*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Unsinkable Greta James, I provide your book club with a brief summary, food ideas and a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
In The Unsinkable Greta James, a rock star on the verge of an early mid-life crisis takes a cruise with the father who’s always misunderstood her.
Jennifer E. Smith’s divergence from YA to adult lit results in a sometimes humorous, often poignant look at the dreams we hold onto and the people who shape us.
If you are looking for a light read that doesn’t lack substance, The Unsinkable Greta James is a great pick. It had a “quirky books with depth” feel that has been very popular recently. Think Anxious People or Remarkably Bright Creatures.
I really loved the cruise ship setting and felt that it was unique. Personally, I can’t recall reading anything set on a cruise ship. And the father/daughter dynamic along with a blooming romance was wonderful.
While I love a happily ever after, I was also pleasantly surprised that Smith didn’t wrap up the ending too neatly, but still left me with that warm and fuzzy feeling.
I really enjoyed this novel and its a great pick if you are looking for an escape (hello cruise to Alaska) and a book that deals with real relationship issues.
I’ve provided book club questions and delicious food ideas for The Unsinkable Greta James and a special recipe for you! So if you are looking for book club ideas and more, keep reading!
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Here’s a brief summary of The Unsinkable Greta James:
From the Publisher: “Right after the sudden death of her mother—her first and most devoted fan—and just before the launch of her high-stakes sophomore album, Greta James falls apart on stage. The footage quickly goes viral and she stops playing, her career suddenly in jeopardy—the kind of jeopardy her father, Conrad, has always predicted; the kind he warned her about when he urged her to make more practical choices with her life.
Months later, Greta—still heartbroken and very much adrift—reluctantly agrees to accompany Conrad on the Alaskan cruise her parents had booked to celebrate their fortieth anniversary. It could be their last chance to heal old wounds in the wake of shared loss. But the trip will also prove to be a voyage of discovery for them both, and for Ben Wilder, a charming historian, onboard to lecture about The Call of the Wild, who is struggling with a major upheaval in his own life. As Greta works to build back her confidence and Ben confronts an uncertain future, they find themselves drawn to and relying on each other.
It’s here in this unlikeliest of places—at sea, far from the packed city venues where she usually plays and surrounded by the stunning scenery of Alaska—Greta will finally confront the choices she’s made, the heartbreak she’s suffered, and the family hurts that run deep. In the end, she’ll have to decide what her path forward might look like—and how to find her voice again.”
For The Unsinkable Greta James Food Ideas:
There isn’t a lot of specific food mentioned in The Unsinkable Greta James. Set on a cruise ship headed for Alaska, most of the dinner scenes center on the conversation and not the food.
Here are a few food ideas for your book club for The Unsinkable Greta James:
- Salmon dishes – salmon and salmon fishing are mentioned a few times (and salmon is definitely something Alaska is known for)
- Any Alaskan dishes
- Dishes inspired by food you have tried on a cruise ship
I knew that I wanted to create a salmon dish for the recipe here on Book Club Bites.
This salmon salad is delicious, simple, and great for a group.
The cumin and cilantro lend it a unique depth of flavor, but if you aren’t fond of those, you can remove them.
Serve on bread cut into mini sandwiches, fluffy rolls, or simply next to a tray of crackers.
It’s flavorful, unique, and addictive. Your book club will love this recipe.
Whether you choose something from this list or try your own option, I hope these food ideas will get your creative juices flowing to host your book club for The Unsinkable Greta James!
A few tips on cooking Salmon Salad:
Here are a few tips to help make your cooking experience the best it can be!
1) Use a meat thermometer to cook your salmon to perfection. Take the salmon out of the oven when the internal temperature of the thickest part of your salmon filet reaches 145 degrees. Cooking longer will result in tougher, dryer salmon.
2) You can use golden or regular raisins or a mix of both.
3) Mix the dressing and drizzle on, stirring as you do. Once the mix seems to have enough dressing, reserve the rest, and add more at serving time if needed.
Whether you choose something inspired by your own cruise, Alaskan fare, or this fabulous recipe, I hope these food ideas will get your creative juices flowing to host your book club for The Unsinkable Greta James!
The Unsinkable Greta James Book Club Recipe:
- 1 1/2 pound center-cut skin-on salmon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin divided
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano divided
- 1/2 cup red onion diced
- 1/3 cup mayo
- 2 tsp lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 2 cucumbers cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup feta
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup raisins or golden raisins
- 1/4 cup fresh dill chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.
- Place the salmon on the baking sheet and pat dry with a paper towel.
- In a small bowl, mix 3/4 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/4 tsp oregano.
- Drizzle the salmon with the olive oil and sprinkle the spices evenly across the top.
- Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, until the salmon (at the thickest part) reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F on a meat thermometer. The salmon should flake easily with a fork.
- While the salmon cools, place the red onion in a bowl and cover with cold water to remove the onion’s harshness.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together the mayo, lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon oregano.
- Flake the salmon in chunky pieces and discard the skin. Place the salmon in a large bowl.
- Add the cucumber, dill, currants, feta, and cilantro.
- Drain the red onion of the water, then add it to the salmon.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salmon salad.
- Gently stir to combine.
- Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature on whole grain bread, rolls, or with crackers.
- Refrigerate in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
The Unsinkable Greta Jameas Book Club Questions:
*WARNING: May contain spoilers!
- Why do you think that Greta finally agreed to go on the cruise with her father (beyond having no real excuses)? Have you ever taken a trip with a family member or a friend hoping to resolve relationship issues? How did that turn out?
- Have you ever been on an Alaskan cruise (or any cruise) and did you enjoy reading a book where a cruise ship was the setting?
- Greta’s father disapproves of her life choices. Greta seems sure she’s made the right decisions, until she falls apart on stage. Do you think by the end of the book they understand each other better? How do you see this understanding reflected in their actions near the end of the book? What does the road forward look like for them?
- Ben is completely different than Greta’s old boyfriends. What do you think it is that draws her to him? Do you think they can make it or do you think they only connected because they were both outside of their normal lives?
- How did you feel when Greta took the time to speak encouragement into Preeti’s life? Did anyone significant ever encourage you in a way that changed your life path? Do you think Greta wished someone had done the same for her? How can you speak encouragement to someone in your life that might offer them the bravery they need to believe in themselves?
Have you read The Unsinkable Greta James? What did you think? Did it satisfy you or were you left wishing for more? What are some similar books you’ve read?
Until next time, Happy Reading!
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