation of the world to cover up the heinous crimes that were taking place. Beyond the global setting, we talked at length about the various boys in the boat and how much we admired things about them. Particularly the main character and all the obstacles he had to overcome. We were even able to bring up the old black and white video coverage of their Olympic race! Technology I tell ya!
Part of the reason we all loved this book was because it was very Pacific Northwest focused, and so it was fascinating reading about places we now frequent playing their roles in history. It makes you realize that the streets we cross every day without thinking about it have stories to tell, and sometimes those stories are jaw dropping. Even if you are not from the PNW this book gives you plenty of reasons to love it. I knew next to nothing about crew before reading this book, but I still found it exciting and interesting. I also was humbled over and over throughout this book on how resourceful that generation was. They weren’t complaining about WiFi not working, they were out there sacrificing their bodies building dams, in the mines, and just doing what it took to survive. We are soft. That’s what stood out to me.
Of course, I love any inspirational sports driven movie or book, so the exciting competition that ran throughout kept my attention all the way to the end!
Angie grants 5 out of 5 Halos to this book
Peek inside book club
We had 2 new members this month. One was a long time friend we’ve tried to get to come forever, and the other was a little dude that didn’t have a lot to say. I guess that’s pretty normal when you’re not quite 3 months old, but what he lacked in verbal skills he made up for in charisma.
So whether you are breaking bread over dinner with your family, throwing a big party, or eating over book discussions, I hope you take the time to savor meals with those you care about!
I hope that you read The Boys in the Boat someday, but more importantly I hope you are #breakingbread with your own loved ones at a table near you very soon :).