Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tidbits: Hallowinners

Monday, October 28, 2013

Forgive me, Leonard Peacock, by Matthew Quick: Forgive me for disliking yet wanting to hug the protagonist?

Forgive me, Leonard Peacock
Matthew Quick
Little Brown: New York, August 2013.
ISBN: 978-0316221337
ARC reviewed, provided by publisher

Leonard Peacock has resolved to do something on his birthday: say goodbye to the four people who have influenced his life, and then kill his former best friend and himself.  Though he begins the novel as ultimately unlikable, in visiting his four connections, Leonards own story is revealed in fits and spurts.  Though he is justifiably disturbed and his thoughts are often upsetting, he humanizes himself despite his best efforts to alienate the readers.  Not the cheeriest or most uplifting of premises, this is both a book worth picking up and sticking with.   Despite the bleak outlook, Matthew Quick turns out what is ultimately a hopeful novel that demonstrates the importance of the human connection. For the right person at the right time, this book could be a very powerful tool.  It is recommended for older teens 16 and up, and adults.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Dearest readers,

I've been hoarding these links up since mid-September, because I am 2 parts monster, 1 part super busy and 1 part perhaps need to learn to say no.  I got rid of the stuff that I'm pretty sure you'd have fallen into a deep well in Siberia to have missed (Bridget Jones is back, Mark Darcy is not, JK Rowling is writing a movie set inside Harry Potterworld but prior to it.  I'd say spoilers, but whatever, the Internet took care of that weeks ago).  So, without further adieu, read on, and enjoy with your tasty Tuesday lunch.

Libraries and Design

Literacy and Literature

Movies and TV
  • I am really, really excited about Outlander being a TV series.  Here's why you should be too.  But really: KILTS.  
  • There are so many new things Divergent movie related.  Or...no longer new.  Maybe even old.  But posters!  Four!
  • I had no idea that If I Stay was already in the casting process.  Plus, can we briefly discuss The Giver adaptation?  I agree with Lois Lowry that a movie audience will probably better buy an older teen cast, but does casting older teens then turn The Giver into YA, when I firmly feel it is in the (best of all-time) Children's literature category?  Help me ponder, please, all two readers and twelve spambots who regularly follow this blog.  

And just because...
Until the next time I horrify myself by having to weed through 40 links I've hoarded up....
Truly, madly, deeply,

Monday, October 21, 2013

Recipe 9: Butternut Farro Risotto with Beans, Spinach, and Mushroom

Butternut Farro Risotto with
Beans, Spinach and Mushrooms.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that I’ve been neglecting my blog of late...it’s been a super busy overworked, overbooked, overtired kind fall until recently, and I’m not quite sure how that happened.  My goal was to do as much reading, cooking, and updating as possible, and I’ve met approximately zero of these goals.  The beginning of the school year always seems nuts, but this was like every kind of nut, crushed together, rolled in more nuts, roasted with more nuts, and served on top of nuts.  I also cleverly started upping my mileage for an upcoming half, and while my talents do include travel to South Beach occasionally, they do not include cooking and running, reading and running, copying and pasting links and running...running and running is about as much of a motor skill challenge as I can handle at a time.  

Some of the terrible sights to see
while running in my hometo
This has meant that I’ve also been fairly lazy in the kitchen, mostly doing quick sautes of veggies for dinner when I’m getting home late, along being a gym nerd and trying to up my protein intake.  I was feeling kind of bad about not cooking almost anything of substance in a while, and uninspired to boot, until my good friend Bean had me and some other lovely ladies over for dinner on Friday.  Bean is an awesome cook, and made a really fabulous recreation of a butternut farro salad from the Smitten Kitchen.  I have been intrigued by using alternative grains, because they have a lot more nutritional value than normal rice, grits, or pastas.  I’m especially excited about farro because it has a ton of fiber and protein (perhaps I should have thrown up a nutrition nerd alert?), and it actually tastes good - almost nutty.  I should also note that Bean is a former roomie from the Kilsyth days, and is responsible for bringing a delicious butternut risotto into our lives that became a frequent recipe request.  It was tweaked and recreated from and original recipe in the Vegetarian Food For Friends cookbookI was so inspired by both that I thought I’d try and see if I could turn out a similar risotto using farro, and perhaps adding some extra goodness to it to see if I could make it a meal in a bowl.  

A Cooking Light recipe for Farro Risotto with Mushrooms confirmed I could, so I added mushroom in its honor, spinach because we're questing for delicious here team, and then figured some beans would be a tasty source of protein - so I added the beans for Bean!  This turned out to be what I think might be one of my greatest ever creations.  It’s warm, warming, filling, and delicious.  It’s hard to put down your utensils.  Eat it all fall and winter, preferably with good friends and awesome wine (it seems to pair well with Chianti and Montepulciano)!  
Caps off to you if you make this delicious dinner!
Butternut Farro Risotto with Beans, Spinach, and Mushroom
Butternut Farro Risotto with Beans, Spinach, and Mushroom
Serves 4-6

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell: Wear your heart on a mix tape (and hope it doesn't get banned, punks)

Eleanor and Park
Rainbow Rowell
St. Martin’s Griffin: New York, 2013
ISBN: 9781250012579

Eleanor and Park are two 16-year-olds living in Nebraska.  They couldn’t be more different: he comes from a middle-class family, has the right clothes, music, and a good family.  Eleanor doesn’t.  She shares a room with four younger siblings, her mom is on a second marriage to an abusive, alcoholic stepfather, and there’s never enough to go around.  Eleanor is roundish and has red hair.  Park is short, and Korean-American.  She is bullied, he is not, but when they sit next to each other on the bus, slowly, very slowly, a deep and true affection begins to develop.  This achingly realistic novel of first love is as authentic as it is simple.  It stunningly redefines what romance means for the YA market, and is strongly recommended to anyone who has a heart (aged 15 and up).  

I’m not kidding.  This. Book.  GAWD.  It was on my radar for many, MANY moons, my amigas kept telling me to read it, the Internet went crazy for it...it took me forever, but I’m very glad I finally did.  It is so profound, yet so quiet and unassuming.  It is simple.  Yet it is...brilliant.  It is incredibly moving yet not extraordinary, which makes it so, and I hope to see more books like this, and way less sensationalism and love triangles from now on in YA because of it!  I want to just throw a bunch of adjectives at you to describe it, like heartbreaking, breathtaking, delicate, moving...just trust me and read it, already - both boys and girls of all mature(r) ages reading this!  Here are a few of the details I’d like to debrief:
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