Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tidbits: In which bad ideas outnumber good ones

 Hey you guuuuyssss.  Sorry it has been so long since my last tidbit explosion all over this page. I hope you are tid-tillating with the following:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein: The spy that made me cry

Before I begin my review, I'm placing a big fat spoiler alert on it.  As per usual, I will never intentionally drop any bombs without fair warning.  But this book has such a major gasp-inducing reveal that essentially rewrites the entire prior story, that this is your major spoiler warning!  If you fully trust my judgment that this may be one of the best, if not the best, new books I've read this year (and maybe more, it is really that great!), then just stop reading and go and get at a copy right now!
If you're on the fence with my superior judgment skillz, just keep reading, judger.  I will do my very best not to spoil the story!

Code Name Verity
by Elizabeth Wein
Disney Book Group: New York, 2012
Nook Copy: ISBN-13: 9781423153252

     It is 1943 and war is omnipresent in Europe.  It is the reason a young female British operative is being interrogated after crashing in Nazi-occupied France.  By her own admission in the first lines of the book ("I AM A COWARD"), uncertain that her pilot, her best friend, has even survived the crash, she has lost hope of escape and agrees to trade her knowledge in writing to forgo being tortured any further.  While at first glance this seem solidly to be a work of historical fiction, this complex, tightly wrought story is one of the strongest portaits of female friendship short of the real thing, and has a reveal that will have readers jaws on the floor and flipping back to look for clues.  While it is marketed to a YA audience, it will do best with sophisticated readers grades 10 and up, and will find a foothold with the adult audience.  It is strongly recommended to all high school and public libraries. 

In case you have short term memory loss and have forgotten what I said earlier: this is THE best, if not one of the best things I've read all year (perhaps even longer!), in total seriousness with no exaggeration.  Behold a tweet I made upon finishing:
Yes.  I cried in public on a park bench.  And then again on the subway platform the next day THINKING about it.  Girl Scouts honor here, I am not exaggerating - people in my neighborhood now think I'm crazier than the hobo that normally occupies that bench.  It should come with a "has been known to make people cry in public" disclaimer on the cover.  This book is truly fantastic.  Get at it immediately!

It should probably also be required reading for dudes mystified by ladies and lady friendships.  At its core, it is a story of the strength and power of female friendship, and our love for our dearest friends.  The truth in this line slays me: 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Tidbits: LeBron James can read good (while stretching)

Being from Boston, right now I am meant to be cheering for the Celtics.
But instead, I find myself distracted by LeBron James' master plan to distract and win my affections, by continuing to read The Hunger Games.
You know, totally normally, while being stretched by another person.  On camera.

 Gif via Business Insider
While normally I'd comment on how he's so positively influencing kids to read and how awesome that is,  I'm too busy being distracted by the size of his feet.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Case of the Terribles: Educated for naught

School is out for summer.
This may not be a good thing for the young deviant who doctored one of our signs in the library:

Look, kid.  
If you're going to be insubordinate, at least spell it correctly.
Plus, the correct spelling is RIGHT THERE.


I am so glad it is almost summer for adults who work in schools.  

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dinner Train: Middlemarch - Wrapples

Wrapples and a fruity beer?
I doubt Casaubon would approve. 
But your mouth will, and you'll need
a cold one to help you
survive Middlemarch...

If you were awaiting my post on my March challenge of Middlemarch for the Dinner Train Book Club with bated breath, you are now dead.  Which is cool, because I didn't know ghosts can read blogs.  For the rest of you, sorry.  Not really, because this one was a big ole struggle to get through.  Long, often boring, with beautiful, realistic character descriptions, and not much else (I did enjoy the town of Freshit - come on, I'm a boy of twelve at heart!).  This, therefore, probably describes the reason why exactly zero friends, family, strangers took me up on my offer to read along and eat with me.  Which left me alone with my thoughts, and a desire to not cook a full meal based on this book.  Sure, there is some good food description throughout, like the spread described at Old Man Featherstone's estate auction, but most food seemed to veer towards hocks of meat.  Except for one scene in chapter 24 (XXIV - I make no claims to being able to read Roman numerals), wherein Mrs. Garth is making apple puffs (see below the recipe for the excerpt).  Curious, I thought.  And curiouser and curiouser, because when I realized I'd be holding a book club by myself, apple puffs in excess won out over hock of ham.

I took to the internets to find a recipe for apple puffs to make from scratch.  Friends...there really are no recipes that don't tell you to start with store made dough.  Andsothere I gave up on the interwebs and took to The Apple Lover's Cookbook, by Amy Traverso, which while lacking in things dubbed Apple Puffs, has about a trillion other apple recipes to choose from.  I settled on Wrapples, though the Apple Empanadas came in a close second.  The recipe is fairly close to hers, with only a minor change; I realized the leftover juices from marinating the apples with lemon and sugar and cinnamon were actually quite delicious, and why waste delicious?  Mrs. Garth would slap the wrist of a waster!  I reappropriated the juice for my glaze, with delicious results.  A big thank you to The Asphalt Kitchen for helping me knead and prepare the pastry dough, and assemble and then eat them, as well as to the hungry stomachs who helped test them out (H & B).  Considering my Poptart ate two before the Hunger Games even started (Peeta would approve), I think we can all call them a delicious success - even if Middlemarch was a bust.

(adapted from The Apple Lover's Cookbook, by Amy Traverso)
Makes approximately 8 fatties and 10-12 mini's (still pretty sizable)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tidbits: Finally feeling, and smelling like a (Perky) Wallflower

It is late o'clock thanks to my hot date with Tyrion Lannister, Robb Stark, and Jon Snow, and thus, time only for two tidbits:
  • It is your dream to smell like a book?  Well call me a genie, because your wish is my command.  Okay, mine and Karl Lagerfield's...which feels a little strange to me, because I'm pretty sure I'd be afraid to bump into him in a dark closet. I'm too intrigued to call this a case of the terribles. 
  • IT'S HERE.  Finally, yeesh.  The trailer to The Perks of Being a Wallflower aired tonight on MTV, a network that once upon a time, kids, had music!  Here she blows: Deep thoughts:
    • Why did nobody tell me that PAUL FREAKIN' RUDD is playing one of the greatest teachers ever, Bill?  Words cannot do my level of thrill justice.
    • Um...Patrick?  I'm waiting to reserve judgment.  But I was a little unenthused.
    • Percy Jackson is way more good looking then the gawky awkward adorable Charlie in my head.  Truthfully, this is what I picture. 
      Yes, this is the brother from Wedding Crashers
      I KNOW. I'm sorry.  I just don't want to lie to my one reader.  Hi, Poptart.  
    • Hermione doesn't need magic to be fantastic.
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