Thursday, November 23, 2017

Links and Stuff: November 23, 2017


Happy Thanksgiving! 
I wish you a day full of warmth, gratitude, and cozy reading time.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Book 26: The Fever

TITLE: The Fever
AUTHOR: Megan Abbott
STARTED: October 21, 2017
FINISHED: October 22, 107
PAGES: 303
GENRE: Young Adult

FIRST SENTENCE: The first time, you can't believe how much it hurts.

SUMMARY: [From BN] In this impossible-to-put-down "panic attack of a novel," a small-town high school becomes the breeding ground for a mysterious illness. Deenie Nash is a diligent student with a close-knit family; her brother Eli is a hockey star and her father is a popular teacher. But when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class, the Nashes' seeming stability dissolves into chaos. As rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through school, and hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families, and the town's fragile sense of security.

THOUGHTS: I don't know what I was expecting with this book, but it wasn't this. I very much enjoyed Abbott's book You Will Know Me, and I think I was expecting something of the same. The basics are there (good characters, well-paced writing, interesting plot) but this title just didn't hit the spot for me. It was a good story in the moment, but nothing about the book has stuck with me. If anything, I remember it as being a touch formulaic for a young adult mystery. There is nothing bad about this book, it just turned out to be a meh kind of read for me in retrospect.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Sunday, November 19, 2017

What I Read This Week: November 19, 2017

All I wanted to do this week was sleep. Well, sleep and continue to figure out what random things I can cut out of my daily life. I deleted yet more blogs from my reader, unsubscribed from several email newsletters, and started thinking about what to weed from my stuff during my annual holiday apartment purge. I've been on this kick to simplify things so that I can focus on the new things that matter in my life. So, lots of purging... but lots of yawning as well. I was in bed before 10:30pm most nights. I blame the time change.

In other news, The Husband and I flew to his folks place in Texas yesterday for the Thanksgiving holiday. We're going zip-lining today. Wheeeeeeee!

  • Work
    • College and Research Libraries News, October 2017 - Meh. There was really nothing in this issue that caught my eye.
    • College and Research Libraries News, November 2017 - Now this is more like it! This was a great issue. I particularly liked the two stories that focused on fake news. I also though the piece on how to have better signage was quite relevant to my needs. Our library is constantly looking for a way to make our signage more useful. We may have to try a few of these ideas.
    • American Libraries, November/December 2017 - In a timely piece, there was a brief article about how to protect library staff from sexual harassment by patrons. Another piece discussed the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma had on libraries. People always come first, but people also need to community place to turn to when things are bad. Libraries struggle to get back up and running to offer services to patrons who desperately need access to facilities that help them apply to federal recovery programs, call their insurance companies, etc.... and there's always mold. I loved that the article listed a few ways you can help (hint... don't send books). Finally, the cover story on the badass librarians of Jeopardy was just awesome. There is a reason you always want a librarian on your bar trivia team.
  • Magazines
    • Cooking Light, November 2017 - Thanksgiving issues of food magazines are my favorite. Thanksgiving issues that also happen to be anniversary issues are even better! This was a fantastic read. I loved the section that showcased the most highly rated recipes in the magazines history. I also loved the healthy eating tips. But, most of all, I loved the section devoted to Thanksgiving sides. Turkey is good, but I adore the sides. I've been known to make leftover plates composed of nothing but sides. (I can't wait for Thursday...)
    • Cooking Light, December 2017 - I was hoping for more cookie recipes (I'm looking to change things up a bit) but this was, nontheless, a good issue. I greatly enjoyed the gift guide that mixed homemade recipes with other, commercial purchases. This issue also included a list of giftable cookbooks. Finally, I loved the feature store on recipes with roots. Each recipe came with a family history and fun facts. It was great to see what each meal item meant to the author. 
    • National Geographic, November 2017 - The cover story about happiness was nice, but I preferred reading the feature story on why vaccines matter. There might be a (stupid) debate in this country about the value of vaccines, but other, more needy nations around the world understand their importance. This article showcases just why medical science is important, needs to be followed, and worth sharing around the world. Finally, I also really liked the story that followed an expedition as they mapped the Okavango delta.
  • Books
    • While we are in Texas for Thanksgiving, I am going to try my hardest to finish reading Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay. I've already given my mother-in-law the first two books in the series, but I want to finish book three before we leave. I don't know if I'll succeed, but the plane ride here helped me put a dent in the book.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Book 25: The Geometry of Pasta

TITLE: The Geometry of Pasta
AUTHOR: Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kenedy
STARTED: October 21, 2017
FINISHED: October 21, 2017
PAGES: 288
GENRE: Cookbook

FIRST SENTENCE: This book was not my idea, although I would be so very proud if it were.

SUMMARY: [From BN] Wheels and tubes, twists and folds and grooves—pasta comes in hundreds of shapes, each with its own unique history, beauty, and place on the dinner table. For centuries these shapes have evolved alongside Italy’s cornucopia of local ingredients; if you know how the flavours relate to the forms, you hold the secret formula to good taste. The Geometry of Pasta pairs over 100 authentic recipes from acclaimed chef Jacob Kenedy with award-winning designer Caz Hildebrand’s stunning black-and-white designs to reveal the science, culture, and philosophy behind spectacular pasta dishes from throughout Italian history. A triumphant fusion of food and design, The Geometry of Pasta invites us to unlock the hidden properties of Italy’s most mathematically perfect deliciousness.

THOUGHTS: This is not a real cookbook to me. It is, however, a great look at the history, production, and uses of all the various pasta shapes. I absolutely adored the black and white geometric style of this book. That choice made it very easy to see how pasta shapes work with the recommended sauces. (It also made me wish all of these pasta shapes were available to me. There are so many I've never tried!)

As for the recipes themselves, many did look tasty but they seemed repetitive and meat heavy. This cookbook is definitely not for your average home cook. It is, however, a great addition to the kitchen of anyone who lives for pasta.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

The Friday Find: &

I love delicate jewlery. I'm not tall so anything large just looks like a costume piece on me. When I saw this ampersand necklace cross my path, I immediately added it to my wish list.

If you love delicate pieces, you can find this beauty in the AlinMay Etsy shop.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Links and Stuff: November 16, 2017

Source (Hat Tip to Lady B)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Book 24: The Night World

TITLE: The Night World
AUTHOR: Mordicai Gerstein
STARTED: October 21, 2017
FINISHED: October 21, 2017
GENRE: Juvenile


SUMMARY: [From BN] Everyone in the house is sleeping, but outside, the night world is wide-awake. It's a wonderful night to explore! Perfect for bedtime, this book from Caldecott Medalist Mordicai Gerstein celebrates the secrets of the night world and the joys of the sunrise.

THOUGHTS: This kid's book was short and sweet. I loved the illustration style and how the colors moved from black and white to the full, vibrant palette of life. I think this would be a great "wake up" book if you have a kid who likes mornings.

RATING: 6/10 [Good]

Monday, November 13, 2017

Book 23: The Story of a New Name

TITLE: The Story of a New Name
AUTHOR: Elena Ferrante
STARTED: October 8, 2017
FINISHED: October 21, 2017
PAGES: 471
GENRE: Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: In the spring of 1966, Lila, in a state of great agitation entrusted to me a metal box that contained eight notebooks.

SUMMARY: [From BN] In The Story of a New Name, Lila has recently married and made her enterĂ©e into the family business; Elena, meanwhile, continues her studies and her exploration of the world beyond the neighborhood that she so often finds stifling. Love, jealousy, family, freedom, commitment, and above all friendship: these are signs under which both women live out this phase in their stories. Marriage appears to have imprisoned Lila, and the pressure to excel is at times too much for Elena. Yet the two young women share a complex and evolving bond that is central to their emotional lives and is a source of strength in the face of life's challenges. In these Neapolitan Novels, Elena Ferrante, the acclaimed author of The Days of Abandonment, gives readers a poignant and universal story about friendship and belonging. Ferrante is one of the world’s great storytellers. With the Neapolitan quartet she has given her readers an abundant, generous, and masterfully plotted page-turner that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight readers for many generations to come.

THOUGHTS: I am so glad I got to read the second half of this book in one big readathon session. Just like the first book, the second in the series is rich in character and detail. What sets this book apart is how Elena and Lila start to grow individually and apart from one another while still, somehow, maintaining that close friendship that develops between friends. These characters are real people. You know them and you root for them. You yell when they do stupid things. You are with them in their sorrow and in their joys. This book (and the series) revolves fully around what it means to have close and meaningful relationships.

Ferrante's writing is just as rich as ever and the narrative flows. There are some points that feel overly dramatic, but the focus on character and personality and are not drama for the sake of drama. In this book, I did start to become frustrated with Lila's dominance in Elena's life, but I think that's the point. Elena is consumed by Lila. She's trying to understand her and, in some ways, emulate her while also distancing herself from a relationship that she seems to know is toxic. As a reader, I emphasized with Elena and I was fully along for her journey.

I can't wait to see where the lives of these characters head.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]