This book is delicious. It features chocolate recipes of all kinds and they all look pretty wonderful. The book features chocolate ice creams, cakes,...moreThis book is delicious. It features chocolate recipes of all kinds and they all look pretty wonderful. The book features chocolate ice creams, cakes, biscuits, pies, puddings, sauces and lots more. This book would make a great gift for anyone that loves making chocolaty desserts.
The introductory text for each recipe was well done and it was nice to read about who each recipe had come form and how. The book has a great foodie tone.
I associate Green & Black's with 70 and 85% cocoa chocolates, as those are the only products of theirs that I have ever bought, and had kind of hoped that some of the recipes would be inspired by these delicious and very dark and slightly bitter products. I also dislike anything loaded with sugar for health reasons.
While there were a few recipes that had 70% chocolate in, most of them also had quite a bit of sugar. Most recipes also had dairy and wheat. Fair enough, this is a book on decadent deserts - not a book on healthy chocolate recipes!
I was really happy though to find three recipes in the book that were low in sugar but also dairy and wheat/grain free (or that at least could be made to be so with some minor alterations in the recipes). They are on pages 110, 111 and 188 if anyone else is interested. I'd love to see some recipes using coconut flour or coconut milk in the next version; though I realise this may not be majority view. You can make a lovely chocolate sauce by melting 85% chocolate into some coconut milk, for example, and it is perfect poured over fresh bananas or berries.
Three cheers for Green & Black's for making all their chocolate products Fair Trade by the end of 2011 too. I just can't buy the non-Fair Trade ones anymore after seeing a documentary of children being mistreated by the chocolate industry. Organic is a must as well as chocolate along with coffee is one of those items it is particularly important to get in an organic version if possible.
A friend loaned me her copy of Running with Scissors: A Memoir about a month ago and just two chapters in I was hooked. I read the whole book in a day...moreA friend loaned me her copy of Running with Scissors: A Memoir about a month ago and just two chapters in I was hooked. I read the whole book in a day and over the last month I have read You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas, Magical Thinking: True Stories, Sellevision: A Novel, Possible Side Effects, A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father and Dry: A Memoir.
These are emotionally intense books in parts and reading them all so close together probably magnified the impact. These are also very funny and witty books as well, and sometimes hilariously sarcastic. Nothing is sugar coated but at the same time when awful events occur the drama of them is allowed to speak for itself. The writing isn't melodramatic and remains slightly understated, even when horrible or disturbing events are occurring. All of the books are very well written and have a unique style.
The books are fascinating both because of the way they are written and because of the sometimes shocking life events which occur in them. This combination of big events and so many descriptions and observations of the small things in life that we all have in common to some extent (pets, friendships, self image, vanity, kindness, food, health, illness, caring for someone when they are ill, advertisements etc.) is what makes these books so engaging and so hard to put down.
To be able to commit forever to paper for public consumption and public discussion and criticism your deepest inner thoughts - with all their selfishness, eccentricity, kindness, shallowness and flaws - when many of us would find it hard even to think about or accept our own such thoughts in our own minds, is something I think is awe inspiring.
I wouldn't worry about reading all the books in order, if you can't for some reason. They may even be better read out of order, or perhaps I'm just biased as that is the way I did it.
The Christmas book is one of the funniest. The first chapter made me laugh out loud several times. (The logical arguments made for why Augusten thought Santa and Jesus were the same when he was a kid were actually pretty solid!) Side Effects and Magical Thinking were also very funny. The darkest book by far A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father. This one was a difficult read and just so sad. It made me cry several times while reading it. There are also some very dark and horrifyingly disturbing moments in Running with Scissors: A Memoir although the book also contains a lot of humour.
Some of my favourite and most memorable chapters were the ones about getting a new dog to keep the first dog company (you so seldom read about how much some of us really see our pets as important parts of our lives, for want of a far better way to put it), the short and money-hungry cleaning lady (hilarious), the women who shared her HIDEOUS Dr Pepper anecdote and Burroughs' reaction to her statement (actually I wish I could remove her hideous, hideous comment from my memory forever!), placing a very long personal ad for his female friend, the Tang ad audition, the Christmas wish list with gold nuggets on it, the excite-mint ad campaign, and the chapter about the time Burroughs' spent taking modelling classes and practicing pulling different facial expressions when young.
These are some of the funniest chapters, but there is also so much more to these memoirs than just humour as well.
I don't want to write too much about each book as I think it is best to come to each of them without too many expectations and without knowing too much about the major events in them beforehand. Perhaps some of the bad reviews here are what happens when you read so much hype before you read a book that it can't possibly live up to it, too.
I recommend reading all of Auguesten Burroughs' books and I look forward to reading all his future writings as well, memoirs or novels. (less)
This is a book I have heard mentioned every now and then for many years and I have always wanted to know what the book was about. So when I saw a chea...moreThis is a book I have heard mentioned every now and then for many years and I have always wanted to know what the book was about. So when I saw a cheap used copy I couldn't resist buying it to find out.
I'm somewhat overweight and have many serious health problems, which contribute to my weight issues in a number of ways. I didn't expect to relate so much to the different reasons that I could be choosing to stay overweight, but after reading this book I now have no doubt that at least part of my inability to maintain a healthier weight is not physical.
I'm a feminist, of course. (I don't understand at all any woman who wouldn't want to be identified as a feminist, someone who supports equal rights for men and women, and who find the term cringe-worthy. It is only a terrible term if you believe all the anti-feminist and status quo supporting media and propaganda and so on, surely?) But I was surprised in reading this book how much of it really hit home with me, but how little any of it had to do with my gender or with feminism!
Not all the possible reasons for staying overweight had to do with feminism, as the title of this book may suggest. In fact, the vast majority of them did not. Some of the parts which did have to do with gender, such as mother-daughter competitiveness issues, I didn't relate to at all, possibly because they the book is very dated. (My mother has always worked and so doesn't envy my ability to work, for example.)
Some of the book is very dated, but it is easy enough to skip over those parts and to spend time contemplating the more timeless concepts. I'd very much recommend this book for men dealing with high or low weight issues, as well as women. It is a classic and you're sure to gain some real insight into your unconscious thoughts and actions by reading it.
This book provides lots of food for thought!
Jodi Bassett, The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E. (less)