A very big thumbs up for The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. Science fiction.
Bester wows me. He has more ideas on one page than most authors come up with for an entire book, and he uses them with bravery, surety and power. I wish I could write like him.
“It took thirty minutes to organize a Christmas party in the Four Mile Circus.
… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Made For Each Other by Meg Daley Olmert. Science/nature.
Supposedly about the man-animal bond, at times it reads more like the author’s love affair with oxytocin. No, not the stuff Rush Limbaugh was famously hooked on (that’s OxyContin), but the “feel-good” neurochemical that is activated in social interactions both between people and people, and people and animals. The book could have been trimmed from 244 pages (not including notes) to about 100 without suffering, but it reads quickly enough, and has enough of value, that skimming through the “ra-ra oxytocin is great” repetition is tolerable.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Young adult science fiction.
Invariably, when these books are mentioned in the bookstore where I work, the phrase of the day is “My son/daughter got it, but I picked it up and I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.” I hear a lot of rave reviews about books that are in fact mediocre, but I like young adult books, and since I’d never actually seen one of these in the field, so to speak, when this finally came in, I was curious.… >> Read more
For Christmas my boyfriend received a very thoughtful gift from some friends – a book called The Frugal Foodie, by Alanna Kaufman and Alex Small. Of course, I got my grubby little paws on it as soon as I could. Consider this not so much a review, but thoughts inspired by it.
The “Foodie” part of the title is apparent.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Ungarnished Truth: A Cooking Contest Memoir by Ellie Mathews. Food.
This winner of the Pillsbury Bake-Off ain’t your checkered-apron homemaker type. College-educated, Birkenstock-wearing, grease-phobic, logical and practical – the quintessential Northwesterner, in fact – Ellie Matthews describes herself and her experiences with a kind of refreshing humorlessness, never able to take seriously the fact that she won a prize for throwing some stuff in a pan.… >> Read more
Never having had to deal with changing sun patterns before (my previous attempts at gardening having been under a heavy tree canopy – “sun? what sun?”) I found myself rather mystified about what to put where. I fretted. I stared outside, watching the shadows shift with the hours. I longed for the EasyBloom Plant Sensor. Which, okay, I still want.
Then last week, I sat outside and squinted at the dirt, until I had an epiphany.… >> Read more
For the first time in my life, I get to have a garden of my own. To say that this is a long-awaited event is an understatement.
Until last summer, I was living with my parents, who are lovely people with execrable taste in houses. Or, more specifically, house locations. Cedar forests can be beautiful, for sure – but not when the trees loom over every inch of your yard, blocking the sun even at noon in the summer, clogging the ground with their roots, dropping acidic needles on every surface, and in short making it impossible to grow anything but ferns (I hate ferns), rhododendrons (like them less than ferns), ivy, or Herb Robert.… >> Read more
Sometimes, a view is so lovely that even the telephone wires seem to complement it. Or compliment it.… >> Read more