Saturday, July 31, 2010

Help! I need to Laugh

My current reading schedule has been a little on the dull side.  So I was thinking last night: I need to laugh.  I need one of those laugh-out loud, chortle, chortle, chortle, guffaw, guffaw, guffaw kind of reads.  The problem is, I am at a loss. 

Any suggestions? 

Oh, and something to make you smile (laugh? chortle?):


Thursday, July 29, 2010

This Week in Our Year

Hello, there readers.  Welcome to Our Year in Books.  In today's edition of This Week in Our Year, we are hopping!  The weekly book blog party is hosted by Jennifer over at Crazy for Books.  Thanks to our hostess!  This week's question is what is your favorite new-to-you author of this year.  Our answers are:

-D: Brandon Sanderson - I've only read his additions to the Wheel of Time series, but that's enough to be happy with him.
-L: Cormac McCarthy - we both read the Road earlier this year and loved it.  We loved it so much we wrote a review together (if you could call it that).

So, this week's goings on around here include:

Review of Metro 2033
Review of The Awakening, followed by a lively discussion (dominated by women) in the comments...any guys out there wish to comment?
Review of A Homemade Life
Review of The Magic of Recluce

Thanks for stopping by!  Feel free to stalk us here or on twitter.  We will at least pay you back by glancing in your general direction. 

The Magic of Recluce

The Magic of Recluce (Recluce series, Book 1) Before I start off on the book review, I have to say that I just finally noticed that Modesitt has been spelling Recluse wrong this entire time. I've had his books laying around for over a decade and never noticed this! I'm assuming that I've missed how he spells Recluse as Recluce just for the sake that my brain couldn't fathom it being misspelled. It makes you wonder if it got printed this way on the first run, but they decided to run with it. Is it supposed to be said in the same way as recluse, or does it have some other pronunciation? re-kloo-k? It's just a mind scramble to me! I even verified on his own website to make sure it wasn't a problem with Amazon. =\

The Magic of Recluce throws the reader into a slightly different fantasy realm than normal. Sure, the world is full  of medieval age technology - swords, crappy hotels, poor food - but they also have guns and some steam technology to boot. The drastic change from your typical Dragonquest or D&D style fantasy is the magic system. You're two competing schools of thought are Order and Chaos. In some ways, you can attribute some Eastern mythology to the way this works. While they compete, they must also be balanced. It's intriguing how Modesitt brings the two forces together within the individual and through the world. That would be enough to pick up this first book and try it out. The book mostly follows one protagonist with a few minor characters touched on throughout. It's mostly a journey of discovery.... don't want to say much more.

I really enjoyed my re-read. I've read a couple of his books before and he's done a good job at keeping your interest through the three hundred to four hundred pages. But it's not all perfect. I'm not a big fan of how he incorporates noises through the book. You'll get a few whees, yehaws, wooshes, and others. They also don't always mean the same thing. It's not enough to put down the book for me, but some folks might just pass after the first novel.

Rating: 7 CBs - I've read it three times so it has to have something going for it. I'm also excited about having the other books of the series. I can finally finish up an entire set!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Is too much of a good thing bad?

My list of "books I plan on reading" continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This isn't all my fault either! Let's look at what I'm dealing with.

Currently Reading:
The Magic of Recluce (Recluce series, Book 1) - So I'm re-reading a great book from my high school years. It's a great start to a series that I never had time to finish. I've read only the first couple books because L.E. Modesitt Jr. never made it easy to figure out which book was which in the series. With the onset of Internet popularity it's been easier and easier to find out what I need to read next. Expect this review shortly.

Read a little of, and will finish:
The Stand: Expanded Edition: For the First Time Complete and Uncut (Signet) - I will finish this! I am really enjoying the book but didn't want to tackle a 1000 page book in a week. I'm halfway tempted to see this as my next review, but 900 pages to go. =\ And on my Nook that is about 2700 next clicks.

Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America's Enemies - I'm incredibly slow on historical books. They aren't always as exciting. Your imagination isn't used as much, and I like using that part of my brain. I'll probably start over since it's sorta applicable to our current situation - I'm not calling anyone communist, but it's being thrown around like crazy. No political stuff until I post a review, please. =)

The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression - Same thing as above! I'm slow to read, but applicable to today.

Books I own(will own shortly) that are on my list:
Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, Book 5) - Got at Borders a couple weeks ago. Been trying to do new authors instead of reading all seven books like I did with the Robert Jordan.

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure - Been waiting to purchase this one for a long time, and suddenly it appears on our doorstep! My wife decided to join a book club and purchased six new books. A couple of those ended up being books for me!

The Passage - This is the second book that Leah picked up for me. I don't know much about it, and I'm not sure I want to read any of the reviews. The one praise that Leah mentioned was, "If you loved the Stand, you'll love The Passage". We'll see if it's any good.

Best Served Cold - My wife has gotten better at picking Fantasy than I am. She found a Joe Abercrombie book for me at BN and picked it up. He has since moved into my list of elite authors that deserve to be read more than once. Best Served Cold is one of his books that I haven't read. It's another long one so I didn't want to start and be attempting 3 600+ page books at the same time.

The Neverending Story - I found a BN gift card from Christmas that I totally forgot about! Exciting day! So instead of purchasing Blu-Rays I'll finally pick up the novel that one of my favourite childhood movies was based on. w00t! I even had a cat named Falcore..... sure, it's great to name your cat after a flying dog.

Rest of the recluse series - I think there's nine books for the series and I'm finishing up book one.

Books that I can't see myself finishing, or picking up again, but might:
The Dragon Factory - 24 meets CSI meets NYPD meets meh.... zombies, Nazis and weapons should make a great story, but this one was found a little lacking. I might try again, as I said in a previous post, but am not sure.

Graceling - I don't have anything against the book, but I have so many others that are more engaging than the first hundred pages were for this.

Aspire Higher: Winning On and Off the Court with Determination, Discipline, and Decisions - I enjoyed Avery Johnson as a coach, and as a player, but as an author? not so much. No offense, but his desire, as shown in this book, seems a little more self-serving than motivational.

:rolling dice: come on good times!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Homemade Goodness

When I am not reading or napping, I spend a lot of time in my kitchen.  My first foray into blogging was encouraged by my husband because I do something a little different in the kitchen than most others:  I cook through cookbooks.  I don't mean I try out a few of the ideas and then declare the book's merits based on two recipes.  Rather, I spend time with a cookbook and get to know it's writter.  Most nights, we try a completely new recipe.  By now, I have tried well over 1,000 recipes in a matter of less than 6 years. 

I like cooking.

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen TableSo when I was at Costco a couple months ago, I came across our location's last copy of A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg.  I was immediately drawn to the cover and the mention of homemade.  The book is basically a biography of her recipes.  Wizenberg tells the story of the recipes as she knows them.  She first tells the background, shares how she relates to it, and then, unveils the recipe for the reader to replicate it.  Each recipe has an origin, a feeling, a mood, a memory. For Molly, food is deeply personal.  This is what food is to me.  I found myself comparing my life in the kitchen to hers and saw much common ground.   I always tell people that food is love to me (this is not just something obese people say).  When I was growing up, I was surrounded by a lot of bakers, cooks, and generally great homemakers.  Molly had the benefit of that as a well.  As a result, she has a love of food preparation that has truly guided her life.  Her recipes are a way a of introducing others to her family members, and her family members are the providers of  many recipes.  Perhaps this quote will say it better than I can:
Food is never just food.  It's a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, who we want to be. 
If you are a culinary omnivore, this is the book for you.  It is chock-full of touching stories and anecdotes to demonstrate Molly's passion for food and food preparation. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 7


Note: If you are interested in my take on the recipes, consider following my cooking blog, SeldomMade.  I will be "cooking through"  this book, leaving a few of the more shi-shi recipes.  Sorry, my palate just refuses some food items.