Thursday, August 27, 2015

State of Wonder

Cactus People Book Club. I would love a book club where people like weird and crazy books. I'm quite sure they have such groups but I'm afraid they might attract a strange element.  You know the type, they argue about everything while simultaneously biting their toenails.  Anyway, this book would be fine for your boring normal book club. The one where they talk about reality TV shows and how they haven't been to Vegas in a while (man, that last time was awesome! oh, you've never been...but you'd love it!)

State of Wonder is a Heart of Darkness shout out, as our protagonist must go into the Amazon rain forest to find out what is up with the brilliant but insane and narcissistic Dr. Swenson. Our jerk doctor is trying to develop a new fertility drug from Amazon tree bark but it's taking a really long time. The fictional drug allows women to be fertile their whole lives. No thanks. Can they develop a drug that lets me eat brownies and not get fat? I'm on board. Don't say they did with Olestra, because oily anal discharge is an unacceptable side effect.  Please be advised that you can only eat these brownies on the toilet. I want more than Toilet Brownies.

I'm not a fan of normal or boring so while this isn't a bad book, it's nothing special.  I was surprised as people really like this author.  Sometimes I feel like grumpy cat when I review I made this for you.

The most famous Brazilian drink is the Caipirina, which is delicious, but I don't know about you but I don't have any Cachaca around and apparently there is no appropriate substitute. Why not drink with this fun El Diablo cocktail: Combine 2 ounces of reposado tequila in a highball glass with ice. Top with 3 ounces of ginger beer and slowly pour a teaspoon of creme de cassis which will sink to the bottom. Garnish with a lime wedge.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

The City & the City

Ah, China Mieville (if that's is your real name...I feel like it is probably Neil Shufflebottom) I get it, you like a challenge. You want to write a book in each genre, which probably helps you with writer's block. I get it...must write detective not know how to write detective novel.... Well, buddy, like I would tell a 3rd grade soccer kid, good effort, good effort.  I like your hustle.

The City & the City is, yes, a detective novel, but it's not a particularly good detective novel.  It is a kind of interesting political novel with sci-fi type elements. I've seen this put in the category of fantasy. That's not right though. It's much more like 1984 than 1Q84. There are zero wizards. Zero. Giant Spiders? Zero. That's kind of shame as Mieville is really good at writing fantasy.  This is the literary equivalent of Usain Bolt deciding to start a singing career. 

The best part of this book is the setting. Twin cities, which consider themselves separate countries, live without a physical border but all of the citizens are forced (by training as children) to "unsee" everything in the foreign country. Getting a falafel on the other side? That's a paddlin'. Actually it's worse than a paddlin', the secret police come for you and you disappear. Luckily this city weirdness is the focus of the book--the murder mystery seems more like an afterthought. Sometimes I wonder if rich people "unsee" my 16 year old car. That would explain a lot. It's either that or I got the last of the Nissan Romulan models. 

Whenever I see a mojito or mint julep cocktail, I choose to unsee it.  I'm just not a huge fan of mint. I'll admit it limits my drinks. So, I found this Orange Mojito recipe and I'm like Hey! Muddle a half of orange, half of lime (cut into large chunks), with 2 teaspoons sugar and a few sprigs of mint (I say this is optional) in a large rocks glass. Add two and half ounces of light rum and ice.  Cover this with a cocktail shaker and shake or stir until cold.  

Monday, August 10, 2015

Blue Sword

♫ Do you ever a plastic bag...drifting through the wind...hoping to get a sword and an awesome horse? ♫

If I had magic I would use grow potion to get some of Katy Perry's assets.  Of course I mean her net worth. The Blue Sword is a classic epic fantasy. Orphan girl living in a boring muggle world feels like she could be so much more. Don't we all? I've read a bunch of Robin McKinley books and I like them, but for some reason she won't finish her Pegasus series she started five years ago. She probably just got stuck doing Pinterest for the last three years. It happens.

I've had this on my shelf for years.  I just noticed it said for ages 10 and up.  Way to make me feel like a loser. But this is one of those my-life-is-stressful-can't-even-deal kind of books.  It's called fantasy.  It's like a prescription book. You're not flexing a whole lot of brain muscles.  That's what NOVA is for. Or maybe FRONTLINE. I never realized that PBS' titles are shouting at us. PBS, we are totally in your face. Deal with it.

If you haven't read this and you like epic fantasy, this is a good one. One thing I thought was weird is that there is a character named Dickie Crewe.  That sounds like a LARP team name.  And our female heroine is named Harry Crewe.  How is that even possible? I think her given name is Ermahgerd. With a name like that you are destined for something great.

It's still summer so drink this kid's book with a sophisticated adult drink. Peach Bellini: Make a peach puree with 2 peaches, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Process these in your food processor and strain the pulp.  Put 2 tablespoons of peach puree in a champagne flute and top with cold prosecco. (makes about 6 drinks...I guess you could share).