Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What I'm Reading - March

Part of my job is to read book reviews in order to decide whether I should buy the books and ebooks. I borrowed the children's book, Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones, based on editorial reviews from children's and young adult journals. This was disappointing. While I liked Paul O. Zelinsky's drawings, the story was one of those that raced to the finish, and took a lot of shortcuts to do so. Strange, by the way, that the Kindle version seems to have different (and less charming) illustrations.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness has a much better resolved story. This young adult book contains very dark themes: nightmares, nightmarish reality, mother with cancer, acting out, bullying at school. It was very realistic and the excellent illustrations by Jim Kay add to the foreboding tone of the book. The story is based on one from Siobhan Dowd, who herself succumbed to cancer. I recommend it. But then, I do like dark themes in books and films. You're warned!

The Twitter Book by Tim O'Reilly and Sarah Milstein. I've only been twittering since late last year.

Confession time: I only signed up for Twitter because I wanted to track the food trucks so I could get a break from home lunches!

Back on topic: the only thing I got out of the Twitter Book was you should avoid starting a tweet with an @ address unless you only want that recipient to get it. Thanks for that. Everything else I learned about Twitter was on my own! Not that I know it all; and I sometimes fail. Hey - those icons on my Droid touchscreen are often too small for my fingers!

The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker by Roger Ebert. I'm still reading this, but something tells me I won't find a recipe in it that I'll have to make. I am enjoying his writing; here's a sample from Chapter 6, page 21: "There are countless rice cooker cookbooks. We don't want no stinking cookbooks." So I guess this is more of a guidebook. And it's with relief that I read I didn't have to buy a thousand-dollar rice cooker with memory and fuzzy logic. I can use my basic 8-cup model with two functions: Cook and Warm!.

Ebert has opinions on everything, from hot sauce to oatmeal. About the microwave variety, he says it's a "dangerous travesty of the healthy food it pretends to be" and full of fat, salt and oils: "You can die of a heart attack during a perfect bowel movement."

Well, maybe he has the right to write that, as he has the cojones to write a (sort of) cookbook when he can't eat. (Health issues.) 

As soon as I've written it, I'll add a link to my new blogpost about what I just cooked in my rice cooker - it'll be on my other blog.

But for now, I'm off to the Blaisdell Farmers' Market - to get my fresh local veggies, and to eat1


  1. Illustrations in books that are on Kindle are disappointing at best. As for Twitter I've been on a while now and I still don't know whats what?

  2. I've bought a few picture books for the library system because they are classics or local authors or just plain popular. Examples include Phantom Tollbooth and books by Jim Rumford. And the Berenstain Bears!

    As for Twitter, I'm now following you - just in fewer words! lol