Monday, January 30, 2017

The Master and Margarita

This book is bananas. I mean that in the most affectionate and complimentary way. Most importantly it has a talking cat. Written in the 30's but not published until the 60's because apparently it was too subversive for Stalin's Russia. To me, it doesn't overtly seem politically problematic but it is nuts. It is not a spoiler to tell you The Devil is a character. He's not even in the top five in the list of the book's most interesting characters.

While this is considered a classic, it reads like a modern comedy/farce/magical realism I don't even know what.  I've worked in a couple of bookstores and I don't know where I'd put this--maybe "Staff Picks." Just read it. Naked ladies, vodka, "magic" tricks, Pontius Pilate and a man-pig (plus a talking cat who is awesome). What more do you want?

I was watching my neighbor clean the dog turds out of his backyard this morning.  That is how winter feels to me. Dog turd clean-up.  You could use a sense of wonder these days. This book is good for that. It does have a lot of confusing Russian names so be warned. Other than that (Italian chef kiss).

Like any good Russian novel we need a strong vodka drink.  Caipiroska: Slice a whole lime and put this into a cocktail shaker or large mixing glass.  Muddle the slices (don't go too crazy) in one tablespoon of sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves and add 1/4 cup of vodka. Fill an old fashioned glass with cracked ice. Pour the whole vodka lime mixture over the ice, then back into mixing glass then back into the glass. Enjoy with your cat. What elegance!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Old Kingdom-Abhorsen series

🎶Oh, those golden hands oh, those golden hands.🎶 Back in the day "golden" was code for sugar. It was nice when they were honest. SUPER SUGAR CRISP.  I know what I'm getting. Now those would be called All Natural Sun-kissed Wheat Nibs. Author Garth Nix lives in Sydney which I believe is Australia's Gold Coast. Which we all know is the Sugar Coast. I can't decide if that sounds delicious or terribly dangerous. I guess it could be both if you have the diabetes.

This series, Goldenhand is book 5, has necromancy, lots of magic, a dangerous library and most importantly a talking cat. The talking cat is kind of a snarky ass.  I mean that's not exactly a stretch for some cats. I say that as a crazy cat lady and cat lover. Aren't you worried the cat is going to eat your face off when you die? No, I'm worried she's going to eat my face off while I'm alive. If it's past 6:00 a.m. this is a justifiable fear. Runs across my body.  Knock glasses off nightstand.  For a while she was doing a tether-ball tournament with the metal lamp pull. Ding ding ding ding ding......then a "I win" if I acknowledge I am awake. (cat squints eyes).

This series is marketed toward teens or older children but don't let that stop you from reading these books. There is also a talking dog, semi-sentient airplanes, dead creatures. I mean, it's a nice fantasy series, like maybe you need something to take your mind off serious matters. Not sickly sweet like those old Golden Grahams.  I did like those back in the day though. I will admit it. Diabetes.

You could drink this with a Gold Rush (one of my favorite cocktails of all time) or this golden colored cocktail (which we won't tell anyone--is low cal) Rosemary Grapefruit Cocktail (makes two) One large ruby red grapefruit, a sprig of rosemary, 1/2 cup grapefruit La Croix,3 ounces vodka, four dashes of grapefruit bitters (optional).  Juice the grapefruit and muddle the sprig of rosemary pour the juice in two glasses with the bitters. Add 1/4 cup of the sparkling water and an ounce and half of vodka to each glass. You can garnish with a rosemary sprig and/or a grapefruit slice. As is, this is only 129 calories.  This sounds very tart to me so you could add a little simple syrup but obviously this will add to the calories.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Who Fears Death?

This is a messed up book. Set in the post-apocalyptic Africa things are not cool. Actually things are not all that cool now. This book is pretty dark with "adult themes" and not in a good way. In fact there are so many creepy things in here they are like a who's who of comedy killers. Unless you're Louis C.K. it's pretty hard to joke about child soldiers, genocide and female genital circumcision. I mean, that is above my pay grade, for real.  At least in this book's future there are bad wizards and good wizards. Ok, ok....that we can work with....

I really wanted to like this book because it's from a different perspective and new author. The first part is a typical hero myth even if it's super creepy but I was ok. Our girl wizard is named Onyesanwu, who is destined to be a hero....except in the second half of the book she grows up to be kind of a jerk. I have no idea if the author wants us to like her or not. Her boyfriend is a jerk, her friends at times are jerks, her teacher is a Super jerk, the guessed it...jerks. She meets some nice sand people who put up with her diva behavior. For example, Onye doesn't want eat some food offered to her because it got "mixed together" so her boyfriend gets her some more...I'm like you are in travelling for months in a desert and these nice people are giving you food--witch, please.

The plot goes all over the place at the end with a bizarre ending so I'm not sure I can recommend this book. I noticed that she let Patrick Rothfuss read an early draft and I found that amusing because his hero In the Name of the Wind is also kind of a jerk (I liked his story and his hero better but he refuses to finish the trilogy--sigh). Apparently I like my heroes to be simple hobbit-like folk, you know we're going to save the world but there is no need to: A) not to be civilized and B) stop and have nice snacks.

This is the perfect name of a cocktail to go with this book--Blood and Sand Cocktail: Fill a cocktail shaker with 3/4 ounce of the following 4 ingredients: Scotch, sweet vermouth, Cherry Heering and orange juice. Shake and strain and pour into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an orange peel.