Th Reading Lair

Archive for May, 2012

  • A Tribute to 3 Sexy Old(er) Ladies of Literature

    Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

    I think most of us can admit that there’s a certain amount of sexiness we’d like to exude when we’re older.

    No, not the weird cougarish kind of sexy that your distant Aunt Lulu radiates in her velour sweat suits and creepy show tune dresses. I’m talking about the type of sexy that says, “Yes, I knit. I garden. I drink tea in the face of danger. And I can kill things with my bare hands if needed.” The kind of sexy that Dorothea Taylor is. Did you see that news article on her a few months back? She’s an 85-year-old, 100 pound woman who saved her husband from being stomped to death by a huge Alaskan moose.  She scared the poor animal away with a shovel. A SHOVEL, people.

    Yeah. Don’t tell me that’s not awesome.

    It’s the kind of sexy I attribute to three of my favorite older ladies in literature. And by “older” I mean, they’re not the usual young adult or college age heroines we so often see.

    The first being:

    Mrs. Emily Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

    Oh the dear Mrs. Pollifax. I adore her flamboyant hats and sweet karate moves and discontentment with little old lady things like Garden Clubs and tea obligations. Not that she neglects those obligations (cuz she’s quite responsible, you know), but when she’s not doing them, she’s a CIA operative traveling the world and catching bad dudes. And she does it all while being charming and seemingly innocent, which is the best kind of old lady-ishness to be. I read these books in high school, and to this day, I still think fondly of their old school, easy breezy appeal.

    The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax  (Mrs. Pollifax #1)

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    Next comes:

    Precious Ramotswe by Alexander McCall Smith

    Okay, so Precious is totally my kind of feminist. Fat, savvy, and full of good humor–she is a hot mama and she knows it! I absolutely love this woman. In her culture where marriage and babies are the preferred, this single woman with a dying father needs a business to bring her financial security. So, of course, she starts up the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency (for all confidential matters and enquiries) through which she solves mysteries ranging from missing people (crocodiles anyone?) to suspected marital affairs. If you’ve not read this series, I suggest you do so immediately. And pour yourself a giant mug of rooibos tea. Not only will you fall in love with Precious, but with Alexander McCall Smith (ohmygosh his writing is beautiful) and Africa as well. Plus, I *might* be in the same age bracket as Precious. Ahem.

    The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency  (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #1)

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    Finally, I give you:

    Jane Marple by Agatha Christie

    No book list is ever complete without Miss Marple! She’s one of my all time favorites! Unassuming and inquisitive, her insight into human nature makes her brilliant (as does her “I’ve got my eye on you” style of intimidation). I adore the small village where she lives as well as the police she’s constantly meddling with. Even more, I love that she has opinions on EVERYONE, and she’s always right whether you like it or not. Which is something I think all older ladies have earned. Just by the sake of being older. ;0)

    Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple, #1)

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    So, what do you think, my Preciouses? Who are some other sexy older ladies you love in books? And what type of older person do YOU dream of being? (Cuz, you know, “older” is any age beyond the one you’re currently at.)

    ;0)

     *all cover pics from Goodreads

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    Posted in Book Reviews | 11 Comments »

  • 6 Fun Flavored Popcorn Recipes (for snacking while reading)

    Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

    I was on Pinterest the other night, getting distracted by all the Pretty Shinys (you know, those things that make you go, “Ooh look! Pretty! Shiny!”) and came across a wonderous looking popcorn recipe.  So of course I quickly ran into the kitchen to make a giant mess and some inspired popped goodness. At midnight.

    Here’s the thing I adore about popcorn. IT’S THE PERFECT READING SNACK!

    Like this:

    S’mores Caramel Popcorn (via Your Home Based Mom)

    Seriously, can you think of a better food to shove your face into while reading? It’s not like you have to look away from your lovely/suspenseful/crazy good book to poke your food with a fork or make sure you’re not smearing crumbs everywhere. You just grab a few pieces and shove them in your face, grab and shove, grab and shove. Also, chew.  No interruptions.

    Am I right?            <—-“Yes,” you say. You see my genius reasoning for adoring such a snack.

    I usually make my popcorn from scratch by sprinkling the kernels into a pot with a little olive oil and lots of garlic salt. Once they’re all popped and smelling garlicky, I top them with melted butter and parmesan cheese. But after seeing these popcorn pics, I want to try them ALL. Today.

    Clickety-click the links for the recipes, but first you should leave a comment telling us how YOU prefer your popcorn. Do you have a secret recipe for us? *she asks in a hopeful voice* Or is there another reading snack you can’t live without???

    Birthday Cake Batter Popcorn (via Tasty Kitchen)

    I think we can all agree that everything is better with sprinkles. And cake.

    . . .

    Stovetop Popcorn with Coconut Oil (via Seemingly Greek)

    I’m in love with anything cooked in coconut oil. That is all we need know. So. Good.

    . . .

    Spicy Caramel Bacon Popcorn (via A Cozy Kitchen)

     BAAAAACON!!! My husband would call this “man popcorn.” I just call it “Brilliance.”

    . . .

    Olive Oil & Rosemary Popcorn (via Alaska From Scratch)

     Rosemary. Good heavens I need to try this.

    . . .

    And last but far from least:

    Cookies and Cream Popcorn (via Sweet Tooth)

     I’m pretty sure after eating this I could speed read through my book. That or keel over from sugar shock. Cookies & Cream, I heart you.

    ;0)  Enjoy!

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    Posted in Reading Recipes, Uncategorized | 15 Comments »

  • The Maze Runner (A Book Review)

    Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

    Thomas awakens to find himself on a lift being propelled toward a set of doors overhead. When the doors open, he is deposited in the middle of the “Glade,” a sunny homestead surrounded by massive stone walls and populated by a host of teen boys who welcome him–some with more suspicion than others. Unfortunately, Thomas has no answers for their questions because, aside from his name, he has no idea of who he is or where he’s from.

    As the “Newbie” to the group, Thomas must quickly learn the rules of Glade society—the most important one being that only Runners are allowed to set foot outside the Glade’s walls into the maze, which completely encircles the homestead and keeps the boys trapped within. In the morning Thomas watches as the stone doors open and the Runners leave to race through the giant labyrinth, mapping as much of it as possible before nighttime falls and the maze walls shift into alternating patterns. In the evening, he sees the doors close as if by some unseen hand, locking the homesteaders inside the Glade, while shutting out the murderous monsters known as Grievers (think ginormous, all-purpose-pocket-knife-type monsters made from metal and jelly…yeah, totally weird, but creepy). Any Runners who haven’t returned by the time the doors close are as good as dead.

    But something keeps nagging at Thomas—a suspicion that somehow he knows the key to solving the maze. Just as he’s seeking the truth about it, a comatose girl with telepathic abilities appears who seems to know Thomas from his life before. And with her arrival, Thomas is forced to face the possibility that he is more responsible for their situation that he can bear to imagine.

    The Maze Runner cover.png

    THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner

    What I liked:

    1. The premise. Curious and creative.
    2. Dashner’s supporting characters. Am I the only one who thinks Chuck is wonderfully reminiscent of one of the Goonies?
    3. The slang words! Heheheh. ;0) Um, yes, since reading the book, I’ve totally been tempted to use them. 
    4. The beginning. Okay, I’ll admit that at first the lack of Thomas’ orientation annoyed me (I was kind of like “Thomas, seriously, get on with your moody confused self already”) until I realized Dashner was employing it to enlist our empathy for Thomas. Nicely done.
    5. Thomas. Not too old. Not too young. He’s believable as a freaked-out teen guy trying to get a handle on himself and his environment.
    6. The level of creepiness. For whatever reason (don’t ask why), I was expecting a slightly “tamer” story, so the intensity of some of it caught me off guard, which is harder to do the older I get. One reviewer suggested the book feels like a cross between ENDER’S GAME and LORD OF THE FLIES, and that’s probably a pretty good comparison. :0)
    7. Although it’s a dystopian, I love the fact that it reminded me just a bit of ENDER’S GAME (my favorite sci-fi ever)!

    What I’m looking (and hoping) for in the rest of the trilogy (which is on my to-read list):

    1. Teresa’s character developing more fully.
    2. A clear enough explanation for what’s going on behind the scenes as to justify the boys’ situation and some of the violence. While I don’t have an issue with mysterious origins or violence in books (when they’re done well and with purpose in the arc of the story), the ending in THE MAZE RUNNER definitely left me going, “Wait, what?! Okay, there’d better be a darn good explanation for all of this!”
    3. Rumor has it there are zombies in the next two books. Enough said. *big grin*

    How about you, Preciouses? Have any of you read it? And if not, what’s your favorite bookish read of late???

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    THE MAZE RUNNER book trailer (which is a tad more terrifying than the book)

    :0)

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    Posted in Book Reviews | 11 Comments »

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