Books About Libraries and Librarians

We love libraries. They’re one of the most comforting places in the world, where you can curl up with a good book for hours without being disturbed. It is in libraries that book lovers feel at home. But even more than libraries, we love librarians–the dedicated people who ensure that readers are able to do what they love everyday. Here are our favorite books about libraries and librarians. What book is your favorite? Add it in the comments below!

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


Henry DeTamble is a time-traveling librarian at the Newberry Library in Chicago. The library plays an important role in the book, as it is the first “natural” meeting place between Henry and his wife Claire.

The Archivist by Martha Cooley  


The novel surrounds Matthias Lane who is an archivist at an unnamed library. He has been entrusted to keep T.S. Eliot’s letters to Emily Hale private until 2020—until Roberta, a graduate student, convinces him to show them to her.

Dewey by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter


The book covers the true-story of Dewey Readmore Books—the cat in residence at Spencer Public Library in Spencer, Iowa. Dewey was found in the outside book drop on a freezing winter night. The book details the amazing story and the librarians that cared for him.

True Believer by Nicholas Sparks


Jeremy, an expert on proving supernatural sightings wrong, travels to Boone Creek, North Carolina to investigate ghostly lights appearing in the cemetery. He meet the small town’s librarian, Lexie, who helps him with research that may lead them to the reason for the mysterious lights.

Miss Zukas and the Library Murders by Jo Dereske


The police are puzzled when a body turns up in the fiction stacks at a library, but Miss Helma Zukas and her friend Ruth are hot on the trail and in pursuit of the truth.

The Case of the Missing Books (Mobile Library Mysteries) by Ian Sansom

the case of the missing books

The new mobile library driver, Israel Armstrong, has a mystery on his hands when all 15,000 books in the rolling library disappear. New to Ireland, Israel will have to figure out what happened in this small, picturesque town.

The Geographer’s Library by Jon Fasman

geographers library

The Geographer’s Library follows an obituary writer investigating the death of an academic. He finds himself pursuing leads that go back to the twelfth century—including the theft of alchemy instruments from the Muslim cartographer and librarian—al-Idrisi.

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

the strange library

Murakami takes readers into a strange new world that tells of the story of a lonely boy, a mysterious girl and a sheep man all trying to escape from a crazy library.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

the historian

The novel intertwines many characters and plotlines—but one that proves particularly interesting is that of the librarian who is trying to prevent research on Dracula.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

the shadown of the wind

In post-war Barcelona, Daniel is initiated into the Cemetery of Forgotten Books—a huge old library. Daniel must choose one book, and guard it with his life. He picks The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax and becomes completely engrossed—spending much of the rest of the novel trying to find a trace of other books from the unknown author.

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Australia’s Indie Book Awards 2015 Shortlist Announced

The first book awards of the year has announced its shortlist in each of the following categories: fiction, non-fiction, children’s & YA, and debut fiction. Australia’s independent booksellers work together to nominate the shortlist for these awards. Titles include books from already popular series like The Rosie Effect, and adorable picture books like Pig the Pug. There are also four debut authors mentioned! Their work is definitely something readers should check out.


When the Night Comes by Favel Parrett


Amnesia by Peter Carey


Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett


The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

the rosie effect


This House of Grief by Helen Garner


The Bush by Don Watson

the bush

Where Song Began by Tim Low


Cadence by Emma Ayres




The 52-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton (illus.)


Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey


Withering-By-Sea by Judith Rossell


Laurinda by Alice Pung



Lost & Found by Brooke Davis


Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clark


The Strays by Emily Bitto

The Strays front cover

After Darkness by Christine Piper


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Fantasy Locations from Books We Wish Were Real

From the charming setting of Avonlea in Prince Edwards Island to the romantic and beautiful Camelot, there are many places in fiction that we wish were real. We have selected ten of these to showcase, but there are endless options to choose from. Tell which fantasy locations you wish were real in the comments below! We’re still hoping these places actually exist somewhere out there!

Emerald City from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum wizard-of-oz Following the Yellow Brick Road and ending up in the Emerald City to see the Wizard would be spectacular. As long as you can avoid the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys, you should be able to get there just fine. It definitely beats tornados in Kansas!

Avonlea, Prince Edward Island from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 

green-gables While not from a fantasy land, Avonlea is a fictional town in Canada. The small town with industries like farming and lobster fishing make it a quaint, coastal town we definitely wouldn’t mind visiting.

Hogwarts Castle from Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling harry-potter This one’s pretty obvious, but Hogwarts Castle would be an amazing place to see. Even more though, we’d like to attend as students. You could trek to England for the Alnwick Castle, but we think we’ll just wait for our Hogwarts letters to arrive.

Narnia from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis narnia People often refer to their favorite places or parts of their homes as “Narnia”, so it would be pretty spectacular to go. Constantly adventuring, talking to mythical animals, and being best friends with Aslan—a lion—would be pretty superb.

Wonderland from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll alice Perhaps it wouldn’t be the ideal spot to live—because who wants to be constantly ambushed by the Cheshire cat or threatened by the Queen of Hearts?—but it would be fascinating to visit. From never ending tea parties to following around an always late white rabbit, Wonderland is truly a fantasy.

Middle Earth from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien lord-of-the-rings We would absolutely love to go hang out in The Shire and have the chance to meet Hobbits, Elves, and Dwarves alike. J.R.R. Tolkien has said that Middle Earth is located on our earth in the past, so perhaps we just need a good imagination and a time machine.

Neverland from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie peter-pan-neverland The land where boys never have to grow up would be a fascinating place to visit. When you’re not worried about vicious mermaids, ticking crocodiles, and of course Captain Hook—we think it could be a quite enjoyable place to let loose and get ready for adventure.

Camelot from King Arthur folklore king-arthur The home of King Arthur’s Knights of the Roundtable first appeared in Chretien de Troyes’ poem Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart, which dates to the 1170s. We think the picturesque castle would have been stunning, with an added bonus of spotting King Arthur’s court.

Seven Kingdoms from Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin got While your chance of death would increase greatly just by stepping foot in one the Seven Kingdoms, we think a visit to Westeros would be an epic one. As long as we get to go during a long summer…and not an endless winter.

Who-ville from How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss how-the-grinch-stole-xmas Although Whoville is completely consumed by Christmas presents at first, they also are constantly consumed with the Christmas spirit. It would be nice to visit such a jolly town once in a while.

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New Author Spotlight: Cecilia Ekbäck

Cecilia Ekbäck’s debut novel is coming out on January 27. We enjoyed speaking with her about the upcoming thriller and what inspires her to write. From her extensive travel to her own personal “Wolf Winter”, we can’t wait to see what this amazing author does next!

Sean Gannon

Cecilia Ekbäck courtesy of Sean Gannon

The Reading Room: Congratulations on your first book! What made you want to start writing?

Cecilia Ekbäck: Thank you! I wrote a lot when I was young – as a teenager I worked evenings and weekends at the local newspaper and the local radio. I even won a short story competition at one point!

Through the years, I kept writing – mainly small portraits of people, or landscapes, but I kept feeling I missed a language. My Swedish had remained the Swedish of a young adult in the mid-1990s and my English wasn’t good enough. But when I moved to London in 2007, I knew I had to take it up properly again. I missed it. I wasn’t a whole person without it. Once I started – I realized this was it: I would continue to write and not stop. I chose to write in English which has been a struggle, but it has also given me a certain freedom writing in what is not my mother-tongue. I can use the language more freely, I think, which does give my writing a certain texture.

TRR: Wolf Winter deals with a brutal murder. Do you enjoy reading crime & mystery as much as you enjoy writing it?

CE: I love crime and mystery novels, but I am becoming more discerning with age. A good crime/mystery novel must now have more than just an interesting crime to solve – it must have an intriguing protagonist, a luring place, and the writing has to be good, it must make its mark… I am also more sensitive to violence and react against ‘violence for violence’s sake’.

TRR: Your main character, Maija, is a mother of two like yourself. Do you resonate with her?

CE: Very much so. Maija has a number of traits from the women in my family – stubbornness, strength, and wisdom – qualities needed to survive in a harsh world. She is passionate, but harsh. So much remains unsaid. She wants well, but she is flawed, human. Yes, I resonate with her – as a mother, as a daughter and as a woman.

TRR: The book can be particularly thrilling. Can you give our readers a sneak peak of one of these such moments?

CE: There is a snowstorm which I am told by readers is quite haunting. It takes place early in winter and it is the first time Maija is pitted againstBlackåsen Mountain and begins to understand the extent of the brutality and harshness of the landscape. In this storm it dawns on her that it is not a given she and her family will survive.

TRR: A “wolf winter” is an unusually long and brutal winter that can also have a second meaning to describe a dark time in one’s life. Have you yourself ever experienced a “wolf winter”?

CE: The expression “Wolf Winter” in Swedish (Vargavinter) does refer to an unusually bitter and long winter, like you say, and is also used to describe the darkest of times in a human being’s life – the kind of period that imprints on you that you are mortal and, at the end of the day, always alone.

My father was my best friend. The period preceding and just after his death (he died in 2008) was my Wolf Winter. As he lay dying, I interviewed him about his life. He died and I continued speaking, with my grandmother, her sister, their friends, my mother…Wolf Winter came out of those conversations. Thus Wolf Winter was not as much an idea I had carried around with me for a long time, as a reaction, or a riposte, to a life event.

TRR: Can you tell us more about the other characters in the book? How does Maija’s family fit in with the locals in Sweden? 

CE: Maija is a strong woman and that causes some upset. But I think, had there not been the murder that forced the settlers together and Maija’s subsequent inability to let go, people would have thought no more of it. The settlers on the mountain keep to themselves; they are busy surviving.

TRR: You’re so well-traveled!  What is your favorite place (besides home) that you’ve visited?

CE: I have loved travelling. Nowadays I love the small routines and the silence of a life spent at home.

I lived in Moscow for a long time and absolutely adored it – the way history lives in every street corner, the roughness of life, the resilience of the people. I felt very at home there.

I loved living in the Middle East too – for its people and its many rich cultures across the region.

For visiting, the town I come back to again and again is Paris. Perhaps it is my memories of being young there, perhaps it is the “joie de vivre” which I still feel Paris has. I just love going there, walking the streets, sitting in cafes, seeing the people.

TRR: You now live in Calgary. What brought you to Canada?

CE: I am from the north of Sweden and my husband is from Toronto – when we had our twin daughters we wanted to give them some of what we had growing up related to nature, space and silence. One day one of our 2-year olds said she was scared of the rain, the wind and birds, and that’s when we decided – we had to move. My husband got a job offer in Calgary, I wanted desperately to write full time – it all came together. We were very fortunate.

TRR: Who are your biggest inspirations in the creative process? Any writers in particular that move you?

CE: I get inspired by many different things.

As for writers, Hilary Mantel is the one who moves me the most. You can take her books, pick any page and just step into her world. She is remarkable.

I read the writings of a number of Swedish thinkers (Ylva Eggehorn, Olof Wikström, Tomas Sjödin) and find inspiration there. I work a lot with photographs as my mind is quite visual and I want to “see” quite literally the characters and the landscapes I am to write about.

People watching is another thing that inspires me – in London it was sitting on the tube, or on one of the big train stations. I do miss this now in Calgary.

TRR: What are your top ten favorite books and why?

CE: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

2666 by Roberto Bolano

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Purge by Sofi Oksanen

Artful by Ali Smith

Our Kind of Traitor by John Le Carre

These books are all different from one another and I could tell you for each one what it is about that book that I find amazing, but if I tried to find one common thing amongst them that I love I think I would say it is “voice”. In each of these books, the author has managed to create a unique voice – one that captures you and holds you through the duration of the story. It is storytelling at its very best.

There is one book I keep on my bookshelf and that will perhaps always only be half-read. It’s Saul Bellow’s Herzog. Every time I start reading it, I think to myself that, surely, this is the most brilliant book ever written and then I can’t continue reading. What if I will never find anything better? And thus I put it back on the shelf.


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Beautiful and Inspiring Roald Dahl Quotes

One of the greatest children’s book authors, Roald Dahl, has given us gifts like Matilda, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, and many more. He inspires us with his thoughtful words–some of which we’ve listed here.



“A life is made up of a great number of small incidents, and a small number of great ones.”



“It’s impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you’re not feeling twinkly yourself.”



“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”



“Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable.”



“You should never, never doubt something that no one is sure of.”



“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find.”



“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”



“All the reading she had done had given her a view of life they had never seen.”



“We are the dreamers of dreamers.”



“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.”



“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: you are not alone.



Don’t gobblefunk around with words.



Thanks, Roald Dahl!


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Which Characters Have the Best Handwriting?

It’s National Handwriting Day! We’ve listed many character we think would have good penmanship. From classics like Jane Eyre, to more contemporary characters like Paul Sheldon from Misery–we think everyone should put down the computer and pick up a pen once in a while! Who do you think would have the best handwriting? Tell us in the comments below!

Jane Austen’s Characters





Remember when people wrote letters? In Jane Austen’s time, people were taught to have impeccable penmanship. Her “English Roundhand” style is something anyone would wish for and was most likely inherited by her characters. Some of our favorite letter-writing characters (Mr. Darcy, Captain Wentworth, etc.) must have had to practice their beautiful handwriting skills.

Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte


We think Jane Eyre is an extremely intelligent individual. And while that doesn’t mean that she has good handwriting, when your main mode of communication is writing letters (which she did to Mr. Lloyd, Uncle John, etc.) it’s likely you learned how to write well.

Charlie from The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


Charlie is constantly writing letters as his main mode of expression. We think that Charlie would have had his own unique handwriting style—something that was very special and distinctive to him and his own outlook on the world.

Matilda from Matilda by Roald Dahl


Although Matilda is only six years old, she is highly intelligent and has psychokinetic powers. Although much more of a bookworm than a writer, we think she would have taught herself all the ins and outs of spelling, grammar, and of course, penmanship.

Hermione Granger and Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling


The brightest witch around, Hermione Granger, of course has perfect handwriting. Headmaster of Hogwarts Albus Dumbledore, on the other hand, has quite beautiful handwriting that would have become even more refined over time.


Klaus Baudelaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket


Klaus is the Baudelaire child with a knack for research and a love of books. Even though he remembers everything he reads, we think his handwriting would have been precise and extremely legible—making it easy to access for future reference.   

Skeeter from The Help by Kathryn Stockett


Skeeter returns from college wanting to a be a writer—even though her mother would prefer she just settle down and get married. Though able to work on a typewriter in the 1960s, we think Skeeter would have been well practiced in the art of handwriting.

Robbie Turner from Atonement by Ian McEwan


Robbie Turner is tragically (and wrongfully) accused in Atonement, and much of that accusation comes from a letter he wrote to Cecilia—whom he loves. We think Robbie’s love letter would have been beautifully written—with his poetic style being influenced by other great literary lovers.

Jo March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott


While Jo can be somewhat “fierce” in her writing, her constant practice and consideration of the time period in which she lived, would have given her a lovely handwriting style.

Paul Sheldon from Misery by Stephen King


Paul Sheldon is forced to write his story on a type writer, but we still think the author famous for writing Victorian-era romance novels could have easily adapted his characters handwriting style.

Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery


The aspiring writer and academic Anne Shirley certainly would have had lovely handwriting. Additionally, as a teacher she would have needed to teach her students this art.

Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


Gatsby spent much of his time writing letters—one of which Daisy received the night before her wedding to Tom. The romantic and “refined” Jay Gatsby surely would have had a good grip on penmanship.

Sherlock Holmes from Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Although Sherlock could be scatterbrained at times (leaving Watson to pick up the pieces), he was also brilliant and wrote many things down. Perhaps he wouldn’t have had the most perfect handwriting, but he would have written meaningful thoughts.

Noah from The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks


Noah wrote Allie 365 letters. And for that, he deserves to be mentioned on this list. We think he must have had great handwriting to sustain that amount of written word!

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ReadathonLogo_1062x596 (2)

National Readathon Day is Saturday, January 24

600x600TimeToRead (2)













The National Book Foundation and Penguin Random House are encouraging you to make #TimeToRead tomorrow between Noon and 4 p.m. (in your respective time zone). 40% of American adults are at or below basic reading proficiency and 14% are illiterate. Additionally, 53% of 9-year-olds read daily—with that number dropping to only 19% by the time they turn 17.

National Readathon Day is meant to save the bookworms and inspire reading for pleasure. If you choose to donate through FirstGiving, proceeds will support education programs like BookUp—an afterschool reading program that has donated over 25,000 books to middle schoolers.

best-friend (2)

What will you be doing tomorrow between Noon and 4? We certainly hope you’ll be reading like us! Post what you’ll be reading in the comments and send us your photos! Remember to tag them with #TimetoRead. Happy Reading!

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Interview with Skinnytaste Author Gina Homolka

The Reading Room was able to speak with Gina Homolka, author of The Skinnytaste Cookbook, and discuss her new book and motivation for eating healthy. Gina is an avid blogger on her Skinnytaste website–where she shares recipes and tips for staying healthy and fit. Make sure you scroll all the way down for a delicious “skinny” mac and cheese recipe!

Gina Homolka

Gina Homolka

The Reading Room: How did you go about putting your own unique spin on recipes and turn them “skinny”?

Gina Homolka: A few things. First, I cut back on the oil—you’d be surprised how many calories you save just by using a mister instead of pouring oil into a pan. Second, most recipes that generally call for frying can be baked, which is not only lighter, but also easier to clean up. And third, I do lots of swapping. For example, in my Baked Potato Soup, I swap some cauliflower for potato, and in my Double Chocolate Chunk Walnut Cookies, I swap mashed avocado for butter.

TRR: What was your biggest motivation for creating a cookbook and eating healthier in general?

GH: My biggest motivation for writing a cookbook was my Skinnytaste fans, who asked me daily to write one. Then once I started getting approached by publishers, I knew this was something I had to do.

TRR: Who are your taste-testers?

GH: My family, aunt, cousins, friends, and neighbors. Whoever’s around! But honestly, my husband and kids do most of the tasting and give it a thumbs up or down.

TRR: How do you find the time to cook up such delicious food on a weeknight? And do you have any advice for our readers to be able to do the same?

GH: My slow cooker is my best friend for those crazy-busy nights. I place all the ingredients in it in the morning, set it, and dinner is ready at night.

TRR: The cookbook is absolutely stunning. What was your favorite dish that is photographed?

GH: Thank you! I love how the photography turned out. I don’t have just one favorite image, though I love the Buttermilk Oven “Fried” Chicken, the Mongolian Beef and Broccoli, and the Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto!

TRR: What’s the most important part of loving your body?

GH: My favorite quote is: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I think it’s important to look in the mirror and love what you see, imperfections and all. Don’t try to compare yourself to other people.

TRR: Do you have any thoughts on body image that you’d like to share with our readers?

GH: I used to work as a photo retoucher before I started blogging. It’s ironic because I used to make people look thin via Photoshop, and now I make people thinner through eating healthier, which is far more rewarding. I worked on hundreds of photos of models and spent hours making them “perfect.” Nothing you see in magazines is real. We see only those perfect retouched images of people with no wrinkles, no pores, no dark circles, no veins. It’s all fake.

TRR: Who inspires you to keep up a healthy lifestyle?

GH: My kids. I want to be around a very long time to watch them grow up, and I know that living a healthy lifestyle with exercise and healthy eating is the best way to do this.

it was me all alongTRR: What books (cookbooks or any other books) would you recommend to our readers?

GH: I recently read the memoir It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell. It is an inspiring book about the struggles of losing weight and not recognizing the new person she saw in the mirror. Very inspiring. I have tons of cookbooks, but it seems I never have the time to regularly cook from them.

TRR: Do you have anything else you’d like to add?

GH: One of the best experiences I had writing this book was seeing my aunt lose weight by eating my food. She was testing all my recipes with me, and we would eat lunch together. Since I had so much food left over, I sent her home with dinner every night. She went from a size 14 to a size 4 in the year we were working on the book! That was really incredible to see.

Skinny Broccoli Mac and Cheese

mac and cheese

Serves 8

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Eliminating it from my diet was not an option, so early on I decided I would figure out a way to make it work. My secret weapon was to add some greens—broccoli, in particular, because it and cheese are a match made in heaven. I also developed a lighter cheese sauce to further ease the calorie guilt. I love that extra crunch you get from toasted bread crumbs, so I sprinkle a little on top just before I bake it.

Cooking spray or oil mister

Kosher salt

1 (12-ounce) bag broccoli florets

12 ounces rotini pasta

11⁄2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1⁄3 cup finely chopped onion

1⁄4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour

2 cups fat-free milk

1 cup Swanson 33% less sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)

Freshly cracked black pepper

2 cups shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces; I recommend Cabot 50%)

1⁄4 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs, homemade (see page 110) or store-bought

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 9 × 13-inch baking dish with oil.

Cook the broccoli and pasta to 3 minutes less than al dente in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and continue whisking until the mixture boils. Cook until the sauce is smooth and thick, 7 to 8 minutes. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheddar until melted. Add the pasta and broccoli and stir well. Pour into the prepared dish and top with the bread crumbs and Parmesan. Spray with oil.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Increase the oven to broil and cook until the bread crumbs are golden, keeping an eye on them so they do not burn, about 2 minutes.

Per serving (about 1 cup)

Calories: 312

Fat: 8g

Saturated fat: 4.5g

Cholesterol: 25mg

Carbohydrate: 43g

Fiber: 2g

Protein: 19g

Sugars: 5g

Sodium: 40mg

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