Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Winter Reading Challenge: WRAP-UP

Robin of My Two Blessings hosted the Winter Reading Challenge. It officially ends on March 20. Originally, I had nine books on my list. However, I only read 7. Two of the books, I was unable to obtain, so here we are.

The books I read are:

1- The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

2- A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

3- We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver

4- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

5- Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, and 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell

6- America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines by Gail Collins

7- White Oleander by Janet Fitch

I would have to say that my absolute favorite book was The Art of Racing in the Rain. I loved Enzo. I loved the story, I laughed and cried, and fell in love with this novel. Definitely my top choice for the year.

My least favorite was A Million Little Pieces. If you read my review, you will know why.

The two I could never find, and am really bummed I couldn't were; 31 Songs by Nick Hornby and Austenland by Shannon Hale. They are still on the TBR pile, so hopefully I can get to those soon...

Thanks Robin for hosting this challenge. You are the Hostess with the Mostest!

Review: America's Women: 400 years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines

Title: America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines
Author: Gail Collins
Pages: 608
Genre: History
Rating: 4/5

This book is not something that I normally read. I usually prefer fiction, but I love History, and this book is full of it. I read a review of this a while back and thought that it looked really interesting.

The book teaches about the history of women. From the very first recorded woman to be born in America (Virginia Dare), to present day. It tells of how women have evolved in labor, fashion, to their roll in the home. Their triumphs, and failures. There is a lot to learn from this book. Most of the information, I never knew and a lot that I have forgotten about (Pocahontas).

One thing I learned about in this book is a woman names Sarah Josepha Hale. She wrote "Mary Had a Little Lamb". She was also the very first woman editor for the very first women's fashion magazine. When her husband died, she was 40 and pregnant with her seventh child. From the day he died to the day she died (another 54 years!) she wore black every day to mourn the loss of her husband.

This book is full of interesting tid bits all through the evolution of women. I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is very interesting, very well written, and full of great history. Although there is a little more than 600 pages, the reading moves very quickly.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Review: A Million Little Pieces

I hated reading this book, read about 100 pages. Couldn't make myself read the rest. The writing is terrible, the language terrible, the story embellished and insincere. Wouldn't even donate and put into anyone else's hands...

Review: Julie & Julia

Title: Julie & Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment
Author: Julie Powell
Genre: Memoir
Pages: 320
Rating 3.5/5

Julie is on the brink of turning thirty. She hates her job, not sure if she is able to have children, and needs something to give her more fulfillment. While visiting her mother, she stumbles upon her mothers old copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking (MtAoFC) by Julia Child.

She is attempting to make all 524 recipes including brains, kidneys, and all. She tells of her triumphs, failures, and frustrations. She journals everything on her blog, and becomes quite successful and popular (hence, the book).

Julie is spunky, sassy, and a little self-absorbed. She has endearing qualities that I liked in Bridget Jones. She can be a little crass at times, but overall an easy, witty read. I thought the very idea of her "project" very creative.

There is a movie with Meryl Streep playing Julia Child and Amy Adams playing Julie Powell. I wonder how it will be.....

Couldn't find a trailer for it quite yet. :(

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Midweek Morsels

This week, I tried a new food. Eggplant. I have always been intimidated by this purple, squash like vegetable. However, when eating low-cab, one must be creative. I tried this recipe the other night for dinner, and thought it was so delicious. So try, and enjoy!

Cheese-Stuffed Eggplant

2 eggplants
1 red onion, chopped
3 Tbsp. butter
3 C. crumbled feta cheese
1/2 C. grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 C Ricotta Cheese
1 egg
Season Salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Slice eggplants in half lengthwise. Scoop out center with a spoon, chop and set aside. Reserve the shells. Saute onions in butter until golden. Add eggplant pulp. This will seem like a lot but the pulp with cook down. Saute for about five minutes. Transfer mixture into a bowl and cool. Add cheeses to mixture. Beat in egg. Stuff mixture into eggplant shell and top with season salt. Bake for 40 minutes.