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Spokane Is Reading Selects “The Book of Difficult Fruit” by Local Author Kate Lebo

Posted on August 24, 2022 at 6:00 am

Spokane Is Reading 2022: "The Book of Difficult Fruit" by Kate Lebo

Spokane Is Reading

Spokane Is Reading has announced their book selection for the 21st annual community-wide reading event: local author Kate Lebo’s The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly (with Recipes).

The Book of Difficult Fruit is a collection of essays that combine memoir, natural history, and recipes. It is the winner of the 2022 Washington State Book Award for creative nonfiction and was shortlisted for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award in 2022. It was also named a Best Book of the Year 2021 by The Atlantic and Electric Lit and was named on NPR’s Books We Love list as well as The Globe 100 list for 2021.

The New York Times Book Review, written by Alex Beggs, calls this essay collection “Darkly funny… often fascinating, sometimes juicy, rarely dry… The Book of Difficult Fruit is brimming with obscure knowledge that’s going to loom over every gin martini I drink for the next decade, and there are fantastic recipes too… Delicious and meaningful.”

You can head into your local library to borrow this title or place a hold online with our catalog. If you prefer reading eBooks or listening to audiobooks, you can borrow the essay collection on OverDrive and in the Libby app.

If you enjoy The Book of Difficult Fruit, you may enjoy Kate’s other books and these read-alike nonfiction titles, in eBook and audiobook formats, on our OverDrive booklist: Spokane Is Reading Presents Kate Lebo’s ‘The Book of Difficult Fruit’.

Author Events

Spokane Is Reading Presents Kate Lebo & The Book of Difficult Fruit

Kate Lebo discusses her unique nonfiction title The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly (with Recipes). Inspired by 26 fruits, she expertly blends natural, culinary, medical, and personal history within the pages of what has been called a nonfiction masterpiece. After the author talk, Ms. Lebo will answer questions from the audience and sign books. Books will be available for purchase from Auntie’s Bookstore. This program is free and open to the public. Adults & Teens

Generously supported by the Friends of the Argonne, Cheney, Deer Park, Moran Prairie, and Spokane Public Libraries.

Wednesday, Oct 26, 1pm
(doors open at 12:15pm)

906 W Main Ave (Downtown Spokane)

Wednesday, Oct 26, 7pm
(doors open at 6:15pm)

Both events will be live streamed on Spokane Is Reading’s Facebook page. NOTE: A recording after the events will not be available.

About the Book

A is for aronia, berry member of the apple family, clothes-stainer, superfruit with reputed healing power. D is for durian, endowed with a dramatic rind and a shifting odor—peaches, old garlic. M is for medlar, name-checked by Shakespeare for its crude shape, beloved by gardeners for its flowers. Q is for quince, which, when fresh, gives off the scent of “roses and citrus and rich women’s perfume” but if eaten raw is so astringent it wicks the juice from one’s mouth.

In a work of unique invention, these and other difficult fruits serve as the central ingredients of twenty-six lyrical essays (with recipes). What makes a fruit difficult? Its cultivation, its harvest, its preparation, the brevity of its moment for ripeness, its tendency toward rot or poison, the way it might overrun your garden. Here, these fruits will take you on unexpected turns and give sideways insights into relationships, self-care, land stewardship, medical and botanical history, and so much more. What if the primary way you show love is through baking, but your partner suffers from celiac disease? Why leave in the pits for Willa Cather’s plum jam? How can we rely on bodies as fragile as the fruits that nourish them?

Kate Lebo’s unquenchable curiosity promises adventure: intimate, sensuous, ranging, bitter, challenging, rotten, ripe. After reading The Book of Difficult Fruit, you will never think of sweetness the same way again. (from the publisher)

About the Author

Kate Lebo’s other work includes the anthology Pie & Whiskey: Writers Under the Influence of Butter and Booze (Sasquatch Books), which she edited with Samuel Ligon, and her essay about listening through hearing loss, “The Loudproof Room,” originally published in New England Review and anthologized in The Best American Essays.

Kate is also the author of Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour & Butter (Sasquatch Books) and the poetry/ephemera/recipe collection A Commonplace Book of Pie (Chin Music Press). Her poems and essays have appeared in This is the Place: Women Writing About Home, Ghosts of Seattle Past, Best New Poets, Gettysburg Review, Willow Springs, The Inlander, and Poetry Northwest, among others. She lives in Spokane, Washington.

About Spokane Is Reading

Spokane Is Reading is one of the longest-running community reads in the state of Washington, designed to encourage reading among and discussion in the community around a common topic—a book.

Over the years, the program has celebrated such authors as Madeline Miller, Amy Stewart, Chris Cleave, Mary Roach, Maria Semple, Jess Walter, and Kent Haruf.

Generous support for Spokane Is Reading comes from the Friends of the Library groups in Spokane County and the City of Spokane, the Humanities Washington Opportunity Grant, and readers throughout Spokane County.

Spokane Is Reading is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and the collaborative effort of Spokane Public Library, Spokane County Library District, and Auntie’s Bookstore. You can learn more about the organization, including how to donate, at

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