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2012 Books

I heard somewhere this year that the average American reads 17 books per year…  I’m highly skeptical.  Seems like an awfully high number to me.  Unfortunately, I’ve been cursed with a passion for reading but do so at a snail’s pace.  I did not meet my quota for this year, but would like to think that I had some interesting reads.  Mostly fiction this year for some reason.  Well, here’s my list:

Go Ask Alice (214pp)

The Book of Drugs – Mike Doughty (252pp)

The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran (96pp)

The Clockwork Universe, Issac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World – Edward Dolnick (387pp)

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline (374pp)

Lying – Sam Harris (Kindle e-book)

How I Killed Pluto and Why it Had it Coming – Mike Brown (271pp)

Nocturnal – Scott Sigler (567pp)

The Wind Through the Keyhole – Stephen King (309pp)

The House of God – Samuel Shem (380pp)

Help!  A Bear is Eating Me! – Mykle Hansen (129pp)

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury (176pp)

Xkcd volume 0 – Randall Munroe (111001pp…lol)

The Dog Stars – Peter Heller (320pp)

12.21 – Dustin Thomason (324pp)

Redshirts – John Scalzi (317pp)

Thanksgiving.  How to Cook it Well – Sam Sifton (125pp)

The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty – Dan Ariely (285pp, In progress)

I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas – Lewis Black (178pp, In progress)

Plus about 10 cookbooks!

How did you guys do?  Post your favorites.

Cheers!

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in Books

 

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Book Review – The Dog Stars

 

 

 

 

Just finished The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (Knoff, $15.56 at Amazon.com).  Man.  What a fantastic novel.  Similar to The Road by Cormac McCarthy by a little less gruesome and a little more optimistic.  No spoilers given.

 

The story is post-apocalyptic in nature, taking place in the not too distant future after a virus wipes out 99.9% of humanity.  It revolves around Hig, his dog Jasper, and his somewhat unstable “friend” Bangley.  Hig and Bangley live at a rural air station, and have been there for almost ten years after the fall of humanity.  It is a story of their survival.  Their sometimes pressed but necessary relationship.

 

Just reading this makes me wish that I had an iota of the writing talent of Heller.  The prose is fluent, introspective.  Just a couple of examples:

 

“Is it possible to love so desperately that life is unbearable?  I don’t mean unrequited, I mean being in love.  In the midst of it and desperate.  Because knowing it will end.  Because everything does.  End”

 

“Grief is an element.  It has it’s own cycle like the carbon cycle, the nitrogen.  It never diminishes not ever.  It passes in and out of everything.”

 

“Life and death lived inside each other.  That’s what occurred to me.  Death was inside all of us, waiting for warmer nights, a compromised system, a beetle, as in the now dying black timber on the mountains.  And life was inside death, virulent and insistent as a strain of flu.  How it should be.”

 

If you like McCarthy, Hemingway, or post apocalyptic stories go out now and grab this…you won’t be able to put it down.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Books

 

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xkcd volume 0

Yes.  It’s a comic.  Yes.  It may be childish.  But it is rocking science at its comic best.  Get it.  It’s freakin really funny.

Couple for you:

Cheers!

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2012 in Books

 

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I might have a problem…

I love cookbooks.

And I love when my kitchen looks like this.  There’s just something about getting lost in a good cookbook or magazine.  The beautiful photos.  Imagining the smells and tastes.  Learning new dishes and new ingredients.  Looking back at recipes that you enjoyed and seeing some sauce splattered on the page.

I also love getting a local cookbook from anyplace that I travel to.  It’s just a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the culture.  Ever better is trying the fare and either searching out the recipe on your own or talking to the chef about how to prepare the dish.  What better way to travel than with your stomach!

Therapy…Reading cookbooks is complete therapy for me.  It is relaxing yet stimulating.  Passive, but active.  It’s armchair traveling.  It’s a story.  A narrative.  And always with a great ending.

What are your favorite cookbooks?

Cheers!

The Grilled Atheist

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Books, Cooking

 

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Modernist Cuisine

Oh man…do I want this.  I mean really, really, really want…

Modernist Cuisine is the epitome of science and cooking.  Chef (and Dr) Nathan Myhrvold, Chef Chris Young, and Chef Maxime Bilet have put together something that looks absolutely unfathomable as a reference for the WHY and HOW of cooking.

This set is FORTY pound.  The ink alone weighs four pounds.  There are over 2300 pages.  The photos are brilliantly done.  Visually stunning, with many “cut away” photos so you can actually get an idea of what is going on in the pot.  And stock quality of the paper is amazing, as they actually want you to use this tome in your kitchen not just have it look nice on the shelf.

But this book set will not come cheap.  The price tag?  Between $450 and $625 depending on where you shop…  Hope I get a bonus soon.

Just do me a favor and use the link above.  Check out the bio on Dr Myhrvold.  Look at the pictures and the video.  Look at the reviews.  And if you love to cook, try and tell me that you don’t want this bad boy.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Books, Cooking

 

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Fahrenheit 451

In honor of Ray Bradbury I decided to read…

Just an incredible read.  Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“I hope I’ve clarified things. The important thing for you to remember, Montag, is we’re the Happiness Boys, the Dixie Duo, you and I and the others. We stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought. We have our fingers in the dike. Hold steady. Don’t let the torrent of melancholy and drear philosophy drown our world. We depend on you. I don’t think you realize how important you are, to our happy world as it stands now.” (61-62)

“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.” (83)

“Everyone must leave something in the room or left behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.” (156-157)

‘I hate a Roman named Status Quo!’ he said to me. ‘Stuff your eyes with wonder,’ he said, ‘live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that,’ he said, ‘shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.’ (157-158)

A wonderful read.  Or re-read.  Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Books

 

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Books That Shaped America

If you love books I would urge that you take the Library of Congress, Books That Shaped America survey.  If nothing else, it will expose you to a host of books that 1) you may have never read, 2) you’ve read and forgotten, or 3) you’ve read and think are incredibly important.  Either way, it should stimulate your brain and hopefully some good conversation!

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2012 in Books, Random Thoughts

 

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