Friday, August 23, 2013

Non Fiction Noms

This year I started off with Japanese Foods That Heal by John and Jan
 Belleme.  I learned something I did not know (bonus!), and also found out that the way I have been habitually eating since becoming a vegan is pretty healthy.  Especially the past two years when I started eating more Japanese food: Miso, Tamari, Green Tea, Tofu and Soy milk.   Add to that brown rice, Matcha powder and Edamame and my diet looks pretty healthy during the wintertime which is when I favour this kind of food.  Give myself a huge pat on the back!
Moving along to Superfoods For Dummies by Bret Alin et. Al.,
I admit I haven’t been paying too much attention to all the hype about the “superfood”.  It is only curiosity that got me to look at this book, and I found out something kind of shocking.  I eat a lot of superfood… without even trying to.  Phew!  I guess.  What I did find shocking is how lots of people don’t eat the same way.  There was lots of coaxing in this book, suggestions for how someone could incorporate a superfood or two into their diet, and how it would eventually become a habit.  Now that is scary!
The Oxford Book of Health Foods by J. G. Vaughn.
Another shocking read… shocking because of some of the things that they considered to be healthy.
Gorilla Food by Aaron Ash
Local author!  So local I have even been to the restaurant Gorilla Food, just located down the street from my favourite used books store in downtown Vancouver.  I can testify that the truffles are decadently delicious.   Raw foods is a new interest for me.  I have been reading whatever I can find for the past two years, looking for something that will promote better health for myself, and the raw food movement seems to be it (when it’s warm enough!).  I have been waiting for our garden to grow some of the ingredients I need to test this book out, so I might get back to you later with some food porn…yum.

Any way you shake it, a vegan raw food diet is a really primo one, full of variety, health and joy because of the benefits to and for the planet and our bodies, I will leave you with a little ‘funny‘, which really cracked me up when I first saw it because this particular question has been asked of me many times over during my life as a herbivore…

The Once and Future King

Since I was a kid I have loved the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  It was one of those books that I re-read a couple of times, but never re-visited when I was an adult until I got a hold of a two volume set by Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte D'Arthur, even then I only glanced at it, and it has sat on my shelf ever since, neglected.  Not for much longer!  The Once and Future King has re-birthed my keenness for the original story again, making me feel sentimental for the story I once knew.   This epic was written so beautifully, so true to the original, that I was just awestruck at how wonderful it truly was.  It is like an essay, a very long one, making an argument for the original tale, looking at it in a different light, which helped me to get through the harder parts, and there are a lot of hard parts to the story.  White’s brilliance is obvious, revered and worshipped by me, and I have sought out whatever else I can read by him, because I want more.  Some of his arguments touched a personal pain in me,  and his conclusions were a comfort for me, winning me over as a steadfast, awestruck fan of his work, forever.

A Memory of Murder

Just when you think you have him figured out, he throws you through another loop and shares some golden oldies that surprise and shock by how macabre the stories are.  He has caught me by surprise before, so I shouldn’t have been too shocked by it.  Perhaps it is because it has been  distilled in to one great collection that makes it so potent.  Perfection!

Man Plus

This is my first book by Frederik Pohl, and I am impressed with the thought put in to this particular subject; the processes needed to adapt a human to survive on the surface of Mars.  The detailed metamorphosis is astonishing, and the whole experience is shared by the reader, the shock, the betrayal, the personal relationships and politics behind such an endeavour.  Pohl throws you through a loop at the end though…watch out!

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man

Another rollicking trip through an alternate steam punk  universe with my favourite characters Burton and Swinburne.  If I thought that the first book Spring Heeled Jack was a little on the gross side, I suspect it was just trying to warm me up for the extremely revolting content of this one.   Things are afoot, the plot has thickened so much that there is another book in the wings, and I reckon it will be a doozy.  Can’t wait!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Cat's Pajamas

The Cat’s Pajamas is dedicated to Ray’s wife Maggie who passed away a few weeks before publishing.  The short story ‘The House’ must have been written for her once he could start writing again, the sentences within say so much about how he was feeling.
The rest are quite an eclectic collection, all with an almost crazy idea and an important message to them.  It is all a part of the world of Ray Bradbury, and a significant collection which I think I will re-visit often.

A Sentimental Journey

I could probably spend years of my life thinking and writing about the stories of Ray Bradbury, it would be the masters program of my dreams, studying, understanding, and re-imagining, the genius of the man.  From one standpoint, it is so simple to see what he planned for each book, why he assembled and reassembled such stories in this collection and that collection, and the greater joy of enjoying yet again a favourite story, in a new setting, adding nuances that were not there before, just because he wanted you to feel some other way before you re-read something of his.
There is so much to think about after each story, there are messages here, important ones, that I think he hoped we would understand and that would somehow change the way we thought about life.
With age, he just kept on improving, getting richer, more mature.  This collection proved this repeatedly, as he and his characters took a sentimental journey, having written this just ten years before his death.   This was the first time (after reading this book in 2002), that I started to dread the inevitable, that at any time he would no longer be with us, so I began treasuring everything written after that, knowing that it might be his last book, always hoping for just one more story.

Bobcat and Other Stories

These short stories are well written and, I only guess here, have a unifying theme of desire.  Not, of course, of the same type of desire.  I have to admit I was pretty bummed about the topics.  There wasn't anything here that uplifted me emotionally (it was mostly in the other direction...down, even with the story Slatland), and I was very thoughtful after reading each story.  This isn't something I am comfortable with, but I welcome it because each new experience is a challenge and I felt that I could probably spend a lot of time pulling apart each story and finding new nuances I hadn't experienced the previous reading, which means that at a later date I will come back and re-visit this book, and of course, I will keep an eye out for Rebecca Lee's future works.