Thursday, January 26, 2017

Seven boxes checked off the list.

Skinnytaste: Fast and slow by Gina Homolka.  This cookbook is not useful for my family.  Despite the author's attestations in the introduction, too many of the recipes rely on canned ingredients or are slow-cooker recipes with too many steps.  Every slow-cooker recipe I read included pre-cooking some ingredients on the stove, or   stirring or otherwise fiddling with the food half-way through cooking... you know, right in the middle of the workday.  Several recipes-- more than just a handful-- also rely on specialized equipment I certainly don't have, including spiralizers, pressure cookers, and more.  In general, not realistic.

South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby.  Every time I thought of putting this down, the author wiggled out just enough bait to draw me back in.  

The first section, focusing on the main-main character, felt inexpertly done-- it didn't have the right balance of what to share and what to keep secret.  But the info dole evened out, and I was surprised at how much I liked the secondary characters who got to speak in first person for a bit.  Their voices were surprisingly unique and had enough depth to not be charicatures.  

There are a few characters who are called only by their descriptors throughout the book.  They have the same or more on-page time, and the same or more lines than other characters who got names.  I don't know if this is supposed to be some kind of subtle message-- the two are artists while everyone else is a scientist or a technician or a blue-collar staffer-- or if this is some weird oversight, or something else.  Although they have plenty of lines, the two are probably the thinnest, most-charicature-like characters.

Beyond the wild river by Sarah Maine.  I can't slog any farther into this-- and I admit I'm not terribly far in anyway.  The writing tortures me; each sentence has been organized, every word chosen to wring the most possible melodrama out of each syllable.  *hand to forehead* I simply can't go on.

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