Friday, March 6, 2015

Books 10 and 11

Book 10:  Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang

If, like me, your rap name would be something along the lines of Marshmallo Chic or Wonda Bread, then you may want to get the Urban Dictionary app on your smart phone before reading Fresh Off The Boat.  Eddie Huang's parents are FOTB from Taiwan and Eddie was obsessed with rap, hiphop, and urban street culture.  He ran wild, he chased girls, did and sold drugs and got into a few fights.  He also went to law school, started an urban clothing line, and opened a restaurant.  There is no app that will help you understand the struggles of a minority who is trying to distance himself from a stereotype while also being true to his own history and identity.  I loved the stuff he was grappling with there. It really resonated with me as a woman and feminist. The reviews of the book are very mixed on good reads, probably because people are uncomfortable with chapters called "Rotten Bananas" and "Pink Nipples" (HOLY SHIT DID I LAUGH MY ASS OFF OR WHAT?)  or maybe they think it's ridiculous to spell anything like n!gg@.  Ugh. STILL OFFENSIVE, but doesn't make the book less compelling.  (See Also:  Huck Finn).

Entwined with identity is food, and as the son of a restaurant owner who later became a restaurant owner as well, Huang has put in a lot of food talk in this book.  However, it's not a cookbook, and there are no recipes.  This book is about flavors and dishes and how they call us back to who we are and where we came from.  So if you want to learn how to make anything, this is not the book for you.

This is also not a book for the fans of Tiger Mom who want to make their kids learn violin and get into Ivy League schools.  This is for people who want to SMASH THE PATRIARCHY.

I guess you can tell by the large amount of all caps, that I recommend this book.

Book 11:  Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie

This is the coziest mystery I've read in a while.  I am not a huge fan of cozies that take place in restaurants, book stores, yarn stores, or whatever.  I do however, like historical mysteries from the 20th Century and these take place a few years after the end of WWII in England, near Cambridge.  I cannot even pretend I understand specifics of UK geography.  Google it.

Sidney is the vicar in Grantchester, he is friends with one of he local police, Geordie Keating.  In this first book in the series, there are 6 loosely connected novellas with each being its own case.  Sidney asks questions, ruminates on good and evil, and eventually comes up with the culprits.  He also walks his dog, Dickens, exasperates his housekeeper, Mrs. Maguire, and is torn between a couple of complicated women.

Not all the stories in this book are part of season 1 of the Masterpiece Mystery series Grantchester.  I have not yet seen the season closer on that one.  The novellas also do not contain all the same events nor all the same endings, so it would be possible to enjoy both.

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