Friday, November 8, 2013

The Audio Series: Nancy Spiller

Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen." is an incredibly special one for us. Hatched in a NYC club during BEA week, this feature requires more work of the author than any of the ones that have come before. And that makes it all the more sweeter when you see, or rather, hear them read excerpts from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.

This week, Nancy Spiller reads an excerpt from her memoir Compromise Cake: Lessons Learned from My Mother's Recipe Box (Counterpoint/November 2013). It's a thought-provoking holiday read that makes you hungry for your childhood. Nancy is a writer and artist living in Los Angeles. A fourth generation Californian and native of the San Francisco Bay Area, she was a staff writer at the San Jose Mercury News and Los Angeles Herald Examiner and editor at the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times,, Cooking Light, and Town & Country. She is the also the author of the novel, Entertaining Disasters: A Novel (With Recipes), and teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program.

Click the soundcloud bar below to experience Compromise Cake: Lessons learned from my mother's recipe box, as read by author Nancy Spiller:

The word on Compromise Cake: Lessons learned from my mother's recipes box:

When Nancy Spiller discovered her late mother’s teaching credential buried in the midst of a long abandoned recipe box, she felt compelled to investigate the lingering mysteries of this troubled woman. Marguerite Lenore Soult had taught for only one year before marrying, having four children and a life surrendered to mental illness, divorce and social withdrawal. Spiller realized that she had probably been her mother’s best and only student in the kitchen they had shared.

Compromise Cake explores Spiller’s life in the suburbs of Northern California in the 1960s, learning to cook by her challenging mother’s side, as remembered through the recipe box’s mid-century and heirloom offerings. It touches on lineage, and industrial changes; it is a meditation on men, women, marriage, community and the nature of compromise.

What emerges is a portrait of a woman whose own desires for a career were tragically stifled by the conventional pressures to be a wife and mother, but found expression through her daughter, an author, artist and teacher. This is a memoir that weds Spiller’s story to the universal of all mothers and daughters, and what, as they say, is baked into the cake.
*lifted from goodreads, with love.

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