Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Top Ten Books That Make You Think






Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
by Robert M. Pirsig

A life-changing book for me, ZAMM is subtitled
"An Inquiry Into Values." And is it ever!
After I read this book in college,
I was relieved to discover I didn't have to be perfect.




Animal Farm
by George Orwell

We think we are making things better
by creating all these wonderful laws....




Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
by Mildred Taylor

Talk about hitting close to home.
My dad grew up at the same time as author Mildred D. Taylor
a couple dozen miles from her.
This story, a fictionalized story of her life, could have been my dad's life,
had his family been black rather than white, in the Old South.





Bowling Alone: The Collapse of American Community
by Robert D. Putnam

We have lost something very important in America:
our sense of community.
We are spending our lives in our lovely air-conditioned homes
with the tv blaring, while inside we feel isolated and alone.





Civility:  Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy
by Stephen L. Carter

I can think of a few talk show hosts and political campaign managers and
regular citizens who could stand to read this book about the
importance of being civil to each other in a democracy.




My Name is Asher Lev
by Chaim Potok

Creativity. Religion. Respect.
Lots to think about in this small book
about a man who is forced to decide
between becoming a devout Jew
or an artist.




Firegirl by Tony Abbott

Friendship. 
With a difficult person.





The Giver by Lois Lowry

A perfect world?




A Short History of Nearly Everything
by Bill Bryson

The title tells it all:  a little bit about, well, everything.






How about you?  
Have you read and loved any of these?
What books made you think?





Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Monday, September 10, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?!

                 
               


What I Finished Last Week

Do you see a theme here?!

Happier at Home
by Gretchen Rubin



100 Simple Secrets of Happy People
by David Niven



The Ultimate Happiness Prescription:
The 7 Keys to Joy and Enlightenment
by Deepak Chopra



The Cure for Everything:
Untangling Messages about Health, Fitness, and Happiness
by Timothy Caulfield



Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids
by Rob Elliott






What I'm Reading Now

All children's books!


Watership Down
by Richard Adams



Nighttime Ninja
by Barbara DaCosta
and illustrated by Ed Young



The Monster's Monster
written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell





Ten Tiny Toes
by Todd Tarpley
and illustrated by Marc Brown





The Order of Odd-Fish
by James Kennedy









What are you reading today?!


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between!  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

I love being a part of this and I hope you do too! As part of this weekly meme Book Journey loves to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme. Book Journey offers a weekly contest for those who visit 10 or more of the Monday Meme participants and leave a comment telling BJ how many you visited.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dewey's Read-a-thon is Coming!



Are you a new book blogger? Do you wish other bloggers would come and read your wonderful blog posts? Read-a-thon is for you!

Are you an old book blogger? Do you wish you could discover other bloggers who read the same books you do? Read-a-thon is for you!

If you an old blogger or a new blogger and you want to have fun with reading and fun with blogging, then I invite you to sign up for Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-thon.


I became a book blogger by accident. I took a class online, a 23 Things class, a class where you learn about all the cool tools of Web 2.0. Part of the class was creating a blog. I thought I'd create a blog for the class and that would be it.

An unexpected 663 posts later, here I still am. Reading. Writing about reading. And reading some more.


One of the things that hooked me on blogging was the readathon. Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-thon was the first book blogging event I participated in, way back in June of 2008. I did every challenge. Wow. I visited other people's blogs. Wow. Other people visited my blog. Wow. And left comments. Wow. Some people became followers. Wow.

All of a sudden, I realized there was this Whole Big World of Readers out there. I met some of my favorite bloggers, bloggers I still visit every week, during Read-a-thon.

So, I encourage you to join in, too. The read-a-thon will be Saturday, October 13. I hope I'll see you there!


For more information:
Read-a-thon Home
Read-a-thon FAQ
Start Times for the Read-a-Thon

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List




Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More,
Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson,
and My Other Experiments in 
the Practice of Everyday Life
by Gretchen Rubin

I've been waiting for this one for months.
Happily, this arrives today!



Yes, Chef:  A Memoir
by Marcus Samuelsson

Last week I read two great books about food
and cooking. Can't wait to read this one, too.




Little Paris Kitchen (French Edition)
The Little Paris Kitchen
by Rachel Khoo

Khoo moves to Paris and
enrolls at Le Cordon Bleu.
Paris and food.



A Sense of Direction:
Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful
by Gideon Lewis-Kraus

Always glad to find new travel books,
especially those that also include spiritual quests.



Ella in Europe: An American Dog's International Adventures
by Michael Konik

Yes, always glad to find new travel books.
And who could pass up traveling in Europe with a dog?!



Help Thanks Wow:
The Three Essential Prayers
by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott.
Prayers.
I don't think I need to say anything else.



Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day:
One Man, Eight Countries,
One Vintage Travel Guide
by Doug Mack

Mack decides to travel through Europe 
using only a 1963 copy of Europe on 5 Dollars a Day
as his guide.



The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuise
by Alina Bronsky

Never let it be said that I don't read the occasional
fiction book.




Do you have other suggestions for me?
How about you? 
What will you be reading this fall?




Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Monday, September 3, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?!


                 
               



What I Finished Last Week


A couple of food-ish books:
The Table Comes First: 
Family France and the Meaning of Food
by Adam Gopnik
“In cooking you begin with the ache and
 end with the object, where in most of the life
 of the appetites---courtship, marriage---you start with the...more


Beaten, Seared, and Sauced:
On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America
by Jonathan Dixon
Jonathan Dixon drifted. For years. Decades. 
One day he woke up and realized he was almost forty 
and had no career. He decided...more





What I'm Reading Now



Visit Sunny Chernobyl 
and Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places
by Andrew Blackwell


Just My Type:
A Book about Fonts
by Simon Garfield



The Empty Glass
by J. I. Baker





What I (Finally!) Reviewed Last Week


Then Again
by Diane Keaton
Why do people who are wonderful in one field 
always think they can be wonderful...more



Fire in the Ashes:
Twenty-five Years Among the 
Poorest Children in America
by Jonathan Kozol
Jonathan Kozol breaks my heart 
every time I open one of his books.
 Who knew the suffering children are experiencing 
in homes in the poorest areas of...more



Educating Alice:
Adventures of a Curious Woman
by Alice Steinbach
I want to be Alice Steinbach. 
I want to travel around the world.
 I want to stop here and there and 
take classes in things that interest me. I want to...more


Maine: A Novel
by J. Courtney Sullivan
Families are the places we share 
the most happy times and the most miserable times, 
the greatest joys and the most pain...more





What are you reading today?!


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between!  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

I love being a part of this and I hope you do too! As part of this weekly meme Book Journey loves to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme. Book Journey offers a weekly contest for those who visit 10 or more of the Monday Meme participants and leave a comment telling BJ how many you visited.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Pioneer Woman vs. Grandma






I was unexpectedly gifted with a copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks last week.




(Time for confession: Not only was I unaware that the Pioneer Woman Cooks but I was completely unaware, until this book was bestowed upon me, of the existence of the Pioneer Woman. Such is the result of my shucking the yoke of media hypersensationalism.)

I may not know the Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond, but, I realized as I browsed this lovely cookbook, I grew up with a person who was a Genuine, Bright-and-Shiny Pioneer Woman:  my grandma, Christina Ashley. 



Which leads me to the reason I am here before you today. I am here to challenge Ree Drummond to a duel: Grandma Ashley's biscuits vs. the biscuits of the Pioneer Woman.

Grandma made biscuits every morning, before the sun came up, in her small kitchen in her farm home in Louisiana. She was born in 1898, married at sixteen, had her first child by seventeen, and fed and clothed five children with her husband out of a hundred acre farm thirty miles from the Mississippi River. 

Here is Grandma's "reciepe" for "bisquits", send to me when I married in 1978:



I started this duel by mixing up a batch of Grandma's biscuits. I followed her advice ("That's what I do") and made them out myself:


 



While these were baking in my Very Hot Oven, I mixed up a batch of the Pioneer Woman's Buttermilk Biscuits, using the recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks:



Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients:
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup cold butter (5 1/3 tablespoons), cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450.

2. In large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and stir together. Add the shortening and cold butter pieces. With pastry blender, cut the shortening and butter into dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Pour in the buttermilk and mix gently with fork until just combined. The biscuit dough will be sticky,  not overly dry or crumbly.

4. Lightly flour a clean surface. Turn the dough out of the bowl and roll to a 3/4″ thickness. Cut rounds with a biscuit cutter and place them on a cookie sheet. Bake for 11-14 minutes until golden brown.  Do not underbake, or the biscuits will be doughy.



I think you will agree with me that this is an unduly fussy recipe, so:
  Two points to Grandma for Recipe Simplicity. 


 Here's what the Pioneer Woman's Buttermilk Biscuits looked like (cut-out with a biscuit cutter):





Many people would give big points to the Pioneer Woman for Overall Aesthetic Appearance, both before baking (see photos above) and after baking (as this side-by-side with Grandma on the left, Pioneer Woman on the right, post-baking photo demonstrates below). But I am, of course, a wabi-sabi person, finding Great Beauty in the Imperfect. 

So, Two points to Grandma for Wabi-Sabi Biscuit Beauty.




Here is the final, and most important evaluation of the two biscuits:  Taste.  For this, I relied on an Experienced Biscuit Eating Expert, my husband, Jim Nance. For this final test, my husband first sampled Grandma's biscuit, then cleaned his palate with a drink of water, and then sampled the Pioneer Woman's biscuit. 

I am happy to report that my husband chose Grandma's biscuit over the Pioneer Woman's biscuit, for taste. "Lots more flavor in Grandma's biscuit," he told me. 

So, Two points to Grandma for Taste. 


Grandma is, certainly, the winner over Pioneer Woman. Good job, Grandma!  

Note to Pioneer Woman:  Don't let this setback discourage you, Pioneer Woman. When you have prepared biscuits every morning for over seventy years and have had to bake biscuits in a wood-burning oven for many of those years, then you can climb back into the arena with my Grandma Ashley. 




Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.