Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown

THIS BOOK THIS BOOK THIS BOOK! I read it over the course of a week when it should not have taken that long because I was savoring it. Drawing it out. Sucking it down one little slurp at a time. 

If there is a perfect "beach read" this is it, though it's SO much more than the stereotype. 

The year is 1819, and the renowned chef Owen Wedgwood has been kidnapped by a beautiful, ruthless pirate. He will be spared, Mad Hannah Mabbot tells him, as long as he can conjure an exquisite meal every Sunday from the ship’s meager supplies. While Wedgwood attempts to satisfy his captor with feats such as tea-smoked eel and pineapple-banana cider, he realizes that Mabbot herself is under siege. Hunted by a deadly privateer and plagued by a saboteur, she pushes her crew past exhaustion in her search for the notorious Brass Fox. But there is a method to Mabbot’s madness, and as the Flying Rose races across the ocean, Wedgwood learns to rely on the bizarre crew members he once feared: a formidable giant who loves to knit; a pair of stoic martial arts masters, sworn to defend their captain; and the ship’s deaf cabin boy, who becomes the son he never had. (publisher blurb)

SO, what is more magical in the summertime than a book about sassy lady pirates with red flowing locks, attitude and awesomeness? What's more...FOOD! On a boat! With meager provisions! And a morally upright chef who happens to be her capture (captee? capturee?). RIGHT-O! 

I really am sorry about all the caps in this post, but this book knocked me flat with its goodness. The writing is rich, layered and atmospheric. The story is full of adventure and swashbuckling and interesting characters who are much deeper than they appear on the surface. Much like the roiling depths of the ocean!

This made me giggle, raise my eyebrows, I full-on guffawed, and I even got a might teary at the end. It's just so good! If you need an involving, fun read, this is the one. DO IT! I got my copy for a steep discount from You should check and see if they still have some!

Pub. Date: June 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Format: Hardcover (and I never read those)
ISBN: 0374123667
Source: Bought it!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

(B)East of Eden, Discussion 1

Today is the first installment of our East of Eden Readalong with the Estella Project! 
Watch out for spoilers from this first section.

1. What do you think of the style of Steinbeck's writing? Readable and awesome or slow and slogging?
Readable and awesome, for sure! When I have time to sit down, I'm whizzing through this book lickety-split! Somewhere along the way, in high school I think, I read a Steinbeck short story that I hated. I thought all of his writing was slow and full of dust. While I had the dust part right, I find his descriptions lush and his metaphors deep. Lurv!

2. We have a wicked case of sibling rivalry going on here. What are your thoughts on Adam's and Charles' relationship thus far? Their father's influence?
Their father was a bit of a dick. I just felt the way he related to his sons was wonky and backwards, making them both feel belittled and cut down, though their reactions to it are quite different. I found myself really surprised that Adam went the wandering hobo route and adopted such a laissez–faire attitude. Since we ended this section with his marriage to Cathy and their trek to California, I'm really curious to see where things are going for these two. And I'm with Charles. There's no way their father, whose hilarious career as a "military expert" was such a farce, came by his fortune honestly.

3. Just....Cathy. Expound.
I've never met a character more evil than Cathy. What a pill! I love her for it, though. I'm captivated. And if you haven't noticed, there's a #beastofeden or #(b)eastofeden hashtag that's sprouted on Twitter. Makes me laugh every time. 

4. It remains to be seen how Samuel Hamilton's brood will play into the story. Any guesses?
Not really. At first, when Adam and Cathy went to California and the Hamilton bunch was re-introduced, I had completely forgotten about them. They seem to embody those who live on and endure the land since their piece is so inhospitable. Looking forward to learning more about them. 

See you next Monday for another discussion!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Authors of Whose Books I Own the Most

How's that for an awkward title? There's just no good way to say it! Anywho, I've admitted here before that I'm terrible at reading multiple books by one author. Or I used to be. I've improved dramatically over the last few years. So which authors own my shelves? These right here!

Hosted by the lovely ladies of The Broke and the Bookish!

Paul Auster is, by far, the king of my shelves. My love affair with this Postmodern papa began with his memoir, Hand To Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure and skated right on through to The New York Trilogy, Man in the Dark, Oracle Night and others. He's incredibly prolific, so I still have lots of books to go!

Siri Hustvedt, Paul Auster's wife, is also quite voluminous on my shelves. I think I own all of her books except one. Two of my favorites are What I Loved, a novel, and her collection of essays, A Plea for Eros

I own all of Jane Austen's novels and I've read half. She didn't write a ton in her life, but my owning them all is a testament to my love of her work. 

I shall own all of the Flavia books! I'm more than halfway there now, my dearest Alan Bradley.

I was introduced to Willa Cather, and The Professor's House, in graduate school, and there's been no stopping me since. I love her writing hard. 

Charles Dickens is my main man. There ain't no denying it. I don't quite own all of his books, but I will! I have a good chunk already.

Since revisiting Beloved earlier in the year, I'm making some headway on collecting all of Toni Morrison's work. So far, so good! 

Bill Willingham has been one of my favorite graphic novel/comics authors since I first tried the Fables series. I don't own all of this overwhelmingly large collection either, but still quite a few for me! 

I own all but one of Gene Luen Yang's graphic novels. He owns my comics heart! 

Before there was A.J. Fikry, there was still my author crush on Gabrielle Zevin. She's amazing, y'all! Buy all the books.