Census by Jesse Ball

This book was not what I expected. Even though I had no expectations at all when I started it.  I had no idea what it was going to be about.  I read it because it’s part of The Summer Reading Challenge at The Morning News.  I didn’t even read the inside flap; just started reading. In his introduction Mr. Ball writes about his brother who … Continue reading Census by Jesse Ball

Espresso and Walnut Cookies from How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

So yesterday I wanted to bake something but I didn’t want to go to the supermarket to buy ingredients.  Looking through the kitchen cabinets and my newest cookbook, Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess, I found that I had just the right things for a batch of espresso and walnut cookies. The of espresso powder and the half bag of walnuts were left … Continue reading Espresso and Walnut Cookies from How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

Queen Christina: Ms. Garbo is Ready for her Close-up

It’s all about the close up.  Not quite, actually, but nearly. Queen Christina, the 1933 movie about the 17th century queen of Sweden, was a perfect vehicle for Greta Garbo.  Very loosely based on historical events the movie tells the story of the queens ill-fated romance with the Spanish ambassador.  The final scene of the movie, a very long, intense close-up on Ms. Garbo as … Continue reading Queen Christina: Ms. Garbo is Ready for her Close-up

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

You probably already know all you want to know about Tayari Jones’s novel An American Marriage. It’s an Oprah pick with starred reviews in major publications.  It’s even part of this summer’s reading list at The Morning News which is why I read it. You rarely go wrong with The Morning News’s Tournament of Books, so I decided to give their Summer Reading Challenge a go. … Continue reading An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Clos Pegase Winery in Calistoga, CA

Some people explain things to their dogs.  Rather than just say, “No, stop that” they sit the dog down and go into detail about why they shouldn’t dig up the garden, how it damages the plants and remember how much you enjoy marking all the flowers once they’ve grown, so wouldn’t it be best not do dig up the bulbs, that’s a good boy.” That’s … Continue reading Clos Pegase Winery in Calistoga, CA

Meet Floyd the Linoleum Cut Print Cat

 This is the third day of summer break and the first day I’ve produced satisfactory prints.  I confess that yesterday, I spent the morning carving an image into a linoleum block only to realized after making my first print that you have to reverse the text or the type on your prints will come out backwards. So back to the drawing board. This morning, I … Continue reading Meet Floyd the Linoleum Cut Print Cat

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

I admit it. I picked this one because it was the shortest. I’ve a pile of books by my favorite reading chair–books from the Tournament of Books’ long list. They keep arriving at my local library with worrying frequency.  So, to speed my way through the stack, I picked the shortest one… …My new favorite book, Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong. I wasn’t completely sold at first.  … Continue reading Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata

A novel that is also a haiku. Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata takes place on the western coast of northern Japan where geography and climate conspire to create a mountainous landscape that gets more snow than any other place on earth.  The small townships along the railway tracks that cut through the mountains survive on income from the few tourists who visit the local hot springs … Continue reading Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata

The Changeling by Victor Lavalle

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s nice to have a fun read, with strong characters in an interesting location. A slow-burning plot that takes off in unexpected directions doesn’t hurt either. But I have nothing more to say about it.  Nothing profound. I was entertained; I expect most readers intrigued by the premise will be, too. The narrator and main character Apollo is a long-time … Continue reading The Changeling by Victor Lavalle