Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What I'm reading this week (9/5/16)

Last week I finished:

I had so many pick-up-and-put-down books going last month, I was reading them up until the last day of the month. But I got through them all (with one last-minute substitution).

I finally finished Ingredienti. I think I've groused enough about this book, so you can look back to my August posts to see my complaints. It wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't terribly helpful because it was so biased. Now, I loved Sam Sifton's Thanksgiving which was even worse as far as being opinionated goes. But it was somehow easier to take, too. I don't know. Sifton seemed to know you might disregard his advice (to disastrous effect, he thought), Hazan seemed to think only she knew her subject and it rubbed me the wrong way. I give her credit for knowing more about Italian ingredients than most folks, but none of us is a food god, and no nationality owns the rights to vegetables for heaven's sake. My rating: 3 stars.

I simply cannot tell you how much I enjoyed Ken Burns' Grover Cleveland, Again! The man really is a genius and has a passion for history. I was concerned about it being slanted left (because Burns is), but it was remarkably well-done. He balanced criticism of each president with praise for him. Lots of facts and asides, nice paintings and portraits. All-around wonderful read. This is one of the rare children's books I will likely buy for myself. My rating: 5 stars.

I'd meant to read Dogs (see below) in August, but I wasn't able to fit it in, but on August 31, I thought that it was the perfect opportunity to finally look through Carli Davidson's Shake, a book of photography of dogs, well, shaking. It's been on my TBR list since early 2014, and when I finally opened it, I was enchanted. Davidson's shutter speed is 1/13,000 of a second, so she can capture a teeny tiny moment in a dog's head shake, and the results are by turns cute, hilarious, and gruesome. You've got to check it out for yourself. Your public library probably has a copy. Davidson has also done Shake Puppies and Shake Cats. My rating: 4 stars.

I was excited to read Katharine Hepburn's memoir, Me: Stories of My Life. It is one of the fastest 400+-page reads I've ever had, and that's good, because...I just didn't care for it. I'm convinced the book was not written, but spoken and transcribed into book-form with no editing whatsoever to take out the tangential asides and odd turns of phrase or to remedy the confusing parts. I imagine to a huge Hepburn fan that treatment is a boon, but to a passing fan like me, that was distracting and just plain weird. On the positive side, there were lots of photos. On the negative side, she talks about some of her films, but she never recaps the plot so someone who hasn't seen her repertoire really misses out. I do feel like I got a taste of her personality, which is much like the characters she played, but I just did not care for the book. My rating: 3 stars.

Last week I began:

Since I didn't get to Dogs last month, I moved it up to this month. Can't wait to really dig in.

Elements of Style (the decorating book, not the writing style guide) has been on my list for a long time (since Jan. 2015), and I'm happy to finally get to it. I'm enjoying it so far. I didn't realize Erin Gates had a website, and the book is sort of written to her "fans".

And I began Jim Daniel's poetry collection Show and Tell, which just might turn out to be my favorite book of poetry all year.

It's back...

And I picked The 50 States back up. I'm now through "Maine." I will finish this book!

My audiobook:

After being terribly disappointed earlier this year by Ruth Reichl's My Kitchen Year, but loving her Garlic and Sapphires, I wasn't sure what to expect from her novel Delicious!, but I have to tell you that I'm loving it. From reading her memoirs, I can identify the autobiographical bits, which is fun, and the story and writing are good. I'm really enjoying the listen.
Next up:

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