Tag Archives: Books

Weekend Cooking: Suffering Succotash by Stephanie Luvianovic

Suffering succotash : a picky eater's quest to understand why we hate the foods we hateSuffering Succotash: A Picky Eater’s Quest to Understand Why We Hate by Stephanie Lucianovic
Age: Adult
Format: Book
Source: Library
Publisher: Perigee Trade, 2012
ISBN: 9780399537509
Find this book at your local library

Former picky eater, and now foodie/chef Stephanie Lucianovic takes a humorous and in-depth look at why and how picky eaters are picky eaters. Part memoir, part science and part humor is how she makes her point that picky eaters aren’t just fussy, but have valid medical, psychological and physical reasons for their tastes and reactions to specific foods.

She examines taste buds, she goes to a genetics lab to examine her DNA, she speaks to food behavioral therapists, parents, friends, chefs, and children in the Bay Area and around the nation. Her work is lively, chatty and informative. I bet the audio cd would be a hoot to listen to if she narrates it. I’m also a little bit partial to this book because most of her research is done around the Bay Area. She lives in Menlo Park, and I couldn’t help but wonder if she ever brought her young son to the baby storytime I did there. Not that it has anything to do with the book, but that its a small world after all if she did. =p

This is a book that picky eaters and foodies can associate with. Although it is chock-full of research, and anecdotes, there isn’t much in the way of advice other than “try new food” and “don’t push foods onto kids, they’ll just hate them all the more.” She makes a good point that kids today are exposed to a wider variety of foods via farmer’s market not to mention the super yummy creations of Ella’s Kitchen for tiny tots.

We are all picky eaters in our way. As much as I love cinnamon buns, and crave them on a regular basis, I avoid eating them because I can’t stand the sticky sauce that is poured over it, same goes for most drenched finger foods (ie ribs). Too messy = not for me. My husband can’t stand anything pickled (cucumbers, pickles, etc). We love food, love to cook and consider ourselves foodie-wannabes, but we still have our hang-ups. Everyone does! As long as it doesn’t get in the way of your health, then its really no big deal is mine and the author’s stance.

So, what food have you avoided recently?

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Someday, someday, maybe : a novelSomeday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
Age: Adult
Genre: Fiction
Source: Library
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 2013
ISBN: 9780345532749
Find this book at your local library

Franny Banks is an aspiring actress in New York. By day, she’s a waitress, and at night, she’s taking acting classes and preparing for auditions. This novel is what most can assume to be a semi-autobiographical account of Lauren Graham’s experiences as a struggling actress before becoming a household name with her role on Gilmore Girls.

Overall, I liked Someday, Someday, Maybe. Although I can’t really call it a great piece of literature. Everything about this book is cliche and predictable. But I connected to Franny (the only likeable character in this book) and I was cheering for her. Her character is flawed, insecure and very impressionable. At times it was annoying and I wished for some character development, with any of the characters really. Everyone is so two-dimensional and fit exactly into the stereotypes that we non-actors cast onto people in the media industry.

But I swear, I liked the book! Its a good quick summer read. Its a beach read. Light and fluffy with a decent sense of humor for some good chuckles. I particularly liked the doodles and small bits of comedy in Franny’s planner, used to signify the start of each chapter. Its definitely something fans of Gilmore Girls will appreciate. Its no coincidence that Franny shares a very, very similar sense of humor as Lorelei Gilmore. Amy Sherman-Palladino would be proud to see the character re-emerge as a struggling actress in New York.

Back to School Basics – Books

For librarians, teachers and parents, the new year doesn’t necessarily start in January. It starts in September when summer draws to a close and the new school year is on the horizon.

As a new mom & librarian,  I am getting more and more excited for the days when I can take my little guy shopping for back to school supplies (my favorite part as a kid…dorkily enough), as well as taking him to school in general and watching him learn and grow with the world around him.

Lori at Reading Confetti has put together a wonderful collection of books with which to ring in each month. I can see many uses for this for library story times, for themed activities after school and on the weekends to reinforce the concepts in a fun way. This is a very thorough list and a great resource for parents and librarians in search of books to recommend or read to children.

Themed preschool books and activities for each month of the year

The Global Bookshelf

A Town Like Paris by Bryce Corbett

A town like Paris : falling in love in the City of lightA Town Like Paris: Falling in Love in the City of Light by Bryce Corbett
Age: Adult
Genre: Nonfiction/Memoir/Paris
Source: Overdrive
Format: Ebook
Find this book at your local library
 

Stuck in a rut in London, Australian native Bryce Corbett applies on a whim to a position he is highly unqualified for in Paris. For reasons he can’t figure out, he is given the position and is soon on his way to the City of Light, the city where he has dreamt of living for years. Once in Paris, his adventures are nothing short of hilarious. The type that makes you shake your head in wonder.

I wonder if Bryce Corbett and Stephen Clarke ever met for a cafe while in Paris? Fans of Clarke will enjoy Corbett’s wry wit, his male perspective on the most romantic city in Europe, as well as his lack of aspirations towards work, and his overdrive commitment to drinking, partying and falling in love with the Lido showgirl, Shay.

Sometimes, I think a male perspective on Paris is just the right book. Girls tend to sugarcoat, or go into purple prose when it comes to Paris’ charms, but guys are more direct and like to focus on the negatives of the city. I do have to say, that I am insanely jealous of his situation. Being paid to live in a city, albeit he didn’t care for his work at all, but the means to an end, provided him with up to 6 years of Parisian life.

His stories are funny, and well chronicled. From the escapades of dating, to the foibles of dealing with the French bureaucracy, to starting a mildly popular band that plays in the bars of the city, Corbett’s prose seems genuine. Although at times I wondered if he fluffed up the story just to heighten the hilarity. His descriptions of the people, the places and events that took place in Paris had me laughing out loud or shaking my head in wonder. The chapters are short, but there are quite a few of them. A few felt repetitive, and some just dragged on, but for the most part, this is a highly entertaining read.

The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Age: Adult
Source: Publisher
Publisher: William Morrow, 2013
ISBN: 9780062255655
181 pages
Find this book at your local library

When a middle-aged-man returns to his childhood home for a funeral, he takes an unexpected stroll down memory lane, remembering parts of his childhood from when he was 7-years-old and met Lettie Hempstock. Soon, history comes flooding back to him as he recollects sitting by the duck pond, or what she called her ocean.

Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet, but they are never lost for good.

Neil Gaiman doesn’t write sequels, but the Ocean At the End of the Lane is like a distant cousin of The Graveyard Book and Coraline. Its a short novel, and I’m not quite sure if its meant for adults, kids or teens. It is written from the perspective of a 7-year-old, with innocent thoughts and fears, but much of the content is adult; frightening and surreal. This book, like the Graveyard Book, starts with a death. Like Coraline, the other mother, Ursula Monkton, is much more creepy and cruel.

This incredibly short book is more like a dream than a novel. Everything happens so quickly, so smoothly, but all the events and people seem incongruous somehow. As much as I loved and devoured this book, it is so easy to get lost in Neil Gaiman’s prose, hearing his voice narrate the book… I digress, fangirl that I am. As much as I enjoyed this book, I felt that one of the biggest faults was Lettie Hempstock’s nonchalance confidence with ridding the world of Ursula Monkton. It halted the suspense of the novel at times. Although Gaiman’s descriptions and eerie setting more than made up for that. Its not my favorite of his books, I think it could have been and should have been expanded, but it is a good read for a solitary, quiet evening.

Weekly Recap + Loads of Links!

This guy reads.cafeparaacordarosmortos:Homem lê o jornal, sentado num candeeiro público, enquanto uma revolução acontece debaixo dele.Lisboa, 25 de Abril de 1974 Carlos GilAwesome People Reading

This has been a fairly active week on the blog. One of my favorite book blogging events is going to be starting in a couple short weeks, Paris in July. I don’t have anything planned as of yet, but I do still have a number of books that take place in France waiting to be read on my bookshelf. As for events, we shall see. I might not get farther than baking a batch of madeleine cookies.

Reading is going well, I’m making progress in all of my books. It helps to have books stashed all over the house, so that no matter where I sit down to breastfeed the little bookworm, I can just pick up the closest book and start reading.

I received an incredibly amount of books in the mail this week as well. Its nice to be back on the publishing radar after a brief hiatus.

Books I received in the mail

  1. The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (Score *does the Snoopy dance*)
  2. The Wet & The Dry by Lawrence Osborne
  3. The Big Disconnect by Catherine Steiner-Adair, Edd
  4. Along with 6 picture books from Reading Rockets as part of their Start With A Book giveaway.

I also started a new page on the blog to discreetly track the picture books we have been reading to the little one. I won’t backtrack to what we read in the past. It will start fresh as of this weekend. Don’t expect to see too many of those reviews on the main page though. This will stay mostly a blog for adult works.

Books I reviewed:

  1. All My Friends by Marie N’Diaye

Non-Review Posts:

  1. Start with a book (or 6)
  2. Its Coming…My Favorite Time of the Year

Upcoming Reviews:

  1. The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  2. The Log on the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck

What I’m currently reading:

  1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  2. The Fountain of St. James Court or The Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman – Sena Jeter Naslund

The Links!

All My Friends by Marie N’Diaye

All my friendsAll My Friends by Marie N’Diaye translated by Jordan Stump

Age: Adult

Format: Book

Source: Publisher via LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Publisher: Two Lines Press

ISBN: 9781931883238

Find this book at your local library

In this brief yet poignant collection of short stories, author Marie N’Diaye takes us into the minds of the unstable and their fractured lives and relationships. From an aged professor haunted by a past student, to a former actress falling apart, or a mother abandoning her son. N’Diaye deftly examines the minds and thoughts of people who we’d rather brush under the carpet. This book will leave you unsettled, but it in incredibly well written (well translated) and gives the reader much to think about after each story.

In the first story, an aged professor falls in love with a former student, now his housekeeper. This is followed by a tale of a back and forth between a doctor and a patient over her dead husband. The third story, is remarkably sad, as it is about a young boy who wants to leave his impoverished life by becoming a sex slave, like his next door neighbor. Then Brulard’s Tale about a minor actress and her stream of consciousness thought patterns becoming more and more claustrophobic and paranoid. The last story is about a mentally challenged women who goes on a bus ride with her son, but knows that she will be returning without him.

The author has created five stories in which people lose their grip on reality, the most compelling of which was fourth story, Brulard’s Day. This story reminded me of Knut Hamsun’s Hunger. The inner workings of the mind of someone’s sanity slowly unraveling as bystanders watch, unaware or indifferent. At only 140 pages, this book is a quick read, but not a light read. It’s not exactly a beach read, with the gentle tide of waves in the background. It is more of a moody cafe book, with a few cups of coffee with some ambient music in the background.

Week in Review + Loads of Links 5/24/2013

readingroom1

Oh so colorful! (Architecture and design bookstore Van Alen in New York)

This week has been an interesting one for me. Either I, or another family member have been sick since Saturday. You’d think I’d have caught up on my reading in that time, but alas, that is not the case. I did manage to finish 1 of the three books that I’ve been reading for the past month, Becoming Americans in Paris. So there will be a review next week, huzzah! I’m also hosting a giveaway for Beth Hoffman’s newest title, Looking For Me. If you haven’t entered the giveaway yet, you have until next Friday to do so! Sign up HERE.

Now without further ado, the weekly round-up of interesting bookish blurbs floating around the Internet.

Book News

Listamania

Literacy Resources

Misc. Book Fun

  • Abibliophobia @Gallycat – Its a curse I live with everyday of my life…

 

Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman – Giveaway

photo-bethhoffmanAnother month and another book giveaway! If you’ve read Beth Hoffman’s Becoming CeeCee Honeycutt then you are eagerly anticipating her newest title, Looking For Me, coming out at the end of the month. Via the publisher, Viking/Penguin Books, I have one copy to give away in anticipation of the title’s publication. The giveaway ends 5/31/2013 and is open to US residents only. 

cover

About the book:

Teddi Overman leaves her hardscrabble Kentucky farm life behind at the age of eighteen, running away in the middle of the night and leaving only a letter for each member of her family. In Charleston, South Carolina, Teddi builds a new life for herself as an antiques dealer with the help of a quirky group of new friends. But each time Teddi, now thirty-six years old, leaves her antiques shop and visits the farm of her youth, she’s drawn to the mysterious beauty of Red River Gorge, where her brother went missing at the age of seventeen. Though long believed to be dead, signs of Josh begin appearing in the woods near the family farm, drawing Teddi back home again.

To enter the giveaway just fill out the form. Additional entries if you tweet about the giveaway. Just include @TheNovelWorld in your tweet! You have until May 30th to enter! Good luck!