Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Bender, Aimee. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. New York: Doubleday,

Plot Summary
(from the cover) On the eve of her 9th birthday, unassuming Rose Edelstein, a girl at the periphery of schoolyard games and her distracted parents' attention, bites into her mother's homemade lemon-chocolate cake and discovers she has a magical gift: she can taste her mother's emotions in the slice. Suddenly, and for the rest of her life, food becomes a peril and a threat to Rose. Anything can be revealed at any meal.

My Thoughts
I enjoyed the book until the end where it seems Bender just pushed the story into an ending. I could believe that Rose tasted the emotions in food. I also could believe her father's fear of hospitals (to finally discover why late in the book) or her mother's constant search for her own happiness. However, I draw the line at her brother's special gift. NO WAY!

I think the idea of tasting the creator's emotions is clever. Perhaps I remember the story of the wedding cake where the sister cries into the batter and the newlyweds are forever cursed (or maybe just the guests are sad?). I thought the idea of Rose tasting the food and knowing exactly where the product came from was a little far fetched, but I tried to read beyond it. This was an interesting read. However, once my suspicions were confirmed about the brother, I couldn't believe the story anymore, and I mostly lost interest in finishing the book (even though I did finish it because there were only a few pages left to read). I know it's fiction, but I'm still disappointed in the ending. I think the story should have gone another way.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Profiles in Fashion: Kate Spade

Freistadt, Margo. Profiles in Fashion: Kate Spade. Greensboro, NC: Morgan Reynolds, 2011. Print.

My Thoughts
Even though the book is barely 100 pages long, I feel like I now know more about who Kate Spade is and what her company tried to do. One thing I didn't realize is how young the Kate Spade line is (she started the company in 1993). I also didn't know that her company is now a part of the larger Liz Claiborne Inc., and she has not worked for them since mid 2007, Instead, Kate is spending time with her daughter, Bea.

This was a quick read giving a glimpse of the designer who tries to create timeless accessories instead of trendy fashions. There is a timeline in the back and photo credits, but I would have liked to see more pictures of Kate's products in the book instead of seemingly random pictures of people barely mentioned (for example, there's a mention of Kate's brother in law early in the book with an accompanying photo).

There are four more books in the series that I look forward to reading, learning more about the designers that I read about in the magazines.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Drummond, Ree. The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl. New York: William Morrow, 2009. Print.

My Thoughts
What came first: the cookbook or the cooking show? Well, for me the show did. I started watching "Pioneer Woman" and enjoyed her personality and recipes. That's when I checked out her book from the library. WOW! I could "see" her in the pages. There were several recipes in the book that I remember her making on the show. I've tried them. They are good! I made a note of a few more recipes that I'm going to copy from the book and try. Can't wait to see how they turn out for me.

Because I like her, I'm now following her blog. She makes me laugh. She's authentic. She takes wonderful pictures (the recipes have step by step photographs). She's someone that I could easily be friends with, even if we never meet.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit

Quinn, Daniel. Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit. New York: Bantam, 1992. Print.

Plot Summary
A man answers a want ad: "TEACHER seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person." This is the catalyst that begins our narrator's spiritual journey into learning about the Takers and the Leavers.

My Thoughts
This book was very thought-provoking. I caught myself feeling lost and, like the narrator, not understanding exactly what Ishmael was trying to elicit from his questions. I wanted Ishmael to tell me the story instead of making me figure it out for myself (and even then I'm not sure I understand everything).

As I read, I wrote down what I call "Life Truths." One such truth is "It's the journey itself that's going to change you (Quinn 39). After reading this book, my thoughts have changed. I'm not sure I can take at face value what I'm told anymore. Not to say I won't trust, but sometimes people perpetuate a lie because that's all they know.

Another truth I copied was "You never really know how you're going to handle a problem until you actually have it" (Quinn 259). That's such an obvious statement, yet sometimes I need to see it. I would like to think I know how to handle all situations, but what I'm finding in my life is that I'd like to have some "do overs" and try again.

I think this is a book I will read again in a few years and find something fresh in it. Right now, I'm still processing what I think I know from my journey through this story.