« January, 2012 »
read: 8 January 2012
Oscar Wildeís only published novel was a bit of scandal when it came out over 100 years ago. Iím not sure my pedestrian command of the English language is really sufficient to review such a richly written book. An unexplained event sets young, dashingly handsome Dorian Gray up in a situation where a painting of him absorbs all the sins of his life. The painting ages as Dorian looks 20 forever, and the stain of Dorianís immoral and decadent lifestyle stain the painting and stays clear of Dorianís conscience. Or does it? The book is extravagantly written, and at times veered off into deeply detailed descriptions of events that donít really advance the plot. There isnít a likable character in the book, in fact, the two stars of the book are miserable human beings. The descriptions and setting in Victorian England are wonderful, and Wilde was clearly playing the book for satire in many places. In the end though, the book is somewhat disturbing morality tale that borders on horror at times. Itís one of the classics, and I canít believe I made to 2012 without reading it. Iím glad I finally got to it.
read: 8 January 2012
This is not a cookbook. Itís the print companion to the first 5 seasons of Good Eats. It does include recipes from each episode, which makes it handy for looking up that thing he did with shrimp in season 3. Itís much quicker than trying to navigate the Food Network website. Itís also includes lots of cool behind the scenes info about the episodes, shooting locations, etc. And of course, itís filled with science!
read: 2 January 2012
“In 2005 I was interviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle. I was asked: ďIf there are 50 beers on tap, what do you order?Ē I answered, ďSomething out of a bottle.” Only January 2 and Iíve finished my first book of the year. I did cheat and start this in 2011 though! The author Charles Bamforth is a long time employee / executive at Bass and currently a Professor of Brewing at UC-Davis, in a position endowed by whatever we are calling Anheuser-Bush these days. I wanted to love this book, but I just couldnít. First of all, almost half the book is endnotes, which is a very odd was to organize a book. Some of the endnotes are technical details related to a point he was making, and thus are placed appropriately. Other endnotes are almost entire chapters, and should have been incorporated into the text of the book. Iím not sure what his editor was thinking. Charlie has spent his career in the big brewer side of the beer world, and thus his view of beer is colored appropriately. He adamantly defends macro-lagers on several occasions in the book. Iíll grant the technical achievement in making Budweiser taste the same across the world. It is true that even a minor mistake is magnified and more noticeable in such a thin and flavorless beer. Personally, I think wasting such technical brewing ability on soulless beer is a crime. However, his explanation of what happened to the British pub culture and brewing industry was fascinating, and Iím much smarter for having read his book; as I knew nothing of Thatcherís changes to the beer industry in the 80s. Beer enthusiasts on the right-wing side of the US political spectrum may very well have to take her off the pedestal when they understand what she did to beer culture in the UK. He also takes on MADD and other neo-prohibitionist organizations in the US. This a subject I can agree 100% with him on. And finally, the quote I started this review with. It sounds heretical on the surface, but he has good reason for it. But youíll have to read the book to find out why :) If you are a beer nerd and can get the book cheap, Iíd recommend reading it. I got is as free Kindle download. If I had paid for the book, I wouldnít feel cheated. I think I would be disappointed if I had paid much more than that though.
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