Monday, November 17th, 2014

Give Books Campaign & Giveaway

givebooks giveaway

Before I begin anything, I’d like to give a huge thank you to everyone who reached out to me and shared their support and love because of my last post. I can’t express how thankful I am for all of you and how honored I am to be trusted with your stories, as well. For those of you that haven’t received a response to your emails, I promise— I’m on it!

So today, I’m doing things a little differently… No recipe, but a big ol’ thank you celebration in the form of a giveaway. This post is to celebrate Hand Made Baking coming out on the 25th, but most importantly— it’s to celebrate literacy.

#GiveBooks Giveaway

I’ve teamed up with my amazing publisher, Chronicle Books (trust me, I’m not just saying that— they’re really fab!) on their Give Books campaign. The #GiveBooks campaign is a pledge to share your adoration for reading, supporting local booksellers, and helping promote literacy around the world. I’ve compiled a list of 10 of my very favorite books and I’m giving them away to one lucky reader (more details on that in a minute)

So, here’s the deal with the campaign: For every person that pledges to #GiveBooks through twitter, facebook, pinterest, and other social media platforms this holiday season, Chronicle will donate a book to a child in need through First Book. All you have to do is take a pledge here to help Chronicle Books to donate 10,000 books.

Now, to the ten (10!) books I’ve fallen in love with that I’ll be giving away here this holiday season. All of these books can be purchased through the Chronicle Books website, and here’s a discount code (valid through December 31st; excludes personalized products) that’ll get you 30% off your purchase and free ground shipping: PROMO CODE: GIVEBOOKS

(Scroll down for the Giveaway details ↓)

#GiveBooks Giveaway
#GiveBooks Giveaway

It’s no secret that I can be quite the sappy romantic; I love letter writing. Letters of Note compiled by Shaun Usher is simply amazing— it’s a brilliantly eclectic compilation of letters of all kinds— romantic, hilarious, historic, lyrical, and so much more. One of my favorite letters, is Ronald Regan’s to his son Mike about marriage, “You’ll never get in trouble if you say ‘I love you’ at least once a day.” YES.

#GiveBooks Giveaway
#GiveBooks Giveaway

If you’ve not heard of the Huckleberry cookbook, you’re not living. This book redefines breakfast; filled with more than 140 recipes and gorgeous photographs made by Matt Armendariz, this is THE book for for bakers and all-day brunchers.

#GiveBooks Giveaway

Josey Baker Bread is a must for any aspiring baker wanting to learn how to make really good bread. He guides you through the basic formula for bread making to complex loaves that you’ll really want to make at home.

#GiveBooks Giveaway

Richard Bertinet is the definition of a good teacher. His book, Pastry, is a masterclass of how to make and handle different types of pastry dough, and how to make outrageous things like chocolate cherry tarts, cornish pasties, Italian cookies, and even churros. This book demystifies the craft of pastry making and in a manner that is different from any pastry book you’ll ever read. Bertinet’s instructions are clear-cut, assuring, and guiding— things that definitely make him a fantastic baker and teacher!

#GiveBooks Giveaway

If you’ve been to Napa Valley, you’ve probably been to the Model Bakery; if not— GO! This book is a gem, to say the least, and I’m glad to have a little piece of Napa Valley in my home thanks to Karen Mitchell and Sarah Mitchell Hansen. The Model Bakery Cookbook is filled with clear-cut instructions that help instill confidence in any baker that picks up this book. It’s a keeper!

#GiveBooks Giveaway
#GiveBooks Giveaway

Meringue Girls by Alex Hoffler and Stacey O’Gorman is a book you’ll want to have— not only for their inspiring take on meringue or the great photographs, but because the book is interactive (meaning: you can use your phone to see the great videos they’ve made for the book)! So much fun! The Meringue Girls are definitely doing it right!

#GiveBooks Giveaway

I know many people who suffer from celiac’s disease or just cut out gluten to simply better their health. Living a gluten-free lifestyle doesn’t meant dessert is off limits, and Flourless proves just that. Flourless by Nicole Spiridakis is a collection of naturally gluten-free desserts that are equally stunning and delicious and it’s for everyone— no fancy flours or gums needed.

#GiveBooks Giveaway
#GiveBooks Giveaway

If you’ve been to Paris or read about places to go in France, À La Mère de Famille is definitely one of the places you want to go to; it’s been around for more than 250 years, and the magical displays and beautiful sweet treats are just a couple reasons why. Of the 250 years in business, we can all have a bit of Parisian candy making and baking in our homes for the first time. From Madeleines to Caramels to Marshmallows and Candied Fruits, Julien Merceron and À La Mère de Famille do it right with their captivating photos, history lessons, and bewitching recipes.

#GiveBooks Giveaway
#GiveBooks Giveaway

The Bread Exchange is an unusually amazing book filled with great writing and lovely photographs. The Bread Exchange is Malin Elmlid’s well-documented journey of bartering her handmade sourdough bread for family recipes, objects of great meaning, and treasured experiences. The book shares these family recipes from around the globe and stories along with her recipes for the most travelled sourdough bread in the world. It’s definitely a must-read.

#GiveBooks Giveaway
#GiveBooks Giveaway

Rachel Khoo always does it right. UK friends, you might know of her; American friends, if you don’t— you’ve to search videos of this amazing lady on YouTube. She inspires you to want to live in Paris with a tiny kitchen to make easy and delicious French meals. My My Little French Kitchen is Khoo’s love letter to France, her adopted country, in which she chronicles her travels through the French countryside and back to her kitchen where she shares fantastic recipes she developed after visiting the four corners of France. This is the book for Francophiles looking to taste recipes that are approachable, fun, and delicious.

Giveaway Details:

In the comments section below, simply tell me what’s the best book you’ve ever received.

*This giveaway is open to anyone in the US, UK, and Canada. The winner will be announced on December 10th; may the force be with you!

P.S. Check out the other great folks participating in the #GiveBooks campaign…

Brooklyn Bride
City Sage
Design Milk
Design of the Picture Book
Everyone is Gay


Jason Good
SF Girl by Bay
The House that Lars Built
The Jealous Curator

P.P.S. Hand Made Baking, my book, is available for Pre-Order at the following major retailers. Order your copy now to receive it by November 25th or sooner!

USA: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Powell’s // Books-A-Million // Chronicle Books
UK: Amazon UK // Blackwell’s // The Book Depository // Waterstones // Abrams & Chronicle Books
Canada: Amazon Canada // Indigo // McNally Robinson

Font Size: a A | print recipe Print Recipe | 135 Comments


  • fariha
    November 17th, 2014

    This is the hardest question ever!
    The best novel I ever received was pride and prejudice- i read it before i even understood what it meant, and in every re-reading i’ve discovered a new nuance in the rich and beautiful story. Quite literally my favorite story ever told.
    The best cookbook I ever received was the “dalda cookbook” which is a compilation of pakistani recipes that helped me oh so much during my first year of marriage and culinary adventures in the kitchen

  • Annie
    November 17th, 2014

    The best book I’ve ever received was Food by Mary McCartney, a vegetarian cookbook given to me by my boyfriend of the time as a Christmas present. Even now, it is still a book I highly treasure and flip through from time to time.

  • Tiffany
    November 17th, 2014

    The best book I’ve ever received was Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries vol. 1 because it’s the one cookbook I’ve wanted for years and couldn’t get in the states until it was recently reprinted without importing it. I’ve truly fallen in love with Nigel’s way of cooking, so passionate with unique quirks. Plus he got me into vegetable gardening because it only made sense to grow my own food.

  • Abby
    November 17th, 2014

    The best book I’ve ever received was Curious George as a kid. It got me into reading and now I can’t put a single book down!

  • Sarah
    November 17th, 2014

    Ahh such an exciting giveaway!
    After moving to a new city, I bonded with the sweet girl I worked for over our love of Michael Pollan and his book Cooked, which had just come out at the time. A few weeks later, she handed me the glorious hardcover as I beamed with excitement over a book not yet cracked open, and at the thoughtfulness of her gift.

  • sarah
    November 17th, 2014

    Goodness, that is a wonderful list of books. Fingers crossed.

    The best book I’ve ever received was All The Odes by Pablo Neruda. It’s so beautiful.

  • Kelly @ Kelly Bakes
    November 17th, 2014

    I love this so much! Both your list of books and your fabulous publisher for spreading literacy to children.. What a great cause!

    The best book I’ve ever received was actually The Book of Common Prayer. It was given to me at a really difficult point in my life and it brought me so much comfort at the time (and still brings me comfort today).

  • Anne
    November 17th, 2014

    Hard to decide, but probably The Can’t Cook Book. I got it in a subscription box and didn’t think too much of it since I can’t say I can’t cook. But it turns out it has some useful advice on kitchen basics (knife skills, etc.), and simple recipes I can use on busy weeks.

  • Elizabeth
    November 17th, 2014

    Fariha, I love Jane Austen! Her books are great reads!
    I agree this is a hard question just because when you get a book as a gift it’s because it affected the gifter and makes it more special. However when I thought of books that I’ve recieved and I’ve enjoyed, the two book that came to mind were The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo and Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I think because upon reading them it really shook my mind and heart even though The Tale of Despereaux is a children’s book. I feel in love when I read it, the development of even the secondary characters pulls you in. Kite Runner is just so beautifully written and broke my heart. I recommend these to anyone and everyone.

  • Christine McHale
    November 17th, 2014

    East of Eden by Steinbeck because i was unexpectedly hooked, and recently My French Kitchen from the Manger blog….gorgeous! Btw your list of books looks incredible. A couple are on my wish lost already:) many thanks for this!!

  • Laurie
    November 17th, 2014

    I’ve gotten so many wonderful cookbooks as gifts through the years, but it’s hard to pick the best one. My favorite regular book that was given to me is Barbara Kingsolver’s ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’.

  • Kate
    November 17th, 2014

    The best book I ever received was from my mom at graduation called Life’s Little Intstruction Book – great reminders for leading a happy life!

  • Melyani
    November 18th, 2014

    The best book I’ve ever gotten is 100 Days of Real Food…

  • Widya Kumarasinghe
    November 18th, 2014

    The best book I’ve recieved as a gift was Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem from my best friend as a graduation present.

    We met at university and even though our personalities are often worlds apart we were brought together by our mutual love of food and cooking. She grew up in Poland and loved asian food, and I grew up in Sri lanka and loved french and modern food that still celebrated spice, so the flavours of Jerusalem married these two worlds together for us.

    Ottolenghi’s writing style was an added bonus. As someone who has been cooking for a while I wasn’t after exact recipes, but more interested in ideas and techniques. And Jerusalem offered just that. Ive cooked through most of the book but it’s one I pick up over and over again just because it represents so much of what has been some of the most formative and happy years of my live and the people I met on that journey.

    All of those books are happily sitting on my Amazon wishlist till I am able to slowly fit them into my student budget so a chance to win one of them would mean the world to me! Fingers crossed!

  • Mary Beth Hunt
    November 18th, 2014

    My mother gave me Martha Stewart’s Entertaining book when I got married in 1985. Believe me when I say there was NOTHING like this book ever! She was truly a trailblazer. I tried to do the parties in that book but could never achieve her level. I still treasure this book.

  • James
    November 18th, 2014

    The best books I’ve gotten for myself (don’t receive much) and best books I’ve given away was: Chocolate at Home by will torrent and patisserie made simple by Ed kimber.

  • Aaron Rishell
    November 18th, 2014

    My favorite isn’t a cookbook but a childrens book. Where the red fern grows.

  • Jessica K.
    November 18th, 2014

    I love receiving books as gifts!! My favorite is a leatherbound book my husband gave me for our 3rd anniversary to record our family history.

  • Corey
    November 18th, 2014

    With my new found love of baking, it changes things but I need to go back to an oldie. When my daughter was born, my parents gave me a copy of “Are you my mother?” by Eastman. It was my favorite book as a child and they wanted my child to have the same love.

  • J. Nelms
    November 18th, 2014

    Zlata’s Diary – the real diary of a young teen trapped by a sudden war in Bosnia. It’s the only book that made me cry.

  • Kathy
    November 18th, 2014

    Blood, Bones and Butter sent from one female chef to another. Brilliant.

  • Connie
    November 18th, 2014

    The world of reading is an awesome gift to children. I have never been gifted a book but always drawn to buying them. I love all kinds, legal, cookbooks, war, mystery and use to delve heavily into any encyclopedia I could find as a kid. Very glad to see your company does this as many have given up. Congrats on the new book also.

  • Holly
    November 18th, 2014

    I received the boxed set of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was about eight. I loved reading about pioneer life and loved reading those books to my kids even more.

  • Emily
    November 18th, 2014

    Oh, this giveaway makes me swoon!

    Best book I ever received: my soon-to-be husband proposed by giving me a Bible with my soon-to-be new initials on it. Cheesy answer? YUP!

  • SaraM
    November 18th, 2014

    Best novel: The Power of One by Bryce Courtnay. Given by my mom, fought over by my sisters.
    Best cookbook: my mom’s synagogue sisterhood cookbook from the 80s. All the old recipes I grew up on and still rely on – including my grandfather’s potato salad!

  • Joan
    November 18th, 2014

    Wow such a hard question. I too have received many great cookbooks over the years as I love them, both to read and cook from. If I have to pick one for this contest purpose I’ll choose the Best of the Best from California. It was given to me when meeting an online fellow cookbook collector the first time I went to California. We had a wonderful time together and this book brings back those memories. Thanks for the chance to win some nice cookbooks.

  • Elizabeth
    November 18th, 2014

    Definitely cannot tell you my absolute favorite but I do have a very large collection of cookbooks and I cherish each and every one.

  • Dhivya
    November 18th, 2014

    It’s hard to pick one, it’s like having to pick your favourite child. I love all my cookbooks and use them all the time. If I have to pick my most used cookbook it has to be Smitten Kitchen. Deb’s warm chatty conversation is always a welcome in my kitchen, besides her food is very accessible and her instructions are very clear. Infact I am attempting to make the pizza as we speak! On separate note, I have pre ordered your cookbook and can’t wait to cook from it (this is my first dessert cookbook).It would be fabulous to win all these wonderful cookbooks.

  • Tamara
    November 18th, 2014

    I inherited my grandmother’s copy of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. No one gives a cookbook collector cookbooks as gifts :)

  • Lindsey | Mabel & the Wooden Spoon
    November 18th, 2014

    Oh my, how to even begin to answer this question? I’m torn between East of Eden and The Flavor Bible. Since they’re in such vastly different categories, I”ll just say both. :-)

  • Corinne B.
    November 18th, 2014

    The best book I every received was a cookbook my mother gave me that her mother gave her .
    The Good Housekeeping cookbook. I still use it today.

  • Katherine
    November 18th, 2014

    The best book I’ve ever received was a cranberry colored leather bound Kings James Version of the Holy Bible. It was given to me from a dear friend and I have read it from cover to cover more than once. I wrote my name on the second inside page and drew flowers and leaves all around it. I wrote notes in the margins and underlined my favorite verses. That was over forty years ago. It is worn and crumbling apart in places now, but it feels like a part of
    me. Reading it brings comfort and peace to my heart. The notes bring me back to a place and time I like to remember.

  • Kerrey
    November 18th, 2014

    I don’t think I could ever pick a favorite of all time, but there were several that were exactly the right book at the time. The two that come to mind first are Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, and Correlli’s Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres. As far as cookbooks go, my first, a children’s cookbook I received for Christmas at about age 6 along with free reign and minimal supervision in the kitchen, giving me the confidence to try anything and laugh off the mistakes.

  • dana
    November 18th, 2014

    The Secret Garden… Still love that one!!!

  • John
    November 18th, 2014

    My favorite book is “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint Exupery. The story is so fantastic, but what hooked me was the secret of the story: “On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” In English: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” And my favorite cookbook is “The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan”

  • Jenny Hartin
    November 18th, 2014

    Someone gave me Gone with the Wind when I was a small child – we didn’t have a lot of money and weren’t allowed to go out much – I read it 200 times. Congratulations on your book — when it comes out – I would love to review it for my group The Cookbook Junkies 13,700 plus members. Irvin posted about this giveaway in our group and I will love to post about your book! Best, Jenny

  • Linda
    November 18th, 2014

    Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend brought some serious changes in my life, so it is a favorite. However, on a lighter note, I love my cookbooks and two of my favorite to read are Cooking from the Heart and My Family Table by John Besh.

  • Philip Szrama
    November 18th, 2014

    The best book I was ever given was my polish grandmothers hand written recipe book. All the recipes are old world recipes made from scratch. Since my grandmother is no longer with us it is nice to be able to come close to replicating some of her greatest dishes. The only ingredient that I will never be able to replicate is the love she poured into each dish.

  • Ginger Stark
    November 18th, 2014

    My favorite book is I Know this Much is True by Wally Lamb

  • Lamisa
    November 18th, 2014

    The best book anyone ever gave me was a volume of the Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones because it was my best friend’s favorite series when he was younger, and he gave me the set for my sixteenth birthday. I love the thought that went into giving me his favorite series.

  • Marilyn
    November 18th, 2014

    I can’t name just one book, but the best books I’ve received were from my late mother, who was a voracious reader and instilled in me my love of books and reading. Thanks Mom!

  • Marnely Murray
    November 18th, 2014

    It was actually a set of books – the first set of books I received when I entered culinary school at CIA. That stack of books meant so many things – a new beginning, a new me. They were keys to doors I was about to unlock and make whatever was behind those doors my life. Those books were amazing.

  • megan
    November 18th, 2014

    People don’t often gift books to me–I read a lot but like to pick out books myself. However, I have many favorites. Books that have even changed my life. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse was the first book that really made an impression. Then, there was To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (but really most of her books are game-changers), As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, and Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.
    As for cookbooks, A Platter of Figs, Wild Fermentation, and Tartine Bread stand out in my mind as books that changed the way I cook. I just love books. It’s impossible to choose one.

  • barbara n
    November 18th, 2014

    The best book I ever received was Richard Paul Evans the Christmas Box Miracle….love reading it especially at Christmas

  • Karol
    November 18th, 2014

    My favorite book is Just Kids by Patti Smith. Reading it made me wish I was a starving artist on the streets of 1960s nyc, surviving on lettuce, love, and art.

  • Mary Ann
    November 18th, 2014

    My favorite book is “The Help”. Every student in high school should read it. I have many cookbooks and cannot choose a favorite but I love everything by Ina Garten.

  • Sylvia
    November 18th, 2014

    Wow that is difficult to answer! Really made me think back … it might be when my mom gave me a copy of Charlotte’s Web when I was in grade one or two!

  • erin
    November 18th, 2014

    The best cookbook I ever received was Joy the Baker’s first cookbook!

  • Elin
    November 18th, 2014

    The best book I’ve ever received was from my mom. She’s big into scrapbooking, so one year for Christmas she made my sisters and I these home made cook books of her favorite recipes, like the ones we grew up with, plus something from each of her sisters and all of our aunts and grandmothers. It was so cool for her to have collected those and put them together like that.

  • Heather
    November 18th, 2014

    Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages by Anne Mendelson. It was the first gift my then-boyfriend gave me on our first date (after having dated several months via internet and phone). It solidified that he knew and understood me, and was such a thoughtful gesture. We continue to use it in our home after three years of marriage.

  • Sarah D
    November 18th, 2014

    The best book that I’ve ever received was from one of the school librarian in middle school called “How Rude!” It was a book of etiquette and I can honestly say that I haven’t stopped reading it since.

  • Julie M
    November 18th, 2014

    That’s a hard question. I remember getting the Newlywed Cookbook when I first got married, and I still have it and love it to this day!

  • lsb
    November 18th, 2014

    The best book I ever received would have to be “Patti Smith – Kids”
    It was the first book my now husband bought me as a gift and therefore as so much meaning. Not to mention and amazing story.

  • Pam C
    November 18th, 2014

    When I was a kid I wasn’t much of a reader I was given the book A Cricket in Time Square and it was the best book I ever received.

  • Rachel @ Bakerita
    November 18th, 2014

    Woah. Echoing everyone else, but hard question!! As far as cookbooks go, the Baked cookbooks have all been amazing. Their first cookbook was one of the first I got when I started baking a lot, and so many of their recipes inspired my creativity in the kitchen.

  • Mike Schuster
    November 18th, 2014

    Lord of the Rings.

  • Melissa
    November 18th, 2014

    My Grandmother’s cookbooks.

  • christina
    November 18th, 2014

    Essential Pepin!

  • Carla
    November 18th, 2014

    Modernist Cuisine for Home

  • Monika
    November 18th, 2014

    Such a difficult question! I have over a thousand books (this is including cookbooks), 99% of which I bought for myself or for my family. Of the books given to me, a cherished favorite is an early edition of Jane Eyre.

  • Thu
    November 18th, 2014

    My favorite cookbook gifted to me is Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights. My significant other and I would spend afternoons in bed during the summer watching the show and getting inspiration for dinner.

  • Florence Taylor
    November 18th, 2014

    The Cake Bible

  • Miss Food Fairy
    November 18th, 2014

    Oh wow, I have so many amazing cookbooks but the best, most inspiring cookbook I received, and cooked from, is The Asian Grandmothers cookbook

  • Aimee @ Simple Bites
    November 18th, 2014

    Awesome giveaway! Definitely making off with my mother’s handwritten cookbook when I left home was a score.

  • mindy
    November 18th, 2014

    my favorite book gift would be ‘happy all the time,’ by the inimitable laurie colwin. not only was it like meeting a kindred spirit, but that book led me to her other novels and short stories and to, of course, her two wonderful volumes, ‘home cooking’ and ‘more home cooking.’ she was such a bright light!

  • Emma Kiunya
    November 19th, 2014

    The best cookbook I received was the Taste of Home cookbook. I’ve been doing alot of baking using the recipes.

  • Peggy
    November 19th, 2014

    My best book gift would be ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Louise Hay.
    Inspired me straight to culinary school!

  • Angie
    November 19th, 2014

    Oh, such a hard one for me, I have been collecting cookbooks for such a long time. I have such an amazing collection right over 2000 at this point. I do have many favorites many but one that stands out is Gingerbread for all season by Teresa Layman. There is no other like it, wonderful ideas, stands the test of time, great book. I have many baking books I do love, many on other subjects. We have a large children’s book collection as well….we love books here at this house. But, if I have one that would be it, now if we changed it to ten well whole different story. I love to give books, as gifts, and for no reason at all. Makes my day to get a great book.

  • Leigh Ann
    November 19th, 2014

    The “Eloise” series – my favorite as a kid, and still today. It showed me that I wasn’t the only crazy funny kid in the world. There were other girls out there marching to their own beat, having fun, learning, and leaving a wide wake behind them. Today, when I pick it up, I look back with such tenderness for my young self. And then, I’m reminded all over again that I am great just as I am.

  • Min
    November 19th, 2014

    Kamran – first, thanks for including a recommendation for the gluten-free. My partner and I are new to being gluten-free, and everything I bake now ‘sucks’. However, I’m very happy to say your carrot cake recipe still tastes fantastic when I substituted the flour with gluten-free flour, no additional changes made. *happy happy*

    My favourite book was and still is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Strangely, it was roughly the same time when I was in university and despite the huge age difference, it felt like I was right there with Harry, Ron and Hermione fighting the evil Voldermort, “managing” the gits (Malfoys and Crabbes and Goyles), attending lectures (I really did wish to see Lupin’s class). It made the whole going-on-your-own not so lonely because I had this book to keep me company. Wonderful times. That’s what a good book can do to you. Always. Here’s to wishing that you and everyone else have a good book (and more) always.

  • Carolann
    November 19th, 2014

    I started baking for the first time with Rose’s Heavenly Cakes (and Cake Bible) by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I learned so much and it ignited an interest in baking and cooking that hasn’t stopped :) Can’t wait to see your book soon!

  • Jade Sheldon-Burnsed
    November 19th, 2014

    My love of books runs deep. One of the best books I ever received was an illustrated copy of Alice in Wonderland from my husband. It’s very special to me…

  • Trish
    November 19th, 2014

    I mostly buy my own books. But the best thing I ever got was a library card! Oh! And one of my grandmothers sent me a child’s cookbook when I was 9. That started my love affair with cooking!

  • Cynthia Ryland
    November 19th, 2014

    Love this giveaway + the campaign Kam! The best book I ever received was How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson. It was given to me by my husband the day after I gave birth to our darling daughter.

  • Tim
    November 19th, 2014

    An old copy of “Absolom, Absolom”. My dad gave it to me when I was in high school.

  • Brandy
    November 19th, 2014

    The best cookbook I ever received was the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. I live for that chicken. RIP Judy Rogers! :(

  • Lea Anna
    November 20th, 2014

    My favorite book I’ve ever received is Fables.

  • Melody
    November 20th, 2014

    The best book I have received is Pride and Prejudice, I’ve read it and re-read it a number of times. :) My favorite cookbook is a much more difficult choice…I love cookbooks! Maybe David Rocco’s Dolce Vita. :)

  • lisa
    November 20th, 2014

    I love pretty much all books. My family grew up living sustainably off the land / off grid. Mom had a degree in architecture so we designed and built our own log cabins. I spent my nights curled up in my bed reading by lantern light. If i could pick just one the ‘Iliad and the Odyssey’ by Homer. Books like this just really captured my imagination. As far as a newer read I love the book ‘A Greener Life’ by Clarissa Dickson Wright/Johnny Scott. It’s got tips and tricks to living more sustainably and even has some great recipes to boot.

  • Athena Roth
    November 20th, 2014

    The best book I ever received was John Lahr’s Light Fantastic: Adventures in Theatre. It inspired me to study theatre and taught me many important things about the field. Thanks for the chance! Best, Athena.

  • Meghan
    November 20th, 2014

    These are all such beautiful, beautiful cookbooks. I’d like to get my hands on all of them eventually, some way or another. As for my own favorite book, I’d have to say “Mrs. Dalloway” or “The Waves” by Virginia Woolf. I could read them over and over and always find something new to love.

  • Lynna
    November 20th, 2014

    Haha, I don`t receive many books, since I tend to buy my books. But, I would say for one Christmas, my sister got me the Sur La Table Sweets baking book and that was when I started getting into baking. I love that she got that for me!

  • Kayla K
    November 20th, 2014

    The best book I ever received was mastering the Art of French cooking by Julia child. Followed by the little mermaid when I was three years old.

  • Lyndsey
    November 21st, 2014

    The best book I ever received was a sort-of coffee table book called Why Paint Cats. It’s so absurd and beautiful at the same time:

  • Veronnica
    November 22nd, 2014

    The best book I ever received was Poésie de Rimbaud.

  • Katie
    November 22nd, 2014

    I love my Dolce Italiano cook book by Mario Batali’s pastry chef.

  • Heather
    November 23rd, 2014

    That’s a hard one to answer because my love affair with books started when I was about 3 years old! However, one of the most life-changing books I’ve ever read was Mike Tidwell’s “Bayou Farewell : Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana’s Cajun Coast.”

    It’s the story of the small Cajun communities where I grew up… and how we are losing a football field worth of land every 15 minutes.

  • Mikayla
    November 23rd, 2014

    The best books that I’ve ever received are:

    -A signed, personalized copy of “Firesong”, a novel written by one of my favorite professors, Joe Hone, while I was studying abroad at Wroxton College.

    -A Spanish/English dictionary that my Godmother’s mom gave to me so we could learn to share our love in stories in both languages

    -Any book my mom has gotten me — even though I used to chew them, I picked up reading at the age of two, and couldn’t stop. My mom got me everything from Harry Potter to the entirety of Brittanica Encyclopedia, and I owe her for all the knowledge and stories I learned from that.

  • Sabrina
    November 24th, 2014

    I have to start by saying that I am no cook nor am I a baker, but I just received a book that recently changed my view on being in the kitchen. I would like you all to know that the author of my favorite book is indeed my very own brother… Kamran Siddiqi. I recently got married on the 15th and received this awesomely wrapped gift … I wasn’t sure what is was, but I knew that since my brother gave it to me it had to be something awesome… simply because if you know Kamran; you know that his gives the most meaningful gifts of all. I couldn’t wait to get home and open my gift! I finally open it up, and I find Hand Made Baking… I started to tear simply because I was so proud of my brother. I was there when Kamran started this book and he endured many sleepless nights and I gained 15 pounds from all the recipe testing (Chuckles). Aside from the blood, sweat, and tears that went into this book I cherish every word written inside, and I get hungry all over again as I read further on. As a child Kamran always cooked for me, and I never had the desire to learn because I told myself I was going to live with my brother forever so that he could cook for me until I turn 93 years old (Laughs) but after I read this book my heart and mind opened up and I smelled the lemon poppy seed drizzle cake that my brother baked for me at home… The point I am getting at is that I am OBSESSED with this book!

    P.S I Love you Bro and I am so proud of you!

  • Nicole
    November 24th, 2014

    It wasn’t given to me, but was recommended – The Princess Bride.

  • Dani
    November 24th, 2014

    The #givebooks campaign is awesome! I give books as presents more often than any other kind of gift, especially cookbooks (so it’s very exciting to have another gorgeous one being released)! In fact, I just went to a birthday this weekend and the gift was a cookbook. I’m especially excited by your generous giveaway because I was just researching most of these books for public library purchase consideration (day job) and was very curious about them!
    I have several hundred books (potentially into the thousands), so to try and limit myself to one favourite book ever given to me? Impossible! I’ll keep to the cookbook genre as this is a food blog, and that will make it easier. Made in Italy by Giorgio Locatelli is huge and beautiful and so full of knowledge. Locatelli doesn’t just have a recipe, he has pages and pages of technique.

  • Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land
    November 25th, 2014

    holy smokes – what a collection of books!! this is the hardest question. but i will make it baking related – the best book i’ve received is the martha stewart handbook, when i first discovered baking in 2008! my sister gave it to me as a birthday present … and it unleashed a monster! haha! i baked my way through the book and learned so much. the book is filthy now, covered in splashes of vanilla extract, the spine is torn and the pages are dog eared, written on and ripped! (um, i take better care of my books now, hehe!) love your blog, kamran! take care. xo

  • Sara @ Cake Over Steak
    November 25th, 2014

    This is an amazing giveaway, and congrats on your own book! I’ve always been a big fan of Chronicle just as a reader and book lover. As to the best book I’ve ever received …. maybe the Little House on the Prairie series. I think those were the first books I really got excited about and possibly began my life-long love affair with all books. Books are the best!

  • Jake
    November 25th, 2014

    Not too long ago I was living in a new city and working in a perpetually half-empty bar, very bored, a friend sent me a copy of The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño and it blew my mind.

  • Bailee
    November 27th, 2014

    I don’t often get books, because I go to the library a lot. But the best book I’ve ever gotten was probably the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I got it when I was first starting to cook and it has so many great pictures/recipes plus it’s funny!

  • Judith M.
    November 29th, 2014

    To Kill A Mockingbird given to me in junior high by my aunt. Loved the book and the movie. As a new bride I was given Julia Child’s The Way To Cook. Can’t say enough about Julia.

  • Bethany
    December 1st, 2014

    I would have to say EACH of the Harry Potter books, because a few of them came out on my birthday, and my family would just let me have the day to read the book in its entirety! So much fun.

  • Jamie
    December 2nd, 2014

    Tough question! I’d have to go with Little House In The Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, an older copy given to me by my grandmother. I wore that book out! Cookbook-wise, I’d say Great Cakes by Carole Walter. It got me more into baking and I have good memories of making her carrot cake by request oh so many times :)

  • Jen
    December 3rd, 2014

    The Secret Garden — still my all-time favorite book.

  • Jo
    December 3rd, 2014

    I would say the best cookbook was the joy of cooking – which my dad gave me before heading off to college.
    I think my favorite book would be Anne of Green Gables, which pretty much helped shape me into a reader.

  • Minna
    December 3rd, 2014

    My mom bought me the Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was a kid, and I still read it every year around Christmas time. I still love the series and it reminds me of her.

  • Deb
    December 3rd, 2014

    It all started with Winnie the Pooh when I was a wee tot, but a couple of other favorites that led to my lifelong love of reading were Nurse Nancy, and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. I have a large cookbook collection and love reading them as well; in fact, one of my new year’s (2014)resolutions was to cook two new recipes a week, each from a different cookbook on the shelf. Can’t wait to read some of your favorites! (Guess whose recipe is next…..) yummers.

  • Steph
    December 3rd, 2014

    Very tough. I love my cookery books. One of my favourites was a Nigel Slater one last Christmas. The Kitchen Diaries. Love the recipes and love the way he talks you through it. For a non kitchen book favourite book, it would have to be A Prayer for Owen Meany. I had already read it, but re read it and loved it even more.

  • rena
    December 3rd, 2014

    a cookbook w a sweet inscription!

  • Bracha
    December 3rd, 2014

    James Herriot, the series about the English country vet. I never get tired of reading of his hilarious escapades. Great humor for all ages, I’ve been revisiting them many times over the past ten years.

  • Vy
    December 4th, 2014

    The best book that I have ever received was the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It has helped me de-cluster my closet and kitchen and donated a lot of clothes and things that I don’t need to the Salvation Army.

  • Hannah G
    December 5th, 2014

    Ina Garten’s Foolproof cookbook. It helped inspire my love of cooking with her simple, yet sophisticated recipes. That book will always have a special place in my heart!

  • Romy
    December 7th, 2014

    The book called Trois fois par jour that came out this year.

  • Wendy
    December 7th, 2014

    Joel Osteen – You Can You Will

  • Karen Duffy
    December 7th, 2014

    Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, is the best book I ever received as a present. A classic!

  • Susan
    December 7th, 2014

    The first Christmas after I left home my mother gave me a Betty Crocker Cookbook-i still have it more than 30 years later and was instrumental in me learning and loving to cook!

  • Jamie S.
    December 7th, 2014

    The best book I was ever given was probably the Harry Potter series since it reignited my love for reading.

    Chronicle books is great! I have The Bread Bible and it is fantastic :)

  • Theresa B
    December 7th, 2014

    Hard decision. Most recent favorite was Blood Bones & Butter. Followed by Tender at the Bone.

  • Lindsay L
    December 7th, 2014

    I was given my great grandmothers copy of Gone With the Wind. It’s very old and falling apart but I still keep it displayed.

  • Becca D
    December 7th, 2014

    It’s maybe cliche to say so, but the best book I ever received was The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein when I graduated from high school. It’s a powerful message, regardless of age.

  • Linda Bragg
    December 7th, 2014

    The best book I ever received was Winnie the Pooh, it was the book that started my love of reading.

  • Amber R.
    December 7th, 2014

    The best book I received was a nice fat copy of Little Women from my mom which I carried around and read twice in the third grade.

  • Sarah
    December 8th, 2014

    Nigella Lawson’s Domestic Goddess. It is so gorgeous and has fabulous recipes.

  • Julia
    December 8th, 2014

    Jane Brody’s Good Food cookbook, back in the ’80s–I was a kid, and it opened my eyes to what delicious AND healthy food could be!

  • Gina O
    December 8th, 2014

    Knife, Fork and Spoon, which was given to me by my grandfather. My husband did give me a Kindle Fire many years ago…. so that is like the Gift of Many Books.

  • lauren
    December 8th, 2014

    Blood Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton!

  • melanie huttner
    December 8th, 2014

    The best book I have ever received was Yoda- a story of a cat and his kittens

  • Leah B
    December 8th, 2014

    My Mom’s recipe book! Mind you it was only on loan to me – but it’s what really gave me the confidence to start cooking.

  • Jordan
    December 8th, 2014

    This is a hard one, but I would have to say it was Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. I was in third grade, just developing my love for cooking, and it was my first grown-up cookbook. Nigella is such an icon for me of a powerful, successful female, and I still consider it a bible of cooking to this day.

  • Chelsea
    December 9th, 2014

    My signed copy of “Plenty More.” It is inscribed with, “Inspiration is everywhere” and was a gift from my mom.

  • Jenn
    December 9th, 2014

    The best book I’ve received was the Anne of Green Gables series when I was a kid.

  • Seema
    December 9th, 2014

    When I was about 10, my mom bought me “Harriet the Spy.” Best. book. ever.

  • MikeVFMK
    December 9th, 2014

    When I was a kid I used to bake and cook with my grandmother. I don’t know what it wasn’t, but some of her recipes were my favourite. Nothing competed with her breakfast pastries and baked goods. So one year for Christmas she made me her own homemade book with my favorite recipes inside. It was the first “cookbook” I had ever received. And it’s still my favourite. She’s the main reason I cook and bake today.

  • Lauren
    December 9th, 2014

    Oh, that’s such a tough one! When I was quite young, my aunt gave me a book that was all about pie. I don’t know how many of the actual pies I made, but I’ve gone through that book so many times, just amazed by how much you can do with a pie.

  • Emily Margaret
    December 9th, 2014

    Oh this is such a hard question. I’m going to say A Girl Of The Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter. It was so unlike anything else I had read and it’s still one of my top favorites.

    I’m going to have to add all those books you’ve featured to my list as they all look fantastic. I love Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen.

  • Katy
    December 9th, 2014

    Ooh that’s a tough one! I’ve received some fantastic books over the years. Great cookbooks, novels, nonfiction. One of my favorites from recent years is a copy of Bread Alone by Judith Ryan Hendricks is up there. It was given to me by a former teacher and I’ve read it several times since then!

  • Arielle
    December 9th, 2014

    The best book i ever received was a Smithsonian book, “Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style”. It reflects on fashion from the beginning of time to now. I love learning about the history of something I am so passionate about!

  • Brad G
    December 10th, 2014

    Best book I’ve ever received? The Secret History by Donna Tartt or The Alienist by Caleb Carr. Or maybe Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I can’t decide!

  • Dawn
    December 10th, 2014

    I received The Tale of Genji, the first novel, long, beautiful and evocative, written ages ago by a woman of the court in Japan– a lovely winter read. I like the Waley translation best.

  • Rena
    December 10th, 2014

    a cookbook from my sister in law!