LiterEature 101: Beka Cooper Series (Terrier, Bloodhound, Mastiff)

Cover credit: Random House (US)

Well, this is a slight departure. An entire series? A full trilogy? Would that not make my post even more verbose, bordering on the edge of interminable? On another day, another life, another fork of time’s limitless pathways, yes there could be a danger of reviewing an entire series, but not so today! The reason is a bit pathetic really: I read all three books about two to three months ago, while still residing a lifetime away in Maryland. My memory of them individually lacks monumental detail.  So then why bother? Why keep these books hanging on tenterhooks instead of moving on to more recently consumed literatura? If you must know (and naturally you must, else this blog would be quite meaningless to you as a reader), I just loved the food descriptions. I also thoroughly enjoyed the novels, but I marveled at Tamora Pierce’s use of food in these books. So read on, folks, read on. Continue reading


LiterEature 101: Anna Karenina

russian tea cakesIt’s been a long time since my last Lit entry, but I needed time to find not only an amazing book to present but also the inspiration to create something for it. As it happens, my friend and I decided to read Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece Anna Karenina for our “Classics” book club and by the time I actually finished it (admittedly far too many months later) I knew this would be the next, as inspiration struck quickly. I admit I ought to have read this book in college, but … fine, we all have our “college” moments, and I never did; thus the added motivation to finally complete and actually talk about. Continue reading

LiterEature 101: #4 The Bell Jar

*I apologize in advance for the photos; the lighting was too low for them to come out well, and we were too eager to eat to rectify anything*

Our Fourth Session of LiterEature 101 commences with a brief discussion on The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

I could have easily done another segment on the second volume of the Young Adult Series I am reading, The Gideon Trilogy (now known as the Time Travelers, the Time Thief, and the Time Quake, respectively) but I would be doing my heart severe injustice to pass on one of the most stellar novels I have read in recent times. There are moments when I discover something so poignant, reflective, and just REAL even in its schizophrenic perspectives, that remind me why my degrees in English and Anthropology are relevant and valuable, even if I haven’t truly monopolized on them yet. The Bell Jar obviously fits that category by exposing with clarity the struggles of femininity vs feminism, identity, and sexuality that every generation experiences at some point (notably during and after college), especially girls. A synopsis does it no justice—the story of a young woman’s steady descent into depression one pivotal summer, her succumbing to attempted suicide and the journey of recovery. You might think “oh dear god!” but if you don’t fall in love with the author by the end of this experience, then we have some problems.

A most fitting Bonus: It includes, without a doubt, one of the finest short sections of “food writing” that I have ever read (other books that come to mind are Tripmaster Monkey and The Book of Salt but neither engage the reader even half the way this does). Her sweet ponderings over avocados (“avocado pears”) is remarkably endearing. Continue reading

LiterEature 101: Gideon the Cutpurse

Our Third Session of Litereature 101 commences with a brief discussion on Gideon, The Cutpurse by Linda Buckley-Archer.

As mentioned in the previous session, I continue to explore Young Adult literature in an effort to familiarize myself with the themes, styles, and goals of the genre, to see from whence it came and to where it is heading.  I admit wholeheartedly that I also just find it to be more fun as well—where fantasy, science fiction and generous doses of unreality are implemented to explore human psyche, emotions, social issues etc., much like adult fiction.  So I wandered through the library in search of my next prey when my eyes settled on one of the most engaging covers I had seen in a long long while:

Thus I went against that age-old adage and indeed judged the book by its cover, in the best way possible.  A quick perusal of the summary revealed a relatively new story (2006) that is part historical fiction, part coming of age, and of course part science fiction—there is time-travel after all.  The summary describes it as a “modern genre all its own,” so I wondered how unique it really could be… Continue reading

LiterEATure 101: Artemis Fowl

Our Second Session of Litereature 101 commences with a brief discussion on Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer.

I’m interested in exploring children’s literature further than my own childhood exposure and much more than my sparse current dabbling suggests.  Sparked by my complete adoration of the Harry Potter Series, I decided my next venture should be in the children’s realm.  I chose this particular novel simply because I had heard of it but knew absolutely nothing about it.  I even thought the main character might be an owl or something (fowl would fool anyone); thus was my lack of exposure to this extremely popular series.  (Also, the author wrote a “sequel” to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series in the style of Douglas Adams—have yet to read it, but that earned points in my eyes) Continue reading

Litereature 101: Maltese Falcon

Here’s the syllabus, folks.  Twice a month (hopefully) we will be summarizing, analyzing, and/or in all general respects, discussing a work of literature.  Our aim is to broaden horizons, enlighten readers and ourselves, and bring out the zest in books and poetry.  Following our concise but rewarding discussion, we’ll then work to create a feast inspired by the work.  This can range from a dessert, an entrée, or even an entire dinner spread.  We might focus upon themes, specific characters, physical recreations of items, or a play/pun upon the title or subject matter.  The furthest reaching edge of Creativity is our only limit.


The subject matter itself is not set in stone; rather, we will see where the days, weeks, and months take our appetite for reading.  Be it fiction or memoir, fantasy or historical, we will be confined by nothing but what we desire to read and cook and eat.  So let us

move to our first novel: The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiell Hammett.

Continue reading