Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Everything is fine

by Ann Dee Ellis

This could be a very depressing book and that is exactly why I think teens would like it. Every so often it is comforting to read about a fictional character whose life is sadder than your own. Precisely because it is fiction, the reader can see so clearly what can be done to resolve the central problem. If only real life were so easy.

Pick up this story of preteen Mazzy who lives alone with her severely depressed mother. Mazzy truly believes she is capable of running the household on her own. As the story moves along, see how Mazzy grows to trust a neighbor for guidance once in a while and find out what has caused her mother to retreat so far into herself.

Hungry Monkey by Matthew Amster-Burton

I don't read a lot of parenting books (natch - I don't have kids!), but this is a funny, interesting, and educational book that applies to anyone who eats.

Amster-Burton decided before his daughter was born that he didn't want to give up his enjoyment of food and cooking just because there was a tot in the house. This book is about his journey with Iris - cooking, eating, and exploring food with a baby (and eventually a toddler).

Her whole life, Iris eats whatever everybody else is eating. Not that she isn't picky ... for a while, Iris loved spicy food. Then, no longer. And maybe someday she'll come around again. In the mean time, Iris eats around the peppers. Sauces go on the side. But she still eats the same thing that's served to everyone else. And she helps cook everything - sometimes most enjoying the preparation of foods she ultimately doesn't enjoy.

This isn't a stuffy, food-geek kind of book. It's a book about exploring food and learning more about cooking - with your kids, or with your friends. It's a practical cookbook full of things you can actually do (and not an english-muffin-pizza in sight!), with amusing stories and dwellings on eating. I'd recommend it for anyone who's trying to be more adventurous in the kitchen.

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

Couldn't do it. Sorry, but it just ain't happening.

I made it through two of the five discs before I was so disgusted that I had to put in some Springsteen to make my world balanced again.

Even for chick lit, this is dumb. Lara's life is already messed up, and now she's being haunted by a younger, bratty version of her dead 105 year old great-aunt. I didn't even reach the book's climactic scene, and I already know that Aunt Sadie will change Lara's life for the better by teaching her to loosen up. ACK.

Not. Going. To. Do. It.