alg: (Default)
Yesterday I acquired rhubarb, and last night I chopped it up -- most of it went into the freezer to store while I wait for my pectin to arrive. (Mail ordering pectin. I can't believe it's come to this, that grocery stores no longer stock it. What a world.) I took this opportunity to practice my brunoise skill. Brunoise is a type of cut -- first you julienne whatever you're cutting, which means to cut it into sticks that are 1mm x 1mm. This itself is incredibly difficult. Then, to brunoise, you cut the sticks into a cube that is 1mm square.

I am not very good at this, but it's fun to practice. (It is fun for me any time I get to wield a sharp knife and chop things.)

Some of the rhubarb indeed went into the freezer to await the pectin that will turn it into jam (well, strawberries will also be involved); the rest of it, though, went into a bowl with cornstarch and sugar and powdered ginger, and was baked into Smitten Kitchen's rhubarb coffee cake, which was a big hit when I served it to guests this morning. That recipe calls for the rhubarb to be cut into 1" slices -- but I did that when I made this recipe for my birthday, and found that such large pieces of rhubarb stay too tart/sour, and get a little too stringy and slimy for my taste. The rhubarb I cut into an imperfect brunoise was exactly right, though -- a little tart, a little sweet, not at all stringy or slimy. Highly recommended.

Day 27 - If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!

This might be my favorite prompt in the whole meme. Here are things I love in books:
  • Lesbian detectives! Bonus points if she falls in love with a reformed criminal (a la fandom's version of White Collar). (Oh, gosh, if White Collar was about a lesbian FBI agent with a significant other and they ended up in a poly relationship with a female con artist, I would... well, I'd be thrilled, but also shocked as hell, since that would never end up on TV!)
  • Mossad agents. Bonus points if they are hunting down Nazi WWII criminals.
  • CIA agents. Bonus points if they team up with the Mossad to hunt down Nazi WWII criminals. (Triple bonus points if the CIA agent and the Mossad agent are lesbians who fall in love.)
  • Diners. I love diners. I want every book to be set in a diner. Okay, maybe not every book -- but I will definitely pick up almost any book if the main character owns a diner, works in a diner, or frequents a diner so often it's mentioned in the cover copy. (A million bonus points if the book is about a lesbian CIA agent and a lesbian Mossad agent who fall in love while catching Nazi criminals while... running a diner? Perhaps time travel is involved so there can be a WWII setting...)

Okay, looking at this list, I realize it is much more of a wish list than a list of things that books I've read have actually contained/been about. I mean, I have never read a book with a lesbian CIA or Mossad agent, much less one in which they fall in love while running a diner and hunting Nazi criminals. If you have, please share the title!

So here's a new, real list:

  • YA set during WWII. I read a lot of this when I was growing up, thanks to the huge library at my shul. My favorites in this genre include:

  • Books with diners in them. Seriously! Like Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen -- or, oh! Salt and Silver by Anna Katherine!! (Haha.) (But seriously.)

  • Secret agents. CIA, FBI, Secret Service, Mossad, MI5, MI6, I don't care. Give me a secret agent -- particularly with a romance. I'll read action-adventure books, too, but I am much more discriminating about the action-adventure/espionage books than I am about romance novels. I will read any romance novel with a secret agent romance, especially if the romance is cross-agency or happens on a mission. My favorite is probably All the Queen's Men by Linda Howard -- yes, please! Or Shining Through by Susan Isaacs, which incorporates many of my favorite things, including spies, fighting Nazis, a WWII setting, and a heroine from New York City. Thumbs up! I actually read Shining Through at least four times when I was nine years old. It is very important that neither of the secret agents die at the end of the book, and that they do end up together, not fighting or betraying each other! They don't need to get that "traditional romance novel happily ever after" (which I often loathe anyway!) -- I just want them to be semi-committed to a relationship (polyamorous is fine, monogamy not required!) with each other and not be killing each other or killed themselves. You see? I don't want a lot!

  • Dystopia. Although... I am not sure this really belongs here. I will read any fanfic that has a dystopian setting (especially if it's set in the near-future or in the present with a slightly alternate history), and I will watch any dystopian TV show for at least a few episodes, but those, to me, require less of an investment than novels. And dystopian novels, as we all know, can be very very very awful. So I am partial to dystopian novels, but I will not read just any dystopian novel. However, obviously, if you write a dystopian novel about a lesbian Mossad agent fighting Nazis and falling in love with a lesbian CIA agent whilst running or spending a lot of time in a diner, I will absolutely read it with no hesitation.

Your turn! What gets you going every time? Any book recommendations for me?

Other days of the book meme )
alg: (Default)
I am watching Nigella make "turkish delight syllabub" -- sugar, Cointreau, lemon juice, cream, orange flower water, and rose water -- which she dollops into glasses and tops with pistachio nuts. I can't decide if I think it would be absolutely delicious, or terribly gross.

Day 20 - Favorite kiss

Okay, my favorite kiss from any book ever is a very specific kiss from After the Night by Linda Howard. I did some double checking, and this book, like Shades of Twilight, came out when I was fifteen (and was just reprinted in 1997, hence my earlier confusion). After the Night is about a woman who, as a young girl, was run out of town (with her family) by the adult man she had a crush on, who was the son of the man her mother was having an affair with. Years later, she decides she wants to move back to that small town -- which, frankly, is never quite explained to my satisfaction, since she never liked anyone there and they never liked her, but when I was fifteen, I hand-waved it -- and she keeps running into that guy, and, of course, because this is a romance novel, they fall into tragic love that nevertheless gets a very satisfying happily ever after.

Before they fall in love, back when he just wants to nail her, they run into each other in New Orleans and he follows her back to her car and grabs her and kisses her.

I found this very thrilling when I was fifteen -- although, to be honest, if the dude who ran my family out of town when I was a kid grabbed me and kissed me on the street, I would be furious, and probably punch him in the face; I mean, I am pretty hard-pressed to think of anyone who I'd let kiss me in the middle of the street, much less someone who I don't like, who is trying to run me out of town again, you know? But that is why this is a romance novel and not real life, which I keep reminding myself!

Anyway, it is page 137 - 138 (although if you own the book, I bet you know exactly what I am talking about!), and it turns out that she not only accepts his kiss, but passionately kisses him back, and they make out on the street until the thunder knocks them out of their little bubble, and then -- well, then she's furious! And she gets soaking wet from the pouring rain, and says in a rough, low voice, "Don't touch me again."

Oh, it is so hot. Or, rather, it was the hottest kiss I'd ever read when I was fifteen, and it pretty much remains the hottest kiss due to being both hot even now and hot in my memory!

(If it sounds like the kind of book you like to read -- and it is definitely the kind of book I like to read sometimes -- then I recommend buying it. Otherwise, if you "search inside this book" on Amazon, you can read the kiss scene; it's the first result when you search for "thunder."

I should warn you that it's sort of creepy -- although in my opinion that kind of adds to the hotness value, since it's fiction. I have complicated emotional, social, and political ideas about this, honestly, but it boils down to still finding this book really satisfying and hot.)

So that's me. What about you all? Hold me, thrill me, kiss me, link me!

Other days of the book meme )
alg: (Default)
Yesterday's busy day involved family, shopping, and New Jersey. Oh, and getting a haircut. I went to my mom's hairdresser, who she's been going to for at least fifteen years at this point. I just needed a trim, to get rid of some terrible split ends, but she also thinned my hair and gave me a couple of layers. This is awesome, because it means I can pull my hair back into a ponytail without having to worry about the heaviness of it giving me a headache. Layers and thinning also means that my curls are back! Yay curls! Here's a picture.

Of course, being out all day yesterday and the day before means that I am working all day today and tomorrow! Today's an editing day, and tomorrow's a writing day.

Day 04 - Your favorite book or series ever

Well, my favorite book has been, for a long time, A Paradigm of Earth by Candas Jane Dorsey. (Which is not to say that it is not flawed -- for some people those flaws would be unforgivable, but not me. Not this time.)

There was a very long time when my favorite author was Linda Howard. I had all of her books, and when she started coming out in hardcover, I started buying her in hardcover. Not anymore -- she's not writing the same type of book she was writing then. I loved Now You See Her, and Dream Man, and Kill and Tell, and All the Queen's Men, and After the Night. And who can forget the totally epic Son of the Morning? Not me!

A lot of people make fun of Shades of Twilight -- and, yeah, it's a really ridiculous book on a lot of levels. But I read it when I was seventeen (honestly, I would've sworn it came out much much earlier -- like, 1996 -- but Amazon says September 1997), and it was the first time I'd ever read a book -- much less a book geared toward adults -- in which the protagonist was anorexic. Deep, instant kinship. That was actually the first Linda Howard single title (for you non-romance people, a "single title" in romance is a book that is not published in a Harlequin series -- which refers not to a series of books, but to Harlequin's imprints, like Nocturne, Intrigue, or Superromance) I ever read, and it started my obsession with Linda Howard.

But nowadays? Nowadays I don't even know. I went back and read all the Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House" books in order, and was a little taken aback by all the racism in them that had gone right over my head as a little kid -- and now I can't even think about them without getting pretty riled up about it. Trying to reread C. S. Lewis or Madeleine L'Engle is a lost cause -- the religious overtones that didn't bother me as a kid irk me quite a bit now. And even though I still love the Kay Scarpetta books -- and L. Frank Baum's Oz books -- they were never my favorites.

I guess I have to go with the Anne books. I have probably read the first four Anne books more than any other books I own. Each. Anne of Green Gables is a total comfort book for me. Anne of Avonlea is hilarious. Anne of the Island is captivating. And Anne of Windy Poplars is another comfort book for me. I've actually read it more than the others -- for a while, I carried it around with me so I could read it whenever I wanted, and then for a long time I kept it in the bathroom.

Laugh if you want, but some people are bathroom readers and some are not! My family has always had mini-libraries in our bathrooms; when I lived in north Brooklyn, I had an actual bookcase in the bathroom, with five shelves all packed full of books. Most of which had been dropped into the bathtub a time or two -- I'd like to see you do that with a Kindle!

The first three Anne books are available at Project Gutenberg, along with a bunch of L.M. Montgomery's other work, although I should probably admit that I have three hardcopies of Anne of Green Gables in my bedroom right now. Two old paperbacks, and one a glossy, beautiful hardcover of The Annotated Anne of Green Gables, which is awesome.

As usual, if you're doing the book meme (or you just want to talk about your favorite book or series!), free to either comment on this entry with your answers, or link to a post you make to your own blog/journal.

Other days of the book meme )
alg: (Default)
Day 01 - A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)

I can't think of a series I wish had gone on longer -- I've read a lot of series that lasted past their prime. Here I'm thinking of Pern, which I read and loved when I was, you know, 12. I'm thinking of Anita Blake, which should have ended after book eight (Obsidian Butterfly, which I thought was a pretty good book -- but most of the others are not). I'm thinking of the Bones books by Reichs, which I enjoy, but lately I'm not feeling it -- the newer books are much less engaging than the older ones.

And, you know, I love the Anne of Green Gables books -- but even House of Dreams was a little too much. I want more Anne and more Anne and more Anne, but Anne of Ingleside? Rainbow Valley? The Blythes Are Quoted???!! Enough already! (I do admit to dearly loving Anne of Windy Poplars, written around the same time as the others listed above, but still.) On the other hand, I am sure L.M. Montgomery made enough money from these books to live a comfortable life, which I would never begrudge her, even if I loathe where she took the canon. So!

(I read somewhere, when I was younger, that Montgomery ended up really hating the Anne books, but her publisher and audience demanded them, which is why she wrote so many more, and about Anne's children, and the short story collections. I can't find a citation for that, though... but it's never far from my mind when I think about the Anne books.)

There are a lot of books that aren't in series that I want more of -- I want to know what happens next. For, like, fifteen years already, I've been wondering what happens after Dream Man by Linda Howard -- I think if it had been written nowadays, it would probably spin off into a series of psychic crime-solving novels! I've also always wanted to know what happened after A Paradigm of Earth by Candas Jane Dorsey -- not from the human perspective, but from the alien perspective!

Okay, now you! Feel free to either comment on this entry with your answers, or link to a post you make to your own blog/journal.

Other days of the book meme )


alg: (Default)
anna genoese

November 2015

15 161718192021


RSS Atom

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags