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The Rite of Spring: Top Ten Books for the Season by Jill Bryan

Nerdy Book Club

Winter has been fairly brutal this year. While Minnesota hasn’t seen our usual snowfall, (we stand in solidarity with the Northeast as they thaw out) it has been brutally cold over the last months. During the fleeting days of seeming warmth you can almost feel the ground trying to breathe. If you listen carefully you can hear the slumber of winter wearing off. You can hear the Rite of Spring. The chaotic beauty of birds returning to bask in the sun, the buzzing of new life, vibrations of new growth and the washing away of all things long frozen in ice. In my opinion, there is no better way to welcome the warmth than with ten, make it eleven, titles that speak to the season.

Step Gently Out

Step Gently Out by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder

The use of purposeful and simple text coupled with the stunning photography in this book creates…

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The Cliche Book Shelf

Has anyone else noticed the increase in bandwagon authors lately?

I feel like I can describe the entire new releases in about …hmm 3 words

  • Vampires
  • Christian Grey wannabes
  • YA melodrama

I remember there was a time when you had to read the synopsis of the book to find out what it was about. Now you can literally judge a book by its cover. Yesterday I found myself literally skimming books at the store and using these two categories. “O EM GEE” folks!

So you know what I did? I bought To Kill a Mockingbird – I read it in school but never bought a copy of my own.

Is anyone else frustrated with the variety of books these days?

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Reading Super Powers

I think my older son has reading super powers. This March, his class is taking part in a competition to see how many days they can sit and read for at least 20 minutes.  He’s in first grade – this is no easy thing for a feisty first grader. But he’s doing really well. We’ve done 20 minutes a day for more then half of March (and counting). But I think he’s got Reading Super Powers! The boy zooms through books in 5 of those allotted 20 minutes. I’m literally running out of material for him to read. Thank god his Highlights magazine came in yesterday and kept him busy for another 5 minutes.

The speed reading, he definitely didn’t get from me. Whether consciously or not, I am a slow reader. I read, I contemplate and then decide if I’ve liked what I’ve just read or not. To date the only two books/series I’ve devoured are Twilight by Stephanie Meyers and Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.  I couldn’t wait to be on the other side of the story with these two.

Don’t get me wrong I have plenty a folk who finish off books in one night. My son is quickly turning into one of them. I wonder though, does speed reading take away from the overall experience of the book? Which kind of reader are you?  Do share!

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How To Make A Dream Come True by Aisha Saeed

“Strumming my pain with his finger”

Nerdy Book Club

I’ve always loved writing. I was the kid who got in trouble for not paying attention to double-digit division because I was busy outlining a story idea in the margins of my math book. I loved the characters that spoke to me and I loved putting down what they had to say. As with most any writer, I grew up dreaming of a day I would see my book in print.

Through middle school and high school I continued writing stories. I filled up notebook after notebook with them and then one day in college, I decided to look into just how exactly one gets published. I browsed the ‘how to get published’ section of my local bookstore. I sat down with a stack of books. And I read that trying to get published is about as easy as wrangling 15 koala bears into 15 car seats.

It’s hard. It’s

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Landline Recipe Steak

To me, the underlying theme in Rainbow Rowell’s Landline was coming home. I felt like the book should be paired off with something hearty, something that warms you from the inside out. Instantly I thought of Steak and Potatoes – the one meal my entire family enjoys together.

front

Steak

I had about three 8oz pieces of lean beef (trimmed for excess fat)

The marination was simple

  • tsp oil (per steak)
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly cracked peppercorn to taste
  • Coriander seeds roughly crushed

The marination doesn’t need to be left on long; maybe about 15 minutes.

In the meantime get a caste iron skillet or grill onto your stove and get it pipping hot!! Cooking is quick and as simple as the marination:

  • Cook each side of the steak for 5 minutes on the caste iron pot
  • Move Skillet to oven

Cook to preference: Stick a cooking thermometer into the middle of the steak to read below: 

  •  120° F (48.8° C) = Rare
  • 130° F (54.4° C) = Medium rare
  • 140° F (60° C) = Medium
  • 150° F (65.5° C) = Medium well
  • 160° F (71.1° C) = Well done

The above allots about 7 minutes of cooking time each side. Let cooked meat stand for a few minutes before you cut into it. Allow the juices to redistribute properly. Try it – makes a world of a difference!

A few minutes before cooking time is up add a small pad of butter. This will crisp up the ends and enhances flavor.

oven

Tips & Tricks:  Throw on some veggies next to the steak. Its almost like a one pot wonder and the veggies will cook delightfully in the steak juices.

I personally cook my steak dead. That’s just how we like it in my household.

Recipe for Potatoes coming up shortly.

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Landline By Rainbow Rowell

Title:      Landline

Author:  Rainbow Rowell

Pages:   300 PP

After reading Fangirl (YA novel) my interest peeked about reading an adult novel by Rainbow Rowell.  I have to admit, she does not disappoint.

Landline opens up to the life of a 30 something TV comedy writer, Georgie McCool (– who are we kidding, she had me at the name!) whose life seems perfect to the naked eye.   She’s got a hit sitcom, works with her best friend, is married to her college sweetheart and has two adorable girls to call her own.  Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, her writing partner Seth (gorgeous Seth – who may I mention is in love with her) and Georgie have a chance to pitch their own show.  However, they must work through Christmas to meet deadlines.   Working through a holiday is nothing new to Georgie but this time around her husband isn’t taking it lying down – he insists they go see him mother in Omaha as planned.

Enter reality, the evil witch who insists on uncovering the perfect façade and exposing all that us ugly.  Georgie’s marriage is actually on the rocks, she has a difficult time balancing the many loves in her life: Neal/her kids/Seth/writing.   She’s a fighter though, and determined to win back what’s most important to her. The motivation for her struggle to regain her balance is exactly that …well she DOES have all these loves in her life and that she’s actually a very lucky person.  She’s just confused and in the wrong place? Confused seems to be an apt word to describe Georgie.  What will she aim for, her career or Neal?

The story of the main protagonist coming to realizations about her own life is an endearing one. Some scenes seem to be taken right from the life of every other working parent. The love that is the core of their marriage seems all too familiar.

Overall, I say on a rainy Sunday pick up the book and give it a go.  Like Fangirl – Landline will leave you with a light sense of hope.

The Landline recipe coming up shortly.

LL