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review 2018-07-11 06:05
The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle
The Dinner List - Rebecca Serle

Sabrina thinks she is celebrating her 30th birthday with a quiet dinner with her best friend and old roommate. She arrives to find four extra people around the table.

This was a book with a cute premise and a frothy surface, but there was more to the plot then I expected at first. Sabrina at the prodding of her roommate wrote down a list of the five people, alive or dead, that she'd want to have dinner with. Over the years, if subconsciously, she's revised the list and now has the chance to speak with them all together. The night will have plenty more surprises.

Her guest list: her best friend Jessica who Sabrina feels growing away from her now that they have such different lives; her ex boyfriend of many years; her father, who left her and her mother when young for a new family and is now deceased; her professor, a father-surrogate and fount of wisdom; and Audrey Hepburn, because, duh.

'The Dinner List' is a fun book to read, even the serious parts. It begs the reader to ask the question of themselves. My list:

My husband, because, duh.
Grandma, my father's mother,
The woman who lived in our house for almost 100 years before us,
Glenway Wescott,
Shirley Jackson

There are so many possibilities - I liked how Serle examined this question so closely, the reasoning behind Sabrina original choices and why substitutions were made. A good idea, well explored.

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review 2018-06-25 01:32
Dinner With King Solomon - Matshona T. Dhliwayo

 

Kevin has lost his business (due to a corrupt partner), his marriage (she left him for more money), and his children (they vie for the attention of their mother's new boyfriend because of what he can by them more than Kevin) and is overwhelmed with depression and on the verge of suicide in his ratty apartment when there is a knock at the door. He opens it and it is King Solomon. Kevin thinks someone is playing a prank, or this guy is dressed in costume for a party.... but Solomon asks if he can come to dinner in a few days and Kevin thinks he is hallucinating. Dinner??? Kevin hasn't eaten in days-- there is no food in the house, he has no money, his water has been shut off for a while... how could he possibly make dinner for a guest? Then Solomon gives him a bag of gold coins, tells him when they have dinner Kevin will be able to ask him any and all questions he desires, and leaves. When Kevin awakens the next more he is sure that it was all a crazy dream until he comes across the gold. The sale of one coin solves all of his immediate problems and he begins to research Solomon at the library and by calling a friend in seminary. Kevin has never been one for religion, so even if this is Solomon, he thinks all of the hype about him is way over-rated. So Kevin starts to compile a list of questions that have caused much debate throughout history and ones he is sure will stump Solomon.... he desires to prove that he really isn't so wise. When Kevin's dinner guest arrives, Kevin serves him a fine meal then begins the questions. As Solomon answers each one, Kevin's opinion is slowly changed to realize that this guy really is wise. The questions start to get a bit more personal regarding Kevin's mess of a life, and Solomon gives him advice that ends up totally turning his life around. I loved this book! I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review-- thank you! : )

 

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review 2018-06-17 06:37
A WHITE HOUSE DINNER FOR THE AGES
Dinner in Camelot: The Night America's Greatest Scientists, Writers, and Scholars Partied at the Kennedy White House - Joseph A. Esposito

Prior to reading "DINNER IN CAMELOT: The Night America's Greatest Scientists, Writers, and Scholars Partied at the Kennedy White House", the most I knew of this most unique dinner which took place on the evening of Sunday, April 29, 1962 was from a now famous statement President Kennedy made there. It is as follows: "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House - with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone." One of my high school U.S. history teachers first made me aware of that quote, which left a deep impression that hasn't left me after almost 40 years. 

Joseph A. Esposito has taken considerable care in reconstructing for the reader what that White House dinner was like - down to the various personalities (e.g. Linus & Ava Helen Pauling; Dr. Ralph Bunche, the first African American recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the UN in negotiating the 1949 armistice between Israel and the Arab States; J. Robert Oppenheimer - the father of the atomic bomb - for whom this dinner marked the beginning of his political rehabilitation after having had his security clearance stripped away from him in 1954; the poet Robert Frost; the widow of Nobel laureate Ernest Hemingway; the literary personages Mr. and Mrs. Lionel & Diana Trilling; Pearl Buck; William & Rose Styron - who later became close friends of the Kennedys; the writer and social critic James Baldwin; and the astronaut John Glenn) in attendance. 

The book also has the complete seating plan for the dinner, which took place in the State Dining Room (where President Kennedy presided at the lead table, # 7) and the Blue Room (where the First Lady, Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, sat at the lead table, # 17) - in addition to several photographs that were taken at the dinner itself. They help to recapture, in a large sense, an America that was sure of itself and its place in the world despite the perils and challenges of the time, and the essence of a President and First Lady who encouraged a flowering of the arts and sciences among all Americans - as well as inspiring people to be and do better for themselves and humanity. 

I absolutely enjoyed reading "DINNER IN CAMELOT" which I think will serve in years to come as the main source for anyone wanting to know more about this unique and seminal event in 20th century U.S. history. It may also remind the reader that it is possible for the U.S. to extricate itself from the polarization and toxic national politics that bedevils us in the present time. For we live in a nation that has had many ups and downs since its inception in 1789 - and managed to, at various times, to embrace "the better angels" of its spirit and character.

 

Let "DINNER IN CAMELOT" remind the reader that We the People can work together anew to make a better nation for ourselves and future generations through encouraging a renewed appreciation for the arts and sciences.

 

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text 2018-05-15 18:53
Stealing Buddha’s Dinner By Bich Minh Nguyen $1.99
Stealing Buddha's Dinner - Bich Minh Nguyen

As a Vietnamese girl coming of age in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Nguyen is filled with a rapacious hunger for American identity, and in the pre-PC-era Midwest (where the Jennifers and Tiffanys reign supreme), the desire to belong transmutes into a passion for American food. More exotic- seeming than her Buddhist grandmother's traditional specialties, the campy, preservative-filled "delicacies" of mainstream America capture her imagination. 

In Stealing Buddha's Dinner, the glossy branded allure of Pringles, Kit Kats, and Toll House Cookies becomes an ingenious metaphor for Nguyen's struggle to become a "real" American, a distinction that brings with it the dream of the perfect school lunch, burgers and Jell- O for dinner, and a visit from the Kool-Aid man. Vivid and viscerally powerful, this remarkable memoir about growing up in the 1980s introduces an original new literary voice and an entirely new spin on the classic assimilation story.

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review 2018-04-03 15:48
Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner? / Katrine Keilos
Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner?: A Story About Women and Economics by Katrine Marcal (5-Mar-2015) Paperback - Katrine Marcal

How do you get your dinner? That is the basic question of economics. It might seem easy, but it is actually very complicated.

When Adam Smith proclaimed that all our actions were motivated by self-interest and the world turned because of financial gain he laid the foundations for 'economic man'. Selfish and cynical, 'economic man' has dominated our thinking ever since, the ugly rational heart of modern day capitalism. But every night Adam Smith's mother served him his dinner, not out of self-interest, but out of love.

Even today, the unpaid work of mothering, caring, cleaning and cooking is not part of our economic models. All over the world, there are economists who believe that if women are paid less, then that's because their labour is worth less.

In this engaging, popular look at the mess we're in, Katrine Marçal charts the myth of 'economic man', from its origins at Adam Smith's dinner table to its adaptation by the Chicago School and finally its disastrous role in the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

 

If you are wondering what the answer to the title’s question, it was his mother. Adam Smith never married and was cared for by his mother and a female cousin. Without whom he would never have had the time to write The Wealth of Nations.

Very appropriately, this book was penned by a young Swedish woman. She is properly outraged by the assumptions of the field of economics that women and many of the tasks that they undertake really don’t count. She points out that the world gets split in two—male/female, logic/emotion, spirit/body, etc. and the female/emotional/physical gets short shrift in economic theory. Which is silly when you truly consider it, as we are all emotional and physical beings and we are all far from completely logical. Its this kind of deliberate omitting of important things that leads to environmental destruction (assuming it to be without cost) and the difficulty of getting food and medical care to those that need it around the world (because feeding & caring are “female” responsibilities, so they should be done for free and shouldn’t be a factor in economic systems or a worry of politicians).

Self-interest exists, we all have it. But we also have people that we care about and for whom we do things that don’t make sense logically. We also do nice things for people we don’t even know—give directions, hand over spare change, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ It doesn’t make sense to run the financial world as though none of this exists or to act as though it only exists outside the financial world. While we are working to make the world a more equal place, maybe we can renovate economics to acknowledge reality?

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