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December 2014 Reading

Here’s my reading update for December 2014. I found this great quote (from Nick Hornby) to justify (to myself) some of my lighter reading predilections this month.

I’m beginning to see that our appetite for books is the same as our appetite for food, that our brain tells us when we need the equivalent of salads, or chocolate, or meat and potatoes.

My brain was telling me to go light, light, light with a Nora Roberts trilogy, and go deep for relationships with Carol Wall’s memoir, Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening, and to delve deeper into loss and death with Caitlin Doughty’s Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory and Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

When I started the month, I thought that I was going to go overboard  by buying too many books, but after two splurges (and one book on back order so it doesn’t count for this month!) the purchases stopped.  I had hit the Interweave book sale and then a book fair at my temple and was satisfied.

Books Bought December 2014

TitleAuthor
150 Scandinavian MotifsJane Mucklestone
Unexpected Afghans Robyn Chachula
Graphic Knits Alexis Winslow
The BetrayersDavid Bezmozgis
The Kosher Carnivore: The Ultimate Meat and Poultry CookbookJune Hersh
The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten FatMichael Ruhlman
Encyclopedia of Jewish FoodGil Marks

The Betrayers was purchased for a book club meeting in February, so I haven’t even opened it yet. I’ve coveted the three books from Interweave Press for some time, so was thrilled to get them at a discount at an extended Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale. The only thing wrong with the Kosher Carnivore is that it doesn’t have any Pork recipes (can you imagine!). Pork is one of my favorite meats, but I had to buy this book anyway because it has some good recipes (for example, Coffee-Crusted Hanger Steak,  Roasted Veal Shoulder with  chicken liver stuffing, Simple Spatchcocked Chicken and roasted root vegetables) to get me out of my usual cooking methodology.  I think Simple Spatchcocked Chicken was one of the recipes I looked at while determining to buy the book, and this description definitely leveraged my decision:

Grab your dictionary and you’ll find that spatchcock is a method of splitting (butterflying) a chicken. It’s a fun word, which you can use to impress your friends or win at Scrabble. If time is of the essence, but you want to make a crispy, flavorful roast chicken, spatchcocking is a great option.

December 2014 Reading

I completely excelled at reading this month! I rediscovered my library beyond the e-selection, and now juggle between my e-books and my hard books, and my knitting – oh, yeah and work and life too.

December 2014 Reading

TitleAuthorRating
The HeistDaniel SilvaNot a fan
The Next AlwaysNora RobertsEnjoyed it
The Last BoyfriendNora RobertsEnjoyed it
Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open HeartCarol Wall Thumbs Up
Europe on a Budget: Real Stories from Studying and Backpacking Around EuropeMartin Westerman and Mark PearsonEnjoying it
Big Little LiesLiane MoriartyEngaged to the end
The Italian WifeAnn HoodBig Thumbs Down - did not get through the first chapter
Desire LinesChristina Baker KlineCaptivating but un-fulfilling
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of EverythingSteven D. Levitt, Stephen J. DubnerReturned to the library to read another time
Vogue Knitting, Winter 2014/2105MagazineGood
Eat the Yolks: Discover Paleo, Fight Food Lies, and Reclaim Your HealthLiz Wolfe, NTPGood, have not finished it yet
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the CrematoryCaitlin DoughtyToo much - skimmed through toward the end
Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?Roz ChastThumbs Up
The Perfect HopeNora RobertsGood

I was thinking which was my favorite book this month. I thought it might be Eat The Yolks because it explains the Primal/Paleo food movement, scientific thought and reasoning so well. I would highly recommend it.  However, the author’s writing style is a little too chatty for me. On one hand, it’s good because the information is presented at a personal level, but on the other hand, it’s annoying.

Then the tales from the Crematory was really fascinating.  We just hit the 3rd year anniversary of DDSO’s passing, and I was wondering what state his body was in at this point. so it was really good timing for me to happen upon this book.  Not that I got this question answered exactly, because the author worked in a crematorium and DDSO is buried, but she expounded upon many cultures’ handling of death, as well as the body’s decaying progress/process.  So it was good, but it went on a little too much for me and I ended up skimming through the last third of the book.  I would still recommend it though.

I also enjoyed Roz Chast’s book. It was funny, it was moving, it was complete.  A complete story that told the story of her parents’ relationship with each other and with her, and the struggle through their final years. A quick read (2-3 hours) and totally engaging.

In the end, I must go with Carol Wall’s memoir, Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening, as my favorite reading this month.  Carol hired Mister Owita to help with her landscaping and together they also grew a friendship. The book is about how one doesn’t really know what other people are thinking or going through, how one’s perceptions of other people’s lives are never really how you imagine, and how people get along, or don’t. It’s one of those books that you want to know how the relationships and the people turn out but at the same time you don’t want it to end.

Reading Resolution Report

My New  Year’s Resolutions for the past two years have included reading goals.  I am happy to announce that I have surpassed the goal of reading at least two books each month!

I have been coveting the book Ten Years in the Tub by Nick Hornby for some time now. It’s a collection of his monthly column articles, “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” that ran for a decade in “The Believer.”   I’ll admit that I’ve only read the first two columns but I am already hooked.  He is irreverent, funny, literary and insightful.

Reading

I am going to adopt his reporting method and share my reading adventures on a monthly basis.

Without further ado, here’s November 2014.

Books Bought November 2014

TitleAuthor
The Paleo Solution: The Original Human DietRobb Wolf
Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes that Respect the Whole HogMatthew McCarry and Stacy Toth
Easy Paleo Gelatin TreatsCaitlin Weeks
Make Ahead Paleo RecipesSarah Swanson
The GriftersJim Thompson
The All-Girl Filling Station's Last ReunionFannie Flagg
The HeistDaniel Silva
Ten Years in the TubNick Hornby
Noro Magazine, Fall Winter 2014Magazine
Debbie Bliss Magazine, Fall Winter 2014Magazine
Vogue Knitting 2014 CrochetMagazine

The abundance in Paleo material was due to Amazon’s Kindle special of Paleo-oriented eBooks for $0.99 and above – well, even one was free!  I could not resist!

One of my book clubs is reading The Heist. I’m not liking it so far, but I keep telling myself that book clubs help me read material other than what I would choose on my own.  It will be interesting to listen to the others’ reviews.

Here is my November Reading Report

TitleAuthorRating
You Should Have KnownJean Hanff KorelitzOkay
The Warmth of Other SunsIsabel WilkersonThumbs Down (did not finish)
Twenties GirlSophie KinsellaThumbs Down (did not finish)
The GriftersJim ThompsonReally Liked
The Last RunawayTracy ChevalierReally Liked
The All-Girl Filling Station's Last ReunionFannie FlaggNot enthralled, still reading
The HeistDaniel SilvaStill Reading
Ten Years in the TubNick HornbyLoving it so far
Pros & ConsJanet Evanovich and Lee GoldbergHated it
Beyond BaconMatthew McCarryYUM! Will be a good reference.
Easy Paleo Gelatin TreatsCaitlin WeeksUninspiring

I really enjoyed The Last Runaway and The Grifters this month. The Last Runaway is about a Quaker Woman who lives in a community on The Underground Railroad route.  It’s a fascinating read on slavery, Quakers, relationships, history (and quilting) and was written by the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring (on my To Read list) Tracy Chevalier.

The Grifters, written in the 1970’s, is about a man who lived primarily by conning people, but it is also about how he had a normal life in order to hide the illegal one. Since it was written over 3 decades ago, it also provides a glimpse into the culture and customs of that era (in which I grew up!).   This one was made into a movie (for which Anjelica Houston was nominated for an Oscar).  Some members of my book club want to read this during a busy month, so they can watch the movie instead. I think it would be better to read the book first and then all watch the movie together!

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