Book Recommendations / by Deborah Clague

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The Vanished: The Evaporated People of Japan in Stories and Photographs
Written by Léna Mauger and Stéphane Remael

Over the past couple years, I've fantasized about disappearing. I'm not sure if this is a part of life that everyone goes through at some point, a rejection of adult responsibilities and societal obligations that increasingly seem outdated and moot. Perhaps it's just daydream nation needing a distraction from the everyday monotony or, now, everyday chaos. I do think about it a lot though. To the point where I'm aware of how far my meagre savings will go towards the alternate existence I have mapped out in my head should I ever choose it.

There are, of course, people that willingly walk away from their lives. It is actually a big phenomena in Japan where nearly one hundred thousand people vanish without a trace each year. I recently read the book "The Vanished: The "Evaporated People of Japan in Stories in Photographs" which tells some of these stories (anonymously for the most part, of course). It was a fascinating read that described an insane corporate culture where business has an iron grip on employees. A culture where deviation from the norm can bring about the deepest shame. 

Some of the "romance" of vanishing into thin air was washed away after reading this. But it also gave me more insight into why I might be harbouring the desire in the first place. 

Favourite line: "Often, that's all they're waiting for, a word, a gesture."


All The Sweet Things: Baked Goods and Stories from the Kitchen of Sweetsugarbean
Written by Renée Kohlman

I have never been a cook. Surely never a baker. But when a friend noticed how much I was spending on dining out (and all the unhealthy processed foods I was eating when at home), he started teaching me how to cook. A few lessons later and I discovered that I could make meals as good, if not better, than what I was getting at my favourite restaurants. Cooking has become my new passion. With my art & design background, I not only want to make things taste good but look amazing too (as none of my taste-testers have fallen ill, I'd say that I am successful thus far). 

Canadian-based blogger Sweetsugarbean recently released a very beautiful, easy to follow cookbook that focuses on "All the Sweet Things". I have tried a few recipes so far – including a very easy, very tasty raspberry clafoutis – and am highly recommending it. My summer goal is to make a new dish each week. Follow me on Instagram to see the results.