Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • The Next Food Network Star: "Press Party for Food Network's 16th Birthday" - The two that stood out for me from the introductions were Debbie and Jamika, although Debbie's shopping trip made her drop considerably in my opinion. She seemed only concerned with making sure her own dish worked. Jamika's dish was not perfect, but I didn't see her leaving. Michael grew on me quickly, despite being way over the top. If he can dial it down and has the food skills to back it up he might be the one. Jeffrey seems like the most obvious to be a winner based only on the first episode. I called the one going home, but didn't call the winner of the first challenge.
  • Primeval: "Episode 20" - Oh yeah! A knight in shining armor, a dragon, and an anomaly! I really enjoyed this one, particularly how our noble historian convinces the kid to trust her. Good stuff.
  • Food Detectives: "Barbie's Birthday Celebration" - I hate Barbie. I've hated Barbie for many many years. My burning hatred has mellowed over the years, but I'm still not fond of Barbie. But seeing Robert make a Barbie-sized meal is hilarious. The equipment failures were impressive in this one. Can't imagine how frustrating that would be.

This week's comic book related review is Chicken With Plums by Marjane Satrapi. This is the story of Marjane's great uncle, a musician who decided to die when his beloved instrument was broken. While the main framing was Nassar Ali's eight day death, we also see his attempts to find a replacement instrument, his mother's death, and folk and family tales. The art is similar to Persepolis, simple and elegant, ranging from detailed to almost cartoony. It works wonderfully for the subject matter. The framing of the book allows Satrapi to tell numerous stories and keep everything coherent. And Satrapi is, as always, a fantastic storyteller. The book as a whole is excellent. Worth reading, particularly if you've already read and enjoyed Persepolis.

My library book this week was A Betrayal in Winter by Daniel Abraham. I put this book on inter-library loan as soon as I'd finished reading A Shadow in Summer. I was expecting another book set in the same universe, but this is a sequel. The action takes place about 15 years after the events in the previous book, with two of the main characters involved in this storyline along with a couple of new folks to follow. This is a fantastic and original setting for a universe, particularly the skills of the poets and their andat. I don't know how well this book would read on its own, but I suspect it may be slightly confusing in parts if you haven't read the first book. In any case, I enjoyed it, and I've got the next book from inter-library loan to read next.

Agatha Christie this week was Murder is Easy (aka Easy to Kill) from 1939. After a chance meeting on a train, a retired policeman goes in search of a murderer in a quiet town. This one features none of Agatha's major sleuths, but is a good story nonetheless. And the red herring is absolutely perfect. I was caught, hook, line, and sinker. Hubby-Eric can attest to my reaction when I realized just how wrong I was. Argh! A great little book, worth reading if you want a nice standalone Christie mystery.