February 2019 in Books

    • Snap, Belinda Bauer: This is a backwards mystery – you pretty quickly learn who the culprit is, most of the story is about collecting the evidence.
    • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Becky Chambers: Reminded me of Firefly, get on it! This was a really fun read.
    • Convenience Store Woman, Sayaka Murata, Ginny Tapley Takemori (Translator): Quick and quirky. If you’re not sure about it, Longreads has a big excerpt.
    • City of Thieves, David Benioff: Character-driven and really well-written.
    • How to Get Dressed, Alison Freer: There were a lot of tips in this that were not new to me, but it was easy to skim and I think would be a great resource for anyone who wants to dress better, but isn’t quite sure how to make their wardrobe do that for them.
    • The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri: Beautifully, beautifully written. “Lyrical” does not feel overblown here.
    • Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, Blair Braverman: For some reason, I thought this book was about something else. Still enjoyed it though!
    • The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker: You have to read this. I can’t wait to discuss with book club in a couple of days.
    • The Water Cure, Sophie Mackintosh: Fascinating. Lots of things aren’t explained, but some things are just inexplicable.

If you only read one from this list, it’s a toss-up between The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and The Silence of the Girls.

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Baked Feta with Chickpeas & Kale

I made this Baked Feta with Chickpeas & Kale tonight for dinner, and it was delicious! If you like tomatoes, cheese, and chickpeas this is definitely worth a make. I found it very easy to scale (I made a half batch) and it came together quickly. I have a bunch of tips and thoughts on this recipe.

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January 2019 in Books

  • Paper Girls, Vol. 1, Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang (Illustrator), Matthew Wilson (Colorist), Jared K. Fletcher (Lettering): This was great, I immediately picked up the other volumes available.
  • Word by Word, Kory Stamper: Have you ever wondered who writes dictionary entries? No? Read this anyway.
  • What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, Helen Oyeyemi: Short stories where the characters from the first turn up here and there in the rest.
  • The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, Imogen Hermes Gowar: I found most of the story in the last third of the book.
  • The Dreamers, Karen Thompson Walker: Super compelling undercover sci-fi. Beautifully written.
  • The Forgotten Hours, Katrin Schumann: The protagonist finds she needs to unravel a trauma from her past before she can move forward into the rest of her life.
  • Hey, Kiddo, Jarret. J. Krocoszka: That feeling when you are suddenly reading something that’s set where & when you grew up. Lovely illustrations & collages.
  • Future Home of the Living God, Louise Erdrich: Unspecified apocalyptic disaster. Echoes of The Handmaid’s Tale so brace yourself.
  • Snap, Belinda Bauer: Character-driven with a dash of police procedural.

This Summer in Books

Sometimes I wonder why I still have a blog. Anyway, still working on the Read Harder Challenge and also trying to get to more new releases more quickly. I’m aiming for about 3 months after publication, and while I haven’t quite made my self-imposed limit I have read a few things within a few months of publication, which is unusual for me.

Also, guess which month I didn’t travel.

May

June

July

August

March & April in Books

I’m doing the Read Harder Challenge again this year, as well as trying to read more new releases. I’ll indicate the category (or publication date) in parentheses.

Once again, a lot of random library holds came in all at once.

January & February in Books

I’m doing the Read Harder Challenge again this year, and will indicate the categories in parentheses. I’m also trying to read more new releases – hoping for about one a month – rather than forever being the voracious reader who hasn’t read, say, Lincoln in the Bardo or The Underground Railroad yet.

That said, I’ve had a run on library holds coming in over the last few weeks, so it’s been tough to work on the Read Harder books and new releases.

Lots of good stuff in the last couple of months. Of particular note: Borne and The Stone Sky, if you like sci-fi (the latter is the third in a trilogy); A Separation; and Sing, Unburied, Sing.

 

Food in Jars Mastery Challenge: Jam

Throughout 2017 Marisa McClellan, author of the blog Food in Jars, is running a series of monthly canning and preserving challenges. I decided to participate in order to learn some new skills and make some recipes I might not normally gravitate towards.

The June challenge is jam, and while I didn’t make something new, I did make several jars of strawberry jam. I was very pleased to find that one of the orchards at the farmer’s market near us will allow you to pre-order flats of fruit, and the price was right.

2017-06-10 12.44.05

I picked up a flat of strawberries (six quarts) and used five of them in three recipes:

  • A double batch of the Strawberry Jam from Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin
  • Honey-Sweeteneed Strawberry Jam with Sage from Preserving by the Pint
  • Strawberry Syrup from Food in Jars

I’ve made both the jams before – the honey strawberry is particularly good with cheeseboards, but as it turns out I still have several quarter pints of that from last summer, so all of these jams were canned in either pint or half-pint jars.

The syrup was new for me. We’re drinking a lot of what we call fizzes – sparkling water with something added for flavor. Dave likes fresh lime juice with bitters, and I’m partial to the pomegranate shrub. I’ve recently also made a rhubarb ginger syrup that’s delicious, and so I wanted to try strawberry as well. It was very easy to make, and made quite a lot.

I still have some catching up to do for the Mastery Challenge – I didn’t do April (quick pickles) or May (cold-pack method) but I’ll make sure to hit those in the coming weeks.