Despite my growing addiction to Tiny Tower (and now Hay Day) on our Ipad, I’ve still found some time to read some excellent books lately. Because it’s the season of giving (and I’m such a giver) I thought I’d share with you a few of the books that are on my nightstand right now.
The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making, by Alana Chernila.
This is quite possibly my new favorite cookbook. After reading only six recipes I put it on my Amazon wish-list. It’s that good.
First things first, I loved reading several practical recipes of things I could make at home rather than buy at the store (instant oatmeal! twinkies! granola!). None of the recipes I’ve seen so far have included anything that I can’t pronounce or that’s only available at a specialty store. So that is a huge win.
Also, I found the author’s overall tone to be refreshing. Not once did she get on a high horse about how store bought food is the harbinger of the apocalypse and the destruction of small intestines everywhere. We already know that, we don’t need someone chastising us for it. Her matter of a fact attitude recognizes that sometimes, despite how delicious homemade food is, store bought food just has to do.
Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed were the little stories the author told at the start of each recipe. They set just the right note, not overly sentimental but nostalgic in feeling. It made you feel like you were reading more than a cookbook, you were reading about a friend.
There were many gorgeous photographs in the book, and my only complaint is that I wish there were more of them. I’m a fool for good food pictures.
All in all, I give this book 5 whole stars. It’s that wonderful.
Bringing up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, by Pamela Druckerman.
There were parts of this book I absolutely loved. And….there were parts of this book that irritated the snot right out of me. I think the key to enjoying this book is to approach it with the mindset that you’re exploring a foreign culture, not being insulted because you’re an American.
The author does a great job researching several child-rearing topics (getting babies to sleep, getting toddlers to eat new foods, surviving the mommy guilt, etc.) And she does a fabulous job of presenting how the parents in Paris address these issues. I also think that by the end of the book, the author’s tone has moderated to where she can see the pros and cons of each culture’s parenting skills.
However, there were moments in the book where I disagreed whole-heartedly with the conclusions the author drew. And there might have been one moment when I threw the book down and said, “Whatever Pam!” (Don’t tell me I’m the only one who ever talks to an author, even though they aren’t there.)
Overall, I give it 3.75 stars. Read it for the fascinating parts, gloss over the parts that drive you crazy.
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.
Yes, I’m a middle aged mother of three. And yes, this is a teenage level book involving fairies, witches, vampires, and demons. That’s why it falls under the category of “guilty pleasure.” (Don’t judge people, it’s mean.)
So what did I like about Hex Hall? The dialogue was funny and the characters were less annoying that your usual angsty-teenage fare. The plot moved quickly and it was possible for me to read this book and forget about the piles of dirty dishes in the sink. Which means the book did its job.
What didn’t I like about Hex Hall? The pace is fairly uneven and the characters weren’t as fleshed out as I would have liked. It could have used a little more sophistication and polish.
Final verdict? 3 stars. But I will definitely be reading the sequel, Demon Glass.
There you are, gentle reader, some of the books on my nightstand. However, turnabout is fair play. What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments what books you think I should read next.