Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Julie and Julie: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell

When visiting her parents in Texas, Julie, a frustrated temp working in New York City, rediscovers a worn copy of her mother's Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child that she once use to thumb through as a child. Inspiration strikes and she decides that she will work her way through every recipe within a year. Determined to prove that anyone can master the art of French cooking and tracking down all the ingredients, including the obscure, Julie begins to blog about her experience. Things begin pretty well despite a move to Long Island at the beginning of the project. Soon, however, the project eventually takes over her life. With the encouragement of her husband, friends, family, and many readers of her daily blog, Julie pushes through all the triumphs, disasters, and just plain ickiness of some tasks.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and at times laughed at loud at some of her adventures. Although, I must admit that I spent the majority of the times cringing at some of the tasks she had to perform. From trying to get marrow out of a bone, to killing her first lobster, to the state of her kitchen on a daily basis (hint: dishes piled high and sink that backed up quite a bit). I had to stop reading this while I was eating because I nearly threw up my turkey sandwich the day I read about the kitchen pipes backing up. The details were a bit too much for lunch-time eating. In the end, it was great to see her finish her task, visiting Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian, and ultimately getting a book deal so she could quit the government job she hated.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

I'm not sure how to write a review about a book such as this especially when the subject is one of such legend as Benjamin Franklin. I'd bet that just about everyone that grew up in the US can almost instantly conjure up some image of Franklin or something that has an association with him at the mere mention of his name.

I remember when this book first came out a few years back I wanted to read it and somehow time got in the way and I put it off, until now. I found it interesting to see the bits and pieces of stories that I've always conjured upon mention of his name come to life in the context of the period in time in which they occurred and the actual way they happened.

I'm not sure the book is for everyone. While very well written and interesting, a 500 page book of non-fiction set in the 1700's in three different countries isn't everyone's idea of a good time. However, if it remotely sparks your interest, I say take it for a spin...Franklin was a remarkable and interesting man and this story was nothing short of fascinating to me.

So, how'd I do? Did I manage to write a cohesive review of such a book? Peace.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Will of Wisteria by Denise Hildreth

The Will of Wisteria was released either late summer or early fall last year but I recently picked it up as a Christmas gift for myself and saved it as my first book of 2008. I was completely surprised when I began the book, having just returned from Charleston, to find out that it was set it...yep, Charleston, SC. With my mind fresh with historical and visual details of the city, I just lost myself in the story.

Set in Charleston, SC, the book follows a year long journey of four self-absorbed and somewhat estranged siblings of the Wilcott. The story begins on the eve of the reading of their father's will as they discover that their inheritance is not going to be as easy to come by as they thought. Demanded to quit their jobs and use their talents to perform pro bono work for a year prior to receiving their inheritance has left them shocked, paranoid, and in disbelief. Determined not to let the other win, they each set out on a very special journey.

Hildreth has the most amazing way of grabbing you and her writing is just so darn smooth. She has really started to develop as a wonderful writer and this book really shows off her talent. I highly recommend this book and I cannot wait to see what else she cooks up in the future.