Recent Reads: Magazines

garden projects.jpgI read a lot of magazines. They’re kind of perfect Image result for the atlantic coverfor reading with meals. I usually have my breakfast alone, and it’s nice to have something to look at. I can’t read books at meals – the book doesn’t stay open, it takes too much culture.jpgconcentration to manage the pages and breakfast and keeping track of the story. Magazines don’t take nearly as much effort for me while I’m eating.

I subscribe to a small handful of magazines, and get the rest at thrift stores and from friends. Sometimes I’ll trade out magazines in a waiting room (I usually check with the front desk first). Most of f&w.jpgthe stuff I like to read, it’s not time-sensitive like news is, so it doesn’t matter if I find copies that are a year or three old. I’ve tried putting them out in the Little interweave.jpgFree Library with mixed results – sometimes they’ll sit inside for weeks before I finally toss them. Other times, they disappear in a day or two. Once in a while, the magazines disappeared – along with everything else in the LFL!

I do prefer hard-copy magazines. Sometimes I’ll tear out pages to save (I don’t usually put them in the LFL or waiting rooms in that case). Hard-copy magazines are easier on my bust.jpgeyes. I get frustrated easily with trying to maneuver within online magazines. And, as with books, I like the feel of the pages in my hands.

My favorites related to food/cooking, making stuff Image result for oregon humanities cover(especially crochet and a few other crafts), gardening/homesteading, science, literary arts, world news, and local reporting. I’ll occasionally read lifestyle magazines too, if they’re available for really cheap or free – I do sometimes like reading O and Martha Stewart Living and GQ.

What kind of magazines do you like to read?

 

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Recent Reads

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Seventeenth Century Prose and Poetry, selected and edited by Witherspoon and Warnke – I think this is the only college textbook I still own. Turns out, I’m rather fond of some of the metaphysical and cavalier poets of 17th century England. One of my absolute favorite poets is Robert Herrick (up there with Edward Lear, Ogden Nash, Shel Silverstein & Emily Dickinson). In addition to these lovely poems, you might also check out this rather smutty one.

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How to Be a Better Foodie: A Bulging Little Book for the Truly Epicurious, by Sudi Pigott – It’s kind of fun in a surface-of-the-topic way. Lots of little info and details about different foods, cuisines, food traditions and more. Not terribly helpful on the How To part unless you’re absolutely brand-new to the idea of being a Foodie.

 

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Sweet Shoes for Wee Ones, by Kristi Simpson for Annie’s Crochet – not all reading is about books!  I mostly crochet squares for washcloths and blankets, and the occasional circle/tube for hats. I haven’t done a lot with shaping (aside from a couple of stuffed elephants and a misguided series of little vegetable-shaped bags). I recently got the urge to make some baby shower presents. So far, I’ve made two pair of one pattern – not terribly difficult, and the booties are so cute!

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Image result for bear in underwearBear in Underwear, by Todd H. Doodle – I found this book in the LFL a while back. So much fun! Terribly goofy! I took it to work and left it on my desk for a couple of weeks. Some of my co-workers got a big kick out of it. (some not quite as much…)  It’s a bit on the long side, but I may have to put together a unit on this for my kids at work.

 

Recent Reads

Books I’ve recently read ~

Image result for eat what you watch bookEat What You Watch: A Cookbook for Movie Lovers, by Andrew Rea – from the Binging With Babish

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Movie Night Menus, by Tenaya Darlington and Andre Darlington

Sometimes when we watch a movie atImage result for movie night menus book home or with friends, we’ll try to pair food with it somehow. We watched a good share of the series Babylon 5 with friends, and did a fair job either sharing a dish from the movie or at least tying our food to the episode through some sort of pun. I’ve recently started a Short Story and Movie Night social group – everyone reads the short story ahead of time, then we all watch the movie based on that story together. We talk about what we liked and didn’t like of each, we compare and contrast the story and movie, and we’re generally just having a good time hanging out.

 

Image result for just my type simon garfieldJust My Type, by Simon Garfield – I love books about stuff, written for the Everyperson. I have a mild interest in design and typography, so this seemed like a great book for me. Turns out, I could have used about 100 fewer pages. Each chapter is basically about one font and its history, and how it’s related to a few others, how it developed over time, a bit about the person/people who developed it, other things going on during that period that may have contributed, and so forth. After about 8 chapters, though, it just got to be too much for me. As much as I liked it, I just couldn’t finish it.

 

Side note: Every time I saw the cover on my nightstand or even thought about the book, I could hear this song in my head:

Recent Reads

Some books I’ve recently read: The Kitchen Edition!

Image result for comfort in an instantComfort in an Instant, by Melissa Clark.  “75 comfort food recipes for your pressure cooker, multicooker, + instant pot”  There is some great advice on getting the most out of your pressure cooker/Instant Pot, especially for those of us who didn’t grow up with a pressure cooker in the house. If you’re determined to use your Instant Pot for as many things as possible, or you have a hard time coming up with ideas on your own for dinner, or you absolutely need recipes for cooking, this might be the book for you. If you’ve got any real fundamental idea about how most foods should be cooked in order to get the right flavors and textures from them, I’m not sure you’d want this book. I have yet to have anyone convince me that spaghetti and meatballs should be made in a Crockpot or an Instant Pot. The tomato sauce, perhaps. But the meatballs? The noodles? Seriously? Also, there’s nearly no reason to make oatmeal in a slow cooker, other than to free up a burner on your stove. Oh sure, it can cook overnight, hands-off. I’ve tried it. My Crockpot has hot spots – just like yours, I guarantee it. And unless you like watery oatmeal, it cooks up thick enough you’ll find out where your Crockpot’s hot spots are too. Just because you *can* make a dish in a Crockpot or Instant Pot doesn’t mean you *should*.

The One-Bottle Cocktail, by Maggie Hoffman. This one Image result for the one bottle cocktailwas a lot more interesting. Tons of cocktail recipes involving only one main alcohol – no Long Island Iced Teas in here. On the other hand, Hoffman shares recipes with some really interesting ingredient lists – fruits and herbs and bitters you may not have had before or even seen anywhere else. “One-Bottle” cocktails are not necessarily simple or boring – most of the drinks in this book have complex if not elaborate flavors. The photography is stunning too – the book is worth reading for the drink photos alone.

Follow-up on a Recent Read

A couple of months ago, I posted a Recent Reads about “Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking”, by Bonnie Frumkin Morales with Deena Prichep. At the time, I’d only heard of the restaurant. I’ve now been!  My sweetie won two tickets for a fancy tasting menu at Kachka, seven courses each paired with an alcoholic beverage. It was pretty amazing. While not a formal restaurant we decided to dress up a little bit anyway. I bought a copy of the book shortly before we went and took it with us.

Image may contain: people sittingFirst course – housemade pickles, including the green tomato pickles in the cookbook. The ones that the whole family makes, once a year. Served with a horseradish vodka. The best part of the whole dinner? The little story that went with each dish and with each drink – where it’s from, what inspired it, why it’s important enough to Chef Bonnie and her husband Israel to have included it in their menu. kachka signed.jpg

We got to meet both Bonnie and Israel. AND! They both signed my cookbook! I suspect, based on their surprise at my request, that no one outside their friends-&-family circle has asked them to do this before. Some people get novels and non-fiction signed by authors. I get my cookbooks signed when I can!

 

Recent Reads

Books I’ve recently read

Image result for midwinter blood mons kallentoftMidwinter Blood, by Mons Kallentoft – this one was a slog for me. I love murder mysteries and detective novels. This was definitely not one of my favorites. I’ll try another Swedish novel or two, by a different author, before I give up on Nordic Noir. I do have Wallender on my list of Stuff To Read Someday. This book was just unsatisfying for me.

 

 

Image result for harriet gets carried awayHarriet Gets Carried Away, by Jesse Sima – We found this in the gift shop at the end of our trip to see Zoolights. I’m totally loving it! I also discovered this is the same author who did Not Quite Narwhal, a household favorite!

 

 

 

 

year of the jungle.jpgYear of the Jungle, by Suzanne Collins – This is a recently published book about the author’s life in 1968, when she was a little girl and her father was deployed to Vietnam. It’s very much a young children’s book, and is beautifully done. And for a family in a similar situation, it would be easy enough to substitute the name of the appropriate country, substitute a few other key words and some photos. For some other resources for supporting children and their family’s participation in it, you might check out the Sesame Street/USO project for Military Families, Operation We Are Here, and Everyone Serves.

princess or dragon.jpgWould You Rather Be a Princess or a Dragon?, by Barney Saltzberg – This is a rather silly question. Who wouldn’t want to be both? While this book could have been a little more solid on this point, it does get there eventually. Very cute illustrations, good back and forth on how Princesses *can* be different from Dragons (though I’ve seen far more overlap!). Fortunately, this decision doesn’t stop when you grow up – I’m currently living my best Princess/Dragon life!

 

Recent Reads

Books I’ve recently read

Image result for make me lee childMake Me, by Lee Child – I’m a big fan of action books, especially spy/thrillers and police procedurals, and I’m really liking Child’s writing. I’ve read a lot of those, and I’ll freely admit I had not guessed the twist. Looking forward to more of his work.

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Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris – I’ve had this book on my shelf for 20 years, and I finally got around to reading it. In fact, I ended up staying up late reading it without realizing it. I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch the movie – I’m an anti-fan of gross-outs and slashers, so it’ll depend a lot on how the moviemakers decided to handle it. Seriously considering reading the third novel in the set, Manhunter.

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A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway – How is it possible, that as an English major, I never read any Hemingway? Maybe one short story. Possibly. But nothing else?  I found this one at the Little Library in one of the grocery stores I frequent and thought what the heck. Apparently I’d misunderstood all the descriptions of his writing I’d seen, too. While he uses fairly spare vocabulary, his sentences and messages are anything but. I find I can only read a short bit before having to stop and take a break from his writing style, but that’s okay. I usually have a couple of books going at once anyway. It’s especially interesting to read right now, having been to Paris this summer. He writes of the Jardin du Luxembourg, and we walked all through it; he strolls along the Boulevard St. Michel, and we walked up and down it, watching the boats on the Seine. In addition to being an interesting recount of his time there – spent with authors I’m familiar with too – t’s an especially nice reminder of that trip.Image result for serenity the shepherd's tale

Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale – I can’t remember where I got this one. Maybe from a friend who went to a Comic Con, maybe from Michael’s Firefly Loot Crate. It took me a bit to adapt to the narrative style, and I don’t know that it actually answered any of the questions I’d had about this character from Firefly, but it was a good read and did provide some interesting info on his backstory. Plus it was a good reminder to find some more graphic novels.

Image result for lab girl hope jahrenLab Girl, by Hope Jahren – autobiography/memoir of Dr. Hope Jahren, geochemist & geobiologist that’s as much memoir as it is some of the best scientific writing for the layperson I’ve seen in a while. Wikipedia says this better than I can:

Jahren is an advocate for raising public awareness of science and has been working to lift the stereotype surrounding women and girls in science. One such example included the repurposing of the Twitter hashtag#ManicureMondays.  Seventeen magazine originally came up with the hashtag, but focused mainly on manicured and painted fingernails. Subsequently, Jahren encouraged fellow scientists, specifically girls, to tweet pictures of their hands conducting scientific experiments. The idea behind this was to raise awareness of scientific research and to increase the profile of women working in science.

Jahren has also written compellingly about the sexual harassment of women in science. She recommends that people draw strong professional boundaries, and that they carefully document what occurs, beginning with the first occasion of harassment.

Anyone who’s been read the “About” link on this site or my Recent Reads posts will know I’m a fan of biographies. This book did not disappoint. She writes about the best parts, the worst parts, and all the realities along the spectrum, of being a woman in the self-perpetuating male-dominated world of science, as well as how this country supports (not) and values (not) science, especially when there’s no sellable or weaponizable product to show for the work put in.

 

What are you reading these days? What do you think of it?

Recent Reads

Books I’ve read recently.  All non-fiction this time.

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Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking, by Bonnie Frumkin Morales with Deena Prichep

I haven’t been to this restaurant yet, but I’ve heard a lot about it. I stumbled across this book on a “featured books” shelf at the library, and decided to check it out. Russian cuisine is one of my least-researched modern cuisines, and one of the more interesting to me, especially how it overlaps with European and Asian cuisines, along with being steadfastly its own.

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The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees, by Joseph S. Wilson and Olivia Messinger Carril

A fantastic reference on bees, with beautiful photography, extensive comparisons & contrasts with similar-looking insects such as wasps and flies, and fabulous descriptions of each of the subspecies of bees. This one was from the library – I may have to buy a copy, so we can start learning the bees in our yard.

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Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, by Mark Kurlansky

I kind of love Mark Kurlansky’s writing. I’ve also read Salt: A World History and The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell. I’m a huge fan of teaching through food – everyone can related to food on some level or another. Kurlansky weaves economics, geography, geology, history, culture, language, and pretty much every other possible study together, using a single a single food item as the focal point. I’m very much looking forward to finding Milk: A 10,000 year Food Fracas.

Recent Reads

Books I’ve read recently – Children’s books!

I was at the library the other day, waiting on meeting some folks, and got to looking through the children’s section. I work with preschoolers and their parents, so some of it is about finding books for work, and some of it is because I just plain like picture books.

Image result for the cat the dog little red the exploding eggs the wolf and grandmaThe Cat, The Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, The Wolf, and Grandma, by Diane and Christyan Fox

Not so much a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood as more of a meta-telling of it. Cat tries to share one of his favorite books with Dog, who has an entirely different attention span. Probably best for K-3rd grade, better if they are already familiar with Little Red Riding Hood. Cute artwork.

 

 

Image result for this monster cannot wait imageThis Monster Cannot Wait, by Bethany Barton

Monster has a super-hard time waiting. He’s *so* excited about going camping, but the camping trip isn’t for another 5 days – forever! Monster’s parents try a variety of strategies to help Monster learn to wait. Finally, he stumbles on one himself. I’d hoped this would be a good book for actually working on patience with some of my small work friends. While it’s about patience, there isn’t really much in here geared towards the actual teaching of it, especially for a preschooler. Pre-Ks might like the story and artwork nonetheless – it’s a fun read. It might be a useful adjunct for a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grader whose family and/or teacher is already using some strategies for working on patience. In which case, this could be a good book for prompting conversation about some strategies the kiddo has been learning, and whether and how Monster might be able to use them. This book is one of a series of books about Monster. It is a fun story all on its own, and your little monster might enjoy it.

Image result for otter and odder imageOtter and Odder: A Love Story, by James Howe

Otter falls in love with a fish. Which doesn’t seem so strange, on the surface, but he comes to realize “I am in love with my food source”. Yes, that’s an actual quote. And the other otters make sure Otter knows how odd this really is. Fish (whom Otter believes is named Myrtle) returns his love – after going through what sounds like some of the same emotions as someone who has been kidnapped. “As for Myrtle, her first desire was: Please don’t eat me.”  I had a *really* hard time with this book. I’m all for books about falling in love with someone your family doesn’t approve of, and the love working out (for whatever value of “working out” is still safe/respectful of the participants). But in love with your “food source”? How in the world does one work with that? The author has Otter eat tree bark and other plant life. Otters are meat eaters! How’s that going to work?

Myrtle’s initial abused-partner-just-trying-to-survive reaction giving way to what I can only imagine as some sort of Stockholm Syndrome somehow magically blossoming into True Love kinda freaks me out in a picture book meant for elementary school kids. I’m all for unlikely pairs becoming friends. I’m cool with them falling in love. But this plot was too much for me.

Image result for green lizards vs red rectanglesGreen Lizards vs Red Rectangles, by Steve Antony

Another one I just didn’t get. The Green Lizards and the Red Rectangles are at war. No idea why. No idea how they are battling, except that occasionally some rectangles fall on the lizards, and some lizards knock over some rectangles. Then out of nowhere, a small faction from each side decides it’s time to end the war. No idea why. And they end the war and live happily and peacefully ever after. No idea why.

 

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Poor Louie, by Tony Fucile

Louie is his people’s only baby, pampered and just a bit spoiled – all in the best ways. Until another baby comes along. Louie is so sure his way of life will end that he plans to run away. Fortunately, everything turns out okay.

 

 

 

Image result for the bus ride marianne dubucThe Bus Ride, by Marianne Dubuc

Another retelling of sorts of Little Red Riding Hood. The reference is subtle enough that you might miss it. This is the little girl’s first bus ride all by herself. She talks herself through her brief concerns and many observations. Lots of little jokes and gags throughout. This is a great book about riding the bus and about observing and interacting as well.

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Toilet: How It Works, by David Macaulay

While this one is a picture book, it’s definitely aimed at a slightly older crowd than the other books I read, maybe 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th grade, depending on your reader. If you’re trying to get a young reader interested in reading non-fiction, this might just be the way to do it. What kid isn’t fascinated with bodily functions, especially functions normally deemed socially unacceptable to talk about! A bit wordy for a beginning reader, but definitely a topic that will engage.

Recent Reads

Books I’ve read recently

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Hey! It’s that Guy!: The Fametracker.com Guide to Character Actors, by Tara Ariano and Adam Sternbergh – One of my minor superpowers is being able to link That Guy in the movie/TV show we’re watching with either the actor’s name or at least one other film or TV show the actor’s appeared in. Which is kind of amazing, given how few films I’ve actually seen. I saw this book at Goodwill and decided I wanted to read through it and up my game. I was a little disappointed by how few women overall and men of color were in it (no Margo Martindale, Beth Gant, Lilli Taylor, Tonye Patano, Fadwa El Guindi, Brian George, Adam Beach, Wes Studi, Daryll Mitchell, or BD Wong), but then that right there makes this book a reasonable reflection of Hollywood’s hiring practices overall. This book is a great place to start if you’re into movies and haven’t really thought much about the second- and third-banana actors in them.

Image result for girl interrupted book Girl, Interrupted, by Susanna Kaysen – I had a hard time getting into this. I’d heard it was such a great book, such a great movie. As I read it, I kept waiting for the Great to happen. I don’t necessarily mind the non-linear storytelling, but I had a hard time ‘hanging my hat’ on why she was really there in the first place, why she was subsequently released, and why telling this story was important (to her or to her readers). I thought it might just have been me, but my husband read it as well, and thought exactly the same thing.

Image result for little free library bookLittle Free Library: Take a Book, Share a Book, by Margaret Aldrich – Again, I found the writing less engaging than I’d hoped. Lots of good info on the Little Free Library movement/phenomenon. Some neat little projects towards the end. Some lovely sidebars about specific LFLs and some interviews with certain Stewards. I was disappointed repeatedly in the main text, though, when the author would describe some neat things people were doing with LFLs in their community, and there would be pictures of LFLs, but they didn’t go together at all. I wanna see pictures of the people and LFLs you’re describing!  I’d recommend it to someone who wanted to know more about the LFL project, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it otherwise.

What are you reading these days? Seriously – I want to know!