Meredith's Challenge 2.0

52 books, one year. Stay tuned for more details.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

2.6 How to Read a French Fry and Other Stories of Intriguing Kitchen Science by Russ Parsons

I just wrote the most brilliant post in the history of blogging and then stupid LaunchCast crashed my 'puter. Y'all missed out.

This is kind of a cheat but I didn't mean for it to be. About half of it was recipes, which I figured if I read in their entirety, would be less of a bamboozle. Hey, you try not eating beef for 12 years and then having to read, in detail, how the muscle ages, breaks down and reacts to heat. Blech.

Things I learned reading this:

  • If your french fries are brown and limpy, it is because the oil they were fried in was too old.
  • If your french fries are white and not golden at all, it is because the oil they were fried in wasn't old enough.
  • Just thinking about 4 quarts of frying oil makes my heart want to stop working.
  • A sauce that has 3 kinds of meat in it has two too many.
  • For some reason, people are terrified of making their own pie crust.
  • I love lentils so much that even recipes that include multiple kinds of pork product sound tasty.
  • I have a ridiculously short attention span.

This is clearly not the brilliant post it started out as. Bullets = laziness. Meredith = frustrated that her post got eaten.

This will probably be the last you hear from me for a while. The Great 2006 Move is next week and I'm all ready turning into a stress ball. Wish me luck.

Friday, February 17, 2006

2.5 Best American Short Stories 1998 edited by Garrison Keillor

I thought that I loved this whole series but I noticed of late that the "guest" editors make a huge difference. I've never read any Keillor, but the themes that he is interested in, rural America, sadness and woe with not one marginally cheerful story in the lot, make for an uninteresting collection and don't make me want to pick him up. Has anyone read his stuff? What did you think about it?

Perhaps, it is my recent brain suck (we found a place, thank goodness, and will be moving shortly), but I never got really into any of the stories. I feel like darkness or "bad things" are associated with good writing and that sweetness and light are seen as being too easy. I disagree. Just because a story is about a "serious" topic, that does not make it well-written or particularly interesting. And if a story has a happy ending, that doesn't make it a literary lightweight. Yes, happiness is easier to enjoy and "get" than sadness but darkness isn't particularly interesting if it doesn't have a purpose besides it's own sake. And that was a crazy tangent.

I know that someone out there disagrees with me. Maybe I'm being too optimistic? Not "deep" enough? Let me know.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Zeeba Neighba

This is my new favorite comic strip.

Happy Valenteen (belated) Day!

Update coming soon about actual books.

Friday, February 10, 2006

2.4 Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

This book was wildly popular in Japan. Like crazy nuts, everybody and their mother read it. I know, I know, that means absolutely nothing, right? And just in case, you didn't know, I am a literary snob. However, this did win the author multiple book prizes which is pretty impressive. But, I think that once again, I have been sucker punched by the book prize gods. Or it could be that the translator just did a piss poor job, which probably is the case.

I remember learning about the responsibilities of a literature translator and. The delicate balance of trying to keep the author's voice, while at the same time making the story comprehensible to the reader. Kitchen has sentences that lead nowhere, a strange shallow emotional pseudo-deepness, and weird grammar (especially missing commas, which irritated me to no end). Get a danged copy editor who does their job. Gah!

The collection itself is two novellas, both of young-ish women who've ended up with dead relatives, lovers and/or friends. I didn't really find either of the stories very interesting but that could be that Japanese culture isn't that accessible to me. I don't know how far that argument lets a boring novel off the hook though because there are stories that I like that aren't American/British/Irish/Canadian/Australian that I really enjoy, like Anna Karenina, Like Water for Chocolate, almost anything by Ibsen (I really did have to reach for those though, I think my other goal this year should be to read more non-English language books). Perhaps this "proof" isn't working out so well for me... Any recommendations to help me learn more about the world around us?

Also, there will definitely be a slow down over here. "Yeah, what else is new?", you might ask. Well, the boy and I found out that we have to move like ASAP! because our landlords, who I used to like, decided to sell the place. Stressful much? Maybe next week I get to pack all my belongings and enjoy a frenzy of house cleaning! Or maybe, just maybe, the end of March will find us living in a box, it has to be under a tree though so the fuzz can have dead leaves to eat. And as the cherry on top, all of our romantical V-day festivities are permanently on hold, which, yeah so what it's a stupid fakey holiday anyway, but I am a sucker who does enjoy the occasional flowers and chocolates like anybody else.

Wow! What a disjointed thought process this was!

Monday, February 06, 2006


So this is what happens when you are reading three books at once.

You don't finish any of them, ever. I'm working on it, I swear.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Um, I suck.

Belated but very, very happy birthday wishes for the bestest, smartest, nicest, cleverest, funniest, prettiest little sister ever whose birthday was yesterday. For those in the know, tell her that her sister is a big jerk and doesn't deserve such a fantastic sibling. Maybe to make her feel better, you can tell that even though yesterday was my half birthday, I didn't get any presents like I have in the past because I am a spoiled brat.

Yay for sisters! Yay for sisters who spend their days with six and seven year olds trying to get them to do age-appropriate activities and keep that one little boy from kissing all the girls. You rock.