oracne - Victoria Janssen (oracne) wrote,
oracne - Victoria Janssen
oracne

SWEETS by Tim Richardson and were-orangutans.

This weekend I finished reading Sweets by Tim Richardson, which I loved not only because it's a fascinating armchair journey through the history and present-day worlds of candy, but because the writing was just so engaging and tasty; I could roll some of those sentences around in my mouth like a sour cherry ball. (Couldn't resist.) His occasional little asides are well worth the price of admission.

The story ranges widely in place and time, not so you'd lose track of the narrative, but in a logical way that helped all kinds of connections form in my mind. Richardson started off at a giant international confectionery show, then moved into tours of various factories, then went back to the beginnings of sugar refining and traced the sugar trade all over the world for several centuries, then traced how certain kinds of sugary treats moved geographically and chronologically, some evolving into different forms or taking on different purposes along the way, some remaining virtually the same. There's also a chapter on candy industry magnates, and one on "Bad Candy" that addresses things such as slavery on cacao plantations. The book ends with a whirlwind tour of world sweets, which attempts to give an overview of favorites and favorite types of sweets in different countries. Did I mention I found the whole thing vastly entertaining?

The chief good thing I got out of this book was an idea on how to successfully integrate a plot element into The Duke and The Pirate Queen that had been bugging me for months - it was reading about medieval European sweetmeats that did it.

Also, I am tempted to take that Victorian historical romance idea and make the hero a sweets magnate instead of an early filmmaker.

Sweets: A History of Candy

Here's a great review of SWEETS that appeared in The Guardian in 2002, when the book first came out.

And now for something completely different:
A very short story about a gay were-orangutan. Alex Draven wins at life.
Tags: nonfiction, the duke
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