I Got Books for Christmas!

From my husband:


Mission Street Food: Recipes and Ideas from an Improbable Restaurant
Anthony Myint & Karen Leibowitz
© 2011

Mission Street Food was born in a subletted Guatemalan taco truck in the Mission District of San Francisco.  The truck served “reengineered tacos” and was hugely, ridiculously popular.  So popular, in fact, that Mission Street Food moved to a brick-and-mortar pop-up restaurant that was originally open only two days a week.

Now, Mission Street Food is Mission Chinese Food, a regular-hours restaurant that donates 75 cents of each entrée purchased to the San Francisco Food Bank (to date, it has donated over $210,000). Continue reading

The Thing About Luck

8559036 The Thing About Luck
Cynthia Kadohata
© 2013

For most, the word “grandmother” conjures an image of a kind, gentle, plump, soft-spoken, elderly, white-haired lady.  Perhaps you picture a lovely woman in an apron, baking cookies, calling you “sweetheart.”

I had one grandmother who fit that mold.  But I also had one who broke it.  My maternal grandmother, whom I called Nana, wasn’t your typical sweet and loving grandmother.  Instead, she was (among other equally favorable characteristics):

Continue reading


Veronica Roth
© 2011

A couple weeks ago, when I was in the theater to watch Catching Fire (the movie based on the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy), I saw this trailer for the movie adaptation of Divergent:

Everyone compares Divergent to The Hunger Games—and I do so love The Hunger Games—so I decided to give it a go. Continue reading

The History of Love

Histoflove The History of Love
Nicole Krauss
© 2005

Lots of people find precocious children obnoxious.  Or annoying.  Or both.

I, on the other hand, think they are positively delightful.  That’s mostly because I find them hilarious (unfortunately, precocious children don’t often like it when you laugh at them . . . but it just can’t be helped).

My brother has a friend who is a manny (for those of you in my parents’ generation, “manny” is a portmanteau of male and nanny.  For those of you who already knew that, please, please, please click on this link.  It is just too good not to share). Continue reading

The Sense of an Ending

The Sense of an Ending
Julian Barnes
© 2011

I recently reread The Sense of an Ending for a book club.  It won the Man Booker Prize in 2011, and I had read it then.  Before rereading it, I vaguely remembered the premise of the book and how it wrapped up.  I remembered reading it on a plane (but I have no recollection of where I was going).  I remembered some of the characters but not all of them.  I remembered a couple salient plot points but not in great detail.  In fact, I didn’t remember much about the book at all.  And I didn’t remember liking it a whole lot.  But I couldn’t have told you why.

Mind you, this first reading was only two years ago.  Memory is a bitch.  And, appropriately, that’s what the book is all about. Continue reading

The Circle

dave_eggers_the_circle_large_verge_medium_landscape The Circle
Dave Eggers
© 2013

Dave Eggers, founder of McSweeney’s (publisher of my favorite magazine of all time, Lucky Peach) and author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius followed a very simple recipe.

He took:

1) A delightful, glamorous, interesting setting.  

Think of an amazingly awesome, high-tech work “campus.”  Like Zappos.  Or Google, as portrayed in The Internship (I watched it on a plane, OK? Don’t judge me.): Continue reading

The Diviners

The Diviners
Libba Bray
© 2012

People often ask me how I pick the books I read and review.  Here is a list of some of my go-tos:

None of these sources is a guarantee that I’m going to like the books (clearly), but, as I mentioned here, they’re a good way to help ensure I’m reading more 3.5 books than 1.5 books.

When choosing this book, however, I decided to try something new.  Continue reading

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Karen Joy Fowler
© 2013

I’m pretty sure everyone with a Netflix-streaming subscription has seen his or her fair share of documentaries.  Netflix is, after all, a treasure trove of random documentaries, and, luckily, there are lists galore telling you which are worth watching (like this one and this one).

Bryan and I use our Netflix subscription almost exclusively to watch the following: House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, The League…and random documentaries.  Some of the documentaries are surprisingly delightful (Jiro Dreams of Sushi springs to mind immediately, as does Bill Cunningham New York), some aren’t as good as we’d hoped they’d be (Being Elmo, for one), and some are so bad/boring we just had to stop watching them partway through (like The Parking Lot about parking-lot attendants in Charlottesville and The Restaurateur about Danny Meyer). We have watched documentaries about: Continue reading