Sourdough by Robin Sloan
What I drank prior:
If it was made the way it was supposed to be made it’s a gin buck… I just mix gin and fizzy lemonade from Traderr Joes and it’s freaking delicious… and probably too easy to drink. Also do you ever look at your wririting and think you should chill it on the ellipsees? Me neither.
First things first, this is the first audiobook I’ve ever finished that makes me think I might actually like audiobooks. The basic summary: A woman named Lois is gifted a sourdough starter. She works at a boring San Fran startup that something something AI-esque arms. It’s the kind of tech bro world where everyone is trying to optimize themselves by not eating normal food and instead eating one of those “nutrient compound” things that you drink instead of eat and I love food so I super don’t get it. Except she gets this sourdough starter and teaches herself how to make bread and then the magical realism takes over and things go wild… it is a story about making bread though, so wild is within context…
Spoiler-free Thoughts: This is the second thing I’ve read from Robin Sloan, I love the way they craft the worlds that they create. They have this way of feeling very warm and comforting. This book was really enjoyable, the tiny details that made this world not quite normal made all of the moments of the plot that could seem far-fetched make complete sense. I really enjoyed this book becuase while it shared some of the elements of a fantasy novel it was very much grounded in the real world.
Characters: Oh the characters were amazing, on both a small scale and the macro of the whole story. I have to admit that the character of Lois completely got me considering I too have considered quitting everyhitng in my life to bake bread… I haven’t successfully baked sourdough yet, and the amount of bread she makes is crazy, but it sure sounds like a fun dream. The other Lois’s were a lot of fun, and I particularly enjoyed Janna Mitra, one of the scientists who works in the same organization that Lois ends up working at. She was someone who felt very realistic in a very pragmatic way.
Plot: The plot of this seemed relatively small scale. Keep in mind I’ve been reading a lot of books that cover a full world or a universe or things along those lines, so a book about a woman who quasi-inherits a quasi-magic sourdough seems small scale. That being said the plot really grabbed me. The passions the characters in this book show was amazing. And watching what someone could do with passion and a little bit of luck (or magic sourdough starter) was a lot of fun. There are sides with the Lois club, and emails with Beorig… You know what, this belongs in the next section.
Writing Style: for once I have something to add here (which feels ironic considering I listened to it). There are three styles of chapters in this book. There are emails from Beorig that tend to be stories or conversational. There are the chapters regarding the Lois club which tend to be a little lighthearted and feel a lot like a book club, and then there is the bulk of the plot. Breaking into the different sections was really nice; the plot flowed forward with each different section while still being different enough to keep focus.
What to pair it with: Some sort of flavorful beer. I feel like the wheatey aspect would fit really well with this book. Probably a brown beer of some sort.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
COMMENT DOWN BELOW: If you’ve read this, I’d be happy to talk! If you’ve read Robin Sloan’s other books, I’d be happy to talk too!