Review: Three Dimensional Beadwork by Sigrid Wynne-Evans

Three Dimensional Beadwork
by Sigrid Wynne-Evans
Rating: ****
Read 9/29/2013

Splendid! Wynne-Evans gives instructions that are not prescriptive but more suggestive. She trusts that the person reading her book is already at a high level of beadweaving expertise, and just guides one along. The ideas are stellar, the photographs adequate. Though there are patterns, they are presented as guidelines rather than rules, and there’s a lovely feeling of collaboration buzzing throughout the book.

Review: A Journey of One’s Own by Thalia Zepatos

A Journey of One’s Own
by Thalia Zepatos
Rating: ****
Date read 9/14/2013

I enjoyed the writing style. I found the advice uncommon and uncommonly interesting. But ultimately, what this book did was re-emphasize for me my disinterest in travel to any but a very few first-world places. I kept reading the little travelogue excerpts and flinching. My reaction to much of this book was, “Oh, I am so glad I’ll NEVER have to do that. Or go there. Or eat that. Or have that conversation.” I liked the packing advice very much, and one needn’t be actively avoiding dysentery to use it.

Review: Her Best-Kept Secret: Inside the Private Lives of Women Who Drink by Gabrielle Glaser

Her Best-Kept Secret
by Gabrielle Glaser
Rating: ***
Date read 9/12/2013

This was an interesting book, but it wasn’t what I expected at all. I loved the parts about advertising, and I found the parts about AA and women riveting. I think I would have liked more science, and, well, more private lives of women who drink- which is what the title promised me. Still, it was well worth reading.

Review: The Mac + Cheese Cookbook by Allison Arevalo & Erin Wade

The Mac + Cheese Cookbook: 50 Simple Recipes from Homeroom, America’s Favorite Mac and Cheese Restaurant
by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade
Rating:****
Date read: 9/6/2013

I want every recipe in this book. Right now. Tonight! Lovely photography, clear and delicious-sounding recipes. There’s something for every kind of mac + cheese lover here. I think this one needs to go into the permanent collection, destined to be in high rotation.

Review: Curious Gorge by Scott Cook

Curious Gorge
by Scott Cook
Rating: ****
Date read 9/5/2013

Very well-done hiking guide book. I love the chatty tone, the inside information. I’ve gone on several hikes in this book, and am glad I did. Though I do need to say that Cook’s idea of a moderate hike is a 50-year-old-woman’s idea of a strenuous hike! Loose gravel and near-vertical ascents get tagged “moderate” and, well, let’s just say I was surprised.

Review: King of the Mild Frontier by Chris Crutcher

King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography
by Chris Crutcher
Rating: ***
Date read: 9/6/2013

I enjoyed this memoir. Crutcher’s upbringing was very unlike mine, but there were some commonalities. I really liked the way he talked about his process, how his life informs his books. I picked this out of my library’s audiobook pile because I thought I’d read one of his books, but it turns out I haven’t. I’m planning to in the future.

Review: Walking Portland by Becky Ohlsen

Walking Portland
by Becky Ohlsen
Rating: ****
Date read: 9/2/2013

This is a wonderful Portland guidebook! I loved it and I want to hurry over to Powell’s and buy it so I can keep it in the car. I’ve lived here for 20 years, and I found several walks in places I never knew were there. So far I’ve had a chance to take 3 or 4 of them from the book, and they live up to their promise. Highly recommended for residents or tourists.

Review: Literary Knits: 30 Patterns Inspired by Favorite Books by Nikol Lohr

Literary Knits: 30 Patterns Inspired by Favorite Books
by Nikol Lohr
Rating: ****
Read 8/23/2013
First off, you should know that I do not knit. I do, however, read books sometimes. That plus the lovely cover image inspired me to pick this up, and oh, I am heartily sorry I did. Because I want MOST of these literary-themed knits, and I haven’t the first intention of learning to knit. The Galadriel dress is perhaps my favorite knit item ever in the history of knitting. But I also need Edmund’s crown. And while I don’t really need Anne’s Puff-Sleeve sweater, I did burst into joyful laughter when I saw it.

Lovely photos, splendid idea. Please, buy this book and knit all the things for me.

Review: Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland

Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child
by Jessie Hartland
Rating: ****
Read 8/20/2013

Arrrrgh, present tense! There’s no need for it here, and it kept taking me out of the book. The story is done well, with all sorts of kid-friendly facts. The illustrations are stellar, a little rough, a little giddy, and just perfect for Julia Child. Very enjoyable, indeed. This would be a fun read-aloud with a slightly older child, one who can be trusted with a sharp knife. From this book straight into the kitchen.

Review: Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

Dad Is Fat
by Jim Gaffigan
Rating: *
Read 8/21/2013
I can’t remember why I put this on hold. I know that I was number six hundred and something when I did, and in the intervening months I’ve forgotten what made me think I’d like this. It’s entirely not my thing. It’s warm, fuzzy, cute (goodness gracious, the CUTE) and good. It’s about a man with a million children (maybe it’s actually five) and his long-suffering wife. It made me want to gouge my eyes out with a dull instrument.