Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Thanks to Ann’s “food and friendship” June Online Reading Challenge, I finally read Sourdough by Robin Sloan, and it surpassed all my expectations and MAY have been better than Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore

We meet Lois as she moves to San Francisco, wooed by a tech company’s promises of a glamorous, meaningful, and lucrative career programming robots. And then we see her weighed down by a monotonous, workaholic life where the only food that doesn’t upset her stressed stomach is the company’s nutrition gel, Slurry. Until, that is, she discovers a family-owned business that will deliver soup (“double spicy”) and sourdough bread (homemade) at all hours – and she knows peace again. All too soon, the brothers have visa issues and have to leave. But they leave Lois their sourdough starter, and she’s forced to learn how to feed it and bake with it. Somehow this leads her down a path of smiling loaves, reading hipster baking books, building her own brick oven, auditioning for farmers’ markets, butting heads with food gurus, and teaching robotic arms to crack eggs. And maybe she’ll figure out the life she wants along the way.

This book was addictive to read, tugging gently on the heartstrings and written with dry, matter-of-fact humor. Lois’ journey is a heartwarming climb out of dystopia toward contentment and fulfillment by working with her hands. Surprisingly, it’s almost a retelling of Voltaire’s Candide, with a relative innocent swept into unexpected adventures, inadvertently examining the cost of ambition and what really makes a happy life.

If you need a tasty, hopeful read where light shenanigans ensue and many friends are made, you should read this book.

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