by Gabriella LePage, Atlanta-based photographer, writer, and creator of @gabriellalepage and bygabriella.co. Gabi is founder of @booklanguage and @literaryleague, a free in-person and digital book club!
Looking to fill up your TBR for 2023? I've got a few delightful book and apple pairings for you so you can satisfy both your hunger for delectable food and stellar reads. You’ll find a mix of nonfiction, fiction, backlist, and newer titles in the following list, plus suggestions for how to enjoy your latest order of Yes! Apples. Let’s get to it.
Cortland and Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Cortland, a classic apple developed back in 1898, is the perfect match for backlist title, Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. This one’s a witty and quite clever retelling of Pride and Prejudice, perfect for pairing with the classically delicious and tender, Cortland.
This apple’s slow to brown (the best!), so slice it ahead of time and snack on it as you read. Or even better, add it to different dishes throughout the day. Perhaps an apple and goat cheese salad or a roast chicken with apples and herbs?
Macoun and Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman
Looking for a truly sweet as sugar pairing? This one has your name all over it! Whip up a charcuterie board with Macoun apple slices and get ready to absolutely fly through Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman.
Her first adult novel is searing; juicy; and filled with hilarity and love. And, the sweet Macoun apple is ideal for snacking alongside it. Dive into Chani’s world for a bit, where she’s a twenty-something writer hired to write the profile of movie star and total babe, Gabe Parker. Oh yes, who also happens to be her longtime celebrity crush. What ensues is a thrilling, life-changing, whirlwind of a weekend and everything that follows as a result.
My best advice? Get this one and get it now!
Empire and Beautiful Country by Qian Julie Wang
Did you know the Empire apple is named as such because it was developed at Cornell University back in 1966? It’s a combination of Red Delicious and McIntosh, making it both sweet, tart, and ideal for baking, salads, sandwiches, and snacking.
For this one, gear up for a profound memoir as told by author Qian Julie Wang. Set in New York City, we meet Qian as a young girl in 1994. Full of curiosity, Qian learns how to survive in America with her parents as they labor in sweatshops, master the language, and find small delights in the thick of it.
You’ll want to savor this one, so make yourself a heaping sandwich with slices of Empire apples and read slowly and intentionally as Qian recounts her life with astonishing clarity and depth.
Fuji and The Idiot by Elif Batuman
The Fuji apple continues to live on as one of my all-time favorites. It’s sweet, wildly juicy, and extremely crisp. It even dates back to the late-18th century. She’s in it for the long haul, y’all. Best from September to June, the Fuji is ideal for baking, juicing, saucing, sipping, and snacking.
So, prepare it your favorite way and settle in with another class favorite, The Idiot by Elif Batuman. Set in 1995, Selin arrives in Cambridge for her freshman year at Harvard. We follow her from New England to Europe as she heads to the Hungarian countryside. Along the way she grapples with the complexities of first love and the nuances in inventing oneself.
Save this one for the start of fall—that dreamy moment in time when the leaves are crisp, the air is cool, and school is gearing up to begin again.
Golden Delicious and The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living continues to exist as one of my all-time favorite cozy books. It’s packed tight with all the makings for a charming weekend read — a small-town setting, ample baked goods, and a quirky cast of characters.
Pair this one with a delectable baked dessert featuring the Golden Delicious, a honey-sweet variety perfectly suited for a baked apple confection. And trust me, you’ll want an apple-filled sweet treat while reading this one!
Scotian Gold® Honeycrisp and I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
The Scotian Gold® Honeycrisp apple is ideal in late-fall, quite red in color, and juicier than all other Honeycrisp varieties. Delicious, right? Best used for snacking and baking, and falling right in the middle of the sweet to tart scale, I recommend cozying up in your favorite reading nook with a plate of Scotian Gold® Honeycrisp apple slices, some sharp white cheddar cheese, and Jennette McCurdy’s, I’m Glad My Mom Died.
A bit of a jarring title, isn’t it? It certainly grabbed my attention - the cover did, too! You may have seen this one or heard the hubbub from the shops that couldn’t keep this memoir on their shelves. It was sold out nearly everywhere and continues to top the charts. Jennette brings so much to the table here, digging into the abuse from her mom; her unique and troubled childhood; and how she continues to work through it all. Hunker down with this one, you won’t be able to stop once you open it up.
EverCrisp® and Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
When I think juicy, I think family dramas. And, for the delightfully juicy and crunchy EverCrisp® apple, I'm bringing back a backlist favorite of mine—Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. Ann’s a household name when it comes to penning immersive, beautifully-written familial stories (like The Dutch House, another must) and Commonwealth is no exception.
The novel kicks off with a forbidden kiss one Sunday afternoon in Southern California. What follows is the story of two families becoming one over the course of five decades. Commonwealth is expansive, illuminating, tender, and you guessed it—juicy.
Now, I'm eager to know—which pairing will you jump into first?