January 10th, 2011

Fishy Circumstances

Three books

I returned A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms to the library today, unread. In its way, this is a real recommendation for the book. I returned it because all the system's copies were checked out and mine was recalled for someone else who wanted to read it. I'll try again when I no longer have quite so many other books competing for my immediate attention.

One of those other books was one of my recently gift-given cookbooks, Mangoes and Curry Leaves, from which I have learned that Nepal is the size of Iowa, and that Sri Lanka rises to 7000 feet. I really like Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid's cookbooks. They have given us so many of our staple dishes over the years. From the newest, I cooked dal tonight for the first time, a Bangladeshi recipe. It used red dal, tamarind, onions, and turmeric, among its other ingredients. The results were vivid and alluring, an addictive but not overwhelming intensity to it. The Toronto-based authors say it's one of their staple dishes; on first taste, it's likely to become one of mine too.

All of you who recommended Feed: you're right. It really is good. The pacing started out unevenly, but it gained momentum, although it still occasionally stumbled over sudden longer periods of time. Even the things about it which annoyed me slightly - the constant excessive detail of world-building - turned out to be in there for a good reason. I've been somewhat wondering if it annoyed me quite as it did because it's a little too close to the way I track the items in my world. I wonder: in how many books can one trace the story of a single bottle or can of drink over many mentions? There must be a fair many out there.