Friday, May 20, 2011

16. The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Book 1)

By Jonathan Stroud (462 pp.)

My sister gave me this book and I LOVED it. I'm going to buy the other 2 ASAP. It's a YA book about an ancient djinni (Bartimaeus) and a kid named Nathanial who is studying to be a magician. It's got action, danger, great humor and characters who keep doing the wrong thing and then getting into more trouble when they try to fix it. Recommend!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

15. Chasing the Game: American and the Quest for the World Cup

By Filip Bondy (293 pp)

This is the story of the US Men's National Soccer team at the World Cup. It tells the story leading up to the 2010 World Cup and also the history of the US and the World Cup. There is a ton of great information in here and I learned a lot of new stuff. However, I found the structure sort-of confusing because the lead up to 2010 is intercut with the historical stuff and as you get closer to the present there are overlapping characters and I sometimes had to take a minute to sort out where I was in time. Plus the backstory of some of the players -- which are fantastic -- are thrown in seemingly at random. I also think the choice to put Tim Howard (click here for a special treat ladies) on the cover is weird. It seems like having a bunch of US players would have made more sense.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

14. As Always, Julia: Food, Friendship and the Making of a Masterpiece

Ed. by Joan Reardon (402 pp)

This is a book of correspondence between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto. They met when Julia wrote a letter to Bernard DeVoto after reading an article he wrote about kitchen knives. It's hard not to love people who are passionate about cutlery. That letter started a correspondence that developed into an amazing friendship. Avis ended up playing a key role in getting Mastering the Art of French Cooking published.

I loved it. It gets a tad long in spots but is easy to skim. One of the things I loved is that they both write about being frustrated with trying to balance all the things they want to do. I feel like my personal challenges are so unique and here are two ambitious women 50 years ago, struggling with the same thing.