Julia (Child) and her friend Simca learn how to cook and how to help adults find their inner child. Illustrations by Julie Morstad remind me of Remi C...moreJulia (Child) and her friend Simca learn how to cook and how to help adults find their inner child. Illustrations by Julie Morstad remind me of Remi Charlip's Arm in Arm.(less)
In the middle of summer I received an email from Artie Van Why asking if I would be interested in reading his memoir That Day in September, a personal...moreIn the middle of summer I received an email from Artie Van Why asking if I would be interested in reading his memoir That Day in September, a personal account of the attacks on the Twin Towers. As I was gearing up for my craziest semester in school, I reluctantly said yes but made no promises as to when I'd get the review posted. I'm glad he said yes to those terms.
Rewinding to September 11th, 2011, I can't make any dramatic claims to being an eye witness to events. By the time my radio alarm clock when off in California, both towers had already fallen. What I can remember is Carl Kassell saying in his usual dead pan way that to those of us waking up in California, the New York skyline that existed when we went to bed no longer did. From there he went on to outline the timeline of events up to the point where the towers fell.
Artie Van Why was in a building across from the towers. He felt the and heard the impact. He saw the initial carnage. He describes it all in a gut wrenching but respectful way.
Besides describing what happened that day, he also builds his life story to explain the circumstances that brought him to being at Ground Zero. Afterwards he describes how he coped, how he grieved and how he finally was able to get back to living his life.
His book is also a stage play and the theatrical connections comes through in his pacing, word choice and imagery. The book reads likes a Spaulding Grey monologue. If I had a chance to see That Day in September performed live, I would buy front row tickets.
With Matt Smith taking over as the Eleventh Doctor, there is a new series of comics. The first of which is Doctor Who: The Ripper by Tony Lee.
Although...moreWith Matt Smith taking over as the Eleventh Doctor, there is a new series of comics. The first of which is Doctor Who: The Ripper by Tony Lee.
Although The Ripper will mostly be about the Doctor, Amy Pond and Rory going against Jack the Ripper, the first issue (and the only one included in the NetGalley preview) is an introductory adventure involving a planet inhabited by holograms. Put that together with the TARDIS and email spam and imagine the consequences.
The artwork is good. The characters look like the actors in the series. It took a page for me to recognize Rory but I was more taken aback by all the other weirdness going on inside the TARDIS. (less)
Gingerbread Girl by Paul Tobin is a graphic novel that spans the course of a date between Annah and Chili. Annah lives in Portland, works at Powell's,...moreGingerbread Girl by Paul Tobin is a graphic novel that spans the course of a date between Annah and Chili. Annah lives in Portland, works at Powell's, sushi and men and women. She also believes that her mad scientist father removed the Penfield homunculus and turned it into a twin sister named Ginger. With her sister run off, Annah can't feel the intensity of emotions everyone else can and she's desperate to reunite with Ginger.
The events of Annah and Ginger's lives unfold as the evening progresses. To make things more interesting the story jumps from character to character, each one giving their version of things. It starts with Annah, moves to Chili and on through a variety of other characters, including a pigeon and a dog.
As I'm right now nearing the end of Fullmetal Alchemist I am fully willing to belive Annah's story. That said, the book leaves the conclusions up to the reader. (less)
The Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes by Stephanie Pierson celebrates the brisket and offers up a mixture of recipes, nostalgia and history. As...moreThe Brisket Book: A Love Story with Recipes by Stephanie Pierson celebrates the brisket and offers up a mixture of recipes, nostalgia and history. As a kid, brisket always meant corn beef and cabbage, usually bought on sale in March because of St. Patrick's day. As an adult, it almost always means my husband is cooking his version of his mother's recipe, a modified Jewish recipe that includes bell peppers. In either case, brisket means a big pot of decliousness.
And it's with those similar memories and emotions that Stephanie Pierson opens The Brisket Book. She explains her own emotional ties to the dish and shares some memories of others interviewed for the book. From there she goes through the basics of the cut, the history of the dishes and thoughts on different methods of cooking brisket.
At home I've only ever had the dish cooked in a pot with vegetables and some sort of gravy but the book includes recipes for smoking and barbecuing. It's a good addition to the family cook book collection for anyone who has a family brisket recipe who wants to learn more about the dish and maybe learn a few new ways of preparing it.(less)
Most of the story is told via interviews between Dr. Joe and Mia. These extended romps through history are pretty standard fare for modern day vampire...moreMost of the story is told via interviews between Dr. Joe and Mia. These extended romps through history are pretty standard fare for modern day vampire stories but it's not my favorite vampire trope. cover art (Link goes to Powells)Cara Mia by Denise Verrico introduces readers Mia and Kurt, two vampires (or "Immortyls") with a long history. In seeking help the have voluntarily agreed to be studied by Dr. Joe who wants to learn what makes vampires tick.
As Mia and Kurt have a relationship spanning generations, much of the book is told in flashbacks. Joe will ask Mia a question and her answer is given as an extended flashback. Readers who enjoy historical fiction, especially paranormal romances, that span many different eras, will like Mia's long answers.
I am not much of a reader of historical fiction and I found myself longing for more of the present day tale. Joe has potential to be an interesting character, as is the world in which he, Mia and Kurt live. This is a world where science knows about vampires and is trying to study them. Usually it's an occult society or similar. I'm hoping book two and three expand more on the present day world.
"When things get really bad, you take comfort in the placeness of a place."
The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto was originally published in 2005 as Mizuumi....more "When things get really bad, you take comfort in the placeness of a place."
The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto was originally published in 2005 as Mizuumi. The proceeds from this beautiful and haunting translation by Michael Emmerich will go towards Japanese tsunami relief.
Chihiro, the narrator of the novel, is coming to terms with the death of her mother and her new status as an adult on her own. Her father is living but she has always been closest to her mother and she feels now is the time to be herself, whatever that means.
Chihiro starts her story off describing her mother and father's unusual romance and to some degree how growing up in a night club affected her childhood. But it's written in a detached, trancelike fashion. She also speaks of her mother's illness and death and sleeping on the floor of the hospital room.
Then things change focus to Nakajima, the man in her life. He's clearly a somewhat broken, fragile person but the two of them make an odd but comfortable couple. Most of Lake is her discovery of his past.
From reading through reviews already posted, many reviewers are upset over the blurb on the back of the book (and the description provided with the book on GoodReads and Amazon). Since I was reading an eGalley, I didn't have a back of the book to read. If I had, I would have.
So rather than spoil the book, let me describe Nakajima as I saw him in my head. Physically he is described as an older version of Kimihiro Watanuki: tall, very thin, prone to fainting and living on his own as long as anyone can remember. Now take Watanuki and give him a childhood experience similar to that of the protagonist in Ghost Hound and you get Nakajima.
My only complaint, and it's a minor one, is that the book took a little to long to get started. Chihiro lingering over her mother's illness takes a while to get through. It's a bit maudlin and her mother doesn't strike me as somone who would have enjoyed such a drawn out memorial. (less)
The description for Bumped by Megan McCafferty says that a virus made everyone older than 18 infertile. The book though opens with Melody explaining t...moreThe description for Bumped by Megan McCafferty says that a virus made everyone older than 18 infertile. The book though opens with Melody explaining that the virus infected 75% of the population. Regardless, it's enough of a problem that teenagers are valuable commodities being the only ones who can keep the human population going.
Bumped is told in alternating voices by twin sisters Melody and Harmony who were separated at birth and adopted by very different families. Melody has gone pro and will "bump" with a specially selected Johndoe for enough money to see her through college and probably beyond. Harmony, though, was raised on the "Goodside" a hyper conservative, Bible thumping commune where teens are married young so they can have their child and raise it together before it's too late. Harmony though has left the compound to bring her sister to God before it's too late.
Bumped is a dystopian in the style of A Clockwork Orange and has two parallel slangs, those used by mainline society teens and that used by the Goodside teens. I didn't find either slang particularly hard to follow but Harmony's seemed better developed and more natural.
With two protagonists carrying the story, each telling her story in first person, both need distinct, believable voices. Here is where Bumped falls short. Melody though self described as smart, beautiful and responsible never demonstrates any of these attributes. At a time when she's expecting the call she neglects to check her messages and doesn't take her phone with her. The last two thirds of the book are only possible because of her laziness and stupidity.
Harmony, though, does manage to carry her half of Bumped. Though presented as the villain or foil of the book, she evolves into a well rounded (no pun intended) and sympathetic character.
Although there is talk of sex and teenagers being paid to have sex I think Bumped could be used in a high school English class. It has themes and talking points that would work well at the same time that Lord of the Flies and The Scarlet Letter are being taught.