Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Book Review: Food: A Love Story- Jim Gaffigan

Food: A Love StoryFood: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've always said that I enjoy comedy audiobooks that are read by their authors. Food: A Love Story was no different. The biggest downside was that my wife caught me laughing and listening to it without her and insisted that I slow it down and share it so I had to listen to the book at normal pace. Jim Gaffigan is his normal cleanly funny self and I enjoyed the book thoroughly. This book still featured some of his stand-up routines as chapters, but less so than his prior book Dad Is Fat, making much of it original. I also liked his nod to Cincinnati, Ohio cuisine with Skyline's chili on spaghetti because it works. I could go on more, but he tells the stories and jokes better. I'll simply say that my wife thoroughly agrees with him about "sea bugs" and that I can relate to him and his dad who loves steak, but isn't always the best at grilling it. For more than that, you'll just have to enjoy the book yourself.

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Serial

My sister recommended The Serial to me back at Thanksgiving or Christmas, and I finally got around to listening to it here this spring.  I chose to listen to it in place of an adult nonfiction this round.  The sort was interesting and riveting and I know that the goal was for it to be listened to a week at a time, the way old serial magazine stories were written, but just like I don't like listening to stories that are part of a series until the series is complete, I preferred the podcast this way- all at one, rather than one at a time.  I listened to a lot of it while I had down time because of student testing that was going on and I think I finished the whole series in less than 36 if not 24 hours.  First, the catchy theme music sounds best at x2.  There were times where I had to slow it down to listen to some of the low-quality audio and telephone recordings, but overall I enjoyed listening to it.  I feel conflicted about the case and personally I'm not sure there was really enough for him to be convicted in the past, but now that he has been and he'r pretty much at the end of his appeal options, I am not convinced there is enough evidence to release him.  Personally, I think he is innocent and I was glad to hear this week that his case is being looked at again, but it does make me wonder, as well, why is his case getting a second look?  Is it the most deserving, aren't there others, and how do you decide?  I don't have these answers, but it does make you think.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Book Review: The Scarlet Letter- Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet LetterThe Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Scarlet Letter is one of those books that I feel like I was supposed to have read in High School, but it was never assigned. The high school teacher at my school does read it with some classes. It was also recommended to me by my wife. When I chose it was my classic to read this time I knew that it was about a woman who had to wear a red A because she had been (view spoiler). Although the book wasn't all that surprising or shocking to me, I can see why it was at the time when it was written. This is also a book where I have not heard a lot of textual analysis and I'm sure I could pull more out of a closer reading, but I pulled out a few main things. First, Hester [about my only complaint about the book is that the reader I swear said Ester the whole time] is not really ashamed of what she did, or a least is not going to let it define her. Her daughter, (view spoiler) even views the scarlet A as adornment or jewelry that her mother wore and didn't recognize her without it on briefly at one point in the book. Hester is described as being the most helpful and outstanding citizen who took care of those around her, even though they shunned her some for what she had done. Meanwhile, her lover was tormented by what he had done and hid his sin shamefully. Although the book is probably a criticism of Puritan legalism, like The Crucible later did to fight against McCarthyism, it seems to say that we can take the sin or thing that shames us the most and rise above it and not let it define us. I've thought much about what big sin might be and what I could do to over come it. I haven't been able to settle on one, but the book has made me think. That alone made it worth the read to me.

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