Monday, February 24, 2014

Beautiful Ruins

I saw a commercial for an upcoming Jimmy Buffett concert where people were wearing shorts and for like a half a second I was thinking, where did they film this?  Was it on the moon?  This winter was so bad I cannot conceive of ever wearing shorts.  I felt like an anthropologist "what are these 'short pants' these humans are wearing?"  Even if you are not in your short pants but want a beach read this book will work.  I am doing an online 2014 genre challenge and February was "chick-lit" and that scared me.  But the purpose of the challenge was to get you out of your comfort zone.  I picked this book, but I screwed up because "Jess" is a man!  Can a man write chick-lit?  To which chick does chick-lit refer?  Why do we even call the genre something this stupid?

Whether written by men or women these popular fiction books, to me, read like a movie screenplays.  One thing that I should warn you, if you have a hard time with frame stories, flashbacks, other book chapters within books, a few lines from a play, and a proposed movie treatment, well you will have a hard time with this.  But, remember this is popular fiction so it's not like this is hard to follow.  Game of Thrones it is not.  It all kind of works together in a fairly light and breezy Italian island way.  Oh, and it's a little funny, not like David Sedaris funny, but ok and not old-man fart jokes.  Not that I'm totally opposed to a well-placed artfully crafted fart joke.

Set in Italy in the 60's and present day Hollywood, if you like books about the movies, give it a shot.  Beautiful Ruins is not really romance as it is drama with hijinks and a little humor. Here is your summer read, it's just a little early. Think of it as a reward for taking a big course load and getting to graduate early.  I think that's called premature matriculation. 

At one point a couple of the characters have Mai Tais at Trader Vic's and I was like I want one too! (It was exactly five o-clock at the time) It's a little complicated but those tiki drinks sometimes are, also you should know there are lots of variations.  This one seems to be most like the Trader Vic's version:  2 ounces aged rum, 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice, 1/2 ounce curacao, 1/4 ounce "rich" simple syrup (use double the sugar to water ratio--I think Agave Nectar would work too), 1/4 ounce orgeat, 1 cup crushed ice. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, pour into a double old fashioned glass and garnish with a sprig of mint. 

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