Archive for June, 2010

30th June
2010
written by Steph

One of the things I was most excited about when Tony and I embarked into the world of e-readers was discovering the plethora of e-books that were now open to me via our public library. I’ve probably spent at least 3 hours clicking through the catalog of available titles, making a list (and checking it twice), of all the books I can’t wait to get my grubby little jamhands on FOR FREE. So exciting. Finally I’ll get to try stuff like Joshua Ferris’s The Unnamed, and if the desire should ever strike to continue with the Stieg Larsson trilogy, well, I can do that too. Maybe I’ll check out those Sookie Stackhouse books. You just never know. Of course, there’s an awful lot of… well, crap might not be the right word, but let’s just say that for every The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie in the collection, there are at least 15 Harlequin romances, with titles like The Billionaire’s Bride and The Greek Shipping Heir’s Lovechild. I’m sure they have their fans, but they’re not really my speed. All to say that I had to do some digging to find the diamonds. And when I found What The Dead Know, a book I had actually considered reading many times, I snapped and quickly borrowed it. I had heard good things about it, and it seemed like a worthy book to break my e-reader in with (except without any actual breaking). (more…)
28th June
2010
written by Steph
The PRS 600

The PRS 600

A couple of weeks ago Steph mentioned that Target was going to start selling the Kindle in-store. The biggest appeal of this, for us, was the ability to actually go and mess with the device in person for the first time, and really get a sense for the size, operating speed and overall quality of the Kindle. Cue us walking through the Target electronics department looking for the Kindle display. Upon asking a friendly Target associate where we could find the Kindle, we were greeted with a blank stare and the exclamation “I don’t even know what that is.” Perfect. We did randomly find the display, which was balls. It was a demo-only unit, and therefore ran through a pre-programmed routine of displays and allowed for no interaction whatsoever. So, less than ideal. But the fire was lit, and now we were on the e-reader war path. Like Moses, we would descend from on high, brandishing our e-ink displays that would be clearly legible in bright sun for the masses. (more…)
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24th June
2010
written by Steph

One thing that I love about the book blogging world is that it helps me discover so many books that I never would have stumbled across on my own. Laurie R King’s Mary Russell series is definitely an example of this. Prior to blogging I had never heard of these books, even though: a) I love cozy British mysteries that set during the turn of the 20th century (an extremely specific niche, I realize!); and b) the series has been around since the mid-90s, so I had plenty of time to find it on my own. For those who are unfamiliar with the idea behind the series, the premise is that Sherlock Holmes (yes, I do mean THE Sherlock Holmes) has retired to the English countryside where fifteen-year old Mary stumbles upon him (quite literally) while out for a morning walk (with Virgil on hand). Holmes soon realizes that Mary has a rather uncommon mind, one that is nearly as observant and shrewd as his own, and the two soon strike up a friendship. Holmes takes Mary under his wing, tutoring her in the art of detection and setting small tests for her to solve in order to keep her mind sharp. Together they tackle and solve a few innocuous mysteries at hand, but soon the stakes are raised when Holmes is called to consult on a prominent kidnapping case. Even that, however, is but a rudimentary primer for the next conundrum they face… one where their very lives hinge upon them discovering the culprit who lurks in the shadows and is clearly out for blood. (more…)
23rd June
2010
written by Steph
This past weekend, Teresa over at Shelf Love posted a brilliant write-up on the difficulties of breaking up with books. There are some people who happily fling books away if they're not clicking, but some of us are stubborn and faithful, and once we say we're going to read a book, you practically have to pry it out of our cold, dead hands to get us to stop reading it. Even if we're not enjoying it one jot. There are plenty of reasons why one might be reluctant to give up on a book. Maybe you've read plenty of great reviews about it, and so you're convinced it has to get better. Or perhaps you have a guilt complex (and come on, I'm a grad student, so I absolutely do) and you feel like it's a book you should like or should be able to say you've read so pride keeps you going. I fully admit that not all books are easy-going, and sometimes you have to work for your rewards. Some books you struggle and grapple with, only to emerge triumphant and enlightened at the end... while others make you regret the hours you invested. And then there are of course those books that no matter how hard you try, they just fail to have that za za zu (as my friends Trisha & Abby - and also Carrie Bradshaw - would say) and you seem destined to always part with the story unfinished. Inspired by Sonya Chung's lists over at The Millions, I thought I'd bogart her idea (and headings) and humbly present my list of triumphs and successes when it comes to the ones that got away, and the ones I should have cut loose. Please share your own successes (and failures!) in the comments! (more…)
21st June
2010
written by Steph

Fair warning to all of you: what is about to follow is likely to be a hugely controversial reaction to a novel that is well-loved by book bloggers the world over. And no, I’m not talking about the fact that it’s taken me so long to finally read The Shadow of the Wind, although that in itself is probably shocking enough. No, I must reveal – with all due respect to its champions - that I think The Shadow of the Wind is a fairly terrible book. How sad that I should have to type those words! After all, the premise seems so promising. One fateful eve, Daniel is brought to a mysterious archive by his father known simply as The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Daniel is told he may choose one book, and with his selection, he will promise that said book will never be without a home or a reader again. As if drawn by a power he cannot understand, Daniel selects a book entitled “The Shadow of the Wind” written by Julian Carax. Daniel feverishly devours the novel and soon makes it his mission to track down all other novels penned by Carax. Much to his dismay, he finds that Carax’s novels are no easy things to acquire, especially since someone has made it their mission to burn all of Carax’s books that remain in print. As Daniel works to unravel the mystery of Carax and the secrets of his past, he finds him swept up in a sinister and deadly game of cat-and-mouse, and we all know what curiosity does to cats… (more…)
18th June
2010
written by Steph
This past weekend, we were lucky enough to have Tony's parents in town. We decided that in order to celebrate, we would do a road trip to Memphis, a place both Tony & I had been separately, but never together (and Tony's parents had never been!). Of course we managed to go when the weather was sweltering; if Nashvile is hot, Memphis is HOT. We didn't have a huge itinerary for our Memphis trip, save for the usual suspects: Graceland, Beale Street, and The Peabody Hotel. If you'd like to follow in the footsteps of our blue suede shoes, please click on the gallery below, which highlights some of our favorite photos from the day!
16th June
2010
written by Steph

Tom Wolfe is one of those authors whom I’ve heard tons about, but up until recently, I’d never read. You know the type: John Irving, Stephen King, and others of that ilk. A couple of years ago, I picked up a copy of Bonfire but then was immediately put off by its 600+ page count, because I am scared of books that weigh more than I do. Other than its impressive size, I knew pretty much nothing about this book when I picked it up. I recall that I read somewhere that it’s one of those books that often goes overlooked and that this was a shame, but that’s about it. I didn’t even know why it was purportedly so egregious for the book to be the perpetual wallflower. For those of you who need a little bit more to go on in order to take a book out on a first date, the gist of the book is as follows: Sherman McCoy is a highflying Wall Street bond trader who has it all: the designer apartment in Manhattan, the perfect family, not to mention the mistress on the side. One night when he picks up his lady on the side, the two wind up taking an unforeseen detour through the Bronx… a side trip that has disastrous consequences. As Sherman struggles to do the right thing, he soon finds the life he’s built and the power he’s earned is more fragile than he ever imagined. (more…)
9th June
2010
written by Steph

Lately Tony and I have been bitten by the travel bug, and been bitten hard. It’s probably for the best that our Puerto Rican vacation is under a month away (!!!), because these days my productivity has been shot as I spend most of my time daydreaming about hitting the road (or the skies, as the case may be) for far off foreign lands. However, since I still have this thing called grad school to finish up before I can conquer the world, for now travel books and memoirs will have to slake my thirst. One book I’ve been really excited to read for months now has been Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven, which has garnered rave reviews all across the book blogging world. Pretty much everything I’d read about this book suggested it was “unputdownable” not to mention shocking and thrilling. (more…)
8th June
2010
written by Steph

Open face Shrimp Po' Boy

I am a big fan of sandwiches. On our honeymoon last year after eating out at a variety of fancy-schmancy restaurants for four days straight, my fondest wish was to just find somewhere where I could get a good sandwich to eat.  What can I say? Sometimes I'm a girl of simple tastes. I think I just love that there are so many different flavors and so many different combinations that can arise with the humble sandwich. You're never lost for choice when a sandwich is the meal in question. One sandwich I frequently have a hankering for (but find it rather hard to track down here in Nashville... could it be because we're a landlocked state?) is the Po' Boy. Now, I don't really care for much creole/cajun cooking - often it's too spicy for me - but I love me a good shrimp Po' Boy every now and then. I decided to give it a whirl in my own kitchen and see what I could come up with. The verdict? So long as I can get my hands on shrimp, I'll never have to do without Po' Boys in my life again! Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound of peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • oil for frying (about 4 tbsp)
  • crusty bread
  • thinly sliced tomato
(more…)
6th June
2010
written by Steph
We've got a hodgepodge of films for you this time round, some of them better than others, and some watched at the drive-in! This time we watched:
  • We talk about why senior thesis projects don't always make good movies when we discuss 9
  • Tony tells you how to be an effective stalker while critiquing Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo
  • Everyone who works with him may hate him, but we still love Ricky Gervais in The Invention of Lying
  • If you're looking for the definition of "80s humor" look no further than A Fish Called Wanda...
  • Steph winds up with a lot of strong views about effective video game films, which come out when we discuss Prince of Persia
  • Is Iron Man 2 the Ulysses of summer 2010? No, not really... unless you found Transformers 2 to be a subtle and intelligently-crafted art film

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