Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bookish Review: The Spellmans Strike Again

If you read this blog, you know I am a fan of Lisa Lutz and her Spellman series. This is book 4, and it does not disappoint.

Izzy is still dating her bartender boyfriend, but her mother does not approve, and blackmails her into going on dates with lawyers every few weeks. Rae has gotten herself a boyfriend, refuses to take the bus or buy a car, and decides to take up a crusade to free someone who was wrongly convicted. Rae is also still best friends with Henry, who starts pestering Izzy to be his friend again, too. David is dating Henry's old fiancée, and the Spellman parental units kick everyone out of the house once a week. Shortly after this, things like doorknobs start disappearing from all over the house.

The book is once again filled with family drama and little mysteries on top of the projects the family is investigating. Two thumbs up!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bookish Review: I Live in the Future, and Here's How it Works

The Children's Book Council sent me a copy of Nick Bilton's new work when I missed the annual meeting. I found it to be an interesting read. Nick focuses on the fact that technological change has always been met with skepticism, fear, and even panic--and nothing has changed about that.

Nick is an advocate of embracing this change and utilizing new technologies to create richer experiences. After all, we're certainly not going back--no one's making 8-tracks or VHS tapes anymore and it's not as if everyone's going to suddenly stop using the internet.

I thought Nick had some interesting points, though his repetition of the phrase "bytes, snacks, and meals" was extremely annoying to me. Also, Nick emphasizes that people will pay for experiences, which is not untrue, but he seemed to completely discount the fact that people will also pay for content--his point seemed to be that good content is not enough, but he almost took it too far, as if good content was meaningless. I'm not willing to go that far; I believe people will pay for content and expertise as much as experience, but the book did make some good points.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cookish: Something Sweet

My new favorite brownies are Katharine Hepburn's brownies from the Al Dente blog:

I leave out the nuts, though, and tend to underbake. Yum!

Kate's Famous Brownies

2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate
1/4 pound butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Melt unsweetened chocolate and butter over very low heat in a heavy saucepan.

3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar.

4. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

5. Quickly stir in walnuts, flour and salt.

6. Spread the batter in a well-greased 8 x 8-inch baking pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the pan to a rack to cool.

Yield: 12 brownies