Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Reading Update: January 22, 2008

Pete Hautman -- Godless

Young adult book that I picked up off the shelves at work. It was okay, but I didn't love it. It is something I could see my late middle school / early high school students really enjoying, though.

Elizabeth Graver --
The Honey Thief

This one has been sitting unread on my bookshelf probably for years, at this point. Not for any particular reason -- just because I have this habit of buying way more books than even I can read. I'll buy a whole bunch of stuff at once and start reading it. But then I get distracted by something new and half the stuff I bought ends up sitting unread for months or even years. There are worse habits to have, I suppose. In this case, though, my habit led me to miss out on this lovely little book for far too long. Did it change my world? No. But it was a nice read -- I think Graver does a good job of painting real, flawed characters, and of capturing the relationship between an adolescent girl and the mother who suddenly, in her daughter's eyes, can't seem to do anything right.

Heidi Swanson -- Super Natural Cooking

After making Heidi Swanson's Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup, from her blog 101 Cookbooks, a couple weeks ago, I had to buy her book. And I'm so glad I did. SNC focuses on healthy, natural food. But if you're imagining flavorless, hippy-dippy whole foods, think again. Almost everything in this cookbook sounds absolutely delicious (and looks even better, in Heidi's fantastic photos)! I can't wait to make the banana walnut espresso muffins, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to make her soba-noodle recipe, Otsu, for dinner tonight. I think it's going to really help me cut back on the refined flour and sugar in my diet, which I've been wanting to do for a while. Somehow, I've developed a much more of a sweet tooth in the past few years that I never had when I was younger.

Plus, it's the kind of cookbook I like best -- it has great recipes, but it also has a wealth of info about the basic ingredients and lots of tips about making the recipes your own. I'm not a great recipe follower, when it comes right down to it. To me, cooking is a lot like painting or writing or any other art form -- you have to follow your creative impulses for it to reach its full potential. This book gives me the knowledge and tools I need to do that.

Christopher Moore -- Fluke

I really enjoyed the last Christopher Moore book I read, so I had high hopes for this one. It SOUNDED like it was going to be funny. It really did. I mean, seriously, a whale with "bite me" on its fluke? Lots of humor potential, right? It disappointed me, though. Quirky, to be sure, but just not that funny. At all. I just couldn't care about the characters at all. In fact, I'm a sucker for a happy ending, but even though this book had one, it just left me feeling . . . eh.

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