A Quick Bookish Survey #3

Prompted by The Broke and the Bookish

The book I’m currently reading:

Summary

Since prehistory, humans have braved sharp knives, fire, and grindstones to transform raw ingredients into something delicious—or at least edible. Tools shape what we eat, but they have also transformed how we consume, and how we think about, our food. Technology in the kitchen does not just mean the Pacojets and sous-vide of the modernist kitchen. It can also mean the humbler tools of everyday cooking and eating: a wooden spoon and a skillet, chopsticks and forks.

In Consider the Fork, award-winning food writer Bee Wilson provides a wonderful and witty tour of the evolution of cooking around the world, revealing the hidden history of everyday objects we often take for granted. Knives—perhaps our most important gastronomic tool—predate the discovery of fire, whereas the fork endured centuries of ridicule before gaining widespread acceptance; pots and pans have been around for millennia, while plates are a relatively recent invention. Many once-new technologies have become essential elements of any well-stocked kitchen—mortars and pestles, serrated knives, stainless steel pots, refrigerators. Others have proved only passing fancies, or were supplanted by better technologies; one would be hard pressed now to find a water-powered egg whisk, a magnet-operated spit roaster, a cider owl, or a turnspit dog. Although many tools have disappeared from the modern kitchen, they have left us with traditions, tastes, and even physical characteristics that we would never have possessed otherwise.

Blending history, science, and anthropology, Wilson reveals how our culinary tools and tricks came to be, and how their influence has shaped modern food culture. The story of how we have tamed fire and ice and wielded whisks, spoons, and graters, all for the sake of putting food in our mouths, Consider the Fork is truly a book to savor.

Consider the Fork is…

…really a fascinating book. A microhistory of culinary technology, it’s really opened my eyes to a facet of civilization I’ve never even considered before. Very interesting for anyone with a passing interest in anthropology! (I received Consider the Fork via Netgalley, and will be posting a review this Friday!)

The last book I finished:

Summary

Princess Arianna inquires about the past and learns the truth about the fall of the great unicorns from the Celestial Valley. She uncovers the truth about shifting magic and how that power has led the fallen unicorns into the shadows…to become the evil Shadow Unicorns.

Shadows Over Balinor is…

…the final book of the Unicorns of Balinor series, which I am thrilled to finally be done with.

The next book I want to read:

Summary

Yann Martel’s imaginative and unforgettable Life of Pi is a magical reading experience, an endless blue expanse of storytelling about adventure, survival, and ultimately, faith. The precocious son of a zookeeper, 16-year-old Pi Patel is raised in Pondicherry, India, where he tries on various faiths for size, attracting “religions the way a dog attracts fleas.” Planning a move to Canada, his father packs up the family and their menagerie and they hitch a ride on an enormous freighter. After a harrowing shipwreck, Pi finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean, trapped on a 26-foot lifeboat with a wounded zebra, a spotted hyena, a seasick orangutan, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker (“His head was the size and color of the lifebuoy, with teeth”). It sounds like a colorful setup, but these wild beasts don’t burst into song as if co-starring in an anthropomorphized Disney feature. After much gore and infighting, Pi and Richard Parker remain the boat’s sole passengers, drifting for 227 days through shark-infested waters while fighting hunger, the elements, and an overactive imagination. In rich, hallucinatory passages, Pi recounts the harrowing journey as the days blur together, elegantly cataloging the endless passage of time and his struggles to survive: “It is pointless to say that this or that night was the worst of my life. I have so many bad nights to choose from that I’ve made none the champion.”

The protagonist Piscine “Pi” Molitor Patel, an Indian boy from Pondicherry, explores the issues of religion and spirituality from an early age and survives 227 days shipwrecked in the Pacific Ocean.

Life of Pi is…

…my choice for this month’s theme at the Read by Theme group. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie, so of course I’m going to be trying to read the book beforehand!

The last book I bought:

I picked up a slew of books from the library’s for-sale shelf!

  1. Agnes Grey
  2. Double Love (Sweet Valley High #1)
  3. Secrets (Sweet Valley High #2)
  4. Crash Landing! (Sweet Valley High, #20)
  5. Kiss of a Killer (Sweet Valley High, #128)
  6. Lila’s New Flame (Sweet Valley High, #135)
  7. Too Hot to Handle (Sweet Valley High, #136)
  8. Fight Fire with Fire (Sweet Valley High, #137)
  9. Sense and Sensibility
  10. 11/22/63
  11. Inkspell (Inkworld, #2)
  12. The Winter of Red Snow: The Revolutionary War Diary of Abigail Jane Stewart
  13. Demon Seed
  14. The Eyes of Darkness
  15. Charlotte’s Web
  16. The Change (Animorphs #13)
  17. The Escape (Animorphs, #15)
  18. Say Cheese and Die-Again! (Goosebumps, #44)
  19. The Diary of a Young Girl
  20. Watchers
  21. Fear Nothing (Moonlight Bay, #1)
  22. Elizabeth’s Secret Diary, Volume III (Sweet Valley High Magna Editions #9)
  23. Jessica’s Secret Diary: Volume III (Sweet Valley High Magna Editions #10)
  24. Psycho
  25. Winter Moon

The last book I was given:

Summary

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

Pivot Point is…

…my first Edelweiss approval! That counts as “giving”, right?

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