Monday, May 25, 2015

Review: Kitchen Confidential

Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain 
Audiobook, non-fiction, memoir

Audiobooks have found their way back into my life after an almost two year hiatus. I used to listen to them during my daily commute when I taught at a school that was 30 minutes away. Lately, I've been listening while I work around the house. It actually makes doing chores feel a little bit more like me-time.

Anthony Bourdain is a surprisingly (to me, anyway) good writer. His love of language almost rivals his love of food. He's a good story teller, self-aware and cynical, but funny. I enjoyed learning about his early exploits and his life as chef at La Brasserie Les Halles in New York. He also provides some pro tips for home cooks and advice for restaurant goers. The "What I Know About Meat" chapter was my favourite; it made me laugh out loud.

When it comes to memoirs in the audio format, I always prefer the ones narrated by their authors and this one is no exception. No one else would be able to do Bourdain's style the proper justice. That said, there are some pitfalls to the audio format. At times, Bourdain read too fast, especially at the end of some chapters so there was barely any transition. I'd expect a story to keep going but nope, he'd moved on to something completely different. Also making the flow awkward at times, the chapters alternated, seemingly at random, between Bourdain's history and his industry advice. It felt disjointed while listening to it. I don't think that would have been an issue if I was reading it and could see how the chapters were laid out. 

Overall, this was an interesting, entertaining read but I'd recommend getting the print version rather than audio.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tuesday Night Things

Ever since reading Rocketeers, the realization that I don't know what I'm passionate about anymore has been nagging away at me in the back of my mind. It's not that there is nothing to do; in fact, there are multiple unfinished projects around the house. And it's not that I don't enjoy anything anymore. The problem, I think, is that when I do get some time to spare, I spend it doing things I feel like I "should" be doing or playing catch-up rather than doing things that I really WANT to do. Other times, I do nothing and then feel guilty about it.

Today, I spent some time thinking about this and had an epiphany of sorts: I don't need to find a Tuesday Night Thing. I just need a Tuesday Night, period. It doesn't even have to be a Tuesday. Just one day of the week where I can spend an hour or two doing whatever I want would be glorious. All the things I keep putting off because they're not things that really need to be done, or even just sitting on the patio with a good book. And for that hour or two, no worries or guilt about all of the other things I should be getting done. DH is already good about giving me a break when he's home but...see above. It usually doesn't end up feeling like a break.

Some ideas for ways to spend my Tuesday Night:

  • Work my way through Understanding Exposure. I started this a couple of years ago and have forgotten a lot of it because I didn't have/make the time to really practise and play with the camera. I would love to devote some time each week to this.
  • Work my way through this Photoshop book I ordered back in grad school and never finished. 
  • Work on this cross-stitch sampler that I bought on our honeymoon in Hawaii. 
  • Keep going with the 40 Weeks challenge. This probably sounds more like work than a passion project, but I've actually been enjoying it a lot and would love to make more progress. I've been meaning to post an update on this so stay tuned!
  • Bake. 
  • Make more homemade pantry and freezer items. I've started making my own marinara sauce and a few other things. I really enjoy playing in the kitchen but this is one of those things that quickly becomes a chore, especially when I also have to clean up before and after! But I'd love to spend more time on these kinds of things. 
  • Watch movies/shows that DH doesn't like.
See? No shortage of Tuesday Night Things. The thought of actually being able to do some of this stuff again, just for myself, is kind of amazing!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Review: All Together Dead

All Together Dead, Charlaine Harris
Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse Series #7
Fiction, ebook


Oh, you wanted to know more? Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of positive things to say about this one.

The first few books in this series were fun and entertaining but now it's starting to feel ridiculous. The writing is inconsistent, the love triangles (or polygons) are getting old, and it all seems a little over the top. There are too many characters and too many subplots and for some reason, Harris feels the need to throw them all into one book. I could barely remember anything from the last book (probably because I read it nearly two years ago, while on this cruise), which didn't help, so I was pretty confused at first and had a hard time getting into the story. 

This might be the end of the road for me and Sookie Stackhouse. The premise of the next book intrigues me but I'm not sure if I want to continue. There's so much better out there to spend my time on.