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review 2017-07-21 14:31
Not what I thought it would be.
Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and O... Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History) - Roger Horowitz

When I first heard about this book I thought it would be a great read. I'm no expert at all as to what foods are kosher and really understand the basic tenants of it from school friends. But the title brought to mind of a story from the early 2000's where it was discovered that there were tiny organisms in the tap water causing a debate as to whether it was kosher and the move for people to install filters in their homes, restaurants to advertise they filter their water, etc. Or the stories of how Jewish people often go to Chinese restaurants on Christmas even though sometimes it might not be completely clear whether the restaurant's food is actually kosher, etc.


So I thought this book would be something like that and the author starts off by talking about his family and how he was driven to writing this book. Then the book quickly goes downhill from there.


Although there is generally some interesting information as to how Coca-Cola was kosher, how animals are slaughtered for kosher meat, etc. the book is dry, technical, academic, etc. It was best when he talked about his family but obviously that's not the focus of the book. I wanted to like it and did get some knowledge but it was a slog. Part of me wonders whether it's because I have a general lack of knowledge but I see from other reviews they also found the book pretty hard to get through.


If there's a specific topic of interest in the book it might be a good pickup. But I was disappointed to find the book wasn't what I thought it was nor was it very readable and I'm *very* glad I found it at my library. Otherwise I'd skip it.

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review 2017-07-15 10:40
Flavour of Zelazny
Jack of Shadows - Roger Zelazny

This was an interesting read. It wasn't quite up to the level of his Amber series, but it showed a similar panorama of the bizarre imagination of Roger Zelazny.


Jack is a likeable antihero who is a talented thief, not least of all because he is a darksider and can disappear into shadow. Darksiders have multiple lives, but no soul. Death means starting again, but he has to make his way back to the world through an otherworldly realm of the dead where magical beings rule.


The story stretches the imagination, as Zelazny tends to do, though being a thing of its time it could get some complaints of misogyny. Not something I'll re-read but a classic to tick off the list.

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text 2017-06-19 17:58
U.S. Kindle Sale: Miscellaneous
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club - Dorothy L. Sayers
The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman
All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful: Three James Herriot Classics - James Herriot
Jack of Shadows - Roger Zelazny
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic - Randy Shilts,William Greider
Silent Spring - Rachel Carson,Linda Lear,Edward O. Wilson
Cheaper by the Dozen - Frank B. Gilbreth Jr.,Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

Currently $1.99: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, by Dorothy L. Sayers.  The Golden Compass (aka Northern Lights), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, by Phillip Pullman.  Jack of Shadows, by Roger Zelazny.  Cheaper by the Dozen, by Frank Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.


Currently $2.99: Three James Herriot Classics (All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful), by James Herriot.  Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh.


Currently $3.99: And the Band Played On, by Randy Shilts.  Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson.

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review 2017-06-15 23:17
Avengers for Avengers geeks
Avengers Legends, Vol. 1: Avengers Forever - Kurt Busiek,Roger Stern,Carlos Pacheco

Years ago one of the local malls had a Virgin Megastore nestled smack in the middle of it. I didn't go to that mall often, but when I did I gravitated to that store and perused the shelves to see what was on offer. At that time I hadn't read comic books in years and the collections that were increasingly available offered a convenient way of getting caught up on what I had missed, so when one caught my eye I skimmed it and got a crash course on what had transpired in the worlds I hadn't visited in a long time. Three of these stand out in my memory today; Jeph Loeb's brilliant Superman: Emperor Joker, and two Avengers titles from the late 1990s; Kang Dynasty and Avengers Forever.


The two Avengers collections had a few things in common. Both featured Kang the Conqueror, who is one of my all-time favorite Marvel villains even if he had never been employed as well as he could have been (Kang Dynasty is the one that did it best). The other is that they were both written or co-written by Kurt Busiek, who may not enjoy the reputation of legendary superhero comic book writers like Alan Moore or the modern-day fame of a Brian Michael Bendis of a Geoff Johns, but who wrote some of the best stuff Marvel had going in the 1990s.


The best way of describing Avengers Forever is that it's the ultimate fan service for longtime readers of the series. The plot itself is so complicated so as to defy easy explanation, but it involves two time-traveling villains engaged in a struggle over the fate of humanity, with a team of Avengers pulled from various eras to save it from being eradicated from existence. The beauty of the series is threefold: the pulling together of an eclectic collection of people (including two different versions of the same character), the interweaving of their storyline into classic adventures, and an effort to resolve longstanding continuity errors by setting them as episodes in a longer conflict. The last requires long stretches of exposition and flashback; from a narrative perspective these are the weakest parts of the story and they don't always work, but Busiek does an impressive job with what he has, and his effort is more successful than one might expect.


Some people have referred to as a useful introduction to the Avengers comics. Yet the opposite is true; this is a collection that readers ought to turn to only after they are familiar with the classic run of the Avengers, something that is easier to do than ever thanks to the proliferation of bound collections and digital comics. While people new to the Marvel universe might still enjoy Busiek's tale, only those with a good command of the history of the Avengers can appreciate the genius of his effort, one that treats fans and the superhero team they love with respect. That's an achievement that is far more rare in comic books series than it should be.

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review 2017-05-05 15:47
Got to 50 Percent Mark and Asked Myself, Why I Am Reading This?
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour - Morgan Matson

When you get to the 50 percent mark of a book and ask yourself why are you reading it that is not a good thing.


I just didn't care about Amy her dumb detour with Roger and just rolled my eyes since I assume they are going to be all in love by the end of their road trip.


It doesn't help that reading this via Kindle does not allow you to blow up some of the graphics/pictures that the author includes in this book either. I think the whole thing was just a bit gimmicky and then I started to nitpick how far they could drive realistically on tank of gas and how they seemed to avoid certain states and then just gave up any urge to keep reading this. 


"Amy & Roger's Epic Detour" is about one woman's totally messed up idea to force her daughter to drive across the country with some random dude she (the mom) and the daughter have not seen since he was 5, or maybe it was 6. Seriously, I just had a hard time believing the circumstances that popped up in this book. I think I was supposed to feel sympathetic towards Amy while reading this book, but I was too busy thinking how selfish and not realistic the mother was in this book and how much Amy was working my nerves. 


We have the book starting off with Amy watching two people sitting in a car. You don't know what is going on but you get enough details that Amy is not happy. Then the book jumps around a bit and then you jump back in time (get used to that a lot) Amy is home alone eating pizza on the one plate she keeps reusing. Cue sad violin. And then she gets a call from her mother telling her that due to expenses, she can't have the car flown out to Connecticut (where the mom and now Amy is going to have to get herself moved to) and so she plans on her daughter and a friend's son to drive the car across country since circumstances have Amy no longer driving. 


BTW I already guessed the circumstances and so would any reader within the first few pages. I honestly started hating the back and forth timeline that Matson does with this story. We get what happened (no spoilers) and if it was supposed to be some big revelation it didn't work. If anything, it just made me dislike Amy and her mother even more. I just got sick of reading a story about two people who just don't have any sense to talk to each other and get their issues out there. And there's random throwaway lines about Amy's twin brother Charlie that is in rehab in North Carolina. 


I ultimately didn't get a sense of any character in this book and I was tired of reading about Roger and his fixation on his ex-girlfriend that even though she broke up with him he decided he was still going to go and see cause hey, why not be a cross country stalker. 



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