2 Cookbooks

I’ve liked all of the Thug Kitchen cookbooks so I was looking forward to Thug Kitchen 101. But, for some reason I had it in my head that this was going to be about fast food or road trip food but it’s not. It’s definitely a “101” style cookbook and I was disappointed. I didn’t see anything that I really needed to make, which is sad since our vegan will be here in a couple of weeks and it’s always nice to have a new dish for her to try. Blah.

And then there is Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings. I’ll admit it, I do follow her on Instagram and LIKE her but I wasn’t especially interested in her cookbook. I didn’t pre-order it and I didn’t even reserve it from the library. If it hadn’t just been sitting on the new arrivals shelf last weekend, I probably wouldn’t have thought to check it out.

Turns out, it’s good. Even though I don’t eat bacon and she loves her some bacon — and I don’t eat seafood or soup and she’s got her fair share of those recipes, too, I found myself saying over and over again that I’d make that. I even, for a minute, was sad that I don’t eat bacon because her garlic bacon sounds pretty darn good to me. In theory. I’d even make it for my bacon lovers but TW says it sounds yukky. She’s weirder than I am, by far.

I might actually want to BUY this cookbook… that’s saying something.

Life of the Party

Life of the Party: The Remarkable Story of How Brownie Wise Built, and Lost, a Tupperware Party Empire was excellent but it pissed me the hell off. If Earl Tupper was still alive, I’d take my ass down to Costa Rica and tell him off.

Dumb ass.

(It also made me think about Tupperware and home party sales people and stuff a lot more than I expected it too, lol. I might have also, almost, considered having a Tupperware party.)

I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual

I finally made time to sit down with Luvvie’s Im Judging You: The Do Better manual. As expected, Luvvie nailed it all. This is shit some of y’all don’t know and SHOULD know. You should just go ahead and read it right now. And give a copy to your family members who should know better and don’t.

You should also follow Luvvie on FB and Twitter. Immediately.

Reading in November

Welp. Down to the wire. Whatever my overall goal was for the year, I’m not gonna make it. But, let’s look on the bright side — November wasn’t a bad month for me. Not bad at all.

Total Read: 11

Non-fiction: 3
Cybils Shortlist: 6 (mostly YA but some middle grade)

We are listening to the longest audiobook, ever. OMG so long… we may never finish it…

3 Non-Fiction

Make: Over 40 Fantastic Sewing Projects is what happens when you’re in the library and see a pretty cover and the word “MAKE” in really big letters a completely misleading sub-title, (Please, click the link and look closely at the title of the book vs the sub-title visible on the cover… you wind up with a book about sewing projects that has absolutely no interest for you. Whatever.

Tinkering: Kids Learn By Making Stuff was awesome. Perfect for “Grandma Camp!”

Your Sharpie Style was a perfectly fine Sharpie project book.

Small Great Things

Damn Jodi Picoult (in a good way.)

If you’re not generally a fan or you used to be a fan but got tired of the formulaic stories, characters and writing … you need to read Small Great Things — particularly if you are WHITE. Particularly right now with P45 choosing White Supremacists for his team. (Have a clueless WHITE mom or sister or friend who loves to read? Buy her this book for Christmas… just sayin’.)

This is not a perfect book. It’s still formulaic. It’s still got everything a Jodi Picoult novel has, that you may not love or may be tired of, but it is a must read RIGHT NOW. (And, do yourself a favor and follow her on Twitter, as well. She’s done a very good job of speaking up and speaking out. I respect that and appreciate it.)

3 More Cybils

Now, all that’s left are poetry, early readers, some non-fiction and… yea. A whole lot of books. Anyway, on with the tracking of the ones I have read…

Bone Gap was not the book I expected it to be. Which is impossible for me to explain (I’ve tried, TW doesn’t get it, lol) so I didn’t quite love it. I did like it, though. I think.

I did like Inheritance of Ashes but not as much as I expected to. I found both sisters to be a little… annoying, which made it hard for me to really care whether they could sort out their relationship.

Shadowshaper is the one I had heard almost nothing about (shocked, not shocked, sigh) and had no expectations about. I loved it. Even when I was cursing the damn #patriarchy (which was all the way through it.) Loved this one because I loved Sierra (and her grandmother, even if we only got to know her toward the end.)

2 Cybils Shortlist, Middle Grade SciFi/Fantasy

I wasn’t really looking forward to either of these books but ended up enjoying both, though one more than the other…

I really loved The Dungeoneers. Some of the characters were really complex and that’s something I like in middle grade fiction. The good guy was a bad guy who maybe was also a good guy except he wasn’t. And, that was hard. I hope I can read the next one in the series. Someone remind me…

Mars Evacuees was the book I was saving for last because I wasn’t enthusiastic about it at all. I don’t really like “space fiction” all that much. (Don’t hold it against me, y’all.) And, true to form, TW liked this one more than I did. Something about the tone didn’t feel like it was middle grade. TW disagreed. I don’t know — it took me a long, long time to care at all about any of the characters and the ones I cared most about were not the “Mars Evacuees.”

Cleaning House and Doing the Work

An open letter to anyone reading this who supports Donald Trump (who I will refer to from now on as “45” so that I don’t have to type his name again.),

I’ve always been a pretty moderate liberal. I was raised in the south, in a military family. Liberalism wasn’t something I was born to. I’ve occasionally voted for a conservative candidate and I’ve always felt like the way to influence others was to simply make personal connections and model the type of behavior and beliefs you’d like others to adhere to.

I’ve always felt like the “other side” deserved a voice and a platform and I’ve worked hard to give that to them. I’ve been friends with people whose experiences and views varied widely from my own and so long as they weren’t blatantly uncivil or aggressively attacking others, I felt OK about maintaining those relationships.

Quite often, this tactic worked. I’ve had many people tell me that I helped them change their way of thinking and acting simply by being who I was. I’ve had people thank me for sharing points of view and information that they’d never been exposed to because it helped them understand “others” better. I have had people tell me that they did not understand “gay people” until they got to know me and TW and were able to see us as just normal human beings with kids and jobs and dogs and a life that was very much like their own.

Everything should have been fine. Life should have gone on like that. It was good.

Except it was a lie. All of it.

I started noticing it awhile back, I don’t remember exactly when but it’s been in the last couple of years. People I thought I knew well, people I thought were decent human beings who just tended to vote the conservative ticket for fiscal reasons or religious reasons or normal reasons like that were displaying some behaviors and using language that concerned me.

So I started paying closer attention. I watched what those people “liked” on Facebook and what they didn’t “like.” I paid close attention to what they said and how they said it and I began to see the hate underneath.

I started posting more political content. I started stately plainly and clearly that “45” was not a qualified candidate. I stated clearly and plainly that the hatred he was campaigning on was not acceptable. I posted factual story after factual story and some of you got very quiet on my wall. Very quiet indeed.

It became apparent that some of you were actually going to support “45” and that was something that I could not tolerate.

If it had been any other conservative candidate, it might have been possible. But not this candidate.

This candidate is unqualified, in every way, to be president of the country that I love.
This candidate has a temperament that is completely unsuited for the position of president.
This candidate is a misogynist, racist, lying, xenophobe.
This candidate took advantage of your fear and used it against us all.
This candidate took advantage of the anger and hatred in your hearts and he used it to take control of this country.

I cannot and will not ignore this. I cannot pretend that I have any respect for people who supported (45). I cannot pretend like I have any desire to find common ground with any of you.

There is no common ground to be found.

You supported a candidate who has pledged to destroy every single thing I believe in. You supported hatred and racism and sexism and homophobia. You supported a candidate who is not qualified for the position.

I started unfriending people on Facebook, shortly before the election and have continued to do so every day. I’m sure I’ll be unfriending more of you. Luckily, I don’t see many of you face to face very often — but should that happen, we won’t be having a drink, I won’t be buying you coffee, and we won’t hang out reminiscing about days gone by.

I choose not to have relationships with people who support the calls for violence that occurred during “45’s” campaign. I choose not to have relationships with people who bought into the promises of “45” that will harm women, lgbt, minorities across the board and people who aren’t Christian.

Some of you were friends from school Some of you were friends from online message boards 20 years ago. Some of you were friends from work. Some of you are my family,

There are a million things I can do to make a difference in the lives of those who are in danger because of your votes. There are a million things I may have to do to keep myself and my children safe because of your votes. There are a million things I can do to make sure no president is ever elected by running a campaign based on hatred, ever again. And, I’m going to do those things.

The time I spent chatting with you on Facebook or playing Words With Friends with you or texting you or reading your blogs or being there for you when you needed someone .. that time will be spent on people who care about me, my partner, my children and the people of this country that you so blatantly threw into the fire with your votes.

I’ll miss you. Some of you terribly so.

If you ever come to understand just why I’m so angry and why you made such a horrendous choice for this country, I’d be happy to have a one on one conversation with you. But until then, I’m out. I have work to do.

The Fog Diver

My expectations for The Fog Diver were low. Another post-apocalyptic/middlegrade/ya/adventure book. Ho hum? OK not ho hum, because I LIKE this genre but still… turns out, this was one of the better ones.

Really clever cultural references gone wrong, gone very very wrong. Likable characters. A plot that moved fairly quickly. Mostly it was the cultural references that got me.

***

Off-topic but not really: I’m considering not doing the Cybils Challenge next year. Or ever again. It’s not that I don’t love these books, I do. But, so many of them are series’ books and I just can’t keep up with the series’ while also reading a bunch of newly introduced series. When I try, I find myself reading nothing but YA and Middle Grade fiction/scifi/fantasy. I need to find some sort of balance. So… stay tuned, this may be the last full shortlist challenge I attempt. Figures, since odds are high that I’m not going to successfully complete it, for the first time – ever.