Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Real Food and The Devil's Punchbowl

I searched several different bookstores and finally found a copy of Nina Planck's book, Real Food.  I can't remember where I saw/read it being recommended, but I found it to be an interesting read.  Of course, as you can imagine, the book is the author's defense of eating "real food".  Which I totally agree, is a good way to eat, no question about it!  However, I imagine that it would be rather difficult to locate raw milk to drink and, if I am not mistaken, it seems to me that grass-fed meat is fairly expensive.  Yes, I know that the cost is probably worth it...I just don't know if I am willing to pay the cost yet.  I may try some...it's possible that the taste would make the cost worth it.

The book is 275 pages long, with  another 55 pages of references, etc.  The main gist of the book is on page 273, where there is a paragraph of the author's recommendations for eating.  As you would guess, she recommends generous amounts of fruits and veggies, wild fish and seafood, grass-fed meat, full fat dairy (ideally raw), only traditional fats, whole grains and legumes, cultured and fermented foods, and unrefined sweeteners. 

The book makes a compelling case for eating this way and there is a lot of interesting information about each topic.  I'm glad that I read it, and I will give consideration to her suggestions.

And once again, my wonderful library had another great Greg Iles book for me to read...The Devil's Punchbowl. It is another mystery set in Natchez, Mississippi with Penn Cage as the lawyer/author hero, dealing with several issues, including dog-fighting, kidnappings, etc.  It was a great read and I am anxiously awaiting the sequel that Mr. Iles has promised.  It is supposed to be out in 2011!  I won't go on more about the book, since I have read and reviewed so many other of his books.  Suffice to say, I really enjoyed this one!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad

I just finished three novels that I blindly chose from the library...that is, I had never heard of either the titles or the authors.  Turned out that I really enjoyed two of them, and the third wasn't too bad.  I will begin with my "not too bad" read:

The Blindness of the Heart by Julia Franck had a very interesting premise.  The novel begins in 1945 and takes place in Germany.  A young mother, Helene, leaves her seven year old son in a railway station.  This is after they have survived the "horror and deprivation of the war years."   Helene never returns for her son.  Then the story goes back into Helene's childhood beginning before WWI.  It actually was a fairly interesting story, but I wanted it to tie up with the beginning of the book in a more definitive way.  The book did win the German Book Prize and was a finalist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

Next I read The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson.  I enjoyed this book very much, and will try to find her first book, Crow Lake to read.  This novel begins in the 1930's with two brothers, sons of a local farmer.  One brother, Arthur, is the responsible, hard-working son.  The other brother, Jake, is charming, undependable and good-looking.  A defining moment occurs that changes everyone and everything for the brothers and their parents. (which I don't want to give away).  Later, a beautiful girl arrives in town and both brothers are quite taken with her.  Then the story moves ahead twenty years later, and a young boy in town goes to work for Arthur on his farm, and the past begins to unravel.  A very good read!

Lastly, I read The Odd Sea by Frederick Reiken.  This was also a very capturing read.  It is the story of Philip Shumway, a thirteen year old boy whose sixteen year old brother, Ethan, who just disappears one day without a trace.  It is a story about how a family survives having a missing child and/or sibling.  Philip and his three sisters try to make sense of Ethan's life and his disappearance, while his parents struggle each in their own way to survive the loss.  I found this book to be very meaningful and not sad and depressing, as the topic would lend itself to be.  I liked it very much.


My favorite of the three?  I would chose The Other Side of the Bridge!  It is really enjoyable to find new-to-you books (that is, ones that you have never heard of before) and find that you really liked them!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Way Behind!

I am way behind in blogging about my reading, so this blog will be a synopsis of the four books that I have read lately.  I batted 50% on these...two good, two not so good.

1. I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells-This was read for one of my book groups.  I didn't realize that it was a Young Adult book, but while reading it, I complained to my husband that it read like one.  Turns out that it was!  Anyway, I pretty much enjoyed it until about the middle of the book, when it is revealed who/what the serial killer is.  Suffice to say, I'm just not into monsters and demons.

2. The Emigrants by W. G. Sebald-I had read a very positive review of this book and was really looking forward to reading it.  Sadly, I read about 3/4 of it and just couldn't gather up enough interest to finish it.  It is four separate stories about four Jewish emigrants in the twentieth century.

3. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield-Now this was a good book!  I loved the story...it combined genealogy, mystery and family relationships!  Right up my alley, so to speak!  An elderly, highly popular author, Vida Winter, hires a young biographer/bookstore worker to write Vida's biography.  Vida is ready to tell the truth about her mysterious past before she dies. I highly recommend it for a fun read!

4. The Last Child by John Hart-This was a long book, but I have to admit that I never guessed the ending as I read it...it kept my interested and curious.  It is the story of a thirteen year old boy whose twin sister went missing a year ago.  Johnny Merriman is determined to find his sister and finds himself in some hard places as he works to find what has become of her.  Again, I highly recommend it!

I don't like that I only enjoyed two of the last four books that I have read.  I need to chose better!  Wish I knew the secret of choosing just the right book every time!