Wednesday, March 31, 2010

State of the Blog, Part Three: The Authors

Spring has sprung.  The pink trees are blooming and Easter is on the way. It is time to assess what bookery bloggery progress I've made in the first quarter of 2010.

This is a three-part assessment. The Part One addressed the book lists. Part Two covered the challenges I joined this year. 

This Part Three looks at progress on my author lists. Links to each author post are listed in the right hand column.

THE AUTHORS



Kingsley Amis
Books read so far: 5/48
Books read in 2010: one (One Fat Englishman, reviewed here)
Books I hope to read in 2010: at least one more, probably Everyday Drinking
Books on my TBR shelf: 6

Kate Atkinson
Books read so far: 2/8
Books read in 2010: one (Case Histories, for the Typically British Challenge)
Books I hope to read in 2010: 2
Books on my TBR shelf: one

Cara Black
Books read so far: 2/9
Books read in 2010: zero
Books I hope to read in 2010: one, if the one on my TBR shelf is the next in order
Books on my TBR shelf: one

William Boyd

Books read so far:3/16
Books read in 2010: one (The New Confessions, reviewed here)
Books I hope to read in 2010: one more (A Good Man in Africa)
Books on my TBR shelf: 3

James Lee Burke
Books read so far: 13/17 (Dave Robicheaux series only)
Books read in 2010: zero
Books I hope to read in 2010: 2 or 3 -- I'm almost done with them
Books on my TBR shelf: 3

Lee Child

Books read so far: 12/14
Books read in 2010: zero
Books I hope to read in 2010: 2
Books on my TBR shelf: zero

A. J. Cronin

Books read so far: 1/25
Books read in 2010: one (Three Loves, reviewed here)
Books I hope to read in 2010: that may be it for this year
Books on my TBR shelf:5

M. F. K. Fisher
Books read so far: 4/27
Books read in 2010: zero
Books I hope to read in 2010: 2, but I have not decided which ones
Books on my TBR shelf: 4

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Books read so far: 8/13
Books read in 2010: zero
Books I hope to read in 2010: probably zero, this is a future goal
Books on my TBR shelf: zero

Penelope Fitzgerald
Books read so far: 2/9
Books read in 2010: zero
Books I hope to read in 2010: one (The Bookshop, for the Bibliophilic Books Challenge)
Books on my TBR shelf: 2

Richard Ford
Books read so far: 5/10
Books read in 2010: zero
Books I hope to read in 2010: undecided
Books on my TBR shelf: 3

Jim Harrison

Books read so far: 19/20 (prose only)
Books read in 2010: zero
Books I hope to read in 2010: one (his new Farmer's Daughter)
Books on my TBR shelf: one

Nick Hornby
Books read so far: 2/11
Books read in 2010: one (The Polysyllabic Spree, reviewed here)
Books I hope to read in 2010:2
    Books on my TBR shelf: 3

    John Lescroart
    Books read so far: 16/17 (Dismus Hardy series and spin offs)
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one (A Plague of Secrets)
    Books on my TBR shelf: zero

    Elinor Lipman
    Books read so far: 4/10
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one (Then She Found Me)
    Books on my TBR shelf: 2

    David Lodge

    Books read so far: 2/15 (fiction only)
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: at least 2, but I don't know which ones
    Books on my TBR shelf: 8

    Ian McEwan

    Books read so far: 5/13
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: at least one, but I do not have any on my TBR shelf
    Books on my TBR shelf: zero

    Jack Ohman
    Books read so far: 5/10
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one (Angler Management)

    Books on my TBR shelf: one

    Anthony Powell
    Books read so far: 13/32
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one (Venusberg)
    Books on my TBR shelf: one

    Philip Roth

    Books read so far: 8/30
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: at least one, but I haven't decided which one
    Books on my TBR shelf: 5

    Martin Cruz Smith
    Books read so far: 6/6 (Arkady Renko series only)
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: zero, unless I get my hands on Three Stations, which hasn't been released yet
    Books on my TBR shelf: zero

    Julia Spencer-Fleming
    Books read so far: 5/7
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one (I Shall Not Want)
    Books on my TBR shelf: zero

    William Styron
    Books read so far: 2/10
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: probably zero
    Books on my TBR shelf: 3

    Anne Tyler
    Books read so far: 4/18
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one (Breathing Lessons, for my Pulitzer pick for the Battle of the Prizes challenge)
    Books on my TBR shelf: 5

    John Updike
    Books read so far: 8/26
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: at least one, but I do not know which one
    Books on my TBR shelf: 9

    Andrea U'ren
    Books read so far: zero/2
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: hopefully both of them
    Books on my TBR shelf: zero

    Simon Winchester
    Books read so far: 5/16
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: two
    1. The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
    2. Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded
    Books on my TBR shelf: one

    Tuesday, March 30, 2010

    Teaser Tuesday: Cold Comfort Farm



    "Had she not enough to do at Cold Comfort without there being a genius named Mybug staying a mile away from the farm who would probably fall in love with her? For she knew from experience that intellectuals and geniuses seldom fell for females of their own kidney, who had gone all queer about the shoes and coiffure, but concentrated upon reserved but normal and properly dressed persons like herself . . ."

    Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons.

    There are so many good teasers I could have picked. My copy is positively bristling with book darts.


    Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.





    Monday, March 29, 2010

    Mailbox Monday


    I am still in trial (which means I am still whining about being in trial), but a couple of books still managed to make it into my house in time for Mailbox Monday. Funny how there is always some excuse to buy a book!

    Fraud by Anita Brookner (because I liked her Incidents in the Rue Laugier, reviewed here, and want to read more)



    Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon



    A friend saw this at my house, said she had read it in college a few years back and really liked it, but didn't think it was a book that "old people" would read. I threw her in the dungeon.

    Sunday, March 28, 2010

    List of the Day: Favorite Series


    I can't resist a list. So when I saw this "Top 10" event on Random Ramblings, I was sucked in. 

    I enjoy a good series, usually a mystery, sometimes a literary series. I'm not a fan of sci-fi or fantasy, so several more popular series will never make my list. And I limited this to adult books, so my all-time favorite Trixie Belden series didn't make the cut, no matter how many times I read it as a child.

    Here is my list of favorite "series" in alphabetical order by author's name.

    Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie mysteries

    James Lee Burke's Dave Robechiex cop mysteries (reviews here and here)

    Lee Child's Jack Reacher mysteries

    Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet 

    John Lescroarte's Dismas Hardy lawyer mysteries (discussed here)

    David Lodge's academia trilogy (review here)

    Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time (discussed here)

    Philip Roth's Nate Zuckerman books

    Julia Spencer-Fleming's Clare Furguson priest mysteries (reviews here and here)

    John Updike's Rabbit books

    Review of the Day: City Limits




    There is a line around the Portland metropolitan area called the Urban Growth Boundary – a controversial land use tool designed to control sprawl and protect Oregon’s farmland and scenic beauty. It’s one of those things that sounds like a terrific -- if somewhat utopian -- idea but that gets messy in practice.

    Inner city yuppies, me included, tend to like the idea of the UGB because we can live in old, established neighborhoods with tree-lines sidewalks, but drive to a vineyard tasting room in 30 minutes. For families looking for an affordable house in the exurbs, or the grandchildren of farmers unable to subdivide just because they are on the other side of the line from a new strip mall, the UGB can seem like an arbitrary, unfettered exercise of government interference.

    In City Limits: Walking Portland's Boundary, David Oates explores the UGB line – physically and metaphorically. He spent two years walking and kayaking around the entire boundary and writing essays inspired by his explorations. He also includes essays by some of the people he invited on his journeys, and dialogs with a few of his favorite dead environmentalists, such as John Muir.

    Oates is definitely in the pro-UGB camp, sometimes waxing rhapsodic about the glories of centralized urban planning. But he shows a libertarian streak that chaffs at capricious and heavy-handed government action. While he bemoans -- with the drama of Chicken Little -- voters’ attempts to dismantle the current land use system, he acknowledges that a “system which seems immune to logic, above explanation, and insulated from individual citizens’ rights, complaints, and questions” will inspire revolt. If not evenly balanced, City Limits at least recognizes that there are two sides to the debate.

    The book is best when Oates writes about what he sees and the people he meets while walking the boundary. He has a lyrical style that brings life to his subject, especially his musings on how people chose to live together. His poetic imagery occasionally overwhelms his ideas, and his imagined dialog with Italo Calvino is downright mystifying, but overall, reading his essays is like walking and talking with a thoughtful friend.


    NOTES
    Published by the Oregon State University Press.

    OTHER REVIEWS
    Oregon Historical Quarterly

    (If you would like your review listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.)

    Saturday, March 27, 2010

    State of the Blog, Part Two: The Challenges



    Spring has sprung.  The pink trees are blooming and Easter is on the way. It is time to assess what bookery bloggery progress I've made in the first quarter of 2010.

    This is a three-part assessment. This first part addressed the book lists. Part Two, here, deals with the challenges I joined this year. Part Three will take a look at the author lists.

    I am hosting two "Battle of the Prizes" challenges this year and working on several others.  All are listed in the right-hand column.


    CHALLENGES HOSTED BY ROSE CITY READER

    Battle of the Prizes: American Version


    National Book Award winners v. Pulitzer Prize winners, rules here. There is still plenty of time to sign up!

    Books read so far: zero
    Books I'm going to read for this challenge: 3


    Battle of the Prizes: British Version


    Man Booker Prize v. James Tait Black Memorial Prize, rules here. Again, there is still time to sign up!  

    Books read so far: zero
    Books I'm going to read for this challenge: 3

    CHALLENGES I AM PARTICIPATING IN

    Bibliophilic Books Challenge



    A challenge to read books about books. The home page is here.

    I signed up for the "Bibliomaniac" level, which means I have 12 to read by the end of the year. I do not have a final list yet, but I have several in mind.

    Books read so far: 2
    Books I may read for this challenge (so many to chose from):


    Birth Year Reading Challenge 




    This challenge is to read one or more books published in the year you were born, hosted by Hotchpot Cafe. I signed up, but I haven't created a post yet. I really want to read The Valley of the Dolls by Jaqueline Susann (what a great excuse!), but I don't have a copy yet.

    Book Awards Challenge


    The challenge involves reading ten books that won ten different prizes by November 1, 2010. The home page is here. Many of my picks overlap with other challenges.

    Books read so far: 2
    Books I may read for this challenge:



    I signed up for the "Mor-book-ly Obese" level, meaning I will read six 450+-page books (or three 750+-pagers). Caribousmom hosts this challenge.

    Books read so far: one (Three Loves by A. J. Cronin; reviewed here)
    Books I may read for this challenge: 

    100+ Challenge


    I signed up for this because I am pretty sure I'll read more than 100 books this year. But I do not have my own post for it. The challenge home page is here.

    I keep a book cover list of the books I've read this year in the right-hand column of this blog. There are 28 books on the list so far and I think that is about accurate. Sometimes books don't show up over there because they are missing a cover picture on my LibraryThing library.

    Typically British Challenge



    I signed up at the "Cream Crackered" level to read eight "Typically British" novels. I will blow through those eight pretty quickly, since probably half of the books I read would qualify. The challenge home page is here.

    Books read so far: 6
    Books I may read for this challenge:


    Friday, March 26, 2010

    Opening Sentence of the Day: Cold Comfort Farm



    "The education bestowed on Flora Poste by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged; and when they died within a few weeks of one another during the annual epidemic of the influenza or Spanish Plague which occurred in her twentieth year, she was discovered to possess every art and grace save that of earning her own living."

    Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons.

    That is one of the best opening sentences I've read in forever. It is a whole short story in one sentence. I want to live in this book for a long, long time.

    Cold Comfort Farm is one of my all-time favorite movies (I think it is actually a British TV show patched together into a movie). It is the source of several "lines" in my household, including the best, "I saw something nasty in the woodshed," always said in a quavery, sepulchral voice. So far, the book is just like the movie, which is fine by me.


    NOTE
    Book Beginnings on Fridays is a new "opening sentence" event hosted by Becky at Page Turners

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    Review of the Day: The War of the Worlds



    The War of the Worlds is a perennial favorite. Every couple of decades, its popularity is regenerated with a new adaptation, most famously with Orson Wells’ 1938 radio production that convinced listeners that Martians were invading in real time, and most recently with Steven Spielberg’s 2005 blockbuster. But there is something to be said for revisiting the original – H. G. Wells’ 1898 novel.

    The book is a monumental work of science fiction, both for its science and its fiction. The story itself is particularly exciting in the original because of its historical setting. Martians land in the suburbs of London and proceed to massacre the inhabitants with a terrifying heat ray and smothering toxic smoke. But this is the 1890s – the people have to fight back with infantry and cavalry troops. There are no tanks, no planes, no nothing.

    The science gives the book depth beyond the adventure story. Wells provides a roadmap to late-Victorian popular issues, covering Darwinism, Marxism, microbiology, planetary science, military advancements, and even that Victorian favorite, botany. Discussion on these topics gives the reader ideas to mull over after the excitement fades.


    NOTES
    This counts as one of my books for the Typically British Challenge.

    OTHER REVIEWS
    (If you would like your review listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.)

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010

    State of the Blog, Part One: The Lists


    Spring has sprung.  The pink trees are blooming and Easter is on the way. It is time to assess what bookery bloggery progress I've made in the first quarter of 2010.

    My List of Lists is over in the right-side column. These are Prize Winners, Must Reads, and other lists of books I have read or intend to read for some reason or another. Also in the right-side column is a list of my favorite authors. I add to both lists from time to time.

    This is a three-part assessment. This first part addresses the book lists. Part Two, coming soon, will deal with the challenges I joined this year. Part Three will take a look at the author lists.

    THE LISTS

    1899 Top 100
    Books read so far: 7/100
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: 2

    1. The Moonstone by Willkie Collins
    2. Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz
    Books on my TBR shelf: 13

    All-TIME Top 100
    Books read so far: 75/100
    Books read in 2010:
    Books I hope to read in 2010: those two, plus two-thirds (I really hope to finish The Lord of the Rings.)
    Books on my TBR shelf: 14

    Anthony Burgess
    Books read so far: 28/99
    Books read in 2010: 2
    Books I hope to read in 2010:one more (Strangers and Brothers by C.P. Snow)
    Books on my TBR shelf: 20

    BBC's Big Read
    Books read so far: 52/100
    Books read in 2010: one (Black Beauty, Anna Sewell)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one more (Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake)
    Books on my TBR shelf: 10

    Book Club
    Books read so far: 15/16
    Books read in 2010: one (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: 5 (but The Red Tent is the only one I know so far)
    Books on my TBR shelf: zero

    College Board
    Books read so far: 75/101
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one (The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath)
    Books on my TBR shelf: 15

    Costa Book of the Year
    Books read so far: 3/24
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: 2 
    Books on my TBR shelf: 2

    Easton Press
    Books read so far: 56/100
    Books read in 2010: one (The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: only the one
    Books on my TBR shelf: 25

    Edgar Award
    Books read so far: 6/55
    Books read in 2010: one (New Orleans Mourning by Julie Smith)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: only one
    Books on my TBR shelf: 3

    Erica Jong
    Books read so far: 29/100
    Books read in 2010: zero
    Books I hope to read in 2010: several, including
    1. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
    2. Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier
    3. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein
    Books on my TBR shelf: 19

    French Connection
    Books read so far: 43/109 (and counting -- there are more books to add to the list)
    Books read in 2010: one (The Flaneur by Edmund White)
    Books I hope to read in 2010: one more (The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein)
    Books on my TBR shelf: 20

    Books read so far: I don't keep track, because I delete them after I read them
    Books read in 2010: same
    Books I hope to read in 2010: 15 more (I'll be busy)
    1. The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos
    2. The Art of Disappearing by Ivy Pochoda
    3. The Evolution of Shadows by Jason Quinn Malott
    4. The Mermaid and the Messerschmitt by Rulka Langer 
    5. Soldiers in Hiding by Richard Wiley
    6. Leaving Brooklyn by Lynn Sharon Schwartz
    7. Saving Stanley: The Brickman Stories by Scott Nadelson 
    8. Clown Girl by Monica Drake 
    9. The Farmer's Daughter by Jim Harrison 
    10. Jumptown: The Golden Years of Portland Jazz 1942-1957 by Robert Dietsche
    11. Another Way the River Has: Taut True Tales from the Northwest by Robin Cody   
    12. An Architectural Guidebook to Portland by Bart King 
    13. The Grail: A Year Ambling & Shambling Through an Oregon Vinyard in Pursuit of the Best Pinot Noir Wine in the Whole Wild World by Brian Doyle  
    14.  The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees
      Books on my TBR shelf: 15

      James Tait Black Memorial Prize
      Books read so far: 8/96
      Books read in 2010: zero
      Books I hope to read in 2010: one (The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry)
      Books on my TBR shelf: 9

      LT Early Reviewers

      Books read so far: 25/27
      Books read in 2010: two
      Books I hope to read in 2010: two more
      1. The Wall in My Head: Words and Images from the Fall of the Iron Curtain, published by Words Without Borders Anthologies
      2. Short Stories, Book I by Anton Chekhov
      Books on my TBR shelf: 2

      Man Booker Prize

      Books read so far: 21/43
      Books read in 2010: zero
      Books I hope to read in 2010: at least one, but I don't know which
      Books on my TBR shelf: 13

      MLA's 30
      Books read so far: 22/30
      Books read in 2010: one (The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver)
      Books I hope to read in 2010: just the one
      Books on my TBR shelf: 4

      Modern Library
      Books read so far: all of them!
      Books read in 2010: zero (finished this list a couple of years ago)
      Books I hope to read in 2010: none
      Books on my TBR shelf: zero

      National Book Award

      Books read so far: 24/63
      Books read in 2010: zero
      Books I hope to Read in 2010: 2 (for the Battle of the Prizes Challenge)
      Books on my TBR shelf: 15

      NBCC Award
      Books read so far: 16/33
      Books read in 2010: one (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz)
      Books I hope to read in 2010: one more (Counterlife by Philip Roth)
      Books on my TBR shelf: 8

      Nobel Laureates
      Authors read so far: 19/105
      Books read in 2010: zero
      Books I hope to read in 2010: one (Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset)
      Books on my TBR shelf: 30 (but most by authors already read)

      Observer's Top 100
      Books read so far: 55/100
      Books read in 2010: 2  
        Books I hope to read in 2010: two-thirds (the last two book in The Lord of the Rings)
        Books on my TBR shelf: 19

        Orange Prize
        Books read so far: 1/13
        Books read in 2010: zero
        Books I hope to read in 2010: one (Small Island by Andrea Levy)
        Books on my TBR shelf: 4

        Oregon Books
        Books read so far: 3/20
        Books read in 2010: zero
        Books I hope to read in 2010: maybe none
        Books on my TBR shelf: 2

        PEN/Faulkner

        Books read so far: 7/29
        Books read in 2010: zero
        Books I hope to read in 2010: 2
        Books on my TBR shelf: 12

        Pulitzer Prize
        Books read so far: 40
        Books read in 2010: one (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz)
        Books I hope to read in 2010: at least 2 (for the Battle of the Prizes Challenge) 
        Books on my TBR shelf: 15

        Radcliffe's Top 100
        Books read so far: 86/100
        Books read in 2010: tqo
        Books I hope to read in 2010: 4+
        Books on my TBR shelf: 9

        RCR Top 10
        Books read so far: 10/10 (it's my list)
        Books read in 2010: zero (the list has not changed -- so far)
        Books I hope to Read in 2010: maybe a new book will make it to the list
        Books on my TBR shelf: zero

        Well-Stocked Bookcase
        Books read so far: 35/60
        Books read in 2010: zero
        Books I hope to Read in 2010: one (The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath)
        Books on my TBR shelf: 14

        I want to concentrate on the Radcliffe list because I have a shot at finishing that one once and for all. But my Guilt List is in danger of toppling over, so is claiming my immediate attention.

        Tuesday, March 23, 2010

        Teaser Tuesday: City Limits



        "That's what I crave: meaningful places.  No one like a convert -- poor li'l L.A. boy, I'm a big fan, an aficionado, of this Portland thing because it offers me an alternative to the dilute life of the endless suburbs."

        City Limits: Walking Portland's Boundary by David Oates (published by the Oregon State University Press).
        Although this book is about Portland's "Urban Growth Boundary," it would be interesting for anyone who contemplates what makes a city "livable" and how they think about their own life in relation to their city.  I don't agree with everything Oates writes, but his book is thought-provoking.


        Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.




        Monday, March 22, 2010

        Mailbox Monday



        I had such a hectic trial week last week that I comforted myself with an order from amazon that arrived in time for Mailbox Monday.

        I saw Death in the Truffle Wood on Kittling Books and impulse purchased it on the spot, along with the sequel and a P. G. Wodehouse book to bring the order up to $25 so I could get free shipping.

        Death in the Truffle Wood by Pierre Magnan.  Published in 1978, this is the first of two Commissaire Laviolette mysteries, both set in Provence. I get a kick out of vintage mysteries, so I am looking forward to reading both of these. The are also going on my French Connections list.



        The Messengers of Death by Pierre Magnan (the second Commissaire Laviolette mystery).



        Jeeves in the Offing by P. G. Wodehouse



        Sunday, March 21, 2010

        Cookbook Library: New Casserole Cookbook



        I love my 1968 edition of the New Casserole Cookbook! It gives a little description of the dish or tells a story about it, then tells you what to serve with it to make a complete dinner (along the lines of “serve with a butter lettuce salad; dinner rolls; and sliced peaches”).

        I tried the recipe for “Poulet Marengo” and it was pretty tasty. I’d make it again. I used more basil and more garlic than the recipe called for. Also, I couldn’t find a 2 1/2 pound chicken, so I used a normal grocery store chicken (around 4 pounds) and just added a little more liquid, tomatoes, and mushrooms to make enough sauce.

        1/2 c. flour
        salt and pepper
        t. dried basil
        2 1/2 lb. chicken, cut into parts
        1/4 c. butter
        1/4 c. olive oil
        1 c. dry white wine
        1 jigger (1 1/5 oz.) brandy
        1 clove garlic, crushed
        2 1/5 cups chopped canned tomatoes
        1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced

        Mix the salt, pepper, basil, and flour. Dredge the chicken parts. Save the remaining flour mixture. Sauté the chicken in the butter and oil until well-browned on all sides. Transfer chicken to covered casserole.

        Add the remaining flour to the butter and oil and stir with a whisk until it is dissolved. Slowly add the wine and brandy, stirring until well mixed and thickened. Add the garlic, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Stir well.

        Pour sauce over chicken. Cover casserole dish. Cook in 350 oven for 30-40 minutes* or until the chicken is done.

        The books said to serve with noodles, a Belgian endive salad, and wine sorbet with sliced strawberries.

        * I left it in the oven for 90 minutes because I don’t like undercooked chicken. It was delicious. The leftovers will probably be even better because the flavors will really have soaked in and melded.

        Beth Fish Reads hosts a weekly event called Weekend Cooking It dovetails nicely with my goal of making one new recipe from all the books in my Cookbook Library.




        Announcements



        Thanks go to Art Scatter for giving me the Prolific Blogger Award. Mr. Scatter managed to write a clever and engaging post about a blog award, which should be worth some kind of award in its own right. For those who haven't visited Art Scatter, please do -- it is a real star among arts and culture blogs.


        The March issue of the Internet Review of Books is up now.  It looks particularly tempting, packed as it is with reviews, including reviews of a new Winston Churchill biography and Ian McEwan's latest novel.  They have also added a section for reviews of poetry books.

        Friday, March 19, 2010

        Review of the Day: The Well and the Mine


        Few debut novels are as polished and engaging as The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips. Set in the 1930s in Depression-ravaged Alabama, the book is the story of the hard-working Moore family. Their home is the center of attention after daughter Tess sees a woman throw a baby in their well.

        Narration moves among the five family members: father Albert, a supervisor in the local coal mine, mother Teva, daughters Virgie and Tess, and son Jack. Phillips does not hide much from the reader, and narrative switches are indicated with the name of the speaking character. Only Jack tells his story from the perspective of his adult self, providing information about what happened to the family in the future.

        The characters maintain distinct personalities – something authors using multiple perspectives often fail to accomplish. The precocious Tess is the most charming because she has an impish spark but an angel heart. She definitely brings to mind Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. Although she observes life through a child’s eyes (“Jack had gotten me thinking about why we didn't ever see fairies in the woods. I figured something ate them.”), the story moves forward through the life lessons she learns.

        These lessons involve the power of generosity, hospitality, and grace in the face of poverty, racism, hardship, and heartbreak. There is little in the way of cynicism, but neither is there schmaltz. The Well and the Mine has all the makings of a new classic, perfect for a book club discussion or a high school English class.



        NOTES

        Gin Phillips won the Discover Award for this book.

        Fannie Flagg wrote the introduction.

        I recommend getting the original edition published by the super cool Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts because it has the beautiful, thick, matte-finished cover with French flaps. 

        The cover photo is credited to Eudora Welty.

        OTHER REVIEWS

        The Stones Inside My Shoes

        (If you would like your review listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.)

        Thursday, March 18, 2010

        In Trial


        I had hoped to keep up with daily posts while in trial, but things are going so fast and furious that blog posts are going to be sporadic. Please check back.

        Wednesday, March 17, 2010

        Opening Sentence of the Day: City Limits






        "I walked all the way around Portland, along the invisible line called the Urban Growth Boundary."

        City Limits: Walking Portland's Boundary by David Oates (published by the Oregon State University Press).


        I like to walk. I live in Portland. I'm intrigued by the idea of walking the whole way around the city's raggedy boundary.  For non-Oregonians, the idea of an "Urban Growth Boundary" may seem wacky, but we've got one. And I'm about to experience all of it -- at least second hand.

        Tuesday, March 16, 2010

        Teaser Tuesday: The Well and the Mine


        "Jack had gotten me thinking about why we didn't ever see fairies in the woods.  I figured something ate them."

        -- The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips (Discover Award winner; introduction by Fannie Flagg; published by the super cool Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts).
        This is an excellent book. It's a great story, rips right along, includes all the life-lessons of a Hallmark made-for-tv movie, but has none of the schmaltz.  Unless it falls off dramatically in the last third, this has all the makings of a new classic -- perfect for a high school English class.


        Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event.



        Monday, March 15, 2010

        Mailbox Monday


        Thanks to a terrific give-away on Book Dilettante, I got something in time for Mailbox Monday. I have read a little about this one and it caught my fancy. Also, it was the only book that came into my house last week, so I am extra pleased. Thanks, BD!

        Corked by Katheryn Borel



        My law firm is starting a big trial today. We've been going all-out for weeks getting ready and it is going to keep us busy. But I am planning a little wine tour weekend getaway for as soon as we are finished. I am going to take this book with me, along with this one:

        The Grail: A Year Ambling & Shambling Through an Oregon Vinyard in Pursuit of the Best Pinot Noir Wine in the Whole Wild World by Brian Doyle



        I'll be ready some reading, relaxing, and wine drinking!

        Sunday, March 14, 2010

        Author of the Day: C. P. Snow

        Strangers and Brothers is a series of novels by C. P. Snow, published between 1940 and 1974. Set in England, all eleven novels in the series are narrated by Lewis Eliot and follow his life and career from humble beginnings to a reasonably successful career as a London lawyer and Cambridge don, through wartime service in Whitehall, to a later career as a senior civil servant and, finally, retirement.

        I have not read any of these books yet, but they have been on my radar for quite a while and several are on my TBR shelf. My plan is to read them in narrative order rather than publication order, so that is the way they are listed below.

        Those on my TBR shelf now are in blue.

        Time of Hope (1949)
        George Passant (first called Strangers and Brothers) (1940)
        The Conscience of the Rich (1958)
        The Light and the Dark (1947)
        The Masters (1951)
        The New Men (1954)
        Homecomings (1956)
        The Affair (1960)
        Corridors of Power (1964)
        The Sleep of Reason (1968)
        Last Things (1970)


        OTHERS READING THIS SERIES

        Books Do Furnish a Room (a thorough review of the series)

        (If you are also reading this series and would like me to list you here, please leave a comment with a link to your progress reports or reviews and I will add them.)

        Saturday, March 13, 2010

        Review: An American Map



        An American Map is a collection of essays by Anne-Marie Oomen about and inspired by particular spots across America. It is more memoir than travel guide, as Oomen writes less about the facts of a place than what she thinks about when she is there.

        Her words are beautiful and she writes with poetic flourish with phrases that describe a cabin retreat that “eddies with chill” or a waterfall with “the look of a million feathers tipped to catch the force of motion.” Her essays inspired by hikes on the Appalachian Trail and to the top of El Yunque in Puerto Rico are particularly lovely.

        Readers who may find Oomen’s prose a little too purple for their tastes will enjoy the more action-oriented essays, like “Squall” about learning to flyfish with her sisters in Colorado, or the title essay about going to New York city to promote a documentary about Michigan asparagus farming.

        Book lovers and writers will enjoy “Finding (My) America” in which Oomen describes her thoughts and experiences while on a mini-book tour to small public libraries in rural Michigan. In it, she examines the importance of books and reading and discusses the community between authors and readers:
        I sense that when I am reading [aloud] or being read to, if it is done with skill, the energy shifts and flits between the reader and the read to, and evolves into something just short of reading each other's minds. Do a group of people all listening to the same story -- a story that has taken them not to spirituality like a prayer might, but to the internal realm of imagination where all of us, through language, enter another world -- create a unity there, in that place, that we find in no other communal experience?
        It is this way Oomen has of bringing a big idea out of a simple experience that makes traveling through her essays so pleasurable.


        NOTES
        This book is part of the Made in Michigan Writers Series.

        OTHER REVIEWS
        (If you would like your review posted here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it here.)

        Friday, March 12, 2010

        Opening Sentence of the Day: The Well and the Mine


        "After she threw the baby in, nobody believed me for the longest time."

        -- The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips (Discover Award winner; introduction by Fannie Flagg; published by the super cool Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts).

        I wish I could skip work and read this straight through. But I have to be in court this morning, so no such luck.


        NOTE
        Book Beginnings on Fridays is a new "opening sentence" event hosted by Becky at Page Turners.

        Thursday, March 11, 2010

        List: Cookbooks


        I would have to live to be about 962 if I wanted to cook every recipe in every cookbook I have. But I have a goal of making at least one new recipe from every cookbook I own -- a goal I've been working on in a desultory way for about five years now.

        There is little rhyme or reason to my cookbook collection.  There are old standbys, like The Joy of Cooking; splashy coffee table "food porn"; kitschy, often politically incorrect, vintage favorites; ethnic and regional books reflecting a series of passing fancies; and quite a few "ladies' auxiliary" type cookbooks from Junior Leagues, civic organizations, and the like, just because they comfort me.

        This is a list of all the cookbooks on my shelves. As I add links to cookbook posts, I will add a note and show the title in red. This is a work in progress, because I know there are cookbooks missing from this list. 

        The ABC of Canapes by Edna Beilenson

        All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking by Molly Stevens

        Amber Waves, published by the Omaha Junior League

        American Cookery by James Beard (notes and recipe here)

        The American Everyday Cookbook by Agnes Murphy

        America's Best Lost Recipes: 121 Kitchen-Tested Heirloom Recipes Too Good to Forget, from the Editors of Cook's Country Magazine

        The Amish Cook at Home: Simple Pleasures of Food, Family, and Faith by Lovina Eicher (reviewed here)

        Appetizers, published by Bon Appetit Magazine

        The Ark: Cuisine of the Pacific Northwest by Jimella Lucas

        The Art of Grilling: A Menu Cookbook by Kelly McCune

        Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan

        Barbecuing the Weber Covered Way by Carol D. Brent

        Bayerisch Kochen by Brigitta Stuber (from my Bavarian cousins)

        Beard on Birds by James Beard

        The Best of Martha Stewart Living: Weddings by Martha Stewart

        The Best of Scanfest: An Authentic Treasury of Scandinavian Recipes and Proverbs by Cheryl Long

        Betty Crocker's Cooking Calendar (A Year Round Guide to Meal Planning with Recipes and Menus)

        Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

        Betty Crocker's Hostess Cookbook

        The Beverly Lewis Amish Heritage Cookbook by Beverly Lewis

        The Cafe Brenda Cookbook: Seafood and Vegetarian Cuisine by Brenda Langton (notes and recipe here)

        Cafe des Artistes : A Pictoral Guide to the Famed Restaurant and Its Cuisine by Fred Ferretti

        The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

        Cape Collection, published by the Association for the Preservation of Cape Cod

        Casserole Treasury by Lousene Rousseau Brunner

        Caviar, Truffles, and Foie Gras: Recipes for Divine Indulgence by Katherine Alford

        The Chafing Dish Cookbook by John and Marie Roberson

        Charleston Receipts, published by the Charleston Junior League

        The Cheese Plate by Max Mccalman

        Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook by Alice L. Waters

        Chopsticks, Cleaver and Wok by Jennie Low

        The Christmas Cookie Book by Judy Knipe

        Classic Crafts and Recipes: Christmas with Martha Stewart Living by Martha Stewart

        Classic Crafts and Recipes Inspired by the Songs of Christmas by Martha Stewart

        Classic Home Desserts: A Treasury of Heirloom and Contemporary Recipes from Around the World by Richard Sax

        The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan

        Classics From a French Kitchen, by Eliane Amé-Leroy Carley

        Classic Spanish Cooking: Recipes for Mastering the Spanish Kitchen by Elisabeth Luard (reviewed here)


        A Collection of Traditional Amana Recipes: Family-Size Recipes of the Foods Prepared and Served in the Amana Villages, published by the Ladies Auxiliary

        Connecticut a La Carte by Melinda M. Vance

        Consider the Oyster by M. F. K. Fisher

        A Cook's Tour of San Francisco: the Best Restaurants and Their Recipes by Doris Muscatine

        The Cooking of Germany, published by Time Life Books

        Cooking with a Foreign Accent, published by Sunset Magazine
        Cooking With Caprial: American Bistro Fare by Caprial Pence (reviewed here)

        Cooking with Wine and High Spirits: a Lighthearted Approach to the Art of Gourmet Cooking by Rebecca Caruba

        A Cordiall Water: A Garland of Odd and Old Receipts to Assuage the Ills of Man and Beast by M. F. K. Fisher

        Crafts and Keepsakes for the Holidays: Christmas With Martha Stewart Living by Martha Stewart

        Creme De Colorado Cookbook, published by the Junior League of Denver (discussed here)

        Cucina Rustica by Viana LA Place

        Desserts: Our Favorite Recipes for Every Season and Every Occasion: The Best of Martha Stewart Living by Martha Stewart

        Easter Treats: Recipes and Crafts for the Whole Family by Jill O'Connor

        English Bread & Yeast Cookery by Elizabeth David

        The Escoffier Cookbook and Guide to the Fine Art of Cookery for Connoisseurs, Chefs, Epicures by Auguste Escoffier

        The Esquire Cook-Book, published by the Editors of Esquire

        The Esquire Party Book by Scotty and Ronnie Welch

        Esquire's Handbook for Hosts, published by the Editors of Esquire (1949 edition)

        Esquire's Handbook for Hosts: A Time-Honored Guide to the Perfect Party, published by the Editors of Esquire (1999 edition)

        Fabulous Foods, published by the Assistance League

        Favorite Greek Recipes, published by the Daughters of Penelope

        Favorite Recipes from Great Midwest Cooks, published by Midwest Lving

        Finger Food by Elsa Petersen-Schepelern

        Fishes and Dishes: Seafood Recipes and Salty Stories from Alaska's Commercial Fisherwomen by Kiyo Marsh, Tomi Marsh, and Laura Cooper (review and notes here)

        Flavor It Greek by Maria Boyer

        Fog City Delights, published by the Letterman Auxiliary (notes and recipe here)

        The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller

        A Fresh Taste of Italy: 250 Authentic Recipes, Undiscovered Dishes, and New Flavors for Every Day by Michele Scicolone

        From Julia Child's Kitchen by Julia Child

        The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas by Jeff Smith

        The German Cookbook: A Complete Guide to Mastering Authentic German Cooking by Mimi Sheraton

        Gifts from the Herb Garden by Chris Mead

        Glorious American Food by Christopher Idone


        Good things: The Best of Martha Stewart Living by Martha Stewart

        The Gourmet Prescription for Low-Carb Cooking by Deborah Friedson Chud

        Great Beginnings and Happy Endings: Hors D'Oeuvres and Desserts for Standing Ovations by Renny Darling

        Great Parties: Recipes, Menus, and Ideas for Perfect Gatherings by Martha Stewart

        Greek Island Cookery by Rena Smith and Linda Salaman

        The Greens Cookbook: Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine from the Celebrated Restaurant by Deborah Madison (discussed here)

        Grill Cookbook by James McNair

        Hawaiian and Pacific Foods by Katherine Bazore

        Hors D'Oeuvre and Canapes by James Beard

        The How to Keep Him (After You've Caught Him) Cookbook by Jinx Kragen and Judy Perry

        Italian Casserole Cooking by Angela Catanzaro

        The Italian Country Table: Home Cooking from Italy's Farmhouse Kitchens by Lynne Rossetto Kasper

        Jacques Pepin Celebrates by Jacques Pepin

        Jake's Seafood Cookbook, published by McCormick & Schmick's

        Theory & Practice of Good Cooking by James Beard

        Japanese Country Cookbook by Russ Rudzinski

        Jean Anderson Cooks: Her Kitchen Reference & Recipe Collection by Jean Anderson

        Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer

        The Joy of Eating: A Simply Delicious Cookbook by Renny Darling

        Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home by Julia Child

        Key to Greek Cooking by Barbara L. Christou

        La Cucina Siciliana di Gangivecchio by Wanda Tornabene

        License to Grill: Achieve Greatness At The Grill With 200 Sizzling Recipes by Christopher Schlesinger (notes and recipe here)

        Lost Recipes: Meals to Share with Friends and Family by Marion Cunningham

        Louisiana Kitchen by Paul Prudhomme

        Louisiana Tastes: Exciting Flavors from the State that Cooks by Paul Prudhomme

        Malcolm Hillier's Christmas by Malcolm Hillier

        Marcella's Italian Kitchen by Marcella Hazan

        The Martha Stewart Cookbook: Collected Recipes for Every Day by Martha Stewart

        Martha Stewart's Christmas: Entertaining, Decorating and Giving by Martha Stewart

        The Martha Stewart Living Christmas Cookbook: A Collection of Favorite Holiday Recipes by Martha Stewart

        Martha Stewart's Hors d'Oeuvres Handbook by Martha Stewart

        Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts by Martha Stewart

        Martha Stewart's Quick Cook by Martha Stewart

        Master Recipes by Stephen Schmidt

        Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1 by Julia Child

        Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 2 by Julia Child

        Metropolitan Cook Book, published by the Editors of the Metropolitan Life Company

        Mexico's Feasts of Life by Patricia Quintana

        More Remarkable Recipes by Antoinette Kuzmanich Hatfield

        Naples at Table: Cooking in Campania by Arthur Schwartz

        The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso

        New Casserole Cookery by Marian Tracy

        The New Complete Book of Cookery by Anne E. Marshall

        New Fish Cookery by James Beard

        The New Making of a Cook: The Art, Techniques, and Science of Good Cooking by Madeline Kamman

        The New York Times Cook Book by Craig Claiborne

        New York Times Heritage Cookbook by Jean Hewitt

        Pacific Flavors: Oriental Recipes for a Contemporary Kitchen by Hugh Carpenter

        Papas' Art of Traditional Greek Cooking by George and Chrisoula Papas

        Parties and Projects for the Holidays by Martha Stewart

        Party Receipts from the Charleston Junior League: Hors d'Oeuvres, Savories, Sweets by Linda Glick Conway

        Paso Robles Main Street Family Cookbook, edited by Russ Restine

        Pasta Classica: the Art of Italian Pasta Cooking by Julia Della Croce

        Pasta Cook Book, published by Sunset Magazine

        Patio Daddy-O: '50S Recipes With a Modern Twist by Gideon Bosker

        Patricia Wells at Home in Provence: Recipes Inspired by Her Farmhouse in France by Patricia Wells

        Paul Bocuse in Your Kitchen by Paul Bocuse

        Picnics: Over 40 Recipes for Dining in the Great Outdoors, from Mercedes Benz, edited by Heidi Cusick

        Popular Greek Recipes, published by the Ladies of the Philoptochos Society

        Pork, Sausage and Ham Cookbook, published by Better Homes and Gardens 

        The Prudhomme Family Cookbook: Old-Time Louisiana Recipes by the Eleven Prudhomme Brothers and Sisters and Chef Paul Prudhomme

        Real Cooking, by George! by George Jacobs

        Remarkable Recipes: From the Recipe File of Mrs. Mark O. Hatfield by Antoinette
        Kuzmanich Hatfield

        Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant flavors of a World-Class Cuisine by Rick Bayless

        San Francisco Encore, published by the Junior League San Francisco

        San Francisco Firehouse Favorites by Georgia Sackett

        Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making by James Peterson

        Sausalito: Cooking with a View, published by the Sausalito Woman's Club

        Seasoned America by Paul Prudhomme

        The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso (notes and recipe here; review here)

        Simply Simpatico: The Home of Authentic Southwestern Cuisine, published by the Junior League of Albuquerque

        The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook by Paula Wolfert

        Southern Accent, published by the Charleston Junior League

        Special Occasions by John Hadamuscin

        The Splendid Table: Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food by Lynne Rossetto Kasper

        Star-Spangled Cooking, published by Chateau Ste. Michelle

        Stews, Bogs and Burgoos: Recipes from the Great American Stewpot by James Villas

        The Stinking Rose Cookbook: The Layman's Guide to Garlic Eating, Drinking, and Stinking by Jerry Dal Bozzo

        The Sunset Cook Book; Food With a Gourmet Touch, published by Sunset Magazine

        The Tapas Cookbook: Seventy Delicious Recipes to Capture the Flavours of Spain by Adrian Lissen

        Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain by Penelope Casas

        A Taste of Oregon, published by the Eugene Junior League (discussed here)

        The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces by Diane Seed

        Trader Vic's Book of Mexican Cooking by Victor Jules Bergeron

        A Tuscan in the Kitchen: Recipes and Tales from My Home by Pino Luongo

        Veneto: Authentic Recipes from Venice and the Italian Northeast by Julia della Croce

        What's for Dinner? Dinner Menus with Some Very Special Recipes by Maryana Vollstedt

        Wildwood: Cooking from the Source in the Pacific Northwest by Cory Schreiber

        Williams Sonoma Complete Entertaining Cookbook by Joyce Esersky Goldstein

        With a Jug of Wine by Morrison Wood (discussed here)

        With Bold Knife and Fork by M. F. K. Fisher

        With Love from Darling's Kitchen: Treasured Recipes for Family and Friends by Renny Darling

        The Wok: A Chinese Cookbook by Gary Lee

        World in Bite-Size by Paul Gayler


        OTHER COOKBOOK LISTS

        (If you would like your cookbook list included here, please leave a comment with a link to the post and I will add it.)

        NOTES

        Last updated on September 3, 2016.

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