Tuesday, March 27, 2018


This is my spring classic. Spring Classic sounds like a golf tournament. Maybe a yachting race?  Something fancy. I read two or three classics a year and The Moonstone, written in 1868 is the first detective novel ever written.  Dickens gave Wilkie Collins a high five over it. Well, an olden times version of a high five, which was a letter. It said something like: You rock bro. (With fancy script that just said 100% ).

The Moonstone has that nice slow pacing that you expect from a Victorian novel. The modern novel is a clustercuss of action and weirdness. Newer books have timelines that are all crazy. This is relax a bit, get a "biscuit" aka a cookie, a coffee, some tea, whatever you need.  You kind of figure a few things out in advance, I mean, we a inundated with detective stories so we can see things coming nowadays. There are a few plot twists in here I did NOT see coming.

Well, done Wilkie. High five, dude.  If you read a little about his life there are some things in this novel that make more sense. He was not particularly religious and there is one character who is a Christian zealot who is mostly in here for comic relief.  Honestly, it's still funny.  She had a religious tract on the evils of bonnet ribbons. Comedy gold.   

One thing that is not supposed to be funny but to me, is crazy, but apparently champagne was used as medicine. That and brandy. Well, aspirin was not used for thirty more years which is weird to think about. High fever? Well, you get lemonade or champagne. What? That or opium. Lemonade and opium....if it wasn't illegal someone would market that as Sunshine Juice. 

It's not a spoiler to let you know that it turns out that the medical opinion of champagne was the correct prescription. This cocktail is made with both cognac and champagne so it should cure all ills. I did not make up the name of this cocktail but it pertains to a medical procedure Barbotage: 1/2 ounce cognac, 1 tsp. Grand Marnier, 4 ounces of chilled brut champagne. Pour the cognac and Grand Marnier in a champagne flute and top with the champagne. Enjoy your prescription.  Refills as needed. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Glass Castle

There is a good chance you've read The Glass Castle as it's been a best seller for many years. I've heard some parents make their kids read this to appreciate what they have. It's a pretty passive aggressive move as the bar on their own parenting is set pretty low. Unless you have a pet tiger you let loose in the house or are purposely setting one the children's beds on fire then you are are parenting better than Rex and Rose Mary Walls.

Some people hate this book as it gives them the creeps. I get it. While there is no tiger in the house, it's honestly pretty close. I actually liked it though. These two are possibly the most neglectful parents you have ever read about.  And such narcissists, I mean, imagine if BOTH of your parents were famous YouTube stars. But Jeannette has this punchy writing style that takes you into her past and you even have a few laughs. One line I like is that the author gets beat up in the first grade and when asked about it she says: "Oh, it was just a little dust up."

We already know, at least for the author, she survives her childhood and becomes a success. She manages to humanize her parents and love them but without giving them a pass entirely.  It's pretty cleverly done, probably because she was a gossip columnist for years. Essentially she's just dishing the dirt. Sometimes it's literal dirt.

A movie version came out last year but I don't see the appeal really.  I like movies with sentient androids. Actually these kids would have been better off with sentient android parents.  Now that I think about it, Rex is lot like Bender from Futurama.

Rex is a raging alcoholic so it feels a little funny recommending a cocktail. So why not drink with a super on-trend session cocktail. Based on the beer name is not a mocktail but it is low in alcohol. This makes a pitcher (serves 6) and would be perfect for a warm spring party. Sparkling Tarragon Gin Lemonade: 10 tarragon sprigs (you could use basil), 2 lemons, 2 tablespoons sugar, 3/4 cup gin, 3/4 cup elderflower liquor, (St. Germain) 1/3 cup lemon juice, one 12 ounce can club soda. Muddle the leaves, sugar, lemon slices in a large pitcher. Then add the gin, St. Germain, add the soda. Stir to combine and serve over ice. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom

So many FEELINGS! That is what always stands out when I read YA. I'm always worried they will break out in interpretive dance. Let's talk about our feelings in the middle of a fight!

"But, I'm worried you don't like me!"

"Um, we're under fire here...I'd like you better if you had some ninja throwing stars...do you in fact have some spare throwing stars?"

"You are just using me for back up!"

"Listen, I only trust YOU for back up....because you're the only one I love....um, I still could use those ninja stars though." 

Ok, ok, Six of Crows is not that bad. In fact, it's kind of fun. This is a that type of urban fantasy that involves pickpockets, thieves, sneaky magicians and a corrupt plutocracy. You know the type. This is not an elves and snacks book. Six of Crows involves a rag-tag team of teenage gang members and misunderstood ex-soldiers involved in a caper-like adventure. Kind of gritty-kitty. In this case, gritty kittens.

Sure this book hits some YA bingo squares, the "bad boy leader," orphans, cliffhanger, star-crossed lovers and oh so many feelings. I'm including both books because the first one ends on a cliffhanger and you'll need to read Crooked Kingdom, the sequel, for at least some closure. Both books have plots like action adventure movies that you've seen but I don't like spoilers. Well they star Mark Whalberg and Matt Damon. That should narrow it down for you. If you like YA fantasy and need a break in your life then it's worth a read.

This drink is appropriate for a band of thieves. This is a variation on one of my favorite cocktails which has the same name: Gold Rush-- 2 ounces bourbon, 1 ounce honey simple syrup, 3/4 ounce lemon juice. Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and strain into a small glass.