September was a cool month. On the 10th I ran a half marathon (2:10:16), was able to get to Monhegan (and introduce the island to some new people), and get to a lot of reading:
- Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill
- Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng
- Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
- Consul’s Wife by W.T. Tyler
- Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry (AB)
- Life and Death of Edwin Mullhouse by Steven Millhauser
- Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright
- Best Game Ever by Mark Bowden
- The Trial by Franz Kafka
- Which Side Are You On? by Elaine Harger (ER)
- Which Side Are You On? by George Ella Lyon (for fun)
AB = Audio book
ER = Early review
July. Summertime. Lots of music (starting with you guessed it, Phish). Lots of running (hopefully all outdoors). Lots of travel, lots of play. Plenty of reading:
- Milk in My Coffee by Eric Jerome Dickey (in honor of National Cow Appreciation Day on the 14th. I kid you not.)
- Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill (#3 – to continue the series started in May in honor of Rocket Day)
- The Last Battle by Cornelius Ryan (#3 – to continue the series started in June for D-Day)
- Cranford (AB) by Elizabeth Gaskell (in honor of Swan Upping. If you don’t know about this day, check it out. It’s fascinating. Or you can wait for my review when I’ll explain the practice.)
- Black Faces, White Faces by Jane Gardam (in honor of Gardam’s birth month)
As an aside, I have read the last two Cotterills in a day each, so I know I need to add at least one or two more books to the list. I’m off to the great unknown for vacation so when I get back I’ll probably have to revisit this list.
Also, I should note that I won another Early Review book from LibraryThing, but since its not here yet I won’t promise to read it. 😉
Has anyone else noticed this? My reading has gotten out of control. And when I say out of control I mean Out.Of.Control. Case in point: in 2013 I only read four books off the Challenge list. Natalie Merchant, my sister, my job and a friend all made book recommendations that I took. Four books. In 2014 I read ten books off the Challenge list. Five were all about running and five were gifts or recommendations. Ten books. In 2015 I read fifteen off Challenge list books. Fifteen books! We are only 2 1/2 months into March and already I have read nine off-Challenge-list books. This has GOT to STOP. At this rate I will never, ever finish the Challenge list. I keep spending time with books I shouldn’t. I’m pulling my hair out. You just can’t see me.
As of right now I am currently reading two books that are not on the Challenge list. Both are books that should have been Early Review books. So, here is the plan: I am going to finish up those books (In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White and Why the Grateful Dead Matter by Michael Benson) and then return to reading from the list as much as possible. I need to stop reading titles not indexed in the Lust books, drop books that have nothing to do with the Challenge and reload the ones that do. The end.
Clark, Nancy. Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 5th Ed. Champaigne, IL: Human Kinetics, 2013.
Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook is jam-packed with all sorts of information, including eating disorders (anorexia & bulemia), which is something I didn’t encounter with other nutrition-for-athletes books I have read. While a great deal of the information is useful I also felt there was a great deal of repetition and common sense “fillers” that took up space (like her comment on plastic water bottles which has nothing to do with sports or nutrition, just her opinion). I enjoyed the clean and well organized chapters but didn’t try any of the recipes in the back. Although I initially borrowed this from a library, this is the kind of book I would buy to keep on my personal library shelves in order to refer back to it again and again.
Reason read: the Toronto Half Marathon is less than a week away. Talk about getting some last minute advice!
Book trivia: while most of the illustrations are interesting and well-meaning, some are downright goofy.
Fitzgerald, Matt. The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition: a Cutting-Edge Plan to Fuel Your Body Beyond “the Wall.” Boston: Da Capo Press, 2013.
Reason read: So. I have this little run of 13.1 miles in Toronto in less than two weeks. I’m just now thinking I should research nutrition for this jaunt.
As much as I love books that are designed to make me a better anything my eyes glaze over when the information becomes too out-of-my-league. Take, for example Fitzgerald’s recommendation that runners should know “basic” information: body weight and V02 max. I can jump on a scale and figure out BMI, weight, fat % and bone density… but V02 max? I’m a middle-aged housewife just looking for a little more information on nutrition for runners. Obviously, The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition is for consumers who are much more hardcore about running than I am! But having said all that, there was a plethora of take-away information that I could (and probably will) use. Pre-race nutrition was especially helpful, as was the nutrition training plans and the chart of diet quality guidelines.
Author fact: Fitzgerald has written a few other books about running, nutrition and the like.
Book trivia: Kara Goucher, two-time Olympian, wrote the foreword for New Rules. Ryan Hall, also an Olympian, endorsed the book as well.
Month five of the Challenge. I have made a decision. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t like this big long list with book titles crossed off. While the list of books finished looks impressive I’m not liking the overall concept. I will stick this list thing out for this year, but come December we’re doing something different. Don’t know what yet but definitely something different. Here are all the books for the year with the books for April in bold:
Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan(DNF) In a Strange City by Laura Lippman By a Spider’s Thread by Laura Lippman (AB) Recognitions by William Gaddis(DNF) Maus by Art Spiegelman Lady Franklin’s Revenge by Ken McGoogan Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao* by Junot Diaz (AB)
Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan ADDED: A Good Doctor’s Son by Steven Schwartz ADDED: Drinking: a Love Story by Caroline Knapp ADDED: Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day by Philip Matyszak ADDED: Nero Wolfe Cookbook by Rex Stout ADDED: Treasure Hunter by W. Jameson (ER) Maus II by Art Spiegelman (Jan) ADDED: The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat (AB)
ADDED: In Xanadu by William Dalrymple ADDED: The Assault by Harry Mulisch Wild Blue by Stephen Ambrose
Shot in the Heart by Mikal Gilmore
Greater Nowheres by David Finkelstein/Jack London
ADDED: Alma Mater by P.F Kluge
ADDED: Old Man & Me by Elaine Dundy
ADDED: Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
Good Life by Ben Bradlee Underworld by Don DeLillo Her Name Was Lola by Russell Hoban
Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton Fires From Heaven by Robert Jordan Finnegan’s Wake by James JoyceDNF Herb ‘n’ Lorna by Eric Kraft Polish Officer by Alan Furst – AB Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan(Mar) ADDED: Walden by Henry David Throreau ADDED: Reservations Recommended by Eric Kraft (Mar/Feb) ADDED: Selected Letters of Norman Mailer edited by J. Michael Lennon – ER (Feb /Mar) Chasing Monarchs by Robert Pyle (Mar) ADDED: Saturday Morning Murder by Batya Gur (Mar) Bebe’s By Golly Wow by Yolanda Joe (Mar) Lives of the Muses by Francine Prose (Mar) Broom of the System (David Wallace (Mar) Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan(Apr)
- ADDED: Little Follies by Eric Kraft (Apr/Feb)
- ADDED: Literary Murder by Batya Gur (Apr)
ADDED: Bob Marley, My Son by Cedella Marley Booker (ER) ADDED: Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Mar)
- ADDED: Southern Mail by Antoine de Saint- Exupery (Mar/Apr)
- ADDED: Measure of All Things, the by Ken Alder (Apr) AB
- Two Gardeners by Emily Wilson (Apr)
- Royal Flash by George Fraser (Apr)
- Fifties by David Halberstam (Apr)
- Binding Spell by Elizabeth Arthur (Apr)
Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan(DNF) Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan(DNF)
- ADDED: Where Do You Stop? by Eric Kraft (May/Feb)
- Murder on a Kibbutz by Batya Gur (May)
- Flash for Freedom! by George Fraser (May)
- Murder in Amsterdam by Ian Buruma (May)
- Petra: lost city by Christian Auge (May)
- From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas Friedman (May)
- Jordan by E. Borgia (May)
- Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill (May)
- Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (May)
- Flash at the Charge by George MacDonald Fraser (May)
- ADDED: What a Piece of Work I Am by Eric Kraft (Jun/Feb)
- Castles in the Air by Judy Corbett (Jun)
- Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson (Jun)
- Thirty-three Teeth by Colin Cotterill (Jun)
- Millstone by Margaret Drabble (Jun)
Winter’s Heart by Robert Jordan(DNF) Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan(DNF)
- At Home with the Glynns by Eric Kraft (Jul/Feb)
- Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill (Jul)
- Sixty Stories by Donald Barthelme (Jul)
- New Physics and Cosmology by Arthur Zajonc (Jul)
- Grifters by Jim Thompson (Jul)
- Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (Jul)
- Snow Angels by James Thompson (Jul)
- Ararchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill (Aug)
- ADDED: Leaving Small’s Hotel by Eric Kraft (Aug/Feb)
- Flashman’s Lady by George MacDonald Fraser (Aug)
- Possession by AS Byatt (Aug)
- In the Footsteps of Ghanghis Khan by John DeFrancis (Aug)
- What Just Happened by James Gleick (Aug)
- Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett (Aug)
- ADDED: Inflating a Dog by Eric Kraft (Sep/Feb)
- Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill (Sep)
- Flashman and the Redskins by George MacDonald Fraser (Sep)
- Queens’ Play by Dorothy Dunnett (Sep)
- Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood (Sep)
- Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (Sep)
- Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Sep)
- Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman (Oct)
- Merry Misogynist by Colin Cotterill (Oct)
- Disorderly Knights by Dorothy Dunnett (Oct)
- Flashman and the Dragon by George MacDonald Fraser (Oct)
- Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman (Nov)
- Love Songs from a Shallow Grave by Collin Cotterill (Nov)
- Flashman and the Mountain of Light by George MacDonald Fraser (Nov)
- Pawn in Frankincense by Dorothy Dunnett (Nov)
- Andorra by Peter Cameron (Nov)
DNF = Did Not Finish; AB = Audio Book; ER = Early Review
Craughwell, Thomas J. Thomas Jefferson’s Creme Brulee: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Heming Introduced French Cuisine to America. Quirk Books, 2012.
How I would love to step back in time and follow Thomas Jefferson around! I just find him to be such an interesting character. I definitely agree that he is the most cerebral of our founding fathers. Despite Benjamin Franklin’s eye for invention I find that Thomas Jefferson was more downright curious. He wanted to learn all that he could about the world around him.
But, enough of that. Onto the book review: This was a disappointment. I honestly expected the subject matter to match the title of the book on several different points. For starters, the obvious one – food (specifically bringing French cuisine to America). I didn’t see enough supporting evidence to believe that it was Thomas Jefferson who actually introduced the cuisine to America. Only a small handful of recipes prove that recipes like macaroni and cheese were introduced. Then there is the subject of James Heming. James Heming might have been the one who did all the work – taking the culinary classes, practicing the recipes at Jefferson’s elaborate dinner parties, and training the next cook to take his place so that he might experience freedom, but it is on Jefferson Craughwell focuses the most. Even then the focus isn’t primarily on his bringing French cuisine to America, it was on everything else.
Happy freakin’ New Year!
I am making the resolution to clean up the blogs from 2011. In reviewing everything I read through the year I am noticing some that didn’t get tagged properly, some that weren’t put into the right categories and, horror upon horrors, one that didn’t even get published! WTF?! By all counts I *think* I read 65 fiction titles, 25 nonfiction titles, 12 Early Review/Librarything books, 2 for-fun books and 9 poems. This is, of course, cheating because I included the “attempts” as finished. As promised, I did get at least 50 pages into each failed read.
So, what about 2012? I am still off the reading schedule but have come up with a temporary plan. Kind of like when the plane breaks down and you realize you have to drive to your destination. Think “Trains, Planes & Automobiles.” You need a new map. No, wait. That line was from “Tommy Boy.” Wrong movie. Anyway. So, here is the plan of attack for January 2012:
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit or There and Back Again and finish The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates. That’s it. Not a crazy ambitious reading list for such a long month, but I’m taking one road at a time and not mapping out the entire journey like I usually do. This is a different year so I’m looking forward to reading a little differently as well.
Happy New Year!
January 2010 was all wrong. I put many other activities ahead of reading. Knitting- mom’s blanket was falling apart so I took some time to fix that (as well as add new trim). I also started a new blanket of blue and white. Haven’t figured out why I’m making this one at all. I think it will go to the island because we certainly don’t need another blanket! Working out – been walking & running on the treadmill withe some regularity, as well as weight training and a little yoga. Cooking – been getting back to making real meals which need more time…Bad television – I’ve become addicted to the addict shows: Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, Hoarders, and Intervention. I seem to identify with the misfits a little too well.
So, having said all that – reading wasn’t my highest priority. Behold the (ahem*) ‘finished’ list:
- High Five by Janet Evanovitch ~ in honor of female mystery month (whatever that means).
- The Semi-Attached Couple by Emily Eden (*) ~ in honor of the book lust of others (again, whatever that means).
- The Hole in the Universe: How Scientists Peered over the Edge of Emptiness and Found Everything by K.C. Cole (*) ~ in honor of January being the “start-over/clean slate” month.
- Echo House by Ward Just ~ in honor of Ward Just’s birth month.
- In Search of Robinson Crusoe by Timothy Severin (*) ~ in honor of National Geographic month.
- Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin ~ in honor of Mr. Franklin’s birth month.
- Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Goethe ~ in honor of letter writing month.
- The Little Friend by Donna Tartt ~ a behemoth of a book with an unsatisfying end.
For LibraryThing and the Early Review Program I finished Nothing Right, a collection of short stories by Antonya Nelson. If you are looking for quick snapshots of dysfunctional family life, this is the book for you!
* Sad to say, I didn’t get into these books enough to finish them. I did my 50 page rule and called it quits.
Jaffrey, Madhur. An Invitation to Indian Cooking. New Jersey: Ecco Press, 1999.
I have to start off by saying I love Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbooks. I own several and all of them are well-organized and beautifully illustrated (or have gorgeous photographs).
An Invitation to Indian Cooking might have been a more accurate title had it included the subtitle Getting to Know Indian Cuisines and Ingredients because Jaffrey not only invites you into the world of Indian cuisine she also includes history lessons and ingredient explanations in addition to recipes. While her tone is conversational I found it to be a little didactic at times. Her claims that Americans, on the whole, don’t know what well-prepared rice tastes like is one such example. Another drawback to An Invitation to Indian Cooking is its out-of-date information. Basmati rice, Jaffrey recommends, is readily available at specialty stores. That may have been true in 1973 when her first cookbook was published, but I expected the reprint to have some updated information. I also find it hard to believe that out of 50 states only 12 have stores that carry authentic Indian ingredients.
But, having said all that, I love the recipes Jaffrey includes in her first cookbook. I like her attention to detail and her comparisons between American and Indian products. For example, Jaffrey points out that American chicken is more tender than chicken purchased in India, therefore traditional Indian cooking techniques would not work well on an American-raised bird.
“The chicken available in American markets is so tender that it begins to fall apart well before it can go through the several stages required in most Indian recipes” (p 86).
If you are ambitious enough to make several Indian recipes at the same time Jaffrey includes a series of different menus to try.
BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called, “India: a Reader’s Itinerary” (p 125).
I have to admit the Other Blog is now getting the juicier stuff. The writing about running has leaked into a more psyche-driven state full of meltdowns and murmurings…whereas this side of writing has been more about books. Not being about to write throughout the month of May and not wanting to write in the month of June has had it’s disadvantages, for sure. I think the end result is a bias towards books. Maybe this is what I wanted all along. The other blog is getting the heartache stuff, the mind spewing stuff. I don’t know if this a temporary thing or if this site was meant for reviews or what. Maybe it’s my way of going underground again…like I did with ThatSpace’s blog. Uprooted and transferred when the traffic got too heavy. Maybe I don’t want my insanity to be that transparent, that troubling for anyone else but me. I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that I have gotten too cryptic on this side. Book reviews are more honest and more open than anything else…on this side. My rants have been saved for the other side. It’s been interesting to watch.
So. I guess I am saying this blog is slowly becoming a book blog…I’ll save the breakdowns and broken blogs for the other side. It seems saner that way…and in a way, safer. Not sure why I think that way, but there it is.
I caught up with an old friend recently. Hunched over humongous burritos we hurled hilarious stories at each other. Catching up on each other lives, getting caught in the laughter. How is it possible I let weeks and weeks turn into months before seeing this person, I don’t know. I couldn’t get over how hard I laughed (to the point of tears) or how easily we bantered.
“What do you mean ‘winking at you?'” I asked, astonished.
“I mean, wink, wink. Couldn’t miss it. It happened on four different occasions” came the reply.
“Winking? Not something caught in the eye?”
“Not a nervous twitch?”
“Not punctuating a funny story?”
“Not even talking.”
“Huh. Winking… At you.”
“Your best friend’s spouse was winking. At You.”
“That’s what I thought.”
“Okay. Here’s what you do: wink back.”
I’m bold to suggest such a thing. Flirting with trouble. Wink back? Yes. We sat over big burritos until our bellies were full. Watching the rain whip sideways we let it go. We had nowhere to be. Bring On the Rain. I was happy to be caught just to catch up.
I don’t care what anyone says. Summer officially started this weekend. To hell with the calendar. I’m ignoring the meteorologists, too. Summer wasn’t summer until the sun came out for more than an hour. For the first time in weeks I was able to weed the garden and the walk without dodging raindrops. I finally took up those giant prehistoric looks growths growing along side the driveway. I tackled the ground cover problem, too. Redistributing the gravel that has slid down the hill. This is Hilltop, after all. I moved rocks until my sun-bared arms ached. It felt good. I got in the pool for the second time this season and actually took a few strokes for the first time. Maybe I’ll learn to swim for real. It felt amazing. We got more of the back of the house painted. The gutter guys came. Progress is progressing.
Inspired by the weather I decided on a grill dinner. Pork marinated in lime, garlic, cilantro, and cumin. But, that wasn’t the best part of the mean meal. The salsa/salad was. Try this for yourself – play with the ingredients and measurements:
- black beans
- grape tomatoes
- grilled corn
- red onion
- chili powder
- red pepper flakes
- olive oil
- champagne vinegar
- sea salt
- tri-colored fresh cracked pepper
Throw everything into a big bowl and let marinate for a few hours. Any ingredient can be left out or substituted for something else. Think about it – red beans instead of black, how about rice? Vidalia instead of red onion, scotch bonnet instead of jalapeno, red wine vinegar instead of champagne…these switches aren’t a stretch, but the options are limitless. Then, to really blow your mind, there is texture. Mince everything small and you have a blended salsa, puree it and you have a killer sauce for grilled chicken. Leave it super chunky and sprinkle it with tortilla chips and you have a great side salad. Add lettuce and grilled beef (sliced paper thin) and there’s a whole meal. I love meals like this.
This weekend felt like a holiday. We worked around the house and enjoyed the sun. Grilled on the deck and savored sweet cherries for dessert. Danced around the living room to Coldplay drums. Later, from our living room window we paused a movie to take in the second fireworks display of the holiday. Bedtime brought a book to bed with me. But, before long my eyes grew too heavy. Sleep came easy. A perfect ending to a perfect day to good to keep.
My faith in marriage has been rocked. Everything I believed in previously is a myth, a lie, a mirage set up to hurt and disappoint and destroy.
What do you do when you marry with the understanding, the trust that what you are doing is forever and suddenly you find out it has been one big, humongous lie? The house with the heavy mortgage is really built out of cards, not love. Suddenly there is a big bad wolf at your door ready to huff and puff and steal your happiness away. Your 9-5 to support your loved ones was a waste of time. Working hard for the failing.
They say hurtful things like I Never Loved You. I Used You. I Have Been Waiting For Someone Else. Someone Else. All This Time. Ten Years Means Nothing To Me. I Will Get The Kids And The House. Mine. All Mine. Head spinning. Heart in a tailspin. Is there any way to pull out of this freefall? Is there a way to snap out of this stunned disbelief and wake from the nightmare?
Friends shake their heads in shock. Didn’t see this coming we all mutter. Who sides with whom? Rumors of the evil kind circulate among the unkind. Cocaine. Cheating. The accusations are so outrageous how could anyone not see it coming? It’s just right there if you know where to look.
Kisa and I look at each other differently. That thing we argued about yesterday seems so petty today. We tiptoe around our relationship like it is a sleeping child. What we once considered a rock is now a wispy, translucent spider’s web. What we once took for granted is back in consideration. We are considerate. Nothing lasts forever.
There was a reason I stood behind my veil and shook like a leaf. There was a reason why I kept him waiting at the alter. Kept him waiting, but didn’t leave him. I waited for the nerves to calm, the strength of love to flood my veins. In light of recent developments I can’t help but be reminded of that day I almost said I don’t.
We say no one saw this coming. Doesn’t matter. We are all in still in shock.
Or are we?
- Tell Kyle
- Bring on the Rain
- Erina Rose
- Miss You
- Oh Nashville
- On Your Way Down
- Goodbye For the Last Time
- No Such Fairytale
- Hold Me
- Sonnet #30
There is something about outdoor music, especially when the weather is perfect and the bugs are held at bay. People pull out snacks, snap open lawn chairs and spread out blankets, complete with coolers and cameras. Laughter bounces off conversations and excitement mingles with anticipation. We are ready for music. The Soul of Me cd release party was like this – a combination of family and friends getting together like a gigantic gourmet picnic in the park and the thrill of new music. Hugging and catching up between sips of wine and bites of food. A backyard oasis of tiny white lights and chocolate covered strawberries. And That Voice.
The above setlist is not from the cd release party. I wasn’t willing to spend my time writing each song down… in the dying light and approaching dark. Instead, this is the track list for Rebecca’s new cd, Soul of Me. Rebecca sang all the songs except “No Such Fairytale” “Goodbye for the Last Time” and “Hold Me.” I was relieved she didn’t sing “Hold Me” because I was ripe for a good cry and I didn’t need to be turning on the waterworks at that particular time! She did throw in some extras like a cover mix, an oldie from Memories of Their Love and a little something about Gene Simmons in her grocery store…
Side story: When Rebecca introduced Chris from ‘The Everyday Visuals’ there was a moment of deja vu. How do I know you? Where do I know you from? Do I know you or is my mind playing tricks on me? As Chris began to sing and tell stories the nagging thought I had seen him before simply would not leave my mind. Turns out ‘The Everyday Visuals’ played in the Boston Pop’s cafe the same night Natalie played at Edgefest (the ticket to Natalie got you in to see ‘The Everyday Visuals’ as well). TEVs were the band I could have seen had my family been interested in a little more music after Natalie…
All in all it was a great night and I wish I could have stayed to see Rebecca’s after-show antics! Maybe next time.