Monday, August 9, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

Hrm. Quick overview of this lovely trilogy..

And if you've not read any of these, this probably won't make any sense. So. Sorry. In advance.

Book one -

Men definitely hate women in this one - A LOT, Nazis and big corporations are the roots of all evil - OF COURSE, who needs big boobs anyway (or I mean boobs at all), or condoms for that matter, or to be faithful to one's spouse.., and all those names..good grief. My review of this one is here.

Book two -

The giant blond dude from Rocky IV/man who feels no pain from the Brosnan (slash fake) Bond movies makes an appearance and boy is he pissed, Lisbeth is actually in this one - like she does stuff and everything (I mean everything), again with the names...holy crap....but this one by far my favorite of the three.

Book three -

Lisbeth is in the hospital and now she's pissed, duct tape cures all ills (my husband slash life partner could've told them that!), hot Amazon women are attracted to middle-aged, over-weight men, Lisbeth is still in the hospital.., ack, those names! I wanted to ram my head into the wall they were so confusing, Salander is still in the hospital..., stalkers are always skinny nerdy men, Swede's like to use the word whore a lot, giant blond freak makes an appearance at the beginning and the exact end of the book - in between I completely forgot about him, wha? Salander finally leaves the hospital?? Just in time to save the day? Not really, and the mysterious sister? She never shows...ah, come on!!

A really funny take on this series is in The New Yorker. I laughed myself silly it was so. spot. on.

3 stars

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Good Housekeeping: Family Vegetarian Cooking

Title: Family Vegetarian Cooking

By: Good Housekeeping

I know it is strange to write a review on a cookbook, but I wanted to give a HUGE shoutout to this book!
About a month ago my husband and I decided to go more vegetarian- we are absolutely not cutting out meat completely, but we wanted to try to incorporate more meatless meals into our family. I had no idea what to expect in trying this out, because we used to eat meat at EVERY meal except breakfast (and even then we had sausage sometimes).
I was mostly worried that meatless meals would not be filling- for me, meat has always been the main course. Another major problem, was that I had approximately ZERO meatless recipes and nowhere to turn to get them.
I came across this cookbook and I am absolutely in love with it!!!! There are lots of pictures (a mandatory requirement for me and cookbooks), the recipes are fairly easy and do not require a ton of prep, and it goes into the basics of being a vegetarian and how to still get all of the nutrients you need. The best part: Every recipe I have tried (except one) has been absolutely DELICIOUS- I kid you not, these are some of the best recipes I have ever made and we LOVE our food!!! I feel like a gourmet chef making these simple but exotic recipes. YUM! (One sad note: they have a smaller version of this cookbook with a recipe for Greek Feta Pitas- by far our favorite meal. Unfortunately, for some reason that recipe is not in this larger version, which is very sad. If you want that recipe, leave a comment and I will get your e-mail from Lula and send it to you!)
Much to my delight, all the recipes leave us feeling full and satisfied- no more worries about needing meat to fill us up! The meals taste so much healthier- centered around grains and produce instead of meat. Honestly, both my husband and I now don't even really like to eat meat anymore- we much prefer the vegetarian meals. Another bonus: it's cheaper! Beans cost less than meat, so that has been a nice change as well.
I am absolutely NOT trying to convert anybody into being a vegetarian- like I said, we are not vegetarians! But, if you are looking for more meatless meals, I HIGHLY recommend this cookbook. It is wonderful!
Rating: 5 of 5.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Disappearing Spoon

By Sam Kean

I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately, and for me, that’s really...well, unusual. If you had asked me a couple of years ago how I felt about non-fiction, I would have described it as eye-glazingly dull, a dry recitation of facts. But now I actually scour the non-fiction shelves at the library eagerly. I know -- it’s crazy!

The only explanation is that non-fiction has gotten better. (It can’t be me that’s changed.) The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean is a fine example of this better, more interesting non-fiction. Kean doesn’t skimp on the facts. He’s packed his book with oodles of information about the elements. What saves his book from being merely a mind-numbing collection of elemental characteristics may be gleaned from the book’s full title: The Disappearing Spoon and Other Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of Elements.

Yes, it’s the madness and weirdness that brings the elements to life, and Kean seems to have dug up a fascinating story for virtually every element on the periodic table. For example, the title’s disappearing spoon refers to a (nerdy) practical joke in which unsuspecting victims are given a gallium spoon to stir their tea. I was particularly interested in the stories surrounding the radioactive elements, which ranged from an ex-KGB spy that was murdered with polonium-laced sushi in 2006 to a boy scout that tried to build his own nuclear reactor.

Reading non-fiction like this is not only painless, but fun, and I’m convinced that I’m retaining all of those pesky little facts better that I normally would because I’ve so enjoyed learning them. Just wait until we meet at the next dinner party and I regale you with tales of elemental hijinks. If you’ve long despaired of enjoying non-fiction, perhaps now is the time to give it another try.