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review 2017-09-10 14:40
Squawk of the Were-Chicken by Richard J, Kendrick
Squawk of the Were-Chicken - Richard J Kendrick
I wanted to love this book. I tried so hard to love this book.


I mean “werechicken”? I was in right there. That’s such an awesome parody with so much potential for utter hilarity. Bring on the werechicken! Let it be ridiculous! Let is be terrible! Let it be hilarious! Fear it’s BA-GAWK!


And some of it is awesome. I got half way through this book and nearly put it down so many times - but each time I was about to put it down there was a lovely little moment of awesome. This lovely little apparently medieval kingdom with its distinctly agrarian feel is full of highly erudite people. I love that the teachers of this rural school turn goldilocks into an analysis of forensic investigation and encouraging small children to read fairy tales and “question the socio-political hegemony those stories are meant to perpetuate!”. Or the farmer and his love of philosophy reminding us that absence of evidence is not itself evidence of absence.


It’s hilarious, it’s really well done and it brings both a wonderful challenge to preconceptions, some nice thinking points and just this almost sublimely ridiculous feel. Every time I’m about to drop the book another moment happens and I think I can keep going


There’s also some nicely interesting themes - like Deirdre rejecting the idea of becoming an apprentice because adults have to specialise and can’t learn ALL THE THINGS instead just get to learn one thing. And there’s Deidre’s inventing which could also be fun…


Except… this would have been reinforced more if Deidre had actually shown a diverse interest in different topics rather than just inventions. Or even if her inventions meant more by the stage I finished


There’s also Fyfe - for reasons I didn’t reach (and don’t matter) Fyfe for some reason has a lot of modern 21st century cultural references pouring into his head causing everyone to consider him pretty weird. And it could be another element of funny, patently ridiculous silliness. And at times it is, it really is. And it’s definitely trying…


...


But it doesn’t succeed. And I hate to say it because it has all the ingredients of being really really good and zany. And I need some zany… but it’s just not consistently funny. We have brief moments but so much of it is a slog and not funny



Part of the problem is I’m not sure what this book wants to be. It was advertised as YA… and part of it feels that way with the elaborate nature of the language in places. But the general tone and attitude of Deirdre, our protagonist feels a lot more… middle grade; definitely childish. It doesn’t so much straddle that line as teeter across it like the world’s most drunken tight rope walker, constantly plummeting off one side only to climb out of the net to fall down the other.


The worst of his is how Deidre’s mind wanders. And it’s a good way of showing Deidre is easily distracted and what that feels like but this is a description of Fyfe’s facial expression:


“Hi expression wasn’t just vacant. It was completely abandoned. When she looked into his eyes, she could practically see the signs saying, ‘Temporarily closed for renovations.’ Only the sign was askew and dusty, because the renovations had started three years ago, but the contractor ran over budget, and then the money ran out, so the work only got halfway done. And the shop couldn’t reopen like that, but without an open shop, there was no money to pay the lease. So the renters were out. Only meanwhile, property values had leapt through the roof - figuratively, of course, though the roof was beginning to look a bit dodgy, in Deidre’s opinion. And so the owners had raised the rent accordingly, only no-one was interested in paying what they were asking for a half-renovated, mostly dilapidated storefront. But the owners wouldn’t budge because of the principle of the thing. And that’s what Fyfe’s expression looked like.

 

 

 

Read More

 

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/08/squawk-of-were-chicken-by-richard-j.html
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review 2017-07-11 22:02
An interesting look at chicken
Tastes Like Chicken: A History of America's Favorite Bird - Emelyn Rude

Despite the title and the subject, chicken is a rather versatile food. Chicken nuggets, fried chicken, General Tso's chicken, etc. This book purports to look at this food that is a major meat (maybe the main one for some people) and how it fits in our lives, our history, our cultural context, etc.

 

Author Rude looks at the history of the chicken, from how it got to the United States, how the animal was farmed, the role it has played in history, how people prepare chicken, recipes, etc. The initial part of the history is quite interesting, although I am thankful she didn't go all the way back (ie the evolution of chicken). Sometimes books like this feel the need to put down every single detail but thankfully Rude avoids that mistake and gets right to the meat of it (ha ha).

 

That's mostly it. It was an interesting look at a food item and how it fits in the US diet (the book is a US-centered look, although we get the history of certain things like the popularity of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Japan on Christmas). It would have been nice if we had seen more of chicken in the non-US context but it's what it says on the cover: "A History of America's Favorite Bird" (I guess that is in the context of eating? What about the eagle?).

 

I also found the book uneven. Initially the book is quite interesting and flows pretty well when looking at the ancient history. But the author (who is a journalist) tends to jump around in terms of chronology and occasionally jumps off into an anecdote before returning to the main subject. After finishing I found that apparently this was adapted from the author's thesis and sometimes that shows. I think the book adapted from a thesis (and written by a journalist, which I find rarely translates well) actually came across relatively well but it's not always the easiest read.

 

Still, it was interesting topic and I didn't mind buying it as a bargain book since it wasn't available at my library. I wouldn't rush out to buy it though and recommend the library. 

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review 2017-05-31 15:27
Eddie Izzard's memoir
Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens - Eddie Izzard

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

                Back when BBC America show actually British shows instead of movies and Star Trek, I saw my first Eddie Izzard show.

 

                He made me laugh so hard.

 

                To call this book a straight forward autobiography or memoir is slightly incorrect.  While the progression in the work is somewhat linear, there are digressions, and in some places, you go two steps back after one step forward.

 

                This doesn’t mean the book is bad.  It isn’t.  In fact, it is like Izzard is there talking just to you.  So, it is really nice.

 

                The other thing is that Izzard is not one of those stars who celebrate or shoves his celebrity in his face.  He does not make himself sound extra special or anything like that.  He is, in fact, every day, everybody.  So, when he discusses his struggles to come to terms with himself, to find himself, to succeed, he is in many ways just like you.  Look, I don’t know what it is like to be transgender or TV as Eddie Izzard calls it.  Yet, for a straight woman who doesn’t like to wear heels, there is much here.  Izzard’s writing lacks that self-inflation that sometimes infuses memoirs.  In part, the book feels like he is still trying to figure himself out, and on another level, it gives me the same feeling that reading Pancakes in Paris did.  Everyone struggles to discover who they are and make peace with it.  Most struggles are different yet similarly.  (Yes, I know it is oxymoron).

 

                There are funny insights here too – for instance “Wasps are actually like The Borg from Star Trek” or how real football is more American than people think it is.  “Stinging nettles are the Nazis of the  weed world”.

 

                And he is so right about warm milk.  Warm milk is just wrong in so many different ways.

 

                And Mr. Izzard, you are not the only vomiter, just saying.

 

                The book isn’t just humor – though Izzard’s humor is on full display, it is full of introspection and touching passages.  When Izzard discusses his relationship to his step-mother, in particular his attending concerts with her, the emotion shines though.   It is a rather intimate and touching story.

 

                Even if you are not an Eddie Izzard fan (and you should be), you will enjoy this touching memoir.

               

               

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text 2017-05-20 04:33
"Meatier" finds in public library ebooks
Michael Symon's Carnivore: 120 Recipes for Meat Lovers - Michael Symon
Ribs, Chops, Steaks, & Wings - Ray Lampe,Leigh Beisch
ManBQue: Meat. Beer. Rock and Roll. - John Carruthers,Jesse Valenciana
Wicked Good Burgers: Fearless Recipes and Uncompromising Techniques for the Ultimate Patty - Andy Husbands,Chris Hart
Woman's Day Monday Night is Chicken Night - Woman's Day Magazine,Woman's Day
Perfect Grilled Meats: Storey's Country Wisdom Bulletin A-146 - Matt Kelly
Fifty Shades of Chicken: A Parody in a Cookbook - F.L. Fowler

More to checkout for me (my library uses overdrive).

 

Durn autocorrect keeps trying to make "public library" "pubic library" ... er?

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text 2017-05-17 20:13
"There's pulling, jerking, stuffing, trussing. Fifty preparations. He promises we'll start out slow, with wine and a good oiling . . ."
Fifty Shades of Chicken: A Parody in a Cookbook - F.L. Fowler

Only a matter of time before I found this one (public library ebook from overdrive).  Full synopsis reads:

 

"Dripping Thighs, Sticky Chicken Fingers, Vanilla Chicken, Chicken with a Lardon, Bacon-Bound Wings, Spatchcock Chicken, Learning-to-Truss-You Chicken, Holy Hell Wings, Mustard-Spanked Chicken, and more, more, more!

 

Fifty chicken recipes, each more seductive than the last, in a book that makes every dinner a turn-on.

 

"I want you to see this. Then you'll know everything. It's a cookbook," he says and opens to some recipes, with color photos. "I want to prepare you, very much." This isn't just about getting me hot till my juices run clear, and then a little rest. There's pulling, jerking, stuffing, trussing. Fifty preparations. He promises we'll start out slow, with wine and a good oiling . . . Holy crap. "I will control everything that happens here," he says. "You can leave anytime, but as long as you stay, you're my ingredient." I'll be transformed from a raw, organic bird into something--what? Something delicious.

 

So begins the adventures of Miss Chicken, a young free-range, from raw innocence to golden brown ecstasy, in this spoof-in-a-cookbook that simmers in the afterglow of E.L. James's sensational Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Like Anastasia Steele, Miss Chicken finds herself at the mercy of a dominating man, in this case, a wealthy, sexy, and very hungry chef.

 

And before long, from unbearably slow drizzling to trussing, Miss Chicken discovers the sheer thrill of becoming the main course. A parody in three acts--"The Novice Bird" (easy recipes for roasters), "Falling to Pieces" (parts perfect for weeknight meals), and "Advanced Techniques" (the climax of cooking)--Fifty Shades of Chicken is a cookbook of fifty irresistible, repertoire-boosting chicken dishes that will leave you hungry for more.

 

With memorable tips and revealing photographs, Fifty Shades of Chicken will have you dominating dinner."

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