Monday, August 25, 2008

Book Review: Fortune Cookie Chronicles

I'm a sucker for book jackets. I'm the person they wrote the old phrase "Never judge a book by its cover" for because that is exactly what I do. Browsing at the bookshop, I am drawn to the books with interesting covers, good photography, unusual fonts. Yes, even fonts.

Tragic, I know, that I miss out on good books with plain Jane fronts, but everybody has to make a choice somehow, and that's typically how I make mine. My success rate is about 80/20, which isn't bad. A new selection, titled Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee falls into the 80% good category - and it has a great cover to boot.

The book was prominently displayed on a table with cookbooks by Ina Garten and Bobby Flay, which is how I saw it in the first place. I think someone at Borders should have read the book before placing it there. True, the book's theme is all about Chinese-American style food, it really is more of commentary than cookbook. The author begins her story by relaying a strange occurrence in a multi-state Powerball lottery; all the winners used numbers they found in their fortune cookies.

Ms. Lee goes on from there, discussing lighter things like the origins of the fortune cookie (it isn't where or whom you think it is) and darker things like human trafficking in Chinese illegal aliens (who end up working in restaurants). It's a fascinating book about a topic that you might not know you are interested in until you read it. Her writing is informative and a bit irreverant, which made it great reading for a somewhat soggy Sunday (whew, talk about alliteration).

For those interested in it, or just the cover art, I've added it to the widget at the bottom of the blog. You may find yourself craving egg rolls when you are done. You've been warned.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You do that too?! I find that I usually don't even pick up the book unless it's cover intriques me. Of course, sometimes, the most plain cover with an interesting font and title, or an interesting color combination catches my eye, but there's a reason books have covers, if you ask me.