Month: October 2015

Book review: ‘Food: A Love Story’ by Jim Gaffigan

I found Jim Gaffigan's 'Food' to be a bit stale...(Thanks to Blogging For Books for the review copy!)

Warning: food puns ahead!

Imagine you see a stand-up comedian and think he’s pretty funny. Imagine he releases a book about, coincidentally, one of your all-time favorite topics–food!–and you salivate as you think “Wow, I can’t wait to read that! I bet it’s going to leave me in stitches!”

Now imagine that when you pick up said book, it turns out to be comprised in part of jokes you’ve already heard from his live routines. Like a day-old salad, this is disappointing, and yet you imagine that surely, no one would sell it if it wasn’t palatable. But furthermore, even those jokes that seemed so funny on stage have lost their luster in print, without inflection, facial expressions or body language to color the tone.

Such is the problem I had with Food, which seemed like it’d be hilarious but ended up feeling kind of stale. Even jokes that I found hilarious live didn’t impress me on the page.

There’s also the basic math problem of a 300+ page book dealing exclusively with one topic. How many topics do you think a comedian chows through in a one-hour special? After a while I had to put the book down because, as much as I love food, my fellow reviewers–I was tired of reading about it. I think this book might be better handled in very small portions, so you can chuckle and then move on to another course.

Food: A Love Story, by Jim Gaffigan (paperback, 352 pages). Published 2015 by Three Rivers Press. Genre: humor. Two out of five stars.

Happy Halloween from Skittles, Guenhwyvar and Jiao!

Happy Halloween from Skittles, Guenhwyvar and Jiao!(L-R: Skittles, Guenhwyvar, and Jiao)

Happy Halloween from the kitty crew! Yes, you read that right…we’ve expanded our little brood to include two new cats! We actually adopted them in September but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t gotten around to writing a blog post introducing them, though I have put up some snaps on my Instagram page. Skittles is six and Guenhwyvar is one, so they’re kind of bookending Jiao, who is about four.

I plan to write a longer post later in the week with more pics and the story of how they came home with us, but for now, enjoy these pics of them in their little pirate hats, and have a happy Halloween!!!

Top Ten Tuesday: ten books that seriously creeped me out (Happy Halloween!)

Top Ten TuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is a Halloween-themed freebie, so I thought I’d recount ten books that seriously creeped me out, from monsters to psychological thrillers. I’m not necessarily a huge horror aficionado but I’d love to read more of the genre, so if you have any awesome suggestions to send my way, please do so!

If you prefer vampires who definitely don’t want to sit on the porch swing and drink iced tea with you, you’ll appreciate the bloodsuckers in The Passage (Justin Cronin) or The Strain (Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro).

If you like creepy places, you might like venturing to Abandon (Blake Crouch) or The Ruins (Scott Smith).

If supernatural horror is more your thing, but you’re not necessarily into ghosts and exorcisms, then try The Returned (Seth Patrick) or House of Leaves (Mark Z. Danielewski). Both offer situations that just feel a little….abnormal. Over time, things get creepier.

If you’re sitting up alone on a dark, windy night, read House of Echoes (Brendan Duffy), but be sure to pull your blanket tight! And Dracula (Bram Stoker) is a classic for a reason—Stoker really knew how to invoke an atmosphere.

Finally, if your kids want to share in the fun, give them Coraline (Neil Gaiman) or Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs), both of which are spooky but age-appropriate.

Thought Questions, #267-#273

Thought Questions, #268: What has fear of failure stopped you from doing?(Photo by Caleb Ralston via Unsplash)

#267: What is your most striking physical attribute? Probably my eyes. They change color a lot.

#268: What has fear of failure stopped you from doing? Switching careers. I’ve been playing it safe even though I’m bored out of my skull.

#269: Who would you like to please the most? Myself. I suppose that sounds selfish, but it’s the truth—I try to do what makes my heart happy.

#270: If you could go back in time and change things, what would you change about the week that just passed? I think it was a good week overall, actually.

#271: When you meet someone for the very first time what do you want them to think about you? That I’m fun to be around. I hate meeting new people who immediately put you on edge or make you nervous, so I always hope I don’t have that effect on other people.

#272: Who would you like to forgive? My younger self.

#273: At what point during the last five years have you felt lost and alone? Definitely this summer.

Thought Questions, #260-266

Thought Questions, #260: What positive changes have you made in your life recently?(Photo by Genta Mochizawa via Unsplash)


#260: What positive changes have you made in your life recently? I’m trying to have a more positive, grateful outlook on life. I think 90% of your day to day happiness comes from your mindset, and not from what’s happening around you. That’s why you have rich miserable people and poor happy people.

#261: Who makes you feel good about yourself? My husband. Even on my really down days he always reminds me of something positive about myself.

#262: What is your biggest regret? I don’t know who originally came up with the quote, but lately I try to keep it in mind: “Never regret anything, because at one time it was exactly what you wanted.”

#263: Which one of your responsibilities do you wish you could get rid of? I wish I could snap my fingers and all my groceries would be bought, prepped and cooked for me! I like cooking for fun, but I would happily outsource my day-to-day shopping and meal prep to a kitchen genie.

#264: What’s something you don’t like to do that you are still really good at? I’ve been told that I’m really good at managing people (my “real” job), but to be honest, I don’t like it at all! People can be pretty petty or lack a good work ethic, and it sometimes makes me feel more like a glorified babysitter than a boss. That’s part of the reason I don’t care to continue promoting at the company I currently work for—I might be good at it, but it’s not a job that challenges me mentally or makes me feel satisfied with my work.

#265: What type of person angers you the most? People who lack compassion. I’ve run into a lot of people lately who are very judgmental of others. I think we all need to consider the phrase “walk a mile in their shoes” more before we speak!

#266: What is missing in your life? I can’t really think of anything, to be honest…I’m pretty content right now.