Thumbs up for MaryJane’s Ideabook, Cookbook, Lifebook: For the Farmgirl in All of Us by MaryJane Butters. Lifestyle.
Recipes, and stories, and make-it-yourself instructions. Complete charm and sumptuous photos of small farm life. MaryJane Butters is a funny gal: in a story I think is representative of her many sides, she longs for Jello (unabashed nostalgia), but is not happy with the way commercial gelatin is produced (environmental consciousness), so she researches and rigorously tests other forms of gelatin (do-it-yourself science) eventually hitting upon one that meets her qualifications – but as it’s unavailable commercially she decides to sell it herself (entrepreneurial mentality).… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Don’t Point That Thing At Me by Kyril Bonfiglioli. Suspense.
I was delighted to find another one of these delightful, nasty little jewels. Think Robert B. Parker but British, with a lot more booze and women and cowardice. Bonfiglioli nevers sets a step wrong. These books deserve much better than the anonymity they have fallen into.
“Somewhere in the trash he reads Martland has read that heavy men walk with surprisingly lightness and grace; as a result he trips about like a portly elf hoping to be picked up by a leprechaun.
… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Nature Via Nurture: Genes, Experience & What Makes Us Human by Matt Ridley. Science.
The beginning of this book fascinated me. Unfortunately, Ridley makes his point too well, too early (that the realization of genes is influenced by environment, and that “nature” is not mutually exclusive from “nurture”) and by the second half I’d already felt I’d gotten what I was going to get out of it.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman. Children’s nonfiction.
The true story of a fireboat, and its heroic return from retirement. This book made me cry.
“The piers were the places where ships and trains brought all manner of merchandise to be sold in the city. Like wood and cotton and bananas and bubble gum and EVERYTHING.”… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Young adult.
I was (quite unfairly) wary of a repeat of my experience with Robinson Crusoe – one of the most agonizingly boring books I’ve ever dragged my way through – but this came highly recommended by my coworker. He was not wrong; it is indeed a delight. Yo-ho-ho!
“‘Marooned three years agone,’ he continued, ‘and lived on goats since then, and berries, and oysters.
… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. Science fiction.
To start with, it’s FUNNY. And smart. And, to me as a writer, inspirational, because it has a very simple story arc but is nevertheless brilliant. There are almost no books I wish I’d written, but this comes close. If you like any variety of science fiction, you should run and buy all of Scalzi’s books right now.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Just A Geek: Unflinchingly Honest Tales of the Search for Life, Love, and Fulfillment Beyond the Starship Enterprise by Wil Wheaton. Memoir.
If you are a geek, you just grinned, because you already read WWdN. If you are not a geek, you said to yourself: “Who is Wil Wheaton? And why doesn’t he spell his name with two L’s, like a normal person?” Is okay.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Fever Dream by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Suspense.
Going from Cormac McCarthy to Preston & Child: Ow. No offense to them, but I think they would be the first to agree that one does not read their books for the prose. But I stuck with it, and after I relaxed into the fact that it was what it was, I enjoyed just as much as always the gleefully over-the-top adventures of ultra-rich ultra-brilliant bullet-dodging DSM-IV-quoting Southern gentleman who is Special Agent Pendergast (he has an evil brother, does that tell you anything about this series?).… >> Read more