75 Books in 2015: January, Part III

9780141322650Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl (1970)

From Amazon.com: Fantastic Mr. Fox is on the run! The three meanest farmers around are out to get him. Fat Boggis, squat Bunce, and skinny Bean have joined forces, and they have Mr. Fox and his family surrounded. What they don’t know is that they’re not dealing with just any fox–Mr. Fox would never surrender. But only the most fantastic plan ever can save him now.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of my all-time favorite movies and I thought it was high time I read the story that inspired it. It was typical Dahl and I enjoyed it. I was surprised to find several of the lines from the movie coming straight from the dialogue in the book – especially since the stories were so different.

tumblr_nd6n8ioHh71ruqpyqo1_1280Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton (2014)

When I picked this one up, I thought I was getting a book about the many reasons people get tattoos (me not really paying attention to what I’m deciding to read is becoming a theme this year). What I actually got was even better – hand drawn tattoos and explanations of the story behind them. The images were gorgeous and the stories were fun. I spent a little time after I read it thinking about what I would say if my two tattoos were included in the book.

From Amazon.com: Every tattoo tells a story, whether the ink is meaningful or the result of a misguided decision made at the age of fourteen, representative of the wearer’s true self or the accidental consequence of a bender. These most permanent and intimate of body adornments are hidden by pants legs and shirttails, emblazoned on knuckles, or tucked inside mouths. They are battle scars and beauty marks, totems and mementos. Pen & Ink grants us access to the tattoos-and the stories behind them-of writers Cheryl Strayed and Roxane Gay; rockers in the bands Korn, Otep, and Five Finger Death Punch; and even a porn star. But it also illuminates the tattoos of the ordinary people living in our midst-from professors to thrift store salespeople, cafe owners to librarians, union organizers to administrators-and their extraordinary lives.

51PgCcdKJFL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The 1950s Kitchen by Kathryn Ferry (2011)

This book focused on the changes to the kitchen in Britain in the 1950s when the modern kitchens started to emerge. I especially enjoyed comparing/contrasting the developments in more-compact Britain with the developments in the sprawling U.S. – the size of the area you are working with, the age of the home, and the materials available all makes a big difference on what becomes the most popular features and appliances.

From Amazon.com: The 1950s was the first great age of the modern kitchen: labor-saving appliances, bright colors and the novelty of fitted units moved the kitchen from dankness into light, where it became the domain of the happy housewife and the heart of the home. Formica – a new space-age material – decorated with fashionable patterns topped sleek cupboards that contained new classic wares such as Pyrex and ‘Homemaker’ crockery, and the ingredients for 1950s British staples: semolina, coronation chicken and spotted dick. Electricity entered the kitchens of millions, and nowhere in the home was modern technology and modern design more evident. Bold color, clean lines and stainless steel were keynotes of the decade, and it is no surprise that 1950s kitchen style is now the height of fashion once again, with names like Cath Kidston picking up on the best of ’50s kitchen kitsch, and manufacturers like Dualit, Kitchen Aid and Aga doing healthy business with retro appliances.

letpretendthisneverhappened11Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson (2012)

On the surface, humorous, sarcastic, and slightly neurotic memoirs are my go-to book. Something I gravitate to. I took a risk on this one though – even though it is my kind of book, I’ve never been a big fan of “The Bloggess” (aka Jenny Lawson). I decided to audiobook this one, thinking that I would be more likely to “get” the humor if listening to it. Good choice! I didn’t really like the intro, but once Lawson got into a good rhythm and started her longer stores, I was laughing.

From Amazon.com: For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris—Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut. Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us. In the #1 New York Times bestseller, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor. Chapters include: “Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel”; “A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband”; “My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking”; “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane.”

A quote, to give you a feel for the book: “I’ve found, though, that people are more likely to share their personal experiences if you go first, so that’s why I always keep an eleven-point list of what went wrong in my childhood to share with them. Also I usually crack open a bottle of tequila to share with them, because alcohol makes me less nervous, and also because I’m from the South, and in Texas we offer drinks to strangers even when we’re waiting in line at the liquor store. In Texas we call that ‘southern hospitality.’ The people who own the liquor store call it ‘shoplifting.’ Probably because they’re Yankees. I’m not allowed to go back to that liquor store.”
― Jenny Lawson, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir


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