Friday, April 15, 2016

Martin Chuzzlewit

Ecod! One character in Martin Chuzzlewit starts nearly every sentence this way.  I think he is scared of cods. My, Cod!  I'm not sure why he keeps coming across so many cods in London, or maybe he keeps dropping a cod he keeps in his pocket. No wonder no one liked this guy.

Ok, do not read this book if this is your first Dickens novel.  This book is sometimes known as the American one, because two characters go to America for a bit.  The Americans in this book are portrayed as rude, gun-toting, money obsessed, uncultured, swindling, patriotic folks who hate foreigners. I mean, really.....*cough.* Luckily, Martin Chuzzlewit is not set entirely in America.  The book is over 800 pages but there are sections that are hard to read especially the lady with the cockney accent who rambled -- I hated her more than the two villains in this book. Also, the Internet has ruined my attention span. I must admit that cracking nuts and drinking wine by the fire, which three characters do in this book, sounded really nice. Now we just show each other our phones with some YouTube clip. I want to crack some nuts...wait, that sounds nasty.

I would not consider this a comedy but there are some funny bits like when the guy was trying to take off his boots and promptly fell into the fireplace.  Also, there are a number of lines that probably not meant to be funny but definitely are, as in: "touching the organ for my own amusement" (he was playing a church organ). Everything sounds nasty!    

There is a drink featured in this book that according to Dickens is the only good thing about America. Sherry Cobbler: 1 orange slice, 1 lemon slice, 3/4 simple syrup, 3 ounces dry sherry. Muddle the orange and lemon in a pint glass and add the simple syrup and sherry.  Pour those into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Strain and pour into your pint glass with some crushed ice.  Garnish with another orange wheel.  This will be pretty sweet and cold so wait until you are on a steamboat during the height of summer.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Kind Worth Killing

I noticed that the sociopaths in thrillers are usually beautiful women. Apparently boobs can make men do things even at their own peril.  Like a boob Svengali. Listen, the only boob that can control you is yourself.

I think it would be fun to have an old lady serial killer.  Who is going to suspect Alice, the little piano teacher?  Well, it's true that she uses piano wire as a garrote but who would have thought she had the strength?  Little did they know she's been totally blasting her lats at the senior center's weight room. No one knew that Alice was totally jacked.

This book does not have an Alice, but The Kind Worth Killing has all kinds of weirdos. Sociopaths, narcopaths and general idiots.  In this book we get the "voice" of multiple characters, including their sociopathic thoughts.  It's interesting when you feel sympathy for a character because they kill for a fairly good reason, maybe self-defense, but then that sympathy degrades because then they kill because someone stole all the ketchup packets.

This book is a retelling of a classic thriller, Strangers on a Train. I'm not crazy about the writing but, meh, it's a thriller. There are the requisite twists and some suspense. It is not long, nor is it hard to read. It's like a literary Snickers. Creme Brûlée it is not.

Let's drink this with something fancy.  This is from Nancy Mitchell the Backyard Bartender: Lady Sibyl: (I think she was going through a Downton Abbey phase) 1 oz. gin, 3/4 oz. St. Germain, champagne or Prosecco.  Combine the gin and St. Germain over ice, shake and strain into a flute.  Top with the champagne or Prosecco.