Monthly Archives:: April 2011

I Want You! On my bookshelf.

April 28, 2011 Books 3

I know it is hard for you to believe, but there are a few books I really want to get my hands on. I can’t believe it either! And, not so surprisingly since I’m trying to loose some weight, I seem to be craving foodie books. Which is bad, since I’m 2 pounds away from my goal weight. *sigh*  Here are a couple near the top of my list.

M.F.K. Fisher is a legend in the food writing world and I am ashamed that I haven’t read anything she wrote yet. Something I really want to remedy. A co-worker let me borrow his copy of The Art of Eating, but I want my own copy. The Art of Eating is a five-in-one volume of some of Fisher’s best writing; Serve It Forth, Consider the Oyster, How to Cook a Wold, The Gastronomical Me, and An Alphabet for Gourmets. The copy I’ve borrowed is old; this cover is the newer 50th anniversary edition and, you guess it: I think it’s gorgeous!   I love that Barnes and Noble has quotes from each of the five books on their website and I want to share them here.

SERVE IT FORTH
“The Standing and the Waiting”
“We talked, and well, and all the dinner was most excellent, and the wine was like music on our tongues. Time was forgotten. . . . We watched as in a blissful dream the small fat hands moving like magic among bottles and small bowls and spoons and plates, stirring, pouring, turning the pan over the flame just so, just so, with the face bent keen and intent above.”

CONSIDER THE OYSTER
“The Well-Dressed Oyster”
“There are three kinds of oyster-eaters: those loose-minded sports who will eat anything, hot, cold, thin, thick, dead or alive, as long as it is oyster; those who will eat them raw and only raw; and those who with equal severity will eat them cooked and no way other. . . . The first group may perhaps have the most fun, although there is a white fire about the others’ bigotry that can never warm the broad-minded.”

HOW TO COOK A WOLF
“How to Boil Water”
“Probably the most satisfying soup in the world for people who are hungry, as well as for those who are tired or worried or cross or in debt or in a moderate amount of pain or in love or in robust health or in any kind of business huggermuggery, is minestrone. . . . It is a thick unsophisticated soup, heart-warming and soul-staying, full of aromatic vegetables and well bound at the last with good cheese.”

THE GASTRONOMICAL ME
“The Measure of My Powers” (1919-1927)
“The first thing I cooked was pure poison. I made it for Mother, after my little brother David was born, and within twenty minutes of the first swallow she was covered with great itching red welts. . . . The pudding was safe enough: a little round white shuddering milky thing I had made that morning. . . . I ran into the back yard and picked ten soft ripe blackberries. I blew off the alley-dust, and placed them gently in a perfect circle around the little pudding. Its cool perfection leaped into sudden prettiness. . . . Mother smiled at my shocked anxious confusion, and said, ‘Don’t worry, sweet . . . it was the loveliest pudding I have ever seen.’ I agreed with her in spite of the despair.”

AN ALPHABET FOR GOURMETS
“G Is for Gluttony”
“I cannot believe that there exists a single coherent human being who will not confess, at least to himself, that once or twice he has stuffed himself to the bursting point, on anything from quail financière to flapjacks, for no other reason than the beastlike satisfaction of his belly.”

It won’t be long, I’m going to devour this book. What gorgeous writing! Have you read any of the five books included in this volume?

What books have you been coveting lately?

The Art of Eating by MFK Fisher

  • Pub. Date: February 2004
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Format: Paperback , 784pp
  • Sales Rank: 85,889
  • ISBN-13: 9780764542619

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A Must Read – Shine by Lauren Myracle

April 26, 2011 Book Reviews, Books, eBooks 16

Shine is one of those books. One of those books I loved so much, so utterly to pieces, that I don’t quite know where to begin in telling you all about it. I feel like I know this book so intimately, so personally, so completely and totally… yet I am tongue-tied.

I will soldier on, because Lauren Myracle told me to. And because you have to read this book.

Our main character is Cat and I have known a few Cats and I expect you have too. Pretty and, at one time, popular, something bad has happened to her and Cat slowly disappeared. She doesn’t talk to anyone, her old friends, her family, even her best friend Patrick. She has almost completely cut herself off from everyone she knows to protect herself. Cat is in pain. She has no one to go to.

And then Patrick gets hurt. Nearly killed.

In a hate crime.

Because he is gay.

While Patrick lies in a coma, Cat seethes. She quickly recognizes that the area police are not going to do much of anything to find Patrick’s attacker. They want the problem to just disappear. Cat will not allow that. She decides to investigate the attack herself. Her search will lead her to question friends, family and all she holds dear, in more ways that one. She will “look straight into the ugliness and find out who hurt him.” Will she find the attacker? Will she bring Patrick justice?

And more importantly, will she begin to heal herself?

I invite you to find out.

Shine is set in North Carolina, in my own “backyard” it felt like. I’m a Tarheel, born and bred (and I little ticked off that Firefox wants to spell check Tarheel!) and wow, did Myracle get it right. She knows North Carolina like I know North Carolina. It’s not often I get to read a book set in my home state, in my part of the state, and took my own personal reading experience to another level. I felt so at home in this book. I’ve read books set in the more metropolitan areas of NC and, well, those are rare compared to the parts of NC Myracle is writing about here. Like all states, NC has been hit hard by poverty. Mill towns, tobacco towns, they are all closing down. People are moving away to the cities or just staying there, hoping something will come along. Drugs are rampant. So is violence. Intolerance is just a matter of course. Homophobia is (I’m shaking my head, it’s so bad. And sad. And I don’t know how to describe it except to say that).

This is the first book I’ve read by Lauren Myracle but I know it won’t be my last. Her writing is tight, honest; she doesn’t pull punches with her characters. She’s not afraid to push them. And she has a great way with dialogue. Just hearing these characters “talk” I would have known they were from the South. She’s great with the little details (something I always appreciate), she paints a picture of a dying mountain town on the bring of combustion when something happens to one of their own, a something that many want to ignore. And she’s dealing with issues that are so important. Issues that people are ignoring just as hard as the people in this book and we need to stop ignoring them. People should NOT be hurt or persecuted or made to feel inferior for who. they. love. The characters are so wonderfully written. I dare you not to adore Cat by the end of the book. Months later, I still find myself thinking about this book and to me, that is some of the highest praise I can bestow.

What they thought:

Overall, this is a must-read book- it’s raw, realistic, and just deserves to be read by everyone. I am extremely proud of Lauren for writing this book because it needs to be told, especially in these times. -  Book Chic Club

Cat’s investigation takes her on a healing journey as she faces her fears and the skeletons in her closet. Cat is a likeable character that has some personal obstacles to overcome. Her story is empowering, and she is someone I think many readers may be able to relate to. – The Reading Date

All in all,  Shine packs a hard punch.  It was an intense, emotional, tear inducing journey – but one that I am so glad I took.  It realistically captures and explores issues like sexuality, rape, prejudice, violence and addiction.  It was dark, it was raw, it was captivating.  Read it! – All about {n}

Incidentally, isn’t that a GREAT cover? Beautiful, just beautiful.

Product Details

Shine by Lauren Myracle

  • Pub. Date: May 2011
  • Publisher: Amulet Books
  • Format: Hardcover , 376pp
  • Age Range: Young Adult
  • ISBN-13: 9780810984172
  • Source: Netgalley

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

April 25, 2011 Books 8

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? is a weekly event to list the books  finished last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finish this week. It was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of  Books.!

Okay ya’ll, where did the week go? I swear, it was like *blink!* I missed it.

Things have been crazy busy around here. The girl was on spring break last week, so she was busy, busy, busy fitting in all the fun she could have in 5 days. It’s back to school today! And can I say, thank goodness! So glad to be back to the routines. Routines are what make our world go round!

Speaking of routines, I bet you can guess what fell by the wayside last week. Yep. Reading. I did DO some, just not the tons of it I always wants to do. I’m into the thick of A Discovery of Witches and wowzers. 1,000 year old vampires are kinda hot. Yet…cold. Can’t wait to read more, I want to know where this is going!

I kinda stalled on Lolita. It’s just so hard to listen to, with Mr. Sexy Creepy Voice Jeremy Irons reading. Being in first person, and him growling out what all is going on… it’s just hard. Plus, I downloaded the new Adele…and you know…things happen. Adele, she is HOT. I will finish it, I must force myself! I have other things I want to be listening too and it is kinda awesome.

Up next? I’m not sure! I’m holding myself back from The Wise Man’s Fear, which my lovely, lovely husband let me get myself for Easter. It’s so heavy! I want to wait and take it to the beach with me, but I must know what happens next! Stay tuned. A co-worker let me borrow a compilation book of M.F.K. Fisher that sounds wonderful. I’ve always wanted to read her work, as I hear she is one of the best food writers that ever was. I plan on getting to that soon. I also managed to snag an advanced edition of Jennifer Donnelly’s The Wild Rose. FINALLY. I feel like I’ve been waiting half my LIFE for that to come out. I am beyond excited. I loved the first two books in that series (The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose).

So? How was your week? What great reading did you get done? What not-so-great reading did you get done? Tell me ALL about it. :)

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

April 18, 2011 Books 9

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? is a weekly event to list the books  finished last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finish this week. It was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of  Books.!

 Testing…testing… can you hear me? Hollar in the comments, since they were broken this weekend. You MAY have noticed it looks different around here. When I upgraded to the new WordPress on Friday, it somehow broke my comments. I tried everything I could think of. Going back to the WordPress I was on. Uninstalling and reinstalling my theme. NOTHING. WORKED.

So, I have a new template. It was a hasty decision, since I can not LIVE without your words of golden wisdom and I haven’t had any in SO long, so it may not be staying, but if I can make it work, it might! I do quite like the minimalist atmosphere it lends my lowly little corner of the internets, so this theme may stick around.

You just never. know. with me.

So. READING. I haz done it. Dudes and dudettes, I was sick as dogs this weekend. SICK. And the boy was too. So what did I do, while I wasn’t freaking out about the comments or lack there ofs? I was reading! I finished the wonderfully amazing The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and then physically held myself back from getting The Wise Man’s Fear, the 1008 page next volume in the series. Held myself BACK I tell you. Bodily. Then my hubby graciously said I could have it for Easter. Yay! It shall be here soon and it will be all I can do not to jump right in. I know I need a break, but I don’t want one! It’s like a passionate love affair without all the cuddling. Or, well, mutual cuddling. I may have cuddled the book, just a little bit. That is JUST between us. Shhh…

In the meantime, I started and camethisclosetofinishing City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare. She’s like rock candy. I loooooves her. Her candy rocks my socks off. So much fun.

I was still listening to LOLITA indolently, but I forgot my iPod today, so now I am listening to nothing but the radio and lemmetellya the radio stinks around here.

Next up is A Discovery of Witches, if The Wise Man’s Fear doesn’t try to push it out of the way. You just never know with books, do you? They can be so violent!

How was your week? What are you reading? LET ME KNOW YOU ARE OUT THERE! *gasp*

I need comments like water.

Egnéus

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The Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Schaffert

April 14, 2011 Book Reviews, Books 5

I freely admit it. I was attracted to this book the instant I saw the cover. Then when I found out it was from Unbridled Books (which explains the cover!) And then, when I found out it was about an octogenarian obituary writer, well. That just sealed the deal.

Essie is, as I said, an octogenarian obituary writer, writing for her family’s small town newspaper. I loved Essie the moment she stepped onto the page. She’s feisty, an attribute I love in characters, but especially in octogenarian ones.The morbidity of being a obituary writer was just icing on the cake.

A young girl is reported to be missing, but no one is even sure she ever existed. The young girl is reported missing by her mother Daisy, stolen away by her aerial photography boyfriend, and Essie becomes mixed up in the mother’s life. Essie isn’t sure that the child, Lenore, is real either, or just a desperate plea for attention from a lonely woman. Doesn’t really matter; the story spreads like wildfire, leading their small family paper to become quite the big seller in parts far and wide. This part of the story turns slightly bizarre (and rather true to life) when cult worshipers and the curious got-nothing-better-to-dos show up at the mother’s doorstep.

Essie’s family has their own troubles. Doc, Essie’s grandson and editor of the paper, isn’t sure he wants to do this any more. He has raised his niece ever since she was little, when her mother abandoned her with Doc. She (the mother, I can’t remember her name) shows back up to reclaim her child, but of course, the child isn’t sure she wants to be reclaimed, briefly going to live with Essie.

This part of the story especially was fascinating to me. As a toddler, I was abandoned by my own mother to live with my grandparents. I chose to stay with them when she came to reclaim me many years later, so I found myself especially invested in this family and their story. And these characters, and this part of the story, were fantastic. They are all so feisty, so full of life, so energetic! And Schaffter has a deft eye for family dynamics. This dysfunctional family captured my heart in a special way. In such a special way, that I think I would have rather left out all that other stuff about Daisy and Lenore. The Coffins of Little Hope is described as ” an energetic story of characters caught in the intricately woven webs of myth, legend and deception” but I think part of that web fell apart every time the kidnapping story was at the forefront. Every time the story went back to Daisy, I felt torn from the story. But it all comes together when Essie is called upon to finally write Lenore’s obituary, yet for me, it almost fell apart. I enjoyed this book, mainly for Essie. The ending didn’t really provide me with much closure… it just felt like it ended.  But, like I said, I loved Essie, I loved her voice, her way of telling the story. It was fun to read and I definitely want to try more books by Timothy Schaffert.

The Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Schaffert

  • Pub. Date: May 2011
  • Rated 3.5 out of 5
  • Publisher: Unbridled Books
  • Format: Hardcover , 272pp
  • ISBN-13: 9781609530402
  • ISBN: 1609530403
  • Source: Unbridled Books, through NetGalley. Thank you Unbridled Books!

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Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis

April 12, 2011 Book Reviews, Books 7

katincorrigible

Think this cover is cute? Well, the story is even cuter. Sweet even. Give you a toothache sweet. Well, almost. It was not as annoying as a toothache. More like the fun of eating the candy first.

I’ve seen it called Jane Austen meets Harry Potter. This feels an appropriate comparison.

Katherine Ann Stephenson, or Kat for short, is a preteen, motherless, precocious, and incorrigible daughter of a simple parson and a witch. Sounds like an odd combination, no? She has two older sisters, one who appears to want to live (and die) like in a Gothic novel and another who is just as witchy as their mother. Kat also possesses (dum dum dum) a wicked step-mother! Plus! Kat is just as impulsive, just as curious, just as impish and precious as any Jane Austen character. She reminds me a bit of Emma. And all she wants to do is help.

Unlike Emma, Kat has powers. Powers like her sister, but also powers like her mother. Her mother was a witch, but (and honestly, I didn’t quite understand what this is) a Guardian. And so is Kat. Basically she can do magic and she seems to be expected to help protect the country. From what, it’s never really clear to me. The main thing on Kat’s mind is helping her family.

See, they need money. Money that her oldest sister, Elissa, is expected to make by making an advantageous marriage, which is right inline with her martyr-like Gothic mindset. Her other sister, Angeline is casting love spells that, well, end up hilariously gone awry. Her father is weak. Her stepmother is mostly evil. And it appears that there may be some more interested in Kat’s magic skills than anything else.

That’s not the best summary I’ve ever written, but it’s the best I can do with readathon burnout. I can tell you this; if this book had been around when I was a kid, I would have devoured it! Kat is an amazing character and I loved her narrative voice. She’s smart, witty, rambunctious… all I wanted to be when I was a twelve-year-old awkward child! Her more modern ways of thinking didn’t even bother me. To me, it felt natural. Plus, she’s a girl! A heroine! Something we all need more of. And she is just all around good fun. And so is this story. Stephanie Burgis has written a creative story with lots of heart. The villains may be slightly cookie-cutter, but it’s the main characters who shine, and who should. Her dialogue is snappy and just down-right delightful. I already have a ten-year-old in mind for this. I’m sure she’ll love it. I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

They also said:

Steph Su Reads:

KAT, INCORRIGIBLE charmed me into a place of childlike giddiness that I haven’t encountered in too many years. This deceptively easy read is actually rich with character development and possibilities for future books in the series. Without a doubt I would not hesitate to hand this out to every girl I know between the ages of 10 and 14, and I highly recommend you check this delightful book out, and fall under Kat’s benevolent charms. I can’t wait for more of Kat’s adventures!

Booklust:

Those are some big themes for a small book, and I barely even touched on the magic aspect.  Really just a fun read with a lot of heart and a bright, sparkling main character.  I’m looking forward to the next two installments (which unfortunately only come out one each year).

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis

  • Pub. Date: April 2011
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
  • Format: Hardcover , 304pp
  • Age Range: 12 and up

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

April 11, 2011 Books 6

Reading-on-Monday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? is a weekly event to list the books  finished last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finish this week. It was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of  Books.!

I don’t know if you heard, but Dewey’s Readathon was this weekend. And I got LOTS of reading done! Did you participate? What did you read?

This week, I didn’t finish any books (other than my readathon books), mainly because I’m reading such a chunkster. I am now over 400 pages into The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and y’all. I am completely engrossed. I can’t remember the last time (yes I can) when I was so into such a looooong book. (It was The Crimson and the White and it was YEARS ago). I have a little over 200 pages to go, so don’t really look for me to finish it this week. But maybe keep your fingers crossed. It’s just so good!

I finished listening to I Shall Wear Midnight, the last of the currently released Tiffany Aching stories in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. I love this series so hard. I saw somewhere that there would be one more. I really really hope so! So, my Terry Pratchett loving friends; where do I go now? To the beginning, with the Colour of Magic? Or somewhere else? I’m still learning to navigate this large, splendid world of Mr. Pratchett’s!

I am now listening to Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, read by Jeremy Irons. It is a distinctly uncomfortable read, as intended, and Mr. Iron’s isn’t helping. The gorgeous writing isn’t helping and neither is that sexy purr of a British voice! It just ups the discomfort level, lemmetellya. Wowzers! I think I’ll finish it this week.

If you didn’t see, this weekend I read five books (and part of a sixth) during the readathon. They were all wonderful! Here’s the run down:

1. Bone: Rose by Jeff Smith
2. where i live by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Matt Phelan
3. Bone: Tall Tales by Tom Sniegoski and Jeff Smith
4. The Kitchen Daughter by Jael Henry
5. Hare Moon: A Forest of Hands and Teeth Short Story ebook thingy by Carrie Ryan
6. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, about 130 pages

How was your week? Plans for this one? Have a great reading week!

Egnéus

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