Friday, April 24, 2009

Brevity is not my strong suit . . .

. . . but I've still got those two vacation books to review, so I'm going to shoot for mini reviews, this time.

Real Solutions for Busy Moms by Kathy Ireland is a book that I read for FirstWild. You can read the Real Solutions Sneak Peek chapter, here. Kathy is a Christian and the book covers a surprising range of concepts about motherhood -- not just parenting, but little things that you can do to make your house more comfortable and appealing, how to keep your family safe and make the atmosphere in your home happy. Some of the book is written in question/answer format.

Some of you will recognize Kathy as a former model. It was interesting reading her thoughts about modeling and and how her beliefs clashed a bit with her job. She is no longer a model, although obviously she still looks perfect. Sheesh, if I looked half as good at 20 as she looks, now, I wouldn't have married at 19.

I thought most of this book was common sense and you can probably find all the same advice in other books, but I liked her particular viewpoint. She seems like an awfully kind, sensible, practical person. Some of what she said about homes simply doesn't apply to me. I do think she was coming into the "make your home happy" perspective from the viewpoint of someone who has a lot more to work with, but in general I enjoyed the book and found that she tends to think very much like I do.

Spiced by Dalia Jurgensen was the next book I finished on vacation (and the last -- not a very bookish vacation). Talk about a contrast. First, a book by a woman who believes in saving yourself for marriage, followed by one with a woman who went out with folks of both sexes. Like I needed to know that. Otherwise, I liked the book. I just hate reading about anybody's sex life -- soooo not my business.

Dalia Jurgensen is a pastry chef who worked in publishing for 5 years, but wasn't happy; in her heart she just wanted to cook for a living. The book opened as she quit the publishing grind and found a new job working at Nobu as the assistant pastry chef. I'm not a New Yorker, but I've heard of Nobu -- I have no idea how -- so the fact that she began in a well-known restaurant caught my interest. Dalia tells about her experiences in the kitchen and you get a very good picture of what life is life working in a restaurant. She moved from one restaurant job to another and the book ends with her thoughts about moving into a new phase of her life.

This is my first restaurant memoir and I thought it was excellent. I'd take her publishing desk job over frequent burns, high pressure and long hours any day, but it's fun getting a glimpse into what goes on in the kitchen of a high-class restaurant. This is a fascinating memoir and a very fun read. She's cooked at the kind of places I'm unlikely to ever eat, but that didn't matter a bit.

In other news:

Jason T. Berrgren, author of 10 Things I Hate About Christianity, left a message at my blog saying he has been interviewed for the premier episode of ABC's Beliefs. See the clip of Jason talking about 10 Things I Hate About Christianity, here.

"It will bring a level of clarity and peace . . . " That's my favorite line from the interview, when Jason describes the fact that Christianity isn't a magical panacea for everything that goes wrong in your life, but there's still good reason he's a devout Christian. I loved that. Jason and I don't agree on everything (I don't think the Bible is boring, although the King James version does make my eyes cross), but my feeling as I read his book was primarily a sense of relief, an "Ohmygoodness, it's nice to know I'm not alone in these thoughts" sensation. You can read my full review of 10 Things I Hate About Christianity here, if you missed it.

I am on the verge of finishing The Blood of Lambs by Kamal Saleem. I've already told you it's fascinating, horrifying and eye-opening, right? I'm really only stopping for a minute -- just to type a little and then shut off the computer. Must go back to finish this book! But, first, I must toss in this little article:

Guardian article entitled "Pakistan Anger at UK Terror Slurs"

Why? Because Saleem describes how terrorists are slowly infiltrating nations that are not heavily Muslim, with the intent of converting people to Islam and then leading new Muslims into their radical cause. He specifically mentions the fact that young people are targets and one of the ways radicals are able to hang out with students and influence them is through enrollment in universities, one of the simplest ways for foreign nationals to enter other countries. A relevant quote from the Guardian article:

Ten of those accused were Pakistani nationals who entered Britain on student visas, one is believed to be Afghani, and another is a British national granted sanctuary here after claiming persecution by the Taliban.

Unfortunately, I flipped ahead to the section on American Muslims in The Seven Faith Tribes (mentioned in my previous post) and found it unenlightening.

I'm anxious to get back to my book, so I'm going to skip adding a photo. Wishing you a healthy happy weekend!

Bookfool, about to cave in . . . after I finish my book


  1. My hubby grabbed Spiced when it came into my house and he read it in a few days. He really enjoyed it too.

  2. ARGH! I missed out on requesting The Blood of Lambs(how? I don't know.) from F.I.R.S.T. I have it on my PBS wishlist though.

    Spiced sounds really interesting. I'll have to check my library!

  3. Kathy,

    I'm hanging onto Spiced for my husband to read, too. He's the cook in this house. I used to cook, but I can't stand our kitchen and I've never been creative when it comes to meals, anyway, but I'm hoping someday the cookbooks and other books heavy on the senses will lure me back to cooking. It's a good book.

    Sleepy Amy,

    That happens to me, now and then -- I just totally overlook a title and then when someone else writes about it I do a mental head slap (and add the ones that interest me to the wish list).

    Spiced is fascinating. I enjoyed that peek into restaurant kitchens.

  4. Loved Kathy Ireland's book. The others didn't really interest me, so I didn't get them!

  5. Holly,

    You mean 10 Things I Hate and The Blood of Lambs? I enjoyed both of those. I try really hard to choose those FirstWild books carefully because it's far too easy to get overloaded, but I've read so many wonderful books thanks to FW. I liked Kathy Ireland's book because her thought process is so close to my own.

  6. Nancy
    I like the covers for the Gallatin Brides Series too. Bethany House did a good job. :)
    Have you read any of them?

  7. Hi Brittanie,

    Up late, too? :) Nope, I haven't read any of them. There was just something about that cover that caught my eye. I think the colors and the pose -- it's just a grabber.


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