Sunday, June 24, 2018
Books

What's Sarah Smiley reading?

Nightstand

Sarah Smiley

Smiley, 37, is a syndicated columnist and author of three books, I'm Just Saying, Going Overboard and Dinner With the Smileys, which has just been released in paperback. In it, the author chronicles a yearlong project of inviting guests to join her and her three sons, ages 4, 9 and 11, at a weekly dinner while her husband, a Navy pilot, was stationed overseas. Guests ranged from neighbors and teachers to politicians and professional athletes.

When we caught up with the author by phone, Smiley explained that in the beginning, she expected the book project would be a way of sharing what life is like for a military family when a parent is deployed. "But very quickly I realized the empty seat at the table is not unique to the military community,'' she said. "So it became (more about) how often we say we are going to invite someone to dinner and we don't, and how there are so many eating alone, and the value of sharing meals together.'' Smiley and her husband, Dustin, live in Maine with their three sons, Ford, Owen and Lindell.

What's on your nightstand?

I'm reading Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. It is good.

Who would you recommend it to?

I'd recommend it most especially to anyone who has spent time in Maine. The story is about parents and children, that bond. You know, that bond really gets me.

Speaking of children, do you think the year of weekly meals with guests changed the way your kids perceive cooking?

Not so much in the food process, although they like to joke that the subtitle should be "The Year of Red Sauce" because we had so much pasta. But it's definitely reshaped their view of what the whole dinner process means. They came to realize that a meal is one part nourishing their body, but it also is a part of being a member of the community. I think they definitely see dinnertime as a process and opportunity that goes beyond food now.

I also wanted to ask what cookbooks you'd turn to. Did you rely on a particular one?

I can't say I spent a lot of time worrying about recipes. I'm really not a cook. I'm not super invested in it, but when I am thinking of recipes, I love to look at A Taste of Home magazine.

Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] or (727) 445-4163. Follow @Florida_PBJC.

Comments
Review: Look inside the tent of a Gibsonton-based sideshow in Tessa Fontaine’s memoir ‘The Electric Woman’

Review: Look inside the tent of a Gibsonton-based sideshow in Tessa Fontaine’s memoir ‘The Electric Woman’

Grief can unhinge us, disconnect us from our daily lives, make us do things we’ve never done. Grief made Tessa Fontaine run away and join the circus.To be more exact, the sideshow: World of Wonders, the last traditional traveling sideshow in the coun...
Published: 06/21/18
5 fiction writers who've turned their attention to Donald Trump

5 fiction writers who've turned their attention to Donald Trump

He might not have intended it, but Donald Trump has been good for book publishing.
Published: 06/15/18
What’s Neal Thompson, author of ‘Kickflip Boys,’ reading?

What’s Neal Thompson, author of ‘Kickflip Boys,’ reading?

Neal ThompsonFor Father’s Day, we checked in with Neal Thompson from his Seattle office. In his new book, Kickflip Boys, Thompson weaves together a story on raising his two independent, passionate sons while giving us an honest look at the underbelly...
Published: 06/15/18
What is Jen Waite, author of the memoir

What is Jen Waite, author of the memoir "A Beautiful, Terrible Thing," reading?

Jen Waite It is June. Romance and weddings are in the air, and with that comes the paperback release of A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal by Jen Waite, 33. The book, based on Waite’s heartbreaking wedding story, fi...
Updated one month ago
Review: Jake Tapper’s ‘Hellfire Club’ a fictional thriller sharpened with real 1950s politics

Review: Jake Tapper’s ‘Hellfire Club’ a fictional thriller sharpened with real 1950s politics

Washington, D.C., is a city in crisis, the operations of the federal government all but paralyzed by the conspiracy theories of a powerful politician who behaves as if the bounds of protocol and decency don’t apply to him. As he distracts the nation,...
Updated one month ago
What’s Helen Rappaport reading?

What’s Helen Rappaport reading?

Helen RappaportWhile delving into archives and researching her new book about the murder of the Russian imperial family 100 years ago, The Race to Save the Romanovs, Rappaport celebrated the digital age. "I am able to go back so far in time and look ...
Updated one month ago
Review: Lauren Groff’s ‘Florida’ explores a state beyond the boundaries

Review: Lauren Groff’s ‘Florida’ explores a state beyond the boundaries

In "Flower Hunters," one of the stories in Lauren Groff’s stunning new book Florida, a character gets a reader’s crush on 18th century explorer William Bartram, an early chronicler of the state’s flora and fauna: "She’s most d...
Updated one month ago