The Cookbook Collector

The Cookbook Collector

by Allegra Goodman
3.1 238


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The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman


Emily and Jessamine Bach are opposites in every way: Twenty-eight-year-old Emily is the CEO of Veritech, twenty-three-year-old Jess is an environmental activist and graduate student in philosophy. Pragmatic Emily is making a fortune in Silicon Valley, romantic Jess works in an antiquarian bookstore. Emily is rational and driven, while Jess is dreamy and whimsical. Emily’s boyfriend, Jonathan, is fantastically successful. Jess’s boyfriends, not so much.

National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Allegra Goodman has written a delicious novel about appetite, temptation, and holding on to what is real in a virtual world: love that stays.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385340854
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/06/2010
Pages: 394
Product dimensions: 9.56(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.37(d)

About the Author

Allegra Goodman’s novels include Intuition and Kaaterskill Falls. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and Best American Short Stories. She is a winner of the Whiting Writer’s Award and a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She lives with her family in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, visit or become a fan on Facebook.

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The Cookbook Collector 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 238 reviews.
would-rather-be-reading More than 1 year ago
The Cookbook Collector seems to have been written very rapidly. The author didn't take the time to develop the characters fully, therefore, I could not relate to any of them. I just didn't care about them..........nor did I find the plot to be very compelling. Don't waste time on this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was definitely one of the worst books I have ever read. It is slow moving, and at half way thru, I still don't know what the story is. Good character description,but there is no plot. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book b/c of the reviews (not the actual reader reviews) and am so sorry that I did. What a waste of my time and money. This was one of the most horrible books I have ever read. How can they even compare her to Jane Austen, especially after reading this book? The characters are boring, the plot is boring, there is no sense of consistency in the book and you have no timeline through the entire book. Reading a dictionary would be more interesting - and at least worth my time.
whiteginger More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book after finding it on an NPR book list. As the NPR and other reviews had hinted, this book is far more rich in character and theme than in plot. I found Emily and Jess, the two sisters who are the unifying characters of the novel, to be quite real and felt comfortable with them immediately. (I did think the environmental activist situation to be a little contrived, but it did not keep me from liking the characters.) The sisters' relationship and the relationships that touch each of them are the focus of the novel. In each relationship--sisters, partners, friends, lovers--the characters struggle to find the kind of happiness that will last. I enjoyed Goodman's treatment of this universal idea. I ended the novel no surer of a recipe for happiness than when I began my reading, but I had new ideas to think about. I, personally, often like that open-ended thought-provoking ending much better than a neatly packaged solution.
ebmeripe More than 1 year ago
I think the author needed to put the book together fast and forgot to put it in order. I would get into the story of one character when it will jump into another. Years and months passed from one page to another without keeping the characters tied in the story line. I was very frustrated and could not wait to finish it. Sad because the plot sounded interesting for a moment.
PLMM More than 1 year ago
I finally had to give up on this book. The characters were not well developed and frankly, some of them were quite annoying. The story line was very slow and just never seemed to go anywhere.
Philly_Bluenose More than 1 year ago
My husband got me this book because it was reviewed on NPR. It is an easy, enjoyable read.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
Wow - quite a book! The story starts out about 2 sisters, Emily and Jessamine. Emily is the oldest, smart and responsible she has life all figured out and is on the cusp of huge success with a startup, software company and in a serious relationship with her steady boyfriend. Jessamine is the flighty, younger sister still trying to find her way. She hops from one boyfriend to another and one cause to another, looking for a way to do good in the world. A simplistic synopsis for a deeply complicated, real, and honest book. This story is about sisters, dreams, and growing up. Its about wild dreams, heartbreaking devastation, and as the dust jacket so clearly states "it is about holding on to what is real in a virtual world: love that stays." Phew! This was, wow!, quite a book for me. The first 2/3 of the book were, honestly, boring. I'm not in the software world and I didn't pay much attention to the boom when it was happening. I don't understand the mind set of the kind of people who lost it all in crazy start-up schemes, so I just wasn't really interested in those parts. Jessamine was mildly more interesting, but it didn't seem like she was ever going to get her act together. Then, all the sudden, it started to catch my interest. As an unexpected love story began to bloom I found myself unable to put it down. Then the big climax came to a head and I was literally riveted, desperate to know the plot would shake out and where the characters would end up! In the end, the book was so real, with flawed people and life turning surprising corners just when you had it figured out. A beautifully written novel about finding your path in life where you least expect it.
Ladybear More than 1 year ago
The author did plenty of research to make the story real and timely. Well crafted plots that interweave the theme of rare book collecting with chance encounters, cross-country family connections, and the impending financial and social disasters in the fall of 2000 keep the reader puzzled, but entertained. The literary references alone are worth the read, but are not intrusive into the story telling. I particulary enjoyed the descriptions of the Maybeck architecture versus the MacMansions on the East coast and the descriptive visits to Cambridge, MA evidenced some real time spent on foot in that town. When everything connects the threads at the end, it becomes more than just a good read -it morphs into a cleverly disguised mystery novel. I'm looking forward to the author's next novel with curiosity - what theme this time?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this story difficult to get into mainly because I couldn't get interested in the main characters. At times also the writing seemed trite. Not fast paced enough either. Basically not my cup of tea.
BookLover526 More than 1 year ago
This book received so many favorable reviews, I did not want to wait for it to be issued in soft cover form. I should have saved my money. I found the characters to be two-dimensional, at best, and somewhat annoying. I don't like to detail plot parts in a review because I don't want to spoil the book for anyone, but there is a story line that was a little far-fetched and coincidental. The writing style is ok. But the book was a huge disappointment
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The group I belong to enjoyed the book and had diverse opinions about what everyone's favorite parts were. All agreed on doing away with Jonathan!
wanzie More than 1 year ago
I found this to be a very interesting book and an unusual topic which was well written and such that you could readily visualize the settings. Any book lover would enjoy this offering.
lives2read More than 1 year ago
I started out thinking this would be an intertaining novel about two very differnt sisters, but the book spends to much time following too many people that weave in and out of the sisters lives. By page 40 or so I wondered why I had downloaded it to my Nook, and where the book was really going,and what was the point of the book? I am glad that I read it from overdrive and can send it back whenever I get done skimming it, maybe it has a purpose, I will find it if it does.
LadyMia More than 1 year ago
I was invested in the characters and relationships between them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CYVH More than 1 year ago
I slogged through this book for book club and hated it. I hated this book. It was billed as "similar to Sense and Sensibility" well NO. The only thing similar was the "plot" around 2 sisters. It was so contrived and in the end it could not make me care about either of the sisters and what they did. The actual character of cookbook collector only appeared briefly and was already dead. The other characters were uninteresting. The whole novel was pointless and I wish I could have the time I spent reading it back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boring. Too many characters and none that I really cared about. I was glad when the book was over. I don't know why I finished reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
aimlyss More than 1 year ago
This book stunk. Too bad it was my choice for book club this past month, they'll never choose one of my suggestions again! I'm pretty sure everyone in our group disliked it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brainylainy More than 1 year ago
The writing is ordinary flat prose. The story isn't all that interesting, either. I couldn't not put it down. It's on my "will not finish" shelf.