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review 2018-11-15 23:45
Pillsbury Family Christmas Cookbook
Pillsbury Family Christmas Cookbook: Celebrate the Season with More Than 150 Recipes, Plus Fun Craft Ideas - Pillsbury Editors

This book is filled with foods to make for Christmas, meals, desserts and gifts. It was a fun book to flip through and there were recipes we marked to try. 

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review 2018-11-15 23:39
Doughnuts: 90 Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home
Doughnuts: 90 Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home - Lara Ferroni

I have a recipe from my mother to make doughnuts with. When the girls were little we made them more frequently on a weekend. They loved it. My husband always dreamed of having a doughnut shop and so would buy doughnut mixes and things to make doughnuts with. This was just a fun book that we marked several recipes to try. 

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review 2018-11-15 23:20
Privy to the Dead
Privy to the Dead - Sheila Connolly

This was a different kind of story. The MC is a museum director who has been given funds specifically for renovating the museum. While in the basement with the foreman, they find a covered area that is believed to have been a privy to a previous house on that site. She requests that all the "trash" be carefully collected and then the curators can go through it and see if there is anything interesting. After the privy is cleaned out, a worker for the site is believed to have been murdered outside the museum. It is in trying to find out what he had found that Nell and Martha find out about Martha's family and what was taken from the privy. 

 

This was an interesting story and I thought it was interesting that in the collection of "items" it was just gathered up without thorough documentation. It was interesting to read the search of records to find out answers for a murder that happened recently and one that happened over a hundred years before. 

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text 2018-11-15 15:22
Reading progress update: I've read 85 out of 416 pages.
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World - Stephen Brusatte

 

Reading about the new Triassic research was very interesting.  Back in 2013, I read My Beloved Brontosaurus by Brian Switek and realized that there was a lot of work going on in that time period. 

 

Interestingly, when I attended a lecture at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology back in October, the lecturer (whose name seems to have completely escaped me) was talking about crocodile hearts--namely that they were structurally like the heart of endothermic animals, so it looked like modern crocodiles were descended from warm-blooded ancestors.  The pseudosuchians that Brusatte talks about seem to fill the bill--active predators who would have needed to be endothermic in order to pursue prey.  Crocs have since become ectothermic ambush predators, but retain that endothermic heart structure.

 

I also appreciated his description of Bob Bakker on page 77:

"...renowned for his high energy lectures, delivered in the style of an evangelist testifying to his congregation."

 

This is exactly how Bob is!  When he was promoting his 1995 novel Raptor Red, he stopped here in Calgary and gave an evening talk at the Calgary Zoo.  I was a new docent at the zoo at the time and as a dinosaur enthusiast, I was there with bells on. 

 

It was shortly after the Jurassic Park movie had come out (1993) and Bakker was talking about the raptors in that movie.  The actual fossil velociraptors were only about turkey size, but Spielberg had deemed those "not scary enough" so he increased their size by several orders of magnitude.  In the meanwhile, fossils of a large raptor called Utahraptor had been described and were about the right size.  Bakker was calling Spielberg a prophet and urging us to "Praise Speilberg!"  I got a great kick out of that evening.

 

I must admit that I was skim reading the notes and checking the index to this book last night and I'm a bit disappointed at how little Canadian scientists and older scientists of Bakker's vintage that this author cites.  I live in a dinosaur hot-spot, with Dinosaur Provincial Park and the Royal Tyrrell Museum in my back yard and I know that a ton of significant fossils and research originate here.  This may end up being my biggest disappointment with this book.

 

A reconstruction of Utahraptor (from Wikipedia).

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review 2018-11-15 03:29
The Golem and the Jinni (Audiobook)
The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel - Helene Wecker,George Guidall

They say there are no new stories and only seven basic plots, and that is certainly true. Trying to find new ways to retell stories and spin those plots has been the tasks of authors and storytellers since the moment right after the very first story was ever told, and every once in a rare while an author comes along who can bring something truly fresh to the scene. This is such a book. 

 

It's been a long time since I've been this impressed by a book. Maybe it helps that I'm not especially familiar with golems or jinnis, though the mythology used here is on point with what I do know of them. The magic comes in putting these mystical creatures in turn-of-the century Big Apple and putting them both in positions that require them to examine and test their very natures. The supporting cast is equally as fascinating, from Ice Cream Selah, Maryam Faddoul, Arbeely, Rabbi Meyer and Michael Levy, to name a few. They're all trying to figure out life, figure out their place in it - even when they think they know what that place should be - and watching as the author weaves their various storylines together like the Fates at their loom. 

 

This was enrapturing, made even more so because I couldn't figure out where the story was going or how it would all be resolved. For every thread I managed to tie together, there were several others that I couldn't see how they connected. And I really didn't want to. I was happy to just sit back and allow the story to unfold in its own time, and it didn't disappoint.

 

The narrator, George Guidall, does a wonderful job capturing the many characters and bringing their cultures and neighborhoods to life. 

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