A Slice of Tale

Pizza comes in all sizes, shapes, and desires. Ooey Gooey. Crisp. Stuffed pizza. Thin crust. Stuffed crust. There’s the soft, flaky crust, wood fired oven crispy, bubble crust, a butter crust, and many more. We all have our favorites. Some of our likings have probably changed over the years too. When I was younger, I loved the thin crust piled with cheese, sausage, onions, and green peppers—the oil glistening and pooling on top of the pizza. I’d eat the tiny crust ends and then go for the middle squares. Being a Chicagoan, Giordano’s stuffed spinach pizza was also a favorite of mine.

In my 20s, my friends and I went to Las Vegas. I didn’t have much money with me, so one evening, while a few friends saw a live show, another friend and I stayed in the hotel room and ordered pizza. It was the worst pizza ever. The crust tasted like cardboard, and the uncooked fixings were piled on top. At that time, I swore I’d never order a pizza outside of Chicago again.

Now, I’ve experienced pizza in Spain and Italy, and I’m in love with it. The first time I had a super thin crust pizza was at an Italian restaurant in Spain. It was a big individual pizza, but not as filling as the pizzas I grew up eating. The crust is extremely thin with crisp air bubbled sides, and thin layers of toppings. Sauce and cheese doesn’t smother the crust. When we make pizza at home, we try to get the crust super thin.

My love of pizza has changed over the years, similar to my books. The first books I read were Sidney Sheldon’s (also a Chicagoan) romantic suspense novels. I refused to read anything other him, until I reached for a Mary Higgins Clark suspense novel, and Victoria Holt’s gothic romance. Holt wrote in several genres under different pen names. These authors were the stepping-stones to various other writers and works, but at the time, I was hooked on their writing of romance and suspense.

As I recall, the only descriptive writer was Holt. The sad thing is, I can’t recall my favorite books of these authors. What I do remember is how the books glided along without in depth description. They kept my attention with suspense. From there, I moved onto Sandra Brown, another suspense writer with just the right amount of description for me. It’s no wonder my first novel turned out to be a dark, psychological suspense thriller.

Nowadays, I tend to read a lot of literary fiction; stories about ‘real’ people living or battling extraordinary lives. These are the reads I love, and for some reason can’t branch out. My favorites being, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving; The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon; Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys; The Book Thief by Markus Zusak; The Red Tent by Anita Diamant; and I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb. The things these writers have in common are lush characters, they can paint a picture without purple prose, and their stories consist of courage, love, trust, and strength. Since I began reading for enjoyment, I realize that I’m not one who likes too much description, which sometimes can create redundancy. The layers of these stories are evenly distributed, not too much stuff on top of the main plot, and the right amount of character build to hate or love them.

Looking back at the changes in my life, the one thing I realize is how my writing reflects my reading styles—how reading adventures have transferred into my own writing. As a writer, I try to focus on building characters, making them flawed, likeable, and in some cases, hated. I’m also one who tries to spread description out to build characters and plot without leaving clumps along the way. All I can hope is that readers like my writing style.

How do you like your pizza? Do you read books loaded with description? Does your writing reflect your preferred reading style?

Pizza, Reading, and Writing,
Baer Necessities

8 thoughts on “A Slice of Tale”

  1. I’m actually not someone who likes pizza. I don’t eat it and haven’t since I was really young. I do try it every now and again for the off chance but it isn’t my thing… but it was cool to see how your taste in books have also changed over the years!

    1. Olivia, You are the first person I’ve ever heard say they didn’t like pizza. It’s probably why you’re in shape because pizza is fattening. 😀

  2. I’m more of a Lou Malnatti’s guy. I haven’t had Spanish or Italian pizza, and I’m glad for it, because I assume I would absolutely love it and then be sad I could never get it again.

    As for my writing vs reading, I write in a few preferred ways, but I’ll read just about anything as long as it’s good. Doesn’t matter what genre, or whether it’s descriptive or not, or whether the storyline is complex or simple, etc.

    1. ABFTS,I hear you about not having it again. There are things from the states I love that they don’t sell in Germany. *sighs*

      It’s good that you’re open to genres. I do try to break away from the genres I like, and our book club forces me to do that.

  3. I mostly go for regular hand-tossed pizza crust, which is on the medium-thickness side of things. I did try picca in Chicago, and loved it, but know it would never be something I could eat as often as thinner crust pizza. More authentic pizza will indeed have a very thin crust. There’s a great place in my area called Flatbread Community Oven. They make great authentic neapolitan pizzas.

  4. Sorry guys, but there is nothing in the world like New York Pizza.They say it’s the water that gives the crust that perfect texture you can’t find anywhere else. You don’t even need a lot of toppings.

    The bottom stays firm, never soggy, and has a slight flour-y feel to it. Fold the slice in half (it will bend, not break) letting the oil drip down towards your napkin covered hand, close your eyes and inhale the sweet basil and garlic in the sauce and feel the stretch of the cheese as you pull the slice from your mouth.

    There’s no way to be neat about it, and you probably wouldn’t go for it on a first date.

    Excuse me, I just had an idea for the romance novel I’m working on.

    1. Joan, You’re arguing with a Chicagoan, so I definitely wouldn’t say NY pizza is better. Plus, after eating pizza from Italy, there’s no comparison to the wood fire pizza with little to none oil, and I can taste all the flavors.

      I actually started making my own sauce at home for our pizzas, and I love, love, love basil.

      Hope this got a romance novel going for you. 🙂

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