Thursday, May 1, 2014

The NBA, Donald Sterling

In part of the Donald Sterling rant tape, he says the following to his girlfriend:

“I’ve known [Magic] well and he should be admired … I’m just saying that it’s too bad you can’t admire him privately. Admire him, bring him here, feed him, fuck him, but don’t put [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”

Interesting, that above all else that he's concerned about what other people think of his girlfriend's activities, is whining about people calling him to comment. And that he'd rather she schtupp Magic (one of my heroes, personally), who is HIV-positive, than be seen with him in public. What a sad, sorry, pathetic creature this wealthy old man is!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hang Wire by Adam Christopher

Hang WireHang Wire by Adam Christopher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was recommended to me by comparing it to a cross between Tim Powers and Erin Morganstern. Well, other than an unorthodox circus being a part of the story I don't see the Erin Morganstern comparison. But the Tim Powers comparison is right on - this book is like Powers-lite. I loved the mystery of whose body Highwire was inhabiting, and not knowing for a while whether he was the killer. The slowly evolving story of Joel, and of "Bob", as well as the contemporary story of the group of friends/co-workers in San Francisco, unfolded gracefully and naturally. A blend of urban fantasy and word mythology, I loved this book and would highly recommend it to any of my circle of reading enthusiasts.

View all my reviews

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Color of Light

The Color of LightThe Color of Light by Helen Maryles Shankman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am torn in my opinion of this book. The characters are immensely compelling and the story is a whopper of a tale with multiple climactic events. But there are problems with the writing: certain aspects of the story are downright implausible and transitions between scenes are often confusing. For example, Rafe (the vampire/love interest of the main character) tells multiple people that a single ray of sunlight will turn him into a pile of ashes. But he frequently attends board meetings during daylight hours without any explanation as to how he avoided destruction. The bond formed between the group of students who become Tessa's (the main character) friends is portrayed as extremely tight, but as they part after graduation there is no discussion of keeping in touch and their farewells seem permanent. And of course, the final nail in the coffin is that the female protagonist gives up her dream and the prize she worked so hard for because her guy won't budge and go to Paris with her but does want to take her traveling around the world. These are only a few of the points with which I took exception, there are many more. But overall I loved the characters, enjoyed the setting and the story, and especially appreciated what I learned about art during the reading of this book.

View all my reviews

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Drowning Girl

The Drowning GirlThe Drowning Girl by CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the most difficult book for me to read maybe ever. So much of the book could have been me in spirit: I had an Abalyn and an Eva in my life. I am mermaid-obsessed. I have struggled with depression and have had crisis events and periods in which my inner dialog, my perception of the world, and my struggle to distinguish fact from truth were much like Imp's. Reading this book was like visiting, as a tourist, a place where I was once held captive. Not only is the writing brilliant, but Caitlin Kiernan is an incredibly brave author to have written this book and I salute her with both hands. I don't think I could record those periods in my life with as much articulate and beautiful prose as she has done here.

View all my reviews

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Whole butternut squash
Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 rib of celery, diced
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground fenugreek
1 tsp. ground ginger
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
Salt/Pepper to taste

Cut squash in half lengthways, scrape out seeds. Lightly drizzle olive oil over exposed flesh, place on a baking sheet cut side up and roast in oven at 350° for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.

In a stock pot, sweat onion, carrots and celery in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When they have begun to soften and turn slightly brown, add curry powder, fenugreek and ginger. Continue to cook for about a minute to toast the spices. Add stock and bring to a simmer.

Scrape flesh from squash skin, mash with a potato masher or ricer and add to soup pot. I use an immersion blender to make the soup smooth, but it isn't required. If additional liquid is needed to smooth out consistency of soup, add water.  When the mixture has begun to simmer again, add garlic, salt and pepper. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour BookstoreMr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I admit, the title alone led me to buy this book. I had just finished reading a book that had me very emotionally invested and I expected this to be a light little romp that I could read as a kind of rebound book and enjoy for what it was worth then forget.

Man, was I wrong! Maybe its because I know San Francisco and have enjoyed time browsing obscure used-book shops in the Bay area. Maybe it was my adolescent fixation with epic fantasy. Or because I have friends and family among the techie crowd. Or that I can't resist an antiquated secret society. Whatever the alchemical combination, this book was a rare and unforseen treat to read.

As always, I refrain from spoilers or too much description. But if my recommendations have worked for you in the past, you will love this one!

View all my reviews

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Baby got Books!

(sung to the tune of Baby Got Back)

I like big books and I cannot lie,
You other readers can’t deny
When the story opens up and sweeps me away
And I'm reading for the rest of the day
I get hooked!
Wanna devour the rest of that book!
Then you notice it's the first of a series.
Deep in the arc of the story,
Twists and turns to glory.
Oh baby, just one more chapter
That’s all I’m after!
My book club tried to warn me
And now I’m caught up in the story!
Ooh, hard or paperback
You say e-books are a sin?
Well amuse me, confuse me
I ain’t your average groupie!
Fantasy or sci-fi, oh
Historical or bio
Challenge my brain, it’s no strain!
TV pulls me down the drain!
I’m tired of blogs and sites
Saying reading is a dead art
Take a person with a brain and inquire
It’s gotta build a world and inspire!
So readers! Readers!
Has your story got the punch? (Hell yeah!)
Then read it, read it, read that epic book!
Baby got books!

2013 Reading List

These are the books I read for the first time in 2013. The list doesn't include novellas, short stories, compilations or re-reads.  One or two were forgettable and I had to look up the descriptions to recall having read them, but for the most part I chose well and listened to recommendations from the right people.

Atticus for the Undead
John Abramowitz
Throne of the Crescent Moon
Saladin Ahmed
The Shining Girls
Lauren Beukes
The Woken Gods
Gwenda Bond
This Case is Gonna Kill Me
Philippa Bornikova
David Brin
Dreams and Shadows
C. Robert Cargill
P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Pirate Cinema
Cory Doctorow
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Neil Gaiman
Odd and the Frost Giants
Neil Gaiman
Yasmine Galenorn
Girl Unwrapped
Gabriella Goliger
Nicola Griffith
Laurell K. Hamilton
Dead Ever After
Charlaine Harris
Kevin Hearne
Kevin Hearne
Kevin Hearne
Kevin Hearne
Kevin Hearne
Brighton Hill
Joe Hill
Heart-Shaped Box
Joe Hill
Jim C. Hines
Codex Born
Jim C. Hines
Hugh Howey
Southern Gods
John Horner Jacobs
Sappho’s Leap
Erica Jong
Doctor Sleep
Stephen King
Ellen Kushner
The Privilege of the Sword
Ellen Kushner
Thomas the Rhymer
Ellen Kushner
A Wrinkle in Time
Madeleine L’Engle
Kiss of the Butterfly
James Lyon
Beyond Black
Hilary Mantel
Christopher Moore
The Taken
Vicki Pettersson
The Hangman’s Daughter
Oliver Potzsch
Lacey Reah
Veronica Roth
Veronica Roth
Veronica Roth
Attic Clowns
Jeremy Shipp
Wen Spencer
Wolf Who Rules
Wen Spencer
Wen Spencer
Catherynne Valente
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a   Ship of Her Own Making
Catherynne Valente
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There
Catherynne Valente
Genevieve Valentine
How to Discipline Your Vampire
Mina Vaughn
The Book of Blood and Shadow
Robin Wasserman
The Golem and the Jinni
Helene Wecker
Under the Empyrean Sky
Chuck Wendig