I don’t know about you, but I’m stuffed.
This year I hosted my first Thanksgiving. My son is now 10 months old so I knew this would be a very special holiday season for me. He is just starting to venture into the world of table food. He loves to feed himself and try new things. I spent a lot of time reading cook books this past week planning the meal. I love reading cookbooks and planning out menus. It combines some of my favorite hobbies: cooking/food, reading and making lists. The menu I came up with included Goat Cheese Rosemary Toasts, cranberry nut rolls, roasted root vegetables with parmesan gremolata, caramelized shallot mashed potatoes, roasted turkey (of course), wild rice with butternut squash, and Cranberry Almond bundt cake…. as I said, I. am. stuffed.
This weekend I am also reading Anthony Bourdain’s follow-up to Kitchen Confidential: Medium Raw. I loved Kitchen Confidential when I read it years ago so just had to grab Medium Raw when I saw it on the NEW shelf at the library. I am about half way through the book so far. In this collection of essays Bourdain rants about everything from The Food Network, the effect of the recent economy on restaurants, celebrity chefs and more. Bourdain is his usual self, very raw (Medium Raw, you might say), honest, and entertaining. I am getting some good chuckles from Medium Raw so far and am enjoying it.
I hope to read another chapter/essay or so while the baby takes his afternoon nap.
Once I finish Medium Raw, I plan to start on One Day by David Nicholls.
What have you been eating and reading this weekend?
Since he was about 2 months old, my son has been going to my Sunday afternoon book club meetings with me. These happen about twice a month and B really seems to enjoy himself. I usually bring one of his soft cloth books or a board book so he can have a book too.
He is really quite the character and turns to look at whichever book club member is currently speaking and often speaks up to voice his own opinion.
I have a book club meeting today to discuss Her Fearful Symmetry (which I thought was kind of “meh”…I will get around to writing up a review later) but it looks like we might not be making it to book club. B woke up at 5:15 AM with a stuffy nose and a fever…and you don’t even want to know what was going on in his diaper…let’s just say I had to immediately start a load of laundry soon after.
So, I may just spend a quiet day at home today reading my current book, Animal’s People by Indra Sinha. This book came to my attention because it was included on the list of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die. This novel is set in India in a town where a chemical plant exploded and poisoned many of the town’s inhabitants. It is narrated by “Animal” who walks on all fours due to a twist in his spine that occurred at the time of the chemical disaster when he was around 4 or 5. In “present day” Animal is 19 years old and lives in the ruins of the old chemical factory. He makes his money by scamming others and running errands for the local resistance leader. He is smart young man with a skill for languages, particularly the vulgar kind. 😉
I am enjoying the book so far but it is definitely not one that I could read aloud to baby B or even discuss with him at a book club meeting. 🙂
What are you reading this weekend?
After a night out dining at The Savant Project, I woke up to the sound of raindrops on the skylight and rolled out of bed a little late (for me) this morning. A little late for me is 9 AM…I know….sad.
We toughed the rain and went to one of our favorite breakfast spots where I went the light route by just having a bowl of fresh fruit. After breakfast, we went to check out some appliances, fixtures, and tiles for our upcoming bathroom/laundry room project. I am thrilled that it is becoming more and more real. The contractor is stopping by next weekend to give us an updated estimate.
Now that my husband is off at work I am catching up on some emails and postings and also doing some spring cleaning. A bit later I plan on curling up and reading some more of my book club’s selection Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones. Mister Pip is the ideal escapist read for book lovers. In this novel, the residents of a tropical aisle are distracted from the war around them by reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. The book is a very quick read and I am tearing through it. If I ignore my housecleaning, I just may finish reading it today.
I started the day off by meeting with 6 others for some Dim Sum in Quincy. It has been a couple of years since I last had dim sum so I was looking forward to it. Some of our group were not the most adventurous eaters so we didn’t try that many dishes and walked out of there with a bill of only $30 and change. Pretty affordable! Next time, I will be taking my husband since he loves to join me on my dining adventures.
And now I am back in my cozy little house where I did a bit of work and then finished the last 40 pages of The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien. This was an odd little book that counts for two different reading challenges I am participating in: the LOST challenge (books referenced by the TV show) and the 1% Well Read Challenge (books from the 1001 list).
My next book that I will start reading later today is My Life in France by Julia Child. I checked this out of the library along with about 9 other books. Not to mention the 4 library books that I already had sitting at home. Yes, I have a book addiction. There is a slim chance that I will finish all of the books by the time they are due. But, seriously, why do I do this to myself?? I guess that I am just a life long overachiever… Too bad that I don’t always succeed.
The rest of the books I currently have checked out of the library are:
- Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
- The Quiet American by Graham Greene
- Travels with Alice by Calvin Trillin
- Candy and Me: A Love Story by Hilary Liftin
- That they may face the rising sunby John McGahern
- The Gastronomical Me by MFK Fisher
- In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster
- The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie
- The Spy Who Came in from the Coldby John Le Carre
- Slow Man by JM Coetzee
- Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
- In the Forest by Edna O’Brien
- Common Ground by J. Anthony Lukas
- Vanishing Point by David Markson
So what are you reading/doing today?
This is officially my 200th post on this blog. I started this blog late last summer as a way to keep track of my reading and cooking experiences. I’ve joined several online cooking groups as part of this blog and enjoy the challenge of trying my hand at new recipes. Some have been more successful than others. I also love discovering new books by reading other book blogs.
I especially love it when I get to combine my loves for cooking and reading by reading a book & cooking a dish inspired by it. I have to make an effort to do this more often.
As a nod to all things “hundred”, here’s my 100 all-time favorite reads (in alpha order by title):
- After the Quake by Haruki Murakami
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
- All Souls: A Family Story from Southie by Michael Patrick MacDonald
- All the Names by Jose Saramago
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
- Blindness by Jose Saramago
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
- Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America by Steve Almond
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
- Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
- Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
- Dance, Dance, Danceby Haruki Murakami
- Day by Elie Wiesel
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
- Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck
- Emma by Jane Austen
- Empire Falls by Richard Russo
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
- The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
- Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie McDonald
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
- A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
- Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
- Ghostwritten by David Mitchell
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
- The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami
- If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
- Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
- The Life Before Her Eyes by Laura Kasischke
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
- Love and Longing in Bombay by Vikram Chandra
- Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
- Middlemarch by George Eliot
- Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
- The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
- My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki
- The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
- Night by Elie Weisel
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
- Number 9 Dream by David Mitchell
- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
- The Omnivore’s Dilemna by Michael Pollan
- Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
- Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
- The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
- Snake Charmer by Sanjay Nigam
- The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Towards Perfection by Michael Ruhlman
- The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
- Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
- The Stand by Stephen King
- A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
- Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl
- Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Tess of the D’ubervilles by Thomas Hardy
- This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
- To Kill a Mockingbrid by Harper Lee
- Transplanted Man by Sanjay Nigam
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
- Watership Down by Richard Adams
- We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
- Wicked by Gregory Maguire
- A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami
- The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
- Wonder When You’ll Miss Me by Amanda Davis
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
Are any of these amongst your favorite reads?
So, after a several weeks of snow storm upon snow storm and day after day of below freezing temperatures, yesterday was a relatively balmy 45 degrees. And today it is supposed to reach 50 degrees. I sit hear listening to the sound of melted snow gurgling down the gutter drains from my roof. A couple of days ago, I actually saw a robin. This is WAY too early for robins to be back in this area. I hope he stays safe and warm. Perhaps he knows something that I don’t know.
I am inspired by the weather today to do some spring cleaning. I am totally ambitious and planning to:
- empty out and reorganize my kitchen cabinets
- reorganize my cook book shelf, which looks like it is about to explode
- put away the last of my Xmas decorations (I know, I know, what a slacker!)
- pack up clothes that I don’t wear anymore to give to charity
We’ll see how much of this I actually get done.
While cleaning, I can listen to a little more of my audio book. I am currently listening to T.C. Boyle’s Drop Cityon CD. I am almost halfway through. This is the longest audio book that I’ve listened to thus far…16 whole CD’s. I am on disk 8 and really liking it so far. The story takes place in the States during the time of the Vietnam War. A commune of hippies is forced by local authorities to pick up and leave California. They chose to relocate to Alaska…. and this is as far as I’ve gotten.
In the middle of this flurry of cleaning I will also start my book club book, The Monsters of Templeton. My book club meeting is on Wednesday and I haven’t started reading the book yet. I’ve heard great things about this book and it’s been on my to read list for awhile. Must.Finish.Book.Before.BookClub
How’s the weather where you’re at and what are your big plans for the day?
And so ends the first month of 2009. I read an interesting variety of books this month. I made a little bit of progress on my reading challenges. The list below links to my reviews. My favorite reads of the month were the first 2 that I read: Nights at the Circus and Supercapitalism. What were your favorite reads in January??
- Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
- Supercapitalism by Robert Reich
- Rasputin’s Daughter by Robert Alexander
- House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
- Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan
- Talking with My Mouth Full: Crab Cakes, Bundt Cakes and other Kitchen Stories by Bonny Wolf
- A Fortunate Age by Joanna Smith Rakoff
Reading Challenge Progress:
1% Well-Read Challenge
GOAL: read 10 books in 10 months from the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list
DEADLINE: February 28, 2009
COMPLETED SO FAR:
- Junky by William S. Burroughs — September ’08
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath — September ’08
- The Accidental by Ali Smith — October ’08
- Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons — October ’08
- Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami — October ’08
- A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka — October ’08
- Play It as It Lays by Joan Didion — November ’08
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain — November ’08
- The Music of Chance by Paul Auster — December ’08
- Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho — December ’08
- The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle — December ’08
- Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter — January ’09
- House of Mirth by Edith Wharton — January ’09
REMAINING: COMPLETED! –into bonus round: +3 books
Book Awards II Challenge
GOAL: read 10 award winning books in 10 months
DEADLINE: June 2009
COMPLETED SO FAR:
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman– September ’08 —WON: Hugo Award, Nebula Award and Bram Stoker Award
- The Accidental by Ali Smith — October ’08 — WON: Whitbread Prize for Best Novel
- Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons — October ’08 — WON: Hugo Award for Other Form
- Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami — October ’08 — WON: World Fantasy Award 2006
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz — November ’08 — WON: Pulitzer Prize 2008
- Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter — January ’09 — WON: James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction
REMAINING: 4 more books to read in 5 months
Well-Seasoned Reader Challenge
GOAL: read at least 3 books about food/cooking/travel/culture
DEADLINE: March 2009
COMPLETED SO FAR:
- Talking with My Mouth Full: Crab Cakes, Bundt Cakes and other Kitchen Stories by Bonny Wolf — January ’09
REMAINING: 2 more books to read in 2 months
LOST Books Challenge
GOAL: read 5 books mentioned or alluded to on the show LOST
DEADLINE: 2010 (series finale)
COMPLETED SO FAR: none 😦
REMAINING: 5 more books to read in 1 year +