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Editorial: Stradal’s career seems likely to take off

On Thursday, Hastings native J. Ryan Stradal returned home to speak to a huge crowd at the Pleasant Hill Library. Stradal talked about his first book, a novel titled “Kitchens of the Great Midwest.”

The book has been praised up and down across the country. It was an Editor’s Pick in the New York Times Book Review. They wrote:

“An impressive feat of narrative jujitsu. . . that keeps readers turning the pages too fast to realize just how ingenious they are.”

On, the book was named a “Best Book of August 2015.” They wrote: “This debut novel is as tempting as a piece of Key Lime pie, so perfect is its ratio of tart-to-sweet. The ingredients: a misfit Midwestern girl whose special gift happens to be a golden palate; single-parented by a large and lovable father/chef, she can taste a spice in a trice, and manage the hottest sauces west of the Mississippi.”

Now we’re reading that Stradal’s book has been optioned for film. Stradal addressed that news in an interview recently with

They asked him what he thought about the book being optioned for film. “Whoa, that just happened, and I didn’t realize the news was out there. I’m really still trying to wrap my head around that myself.”

The interviewer then said: “But … you work in the entertainment industry. Wasn’t this a possibility you considered as you worked on the book?”

Stradal replied: “No! Not at all. I wanted to write a novel. This project was intended to be entirely different than my other work. I never in a million years considered it being on screen — although of course, I’m very excited about it being a possibility now. But it’s only an 18-month option, so anything could happen.”

We're glad the library was packed to hear Stradal’s talk. Sure seems like he’s a name we’re going to get a lot more familiar with.