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1. Website you should visit from time to time: World's Healthiest Foods, an A-Z listing of familiar, easy-to-find foods; why they're healthy; and how to select, store, and use them. For those whose nutritional outlook is confined to mere calorie count, carb count, or fat-gram count, be aware that there is much more to food than those little numbers. Go browse, and learn how the common banana, shunned by carb-counters because it's supposedly high in sugar, is actually full of all kinds of beneficial chemicals that your low-carb crackers aren't. Or learn how honey can boost your antioxidant levels. Or why eggs are actually not harmful to your arteries. Or how cinnamon can stop the growth of harmful microbes. Marvel at all the wondrous things grapes can do. And wow, did you know spinach was good for you too? Yes, but did you know HOW good? Also, I tried a couple of the recipes from that page, and they're quite good. Go get healthier and more gourmet!

2. Anyone else get bummed out when they've finished a good book (say, something like Daniel Deronda or Anne of Green Gables, which somehow I hadn't read until now), and move on to another book that's nowhere near as good? It tends to wash out the delightful colors of my whole existence when this happens. Luckily the not-so-good book was a quick read, and I've moved on to something that, so far, is stunningly better written. (To Serve Them All My Days by R.F. Delderfield.) The not-so-good book: I won't name names, but it was one of the young adult novels I'd picked up to "get familiar with the industry," and it was cliched, dumbed-down, badly edited, and not particularly suspenseful. 16-year-olds had lines like "I'm only a pawn on the chessboard of the dangerous game he's playing." (Ah, lost in the valley of the shadow of the cliched metaphor.) The villain wasn't scary and his name was perilously close to "Marmaduke," which is a detriment if you want to be taken seriously. Also, it was a fantasy--the type where the real world intermeshes with a hidden magical one--and please tell me, where is it written that when the magical people get together in their parallel universe, they need to be wearing long flowing robes sashed at the waist, with capes and hoods, and have long flowing hair of some vivid color, and violet eyes, and gather in palace-like buildings made of gold and white marble with delicate high arched ceilings and idyllic courtyards where they sit on thrones in a circle and have sober conferences? Can we blame the Council of Elrond for this? Well, Tolkien made it work, but the rest of us need to find some new fantasy-world outfits and building materials. That's why Neil Gaiman, say, is so good: he makes his fantasy worlds truly weird and often unpleasant, and doesn't require them to resemble an unusually clean medieval Florence.

3. Could have sworn I had something to say for point 3, but maybe not. Pregnancy amnesia at its finest.



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 10th, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC)
1. Oh, my! My husband will be in heaven when I send him this link. Thank you!

2. I know of the curse of the not-so-good book, and so I try to dillute my reading - I try to never start a book after finishing one, especially if it's good. I'll read a magazine, to clean the mental palate, so to speak, or some fanfic. Excpectations are different, you see. Of course, I also have a cheat option of switching languages (which also works well), but mentioning that would be pure bragging and unbefitting... Oh wait... Too late. >_<

On the subject of "young adult lit".... I recently had to listen to my son read aloud one of the Goosebumps books and eeeewwww... The narrator's slightly older sister was the target audience's wet dream - thin blonde, constantly pulling her long blond hair back, stretching, prancing around in short shorts and night-shirts... And that was the most minor problem I had with the book. The editing, plot, etc were a bit... how to put it nicely? recembling Swiss cheese in texture and Gorgonzola in aroma.

3. Could have sworn I had something to say for point 3, but maybe not. Pregnancy amnesia at its finest.
heh. Wait till you get toddler-induced amnesia... or my most recent - amnesia while berating a grade-schooler for not doing homework. It went something like this:
me: "Yada-yada, you do not have the option of not doing homework just because you did not like the picture underneath the math problem, blah-blah-blah, education, blah-blah, someone smart like you really should know better, yada-yada.... Do you understand?"
him: "Yes."
me: "Ok, then, write the sentence."
him: "What sentence?"
me: "The SENTENCE! You know?... Geez! Hm... Er... That, erm... hm..."
him: "I already did my sentences, we're doing math now, mom."
Oct. 10th, 2005 04:55 pm (UTC)
Hmm, switching languages probably does help clear the palate a bit better. Guess I could attempt to slog through some Italian, though at my level that's more a difficult translation exercise than pleasure reading. :)

Yes, YA fiction seems, like adult fiction, to come in both "great" and "horrible" varieties, and everything in between. Of course, I liked Sweet Valley High when I was 12-ish, so goes to show that our tastes aren't always fully formed at that age.

Swiss cheese in texture and Gorgonzola in aroma
Heheh - a much better metaphor.

And aye, life is only going to get more complicated for me! But at least then I won't have this basketball-sized thing in my tummy, and all sorts of hormones bombarding my brain. Hurray for sons! Ultrasound says I'm having a boy as well.

Enjoy those healthy snacks. :)
Oct. 10th, 2005 06:29 pm (UTC)
Of course, I liked Sweet Valley High when I was 12-ish, so goes to show that our tastes aren't always fully formed at that age.

Yeah... I was reminded of a cartoon show I was CRAZY about way back... Well, thinking about that now... It was better than Voltron and Power Rangers, and it had its heart in the right place, but it wasn't Spirited Away, let's say. I keep reminding myself that every time I feel like dissing one of my son's favorite shows.

Swiss cheese in texture and Gorgonzola in aroma

Heheh - a much better metaphor.

Squee! thanks! ^_^

Hurray for sons, indeed! Having been the tomboy, I can really dig the pirate ships and space exploring missions me and my son go on. And it's BS that boys are not as kind/sensitive as girls - it's all in how you bring them up.
Oct. 10th, 2005 08:12 pm (UTC)
And it's not like girls are always kind and sensitive, either. They can be MEAN. We all know that. :) Boys, in their way, can be a lot saner and nicer on average. Though, "hear hear" on the upbringing!
Oct. 10th, 2005 05:15 pm (UTC)
Read all the Anne books! The eighth one is the best. And after that L.M. Montgomery has a zillion and two other books. I read a whole lot of them in one go a few years back. Very worth it.
Oct. 10th, 2005 05:49 pm (UTC)
It really was delightful. I shall indeed continue. (And now I think I need to visit Prince Edward Island, too.) And the cool thing is, you can read quite a few of them for free online.
Oct. 10th, 2005 10:41 pm (UTC)
I can't believe you'd never read Anne before this! Anne is like, the queen of all girl nerds!

My mom read me the first Anne book when I was...I don't know...let's say ten, that sounds good. I loved it because Anne was so like me. I did not, however, understand why my parents laughed so much at Anne. Years later, I read it again myself, and discovered why they were laughing: Anne and I were both complete Drama Queens during childhood. They were laughing because Anne's drama (which I took completely seriously at the time, just as I took my own drama seriously) reminded them of my drama, which they also found hilarious (this is the "funny because it's true" rule at work...they really did usually try not to bust out laughing at me to my face, the dears, but they only succeeded sometimes).

I just realized that I have no Anne icon. This is unacceptable.
Oct. 10th, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
I think my parents have never read the Anne books, which is likely why we never did either. Instead it was Narnia, and random stories no one's ever heard of, and the Oz books. Hugely into Oz books, they were; I'm not sure why. (The Oz books are all right, just weird.)

But I would certainly have related to Anne all too well. Embarrassingly over-romantic and fitful, as a child? Me? Er, just a little, maybe. Heh. Now I can laugh, as you say...
Oct. 10th, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC)
I was looking that Healthiest Foods website a few days ago. There's a reason why tonight's dinner is probably going to consist of spinach and cheese stuffed pasta shells and a goat cheese spinach salad ;)
Oct. 10th, 2005 08:15 pm (UTC)
Yum! I recently made their "baked chicken breast with honey mustard sauce," which is served over a bed of tons of spinach, and it was delicious and not too hard to make. But yes, when you look at that nutritional chart for spinach, and all the amazing amounts of healthy vitamins and minerals packed into it, it starts looking negligent NOT to use it more often in recipes. :)
Oct. 10th, 2005 10:36 pm (UTC)
Well, aren't you an endless source of usefulness?

I have had the post-good book depression many times, most notably after Neverwhere and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I thought I would be depressed when I finally finished Stephen King's Dark Tower books, too, but instead I was just kind of relieved that I didn't have to read any more giant books to find out what happened. Whew, those were a trek through mire and briar. I suppose I sort of felt this way when I first finished LOTR, too, but I fixed that in short order: just re-read the whole thing again. I craftily employ this method of relief quite often by reading books that I really can't let go of to my husband. That way, I get a kind of vicarious first-time-read high from him, while getting to enjoy the same book over again and appreciate it from a re-read perspective at the same time. I am so devious.
Oct. 10th, 2005 10:53 pm (UTC)
Well, aren't you an endless source of usefulness?
I'd like to put that on my resume, if I may. :D

Making the spouse read the book is a good way to start an instant book club discussion, I agree. We employ that strategy a lot--though he seldom has the patience to let me read it aloud. But lately I've been thinking giddily of how I'll get to read this book or that book to my son (or daughter, if the ultrasound techie was way wrong, which would be fine too).
Oct. 10th, 2005 11:29 pm (UTC)
My mother-in-law accuses me of wanting to have kids purely for the sake of having a captive audience to whom I can read all my beloved books. I think my mother-in-law should be closely watched if she demonstrates much more in the way of psychic abilities.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )