Posts Tagged ‘chicago’

7th March
2009
written by Steph
If I could travel back in time, would I read this book again?

If I could travel back in time, would I read this book again?

Guys, I think I’m becoming cynical (cue loud rounds of: “BECOMING?!?!”).  This is the most recent book in a string of books in which I have utterly failed to empathize and connect with the characters and have just wanted to wring their necks and point out how stupid/selfish/in need of therapy/terrible they are… and this is supposed to be a Romance.  Not good. To be fair, I didn’t loathe The Time Traveler’s Wife.  There were moments I thought were quite interesting, or that I admit touched my rock-hard heart, and I thought the central conceit of the time traveling and the narrative possibilities it opened up was very cool and well done, but in the end things didn’t completely add up for me, and there were more things that I disliked about it than liked.  Which means that this is going to be a really fun review to write!  😉  Seriously though, my trajectory for reading this novel was mild intrigue but general indifference for the first 200 pages, then acute and fierce hatred for the next 250 pages, and then slight horror at myself for the remainder when I found myself somewhat moved and touched by the events that tie up the novel even though it had been obvious that this was the natural course the novel would take for quite some while (mostly because Niffenegger states outright that this is where things are heading). But before I get too far ahead of myself in dissecting the novel, I’ll let the 12 of you who haven’t read it know what it’s loosely about.  The Time Traveler’s Wife essentially traces the life of Clare Abshire & Henry DeTamble, as they meet, fall in love, get married, and live their lives together.  The only thing is, Henry has a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel during moments of extreme stress, so Clare and Henry actually first meet when Clare is 6 and Henry is 38.  While Clare’s life moves forward linearly, suffice it to say that Henry’s kind of doesn’t.  So it’s a love story with a twist.  And really, that’s all I can say without giving away specific plot details that it would probably be best you discovered on your own if you intend to read this book.  And if you do intend to read this book, you should probably stop reading here because after the jump, I am going to get into the specifics of what did and didn’t work for me in this book. (more…)
21st November
2008
written by Steph
I was recently in Chicago for a conference (I'm kind of composing a post on the topic (of Chicago, not the conference, which can really be summed up with the following descriptor: "Grade 4 Science Fair"), but who knows if I'll actually decide to post it), and one of the highlights of the trip was trekking out to China Town (this time 100% gunshot free!) to grab some authentic Chinese food. Chinese food is fairly difficult to come by here in Nashville - well, let me qualify that by saying that *good* Chinese food is hard to find here. Japanese? Sure (in fact the best sushi I've ever had has been here in town)! Thai? Middling, but serviceable. Korean? Yup. But Chinese? No dice. So when I'm in a city that does have it (and better yet, has dim sum!)? I'm all over it. Anyway, I had super cheap, but super delicious beef with black bean sauce over rice noodles, and the first bite was gustatory heaven. It sounds like a terrible comparison, but it rocketed me back to the summer between my 2nd and 3rd years of undergrad, when I was technically a full-time student because of all the courses I was taking, meaning I was on campus 4 nights a week, over the dinner hour. Every so often, I would get dinner from the Chinese food truck that parked outside of Sid Smith, and get that very dish. So smoky, a hint of grease (but not oily), and beef so succulent and tender, I assumed it could only be achieved by a much more skilled chef than I. Which brings me to tonight, when I decided to whip together a cashew chicken stirfry for dinner. I think I make a decent stirfry, but I always feel like it tastes homemade rather than authentic. Tonight, all of this changed, when I discovered two important secrets: (more…)