50 Books, Day 13

Of course it's Thanksgiving that gave me the idea for today's book pick:The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion CunninghamMy constant companion.  I have never found a cookbook I like better.  It taught me all the basics -- how to make pie crust and rolls, stock, gravy, meatballs, muffins, and so on (with suggested variations);  how to carve a chicken, how to tell when eggs and different types of produce are fresh, how to measure various types of food, what to substitute when you're out of a … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes: Composting. See it happen.

SEVEN QUICK TAKES! Come on, you all know what the "quick takes" picture looks like by now.  It's on my computer somewhere, but I'll be damned if I can find it, and my computer is tearfully warning me that it just doesn't know what it might do if I open another tab.  I tried making it  yellow for authenticity's sake, but it hurt my eyes.  All right, here we go.1.  I almost never click on those touching or adorable "You'll never guess how he proposed!" or "Wow, what an original way to proce … [Read more...]

50 Books: Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters

Today's pick:Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John SteptoeA simple and satisfying story of two daughters, based on an African folktale.  One daughter has a gentle and generous heart, and she is tested and rewarded; one is petty and grasping, and she gets what she deserves.  The story is engaging and nicely phrased, but the illustrations are what makes this book a real delight.They are absolutely luminous, deeply textural, warm, and brilliant.  The subtle expressions on the faces of the tw … [Read more...]

50 Books: Hokusai!!!!!!!!!!

I wanted today's book to have a nice tie-in with today's post, but, it doesn't.  But it has something much, much better:  HOKUSAI!The book I looked over a thousand times when I was little isMasterworks of Ukiyo-E: Hokusai Sketches and PaintingsIf you think that Japanese art is stiff, formal and impenetrable to Western eyes, then your cure is HOKUSAI!  You probably know his famous "Great Wave off Kanagawa"This is a woodblock print.  A WOODBLOCK PRINT.  Have you ever tried to do a p … [Read more...]

50 books: Sabbath edition

Yarr (that's my "shamefaced pirate" voice), it's Sunday.  Not supposed to conduct commerce on Sundays.  But if I skip a day, I'll never get back on track, believe me.  So out of respect for the Lord's day, for today's book for the "50 books" list, I'm recommending a children's Bible which is being sold used for under $2; so if I'm corrupting the Sabbath, I'm certainly not doing a very good job of it:The Golden Bible, Old Testament, illustrated by Feodor RojankovskyWe own approximately 523 ch … [Read more...]

50 Books, Day 6, I think

Poetry!  We all want to have read it, but we don't want to read it!  Amiright?  How about this:The Rattle Bag edited by poets Seamus Heaney and Ted HughesHere is a great anthology to leave lying around.  It's designed to surprise you.  It isn't organized chronologically or by theme -- it's in alphabetical order of the poets' names, so you can open it up and find ANYTHING (and there is a glossary and index in the back, too).  It isn't horrifyingly thick, and the pages aren't frustratingly thin … [Read more...]

Guest Post! — 7 Quick Books

Hey, I know the world ended on Tuesday and everything, but  they can have my seven quick takeswhen they pry them from my cold, dead hands.  By which I mean we never really planned to put the computer in this area, so there is no heat in my workspace.  My hands hurt.  Stupid winter.  I blame Obama.  And Ron Paul, Mark Shea, Jane Fonda, Ashton Kutcher, Burt Bacharach and effing overrated Joan Miro.  I'm sorry, what is that?  Is that a chicken, some tinker toys, and a piece of macaroni?  Wow … [Read more...]