Monday, October 31, 2011

The Girl Who Played with Fire

Book Review

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson.

This is the second in the series and is just as long as the first. I finished the first book of the series a couple of weeks ago, but it was now time to move this series along.

And hopefully the violence would be a little bit in my face this time. I'm not a fan of violence in any form.

But then again, I know that this series is predicated on the presence of violence in the world.

The Girl Who Played with Fire

Monday, October 17, 2011

Eating Gluten-Free at Red Robin

Corn Maze

Fall is here and I had made up my mind that this would be the year for me to do my first corn maze. People from around here scoffed at me.

 "You've never done a corn maze?!!!"




They don't have them at every turn out west. Around here, yes. Out there, no.

But we are here now, and our time has come.

It also helped that I got an email that NASA has coordinated with seven farms around the country to make space-themed corn mazes. The Hubble maze is up in NY, six or more hours for us. Bummer. It's not likely we'll be able to get there.

But the closest maze was only about 2 hours from us. That's better. We can manage that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mom's Cancer

Book Review

Mom's Cancer by Brian Fies

Okay, so this isn't really a graphic novel, per se, but I did happen to find it in with the graphic novels, in that section of the library. It's really more than a comic strip. This comic-strip-plus-some is heavy.

Heavy duty.

Not for kids.

Not for anyone looking for a light-hearted chuckle.

So, how did I come across a heavy-duty comic strip?

I was browsing the graphic novel section of the library, looking to see how many classics were available that particular day. Classics in graphic novel form. I was surprised.

There were lots!

But I didn't need to get any right away. I still had plenty to read at home. But I was taking a mental inventory.

And then I saw this.

"Mom's Cancer." In comic strip form.

That's out of character. A comic strip about cancer?

I was curious. And we were going to stay at the library until our daughter finished the craft class she was taking. There was no telling how long we might have to stay.

So I picked it up and started reading.

Mom's Cancer

Monday, October 10, 2011

Gluten-Free Key Lime Pie

More Pie Practice

If you've been reading, you know that I'm in the midst of practicing The Art of the Pie. Gluten-free pies, to be precise. It was pretty easy to come up with a list of pies to try. Of course, the family helped with ideas.

And since this is the season of a gazillion activities every weekend, what better way to practice The Art of the Pie than to make one for sharing at the neighborhood picnic? I get to practice. The family gets to taste. The neighbors get fat.

Okay, not fat, but they help us to keep from gaining weight by helping us eat the Pie Practice. That makes this a WIN-WIN-WIN (practice WIN, family tasting WIN, minimal gaining weight WIN)!

The neighbors are going to be sampling Gluten-Free Key Lime Pie. Why Key Lime? Why not? It was on our list of pies to try.

Then autumn arrived. And it got cold. And it kept raining. And the Sun ran away with the Moon. And I just wanted to make hot apple cider and sit by the fire.

I toyed with changing the plans to some other, more fall-like pie. I considered jumping ahead and practicing a pecan pie.

But I didn't. Key Lime is what we planned for, and Key Lime is what we were going to get, regardless of the weather.

No matter that it was raining. Again.

Gluten-Free Key Lime Pie

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Book Review

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson.

I've had a couple of weeks recently where I've struggled to find something I'm interested in for reading on the treadmill. This is where I really prefer to have a large print book. The reading is much easier as I jog and I don't feel any straining of my eyes with large print.

But many, many of the things I really want to read are not available in large print. If I had my way, everything would be available in large print. For those books that are not available in large print, I read them while sitting down or get them in audio.

I've thought about trying a Kindle/Nook/iPad, with the ability to change the size of the print, but I haven't done it yet. There is still something very tangible about turning the pages and advancing the bookmark each day. Maybe one day the electronics will win, but not yet.

In the mean time, I'm continually on the hunt for interesting books in large print. After being unsatisfied with my large print selections for several weeks, I finally got into the library catalog and just searched for everything they have in large print. It automatically sorted by something called "popularity." I have no idea what this means. Number of times it's been checked out? Number of times it has been requested? Number of reviews? Number of positive reviews? Number of stars? Number of comments? Sales numbers? Weeks on the best seller lists?

I have no idea.

But, I've already learned, all too well, that a "popular" label can lead to some books that I very much dislike.

Oh well. I quit wondering what "popularity" meant and started browsing the list.

I noticed as I browsed, title recognition became my de facto decider for clicking on a title to investigate further. Maybe this is what "popular" means. I just don't know.

If the full description of the book seemed interesting, I added it to a list. That's it. I didn't look for reviews or stars or quotes or comments. I just added it to the list.

I must be getting desperate.

Don't think that I don't have options. I do. I just find it more enjoyable to mix the classics with modern books. One or two old, then one or two contemporary. Not too many of one or the other all together.

Luckily for me, now there are lots of classics available in large print. That wasn't true a year or two ago, when I finally asked the librarian about it. Why couldn't I find Austen or Dickens or Steinbeck in large print? Like magic, classics started appearing in the large print section. Hmmm... I wonder if my question had something to do with it....

My list has quite a number of classics on it. But it needed more modern books on it. Now I was getting some, but my level of interest is somewhat less in books found by searching this way.

In spite of this, I'm hoping that this will lead me to something unexpectedly different. For now, it has led me to my current list choice, Major Pettigrew.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand