A Bite of the Spice of Life (Two Books by Julia Child and Too Many Cooks by Emily Franklin)

When I decided to start posting reviews of a few books at the same time, I still intended to write the reviews as I go as I did for my math and science reviews the other week. Although I wrote a separate review for the cookbook memoir I read by Emily Franklin, once I read the two books by Julia Child I realized I could not post my thoughts about Ms Franklin’s book in quite that way.

You see, I’ve been converted. There is, there has been, and there will have been, only one Julia Child in all of history. Her story (which I read in My Life in France) is fascinating and inspiring, her cooking style (which I experienced in part in Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom) is refreshingly simple, and together the two Julia Child books I read gave me hope for my own pathetic cooking abilities. It is, therefore, completely unfair to include Ms. Franklin’s book (and my criticisms of it) in the same post. Nevertheless, because I read Julia Child on the wake of Too Many Cooks, Ms. Franklin is a part of my experience in the past few weeks.Continue Reading

Reading Journal (11 Nov): I Am a Quitter

When I was in junior high school, I had to make a family crest for our medieval times unit, and it had to have a family motto on it. I decided on “Never Quit” because that was our family way of doing things: we were expected to finish what we started.

Despite my fine upbringing, I hereby officially declare myself a quitter. I hereby quit the challenges that end at the end of December: 9 for 09 challenge (for which I still have five books unread), the BiblioShakespeare Challenge (for which I lack two books or Bard-written plays), and the World Citizen Challenge (for which I lack three books; I’ve already read four). I was going to take a picture of the stack of those books, which have been taunting me for weeks, saying “Read me now or you won’t finish the challenge and then you’ll be a failure!” They go back to the library tomorrow morning. But if I wait to get a picture, I’ll never post this.

Note that this quitting of challenges is just for those three I mentioned above. I still have one 800s book for the Dewey Decimal Reading Challenge (commentary on Alan Paton I want to read for my book club), half of a book plus a movie for the Everything Austen Challenge, about one more hour of Oliver Sacks for the Science Book Challenge, and then The Japanese Literature Challenge and Really Old Classics Challenge that end in January and February which I’m really excited about. I also like the idea of the Women Unbound challenge and I’ll focus on finding books with women’s issues to add to my reading.

This quitting may have something to do with the fact that I woke up this weekend with the flu and I spent two days this week essentially unconscious as I slept and my son ran his cars over my head. Now I’m in a non-energetic slump (but at least I could read again yesterday without the words getting blurry before my eyes).

I also want to apologize because I have not opened Google Reader in more than a week: I was waiting until Monday and then, well, I was not feeling well on Monday. I’ve tried to leave a few comments around the blogosphere in the last two days and I sincerely apologize if they were not coherent. I am just hoping this post is coherent. I realize blogging is about the community and I want to get back to it. I’m just not feeling well enough to face the high number of unread posts that will certainly great me in Reader. Hopefully I will in a few more days.

In happier news, I’m delighted that Edith Wharton is visiting the Circuit in January! Sign up by Saturday morning (8 a.m. CST) if you’d like to host her on your site.

What is your family (or personal) motto?

How are you doing on your challenges that end by Dec 31?

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Macbeth by William Shakespeare

When I reviewed and analyzed Julius Caesar in depth back in June, I expected that I’d do the same with all the other Shakespeare plays I read while I have had this blog. And yet, I cannot “analyze” Macbeth. While I enjoyed reading Macbeth, it was not a “deep” reading experience for me. I’ve found I’ve been putting off writing this review because I don’t have such a deep analysis to give you. In fact, while I could reread it a few times, I’m ready to move on.

My first thought when I picked up Macbeth two weeks ago was, “Wow, this is perfect for Halloween.” Macbeth starts with thunder and lightning and three very spooky witches.

My second thought was that Macbeth was amazingly readable. I didn’t find myself stumbling over sentences (especially when I read it aloud with a bad Scottish accent, hehe), but beyond that the play itself is incredibly straight forward, more so than Julius Caesar was, which I read a few months ago. Unlike Julius Caesar, I didn’t need to read commentary to understand it or be fascinated by the setting Shakespeare created.

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