The Discovery of Chocolate
22 journalers for this copy...
Diego de Godoy sets off for South America in 1518 with Cortes and the Conquistadors. During his travels he falls in love with Ignacia, a native woman who introduces him to the secrets of the most delicious drink he has ever tasted: chocolate. Tragically, their passionate affair is cut short by the chaotic conquest of Mexico.
Diego later discovers that his lover had secretly added the elixir of life to his chocolate. Unable to die, he lives on through history -- Paris during the time of the Revolution, Vienna in the 19th century, late Victorian England, and Hershey, Pennsylvania -- accompanied by his trusty greyhound, Pedro. All the while, he searches to recapture the magic of Ignacia's chocolate -- and to learn to love life just as fully.
Playful and intelligent, this is a romantic story about love and loss inspired by a very enchanting substance.
Format: Trade PB
Dimensions: 5 5/16 x 8
Weight: 7.2 miniscule ounces
Received this in the mail today! I'm in the middle of a book right now, but it's a fast read so I'll get to this one as soon as I finish. And as soon as I buy myself some chocolate to eat while reading this one! Thanks!
What an interesting book. It's a fun way to look at so many events of the past. I'll send it on as soon as I get the next address.
This arrived at my doorstep today, thanks HallieK! I will read it as soon as I can pry it away from my husband who propmpty took control of it when I opened the package :-)
This was a quick weekend read. The idea behind the story is intersting - young Spanish boy goes on a quest to win the hand of his sweetheart, meets true love in Montezuma's Mexico, promises to always love her, goes back to Spain to win the hand of his Spanish sweetheart with chocolate, goes back to Mexico to discover his true love missing after the Conquestadors razed Mexico City, goes on endless quest to find her/oblivion ...
***** Negative review alert, sorry *****
I kept thinking that I should really enjoy this book, but somehow the story came through as bland and flat except for the mouthwatering chocolate recipes that spiced up the story. I felt no connection with the narrator, which was a bit disappointing because the story had so much potential. I did not like the lightness with wich the author treated the tragedy that the Conquestadors wrought in Mexico, I almost felt as if he wanted me to feel sorry for the Spanish conquerors. The narrator was a foolish, selfish boy who did not really grow up until the last few pages. The book did improve somewhat towards the end, I even felt a twinge of sympathy for Diego when he (foolishly) lost Pedro (who, by the way, seemed to be more mature than his master at times - he was also my favorite character).
If this is your first foray into magical realism, please do not give up on the genre yet! Reserve your judgement until you have tried Laura Esquivel's 'The law of Love' and/or 'Like water for chocolate'.
Mailed to frybaby 11/02/2005
Just got it a couple of days ago. Thanks!
I stopped myself from reading lady-sybil's neg review until after I read the book. I feel about the same as she does. I was left wanting and not just for choclate..lol.
Sending to star-light
Book arrived safely yesterday. I'm going to settle down with a big block of chocolate and start reading this today.
I finished this book a few days ago and have been trying to work out why I was disappointed by it.
I think it's because I expected Diego to grow and mature as a person as he lived his long life, but he didn't change much throughout the book. Also, the plot seemed to shift very quickly and thus not develop. Perhaps this is why the book was rather bland.
Having said that, there were parts that I enjoyed. I liked how various famous people were woven into the story, and it's always fun to read about chocolate!
6 May 05 - mailed to Lisagt.
Yum! This is the first of three bookrings starring chocolate that I have joined. (I'll let you make of that whatever you like). Needless to say, looks interesting so thanx irishajo for sharing and star-light for sending.
This book is the Forrest Gump of the chocolate world! The story was ok but the fun bit was working out who all the 'names' are that he encounters through history, chocolate related or otherwise.
Posting to celestewa next.
This book has arrived in Perth. I have a few rings in front of it, but will get to it soon.
By the way the book arrived with some lovely Lindt chocolates. Yum! Thanks Lisa
The book was easy to read but annoyed me a bit at times. The part I didnt like was how he suddenly moved from one time to the next. Was he time travelling or just aging very slowly? The author seems to change his mind about this half way through.
I was quite happy to link Sacher, Fry and Hershey in the story, but really saw no need to introduce Sade or Freud or to storm the Bastille. Good Grief!
Posted Airmail to QueenSisi on the 10th June 2005
Got here safe and sound... Thank'you all!!!
A wonderful story well told though it could have some other kind of explanation for the time lags... Specially liked the Sachertorte story...
Thanks for this oportunity and moving it along to allbookedup.
The book arrived today, thanks for sending it to Austria, QueenSissi.
I am really looking forard to reading this, I will get to it asap, I have 1 other bookring to read before it, though.
I finished the book yesterday, it is not a great piece of literature, but there were some parts I enjoyed. The author describes the food really well and two parts I enjoyed a lot were the women in the church (page 84/85) who say they can't live without chocolate even for a couple of hours and their maids need bring them hot chocolate even during mass and the priest doesn't approve *lol*
The other part was about the Sachertorte :-) But maybe because I am Viennese... but the descriptions of the chocolate cake were great.
I also agree that the dog was the most likeable character! :-)
I will go to Germany now for a long weekend (yay! fun fun!) and I will post the book from there, because it is cheaper than in Austria!
The book will probably be sent off to Amanida on Saturday, the 14th! Enjoy!
Arrived safely today, thanks, everyone! Looks intriguing......
What I like about this book is that it's a simple story told from start to finish in one go, without flashbacks or subplots. As mentioned already, it's not a great work of literature, but a nice mix of fact and fiction - a bit of fun. Probably enjoyed more while tucking into a few bars of the elixir.
It visited Barcelona with me this week and is now off to ldpaulson in California.
Arrived today via post from the U.K.!
With a plot that portends something approaching the picaresque -- I mean, wouldn't you expect someone who has taken The Elixir of Life to have those sorts of wanderings? --, THE DISCOVERY OF CHOCOLATE falls flat with its bent toward the melodramatic. It's a thin book that inexplicably crams Freud, deSade, and Gertrude Stein into what could have other wise been a good novella. There isn't really enough material here for more than that. Runcie should have stopped while he was ahead -- probably shortly after Diego return to Spain -- instead of lurching ahead, creating a thin literary Zelig. Readers can almost see the gears turning. "Hey! It's about the turn of the century. I know! Let's put Diego on The Mauritania!"
I still love chocolate. I'm still waiting for a great novel about chocolate.
Can't get into it so passing it on
Journal Entry 26
Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, February 7, 2006
Released 15 yrs ago (2/7/2006 UTC) at Bookring in Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Received today. I'll start it today.
A quick read. I didn't love it but enjoyed the unique historical perspective. Loved Pedro! Awaiting address for next participant.
Sending on to Draginta in Monday's mail (2/27).
Just got this book in the mail. I'm looking forward to reading it.
I received this in the mail today. Will get to it as soon as I can!
I loved this mixture of fiction and chocolate facts! The journey through centuries of chocolate fact and lore had me in tune from start to finish. Chocolate lovers everywhere can get their fix with this read! Sending on to turtle-flower in Canada tomorrow! Thanks for sharing this great read!
got this in the mail just a few days ago, just in time too, since i just finished another really good book. cant wait to read it, it looks so yummy!
Arrived safely today. I have a few other bookrings before it.
I enjoyed this book, mainly I think for the desciptions of chocolate and Pedro. Diego wasn't a particularly likeable character but he was believable.
posting to RockDg9 tomorrow.
I started off really enjoying this - it was witty, and the characters so alive. But that didn't last long ... after a couple of chapters it had a really uneven pace. I found parts terribly boring (like the lists of ingredients, and going on and on about love) then other parts were good (in the Bastille).
The continuity was shockingly bad, if I was reading it correctly, which I'm not sure I was, because it just didn't make sense!
My favourite character was Pedro the dog! The narrator Diego was inconsistently written.
As a piece of faction, I found it lacking - very "nudge nudge wink wink guess where I am in history".
Oh, and I don't like the cover!
But I guess I could say I mildly enjoyed this story, and I'm glad I have read it. Thanks irishajo and amberc.
Hi irishajo, I PMd garnetfairy, but they are no longer an active bookcrosser, so I was wondering what your plans were for this book. If you would like me to, I can try and get some interest in continuing the ray on.
Sorry about making this a jounral entry ... PMs are not working at the moment (at least, at my end!)
Since garnetfairy is MIA, this bookray has officially completed. RockDg9 - the book is now yours to do with as you wish.
Wow! 17 readers over 2 1/2 years - definitely my longest and most successful bookray. Thanks everyone for helping this ray to stay alive for so long!
I'll continue this on for a short ray in Australia.
Participants so far:
Posted on to frangipani08 as the start of a mini-Aussie ray.
Lovely surprise to receive this book today with a block of chocolate! A couple of books in front of it but won't take long. Thanks Rockdg9!
Starting to read this today but I finished eating the accompanying chocolate a week ago! Does that mean I should buy more chocolate to eat with it!!
I see this book has a mixed reponse but I enjoyed it and read it in one day. I don't have a problem with the range of people or events as you often have to suspend reality when reading! I did sometimes get annoyed with his depression though. It was heartbreaking when his dog died and then a nice touch that when he eventually reunited with Ignacia she had one of Pedro's pups. I will pass the book to erinoc in the next few days.
Left in erinoc's letterbox today with a sweet treat!
woo hoo! Found this one in my letter box last Friday with a blockof chocolate! Sorry for the delayed journal - have almost no access to the internet at the moment.
Thanks frangipani08 for passing this one on. Shouldn't take me too long to read!
Well! What a pleasure to read a book that has had such a long bookcrossing history!!
I have to agree with some of the previous journals - this novel jumped around too much and didn't explain enough of the mechanics behind Diego's lifespan. I liked the semi-historical approach and have tried the Sachertorte in Austria so that was fun...but just like a lot of readers, I found that the plot didn't really develop. I also would argue that the ending seemed a little thrown together.
Overall I find the idea really interesting but I think it was too much thrown into a novel that was too short to properly explore the concepts.
Will send on to the next reader in the coming week.
Just arrived in the mail today. What a long, long history it's had: must be something to do with the magnetic attraction of chocolate, perhaps!
I'll read, then pass to silvermoonwyrm.
On the whole, a disappointment - the author missed so many opportunities. It's episodic and jerky, and lacks narrative cohesion - a pity, because the picaresque is always a fascinating topic. I thought the writer lacked the plot skills to create a convincing linking theme: his character just has queer dreams, then wakes up in another era - all very unsatisfactory, and very unconvincing. I thought his *Forrest Gump style* name dropping was also unnecessarily contrived.
Not to worry - just being part of this enormously long Ring was fun - theis book has been travelling around the world for TWO and a Half YEARS, and its still got a way to go.
I'm about to send it tosomeone in Victoria (Australia) and I'm putting another book in with it - 'My First 2000 Years': the tale of that Grandaddy of all undying travellers, The Wandering Jew.
Received yesterday, along with some Guylians...this books seems to have a history of travelling with chocolate! What generous bc'ers you all are!
I was slack in getting to read this, as I was the last in line, I knew no one was waiting for me ;) But after a mammoth Mt TBR clearing in the last two days, I finally got around to reading this. My guylians were long gone, and I'd finished the last of the chocolate in the house a mere 5 or 6 hours before starting to read this. BIG mistake. This book should be read with chocolate. It is an integral part of the story line, and as such, is continually mentioned. And it just makes you want some, especially if you don't have any.
One of my dreams has been for a long time to make my own chocolate from beans, and the delicious descriptions (they were to vague to call them recipes) in this book has just furthered that. I do have a bookmarked recipe for Mayan Chocolate Chicken, which sounds much like one dish that appears frequently in the book.
This was just a light fluffy read, which only took me a few hours.I know nothing about any of the historical references, so it didn't bother me that they (from all accounts) were wrong.
But now I see why this book always travel with chocolate, and I won't be the one to break that tradition.
Journal Entry 52
Kmart in Footscray, Victoria Australia on Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Released 14 yrs ago (6/19/2007 UTC) at Kmart in Footscray, Victoria Australia
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Located on the chocolate shelf in the confectionary section. (Where else?)