Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Thirsty Narrator Recommends

I think three years plus is enough time to make a list of books I recommend from this blog. This is not a list of the best blog posts because that is a completely different list.

"Normal" Fiction: All The Light We Cannot See. Also good: Luminaries and Middlesex.

Classics: Watership Down (such an awesome book). Also good: Count of Monte Cristo, David Copperfield.

Non-Fiction:  Power of Habit (I broke my video game habit because of this book).  Also good: Devil and the White City, Alex and Me, In a Sunburned Country.

Mysterious Fiction (Books that bridge the gap between literature and fantasy): The Bone Clocks, Golem & The Jinni.  Also good: 1Q84 and A Tale for a Time Being. Note 3 or the 4 authors have lived in Japan--mysterious indeed.

Sci-Fi & Dystopian: Oryx and Crake (the whole Madd Addam Trilogy is good), Also good: Ready Player One (soon to be a movie --YES),Wool, Station Eleven, Kindred.

Fantasy: High: Name of the Wind.  This book has a bit of a cult following.

Fantasy Urban: The Rook.  Also good: Ocean at the End of the Lane, Anubis Gates,

Fantasy Weird: Perdido Street Station (and I mean weird). Acceptable: Jeff Vandermeer's Southern Reach Trilogy.  

Cocktails!  I must admit, unlike the books, I have not tried every single cocktail on the blog but here are few of my (many) favorites:

Gold Rush which a bourbon based cocktail with ginger liqueur and fresh lemon juice.

Pegu Club which is a gin based cocktail made with orange liqueur and fresh lime juice.

Manhattan which is a classic drink.  I make mine with Rye and a high quality sweet vermouth.  

Way of Kings

Dear Way of Kings, it's not you, it's me. After reading about cactus people it's hard to go back to plain epic fantasy.  I'm just too weird now. Unless your character goes to Wizard School.  Because I love me some Wizard School.

This is one of those stories that starts with a confusing action scene. Then it starts again...with another confusing action scene. Now, for anyone that reads fantasy this will scare the bejeebers out of you because you think you've just picked up the middle of a trilogy. No, its just one of those literary devices, action action action, then we'll slowly talk about the story and plot.  Some people like this style.  I like things simple.  I can't even read a written workout plan.  They look like this to me: Gorilla Walk (A)--12 reps (3)+(30) X (AMRAP) & 45 + 6(30).  I thought good quads meant quadriceps not quadratic equations.

This book is over one thousand pages.  And it does not end with any closure.  It's obvious that this is part of a gigantic series with many thousands of pages. I wonder if Brandon Sanderson is on the Balzac model of writing.  That is the one where you work 18 hours straight with an IV drip of coffee.  It did not end well for Balzac (also he looked like a wreck).  I'm not crazy about the Dickens' diet regime of chops and punch either. Although, Dickens did think that champagne and sherry had medicinal purposes which does seem entirely reasonable.

In this book's world the only kind of wine that is intoxicating is a deep purple. How about a purple colored cocktail?  Ballet Olifant: 1 oz vodka, 1/2 oz creme de cassis, 1/2 oz lime juice, 1/2 oz lemon juice.  Pour all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice, shake, strain and serve in a chilled cocktail glass.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

In a Suburned Country

Learn from my mistake: Do not read a book about Australia while you are on a beach vacation.  What was I thinking? Especially after that stingray swam right next to me.  He didn't touch me but it was both awesome and a little scary. I think they are unlikely to kill you unless you are Steve Irwin, and if I recall, he was trying to french kiss that ray.  No means no with a stingray.

This is a Bill Bryson book so it is full of funny stories (mostly self-deprecating) and lots of nerdy facts.  You may not be entirely enthralled with all of the topics, but he never dwells on any of them long enough for it to make the book boring. He is doing research so it makes you feel like a slacker when you are travelling and the idea of going to all of the little museums has no appeal for you at all. Putting more food in my mouth hole is apparently the number one priority when I'm on vacation.  At least Bryson drinks more than I do when he travels with is quite the accomplishment.

This book is a little dated already, but Australia is still full of venomous creatures. In South Carolina I did see a stingray and three and half small alligators. Oh, and a dead jellyfish (probably not a "box" jellyfish--which is the most innocuous name for the nastiest thing ever--they should be named tormentors). I did see lots of bros and whoo-hoo girls. Those are mildly irritating but rarely deadly.

Apparently one classic Australian summer cocktail is the Dry and Dry: One and half ounces dry vermouth, add to a highball glass with high quality ginger ale, ice and garnish with a lime wedge. Drink in January--what? Everything is backwards!

Monday, June 8, 2015


What happens when you put a human frontal cortex in a pig's brain? A lot of self conscious pigs, it what you get. "Does my rump look fat?"  Maybe they just feel self conscious about eating slop and rolling around in filth.  "I know I shouldn't but, wow, I mean, this just feels so right. I'm naughty right? I don't even care. Who's up for a trotter pedicure?"

MaddAddam is the last of Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy. While the second book is the superior of the three; this is still a fine series. Depressing and weird, but that's dystopian for you. This one follows Zeb and at one point he fights a bear, becomes a bouncer at a strip club, as well as a janitor, landscaper and programmer.  His resume looks crazier than mine. Apparently you are not supposed to use Times New Roman on your resumes anymore because that's boring. I say deemphasizing that I went to art school in the 90's is a perfectly fine strategy.

In MaddAddam, there really are pigs with partial human brains but they seem less superficial then I just implied.  They are organized and are certified Six Sigma black belts. The humanoids, in contrast, seem like sex-starved animals who think wearing bed sheets for clothes is superior than, say, clothes. What? No!

There is not a whole lot of drinking in this book but I think you should drink this variation of a cocktail from the Four Seasons in DC called the Adam and Eve--it actually makes 2 drinks: 2 ounces bourbon or other whiskey, 1&1/2 ounces Cointreau, seven dashes of fancy bitters (they use two kinds--regular and "pimento" What?), lemon peel and 4-5 ounces of champagne.  Stir all of the ingredients in a glass.  Strain 1&1/2 ounces of the mix into a chilled champagne flute and top with the champagne (that the Eve part) then strain the rest into a highball over rocks (that's the Adam part). For some reason this seems subtly sexist, like I can't handle a whiskey cocktail? Granted, I'll drink either of these drinks while I get my trotter pedicure.