Reading Evolution

I picked up Newsweek this morning because the cover story is about Amazon’s “KINDLE“, the new way of reading.  I am just amazed by this machine and all the cool things it offers.  There’s also articles in both The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Would you ever consider reading books on a “KINDLE” or some other type of machine?  Actually not only read books but newspapers, magazines and blogs?  I know what you might be thinking… “I love the feeling of a book in my hands and lining my shelves.”  When I think about the amount of reading I do, the fact that due to my hubby’s job we will be moving every two to four years and books are heavy and take up space this next generation take on reading the book might fit into a lot of life styles including my own.  Just think of all the books that weigh down your bag on your way to work when taking the bus/metro/train and flying on airplanes?  If you could have something the size of a trade paperback book in your bag that can hold up to 200 titles like your iPod can hold thousands of albums wouldn’t you do that?  I think I would because I already read so much on a screen as it is.  I never thought I would find myself being addicted to iTunes and not able to live without my iPod but that day has come.  I rarely buy a CD at the store anymore and love the instant gratification of buying and downloading an album in mere seconds. 

I think that this new way to read will revolutionize the book industry but might take a few more years.  I am hoping that by the time I move back to the U.S. “KINDLE” or something like it will have become a little more affordable and more mainstream.  Right now this digital reading machine sells for $399 and to buy a new or best seller title (more than 90,000 titles are available right now for purchase on the KINDLE) costs only $9.99. 

“The Pillars of the Earth” is a Pillar of a Book

I finally received my copy of Ken Follett’s “The Pillars of the Earth” this morning.  I’m still a little surprised with myself that I am reading an “Oprah Book Club” book at the time it’s The book club book.  So far there’s been a hanging, a cursing, and a stampeding war horse and I’m only on page 28.  I have 945 more pages to go!  I found myself interested in this book because of the time setting being in the Middle Ages.  I find this period very romantic, dangerous, cold, and wonderful. 

Are you reading anything “trendy” right now?  Trendy meaning something that a lot of people are reading at the same time?  Like “Eat, Pray, Love” or something on the New York Times Top 10 Best Seller List? 

I did order Ruth Reichl’s first memoir “Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table” and look forward to checking out the beginnings of the present Gourmet Magazine Editor In Chief.  I did read an excerpt from “Tender at the Bone” and laughed my butt off so I’m pretty excited about reading the book.  Did reading “Garlic & Sapphires” inspire you to check out some of Reichl’s previous memoirs and/or Gourmet Magazine? 

Ready to Eat… I Mean “Talk Turkey”?

While searching the Internet for discussion questions for G&S, I learned that Ruth Reichl is an Executive Producer for a FOX film based on her wonderful memoir about her tenure as the NY Times Restaurant Critic.  states that the film is set for release in 2008 but due to the fact that it is still in production there isn’t much information right now about the project.  I am so excited about this!

Though I have scoured the Internet for some discussion questions on “Garlic & Sapphires” I haven’t had much luck.  I did find an interview with Ruth Reichl from The CBS Early Show (INTERVIEW) with Reichl discussing some of her disguises.  Then I came across audio interviewfrom Barnes & with Reichl as well as a Q&A from with Reichl. 

I would like to know if you were happy with this Planet Books read?  What would you like to discuss about the book, “Garlic & Sapphires”. 

Personally (as you may have gathered from previous posts) I LOVED this book and have discovered a new set of taste-buds in my mouth along with a new hobby of reading restaurant reviews on the NY Times and Washington Post websites.

I hope your Thanksgiving was a filling and delicious one!  XOXO-K

Change of Plans

Well, Thanksgiving plans have changed and now the hubby and I are having Thanksgiving dinner at the house.  The turkey is defrosting in a tub of water on the front porch and the pumpkin pie is in the oven so I don’t have to worry about it.  It’s the Paula Deen Pumpkin Pie  recipe and it is sooooo damn good and if you are looking for a pumpkin pie recipe I highly recommend it.  Back in the late 90’s I worked at The Cheesecake Factory in Denver, CO and this pumpkin pie is comparable to the seasonal Pumpkin Cheesecake at the restaurant.

                                 Pumpkin Pie

So, while reading “Garlic & Sapphires” I was very interested in Ruth Reichl’s restaurant expereinces and then seeing what details actually made it into her NY Times restaurant reviews.  I wondered what the diners who shared the meal (unknowingly or willingly) with Ruth thought of her reviews and which points she chose to focus on.  What funny things did happen that the editors may have cut out while copy editing?  Which review made you want to go to the restaurant for dinner this weekend (if we all could vacation or even live in NYC)?

The three star review that made me want to eat something that I am surrounded by here in Okinawa but don’t eat, was for “KURUMAZUSHI” (found on page 76).  I may have written about this already because it was while reading this part of the book at 4:30 am while I was sick a couple of weeks ago, that I became so hungry I had to go downstairs and eat a small bowl of cereal. 

Here is the excerpt that really got me:  “I showed my friend how to mix the hot wasabi with soy sauce and dip the edge of her fish into the mixture.  She picked up a slice of the fatty tuna and put it in her mouth.  She gasped, “I never imagined that a piece of fish could taste like this,” she said.  “It is so soft and luxurious.”  She liked the rich, cream-colored yellowtail almost as well.  Then Mr. Uezu put slices of fluke on our boards; we dipped them into a citrus-scented ponzu sauce, admiring the clean, lean flavor of the fish.”

Here in central Okinawa there is a famous and extremely popular restaurant with both Americans/foreigners and Okinawans/Japanese called Yoshihachi.  They have over two hundred items on their menu including the American favorite California rolls, sashimi, teriyaki dishes, yakisoba among many others.  Personally I am not a fan of raw fish so I stick to the rolls and cooked items but the restaurant itself is just so cool.  Hachi-san is the owner/head sushi chef and the man is a huge golfer.  You learn this while glancing at the walls throughout the space.  They are covered by pictures of the chef with famous golfers from all over the world but the most recognizable one is Tiger Woods.  There are pictures that span Tiger’s life from when he was a young boy just starting out in the sport of gentlemen to a few years ago.  There are also pictures of celebrities from film and sports that make you feel like you are in a pretty cool place. 

My favorite sushi places though are the sushi-go-rounds at both American Village and here in Awase near my house.  You can read my friend Kelly’s review of the American Village sushi-go-round HERE

Do you have a restaurant that you would write a review for?  Someplace that a review in “Garlic & Sapphires” reminded you of?  If you do, please tell us about it and maybe try your hand at reviewing it. 

The Crazy Schedule That Is The Holiday Season

Hey everyone!  I hope you are having fun getting ready for Thanksgiving and the beginning of the Holiday Season.  Some of you may already know that the hubby and I will be going home to the D.C. area for Christmas/New Years this year.  The pilgrimage will begin mid-December and the flight alone (from Okinawa to D.C.) is an exhausting event in it’s own right. 

Due to the craziness that will be the Holiday season this year, I am not going to be doing a book vote for December, but instead will post the voting poll for the January book on Friday, December 28th. 

I hope this doesn’t cause much disappointment for you out there and I hope that you understand.  I will be taking advantage of this time to read some things that I have had on my TBR (To Be Read) shelf for a while now so I am looking forward to that. 

I’m not usually a big follower of the “Oprah Book Club” but the book she just announced last week looks pretty cool.  “The Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett is a story set in the Middle Ages about the building of a cathedral in an English Village and the tries and tribulations of the villagers and how this project effect their lives.  I had placed one of Ken Follett’s novels on my wish list a couple of years ago (and it’s still there… so many books, so little time) called “Whiteout“, a thriller using bio-terrorism during that takes place during the Holidays in northern Scotland.

What book(s) would you read if you took a month off from your regular book club reading?  Would you delve into a new genre or go back to something that caught your eye a while ago?  Would you even buy a new book or go back to your TBR shelf and get some things read and under your belt so you can make room for new books to go on your TBR shelf? 

Well I wish you all a very happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving this year and I hope you take a moment to breathe while preparing for the holiday.  If you are going to have time to rent a movie, I must recommend my favorite Thanksgiving movie, “Home For The Holidays” with Holly Hunter and Robert Downey, Jr.  It just reminds us that no family is perfect but it’s all you’ve got in this life. 

Someone Who Loved “G&S” Too!

Hey everyone!  I wanted to be sure to point out another blog out there where they are reading “Garlic & Sapphires” too.  Click HERE to link to bkclubcare (you may have seen her comments on previous posts here on Planet Books).  bkClubCare has posted some fun discussion questions of her own.  I will start posting some fun things for us to do regarding the book after Thanksgiving.  I’m brainstorming and working on some creative ideas. 

If you have any ideas or questions you would like to have included when we discuss “G&S” please leave them in the comment sections of this post. 

What This Book Is Doing To Me

Right now Planet Books readers are delving into “Garlic & Sapphires ~ The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise” by Ruth Reichl.  I am on page 209 and am still loving this book.  I have found myself reading it at 4:30 in the morning in the last week because I couldn’t sleep due to a terrible cold, and I have even asked my hubby to read certain reviews and excerpts that I found hilarious. 

I find myself tasting food in a different way.  I have started to eat a little slower, savor a bite a little longer and really enjoy what food is on my fork/spoon/chopstick.  Last night my hubby whipped up a recipe for Potatoes Gratin by Tyler Florence.  He was using his new mandolin and was impressed with the ease in which he sliced the spuds into paper thin sheets.  After the dish had been in the oven for a good twenty minutes the scent of dinner started to make its way into the living room.  When I bit into my first fork full of creamy potatoes it was a browned corner that burst with flavor and I just closed my eyes and showed my delight by moaning, “Mmmmm Honey!”.  We are having the left overs for dinner tonight and I can’t wait.

I have also found myself perusing the New York Times Food & Wine section on-line as well as my hometown paper, The Washington Post.  I have been a faithful reader of both publications book review sections for a few years now but I have discovered a whole new world to learn about with the food sections. 

I was never a big newspaper reader, magazines yes, but the messy black ink of newspaper always leaked onto my fingers and drove me nuts.  Since moving to Memphis, TN, than Okinawa, Japan I was reading these paper’s on-line versions daily but only main headlines.  Now I find myself e-mailing articles to friends whom I think might be interested (just like my mother, and her mother sent clippings in the mail, which by the way, my mom still does to this day) and e-mailing myself articles so I can easily access these bits of information within a special folder in my e-mail account. 

Do you find yourself with your nose in your monitor more than a good book?  Please share the websites that dominate your time the most with Planet Books.  Mine are The Washington Post, Washingtonian Magazine, The New York Times, Borders, Nordstrom, and Food Network.

Music… my first love

Right now the hubby and I are enjoying the 41st Annual Country Music Awards and man, is the music good this year.  The musicianship is as good as it has been in a long time and we couldn’t be having a better time… unless it was me nominated or even receiving an award.  Yes, me!  Some of you know that I am a singer and that I even tried my hand with two demos in Music City, Nashville, TN in 2002.  You can hear my two demos, “You’re Not Here To Miss You” and “Sorry”, plus four songs I recorded in a friend’s basement recording studio with karaoke tracks and some other tunes I recorded on the computer here in Okinawa with some more karaoke tracks HERE.  Thanks for listening!!


I Received My Copy of G&S!!

My husband called me this afternoon to tell me that a book arrived for me in the mail today.  I was so excited because I knew it was “Garlic & Sapphires”.  I told him I would swing by his office on my way to an appointment so I could start it while I was waiting.  I LOVE IT!!!!  I love Ruth Reichl’s writing style and the crazy waitress lady on the airplane from L.A. to NYC was hilarious and scary.  I showed my hubby what Planet Books was reading this month and he flipped through the book and mentioned that there were recipes.  I didn’t know this but I was pleased to find this out.  This will be a fun book and I am so excited it won (though I did not vote for it, but voted for “The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry” instead).  If you have already started G&S, please let us know what you think so far. 

On another note, yesterday I picked up the new CD release, “Complete Clapton”.  It’s a two-disc collection of Eric Clapton’s hits with Cream, Blind Faith, Derek & The Dominoes, his solo work and his duet with B.B. King.  It is just AMAZING and I had no idea just how many of Clapton’s songs I just love.  Today I did a lot of driving (and believe it or not there is a ton of traffic on Okinawa) and I got to listen to all 36 tracks and had the best day because of it.  I may be a bit under the weather with a stuffed nose and soar throat but the music was so powerful, it made me feel better.  I will admit that I had no idea that Belinda Carlisle’s song, “I Feel Free” (track number 3 on “Heaven on Earth”) was a Cream cover until this morning.  I have loved that song since 1988 and was tickled that Belinda had chosen to cover that tune.  I used to sing it over and over again in my room in junior high and high school.  When I go home for Christmas this year I am looking forward to picking up the autobiography that compliments this dual disc.  The November issue of Vanity Fair Magazine has an excerpt from Clapton’s new book, “Clapton: The Autobiography”, about the period of time when his son, Conor, fell out of his mother’s rented apartment window and fell to his death 50+ stories down.  The writing, vividness and vulnerability that Clapton’s retelling showed makes me want to know everything about this amazing artist.  (NOTE**Within the last link in this paragraph, offers a video of Clapton regarding this book.)

Get your mouth watering with these links

Hey there!  I’m still waiting for my copy of “Garlic & Sapphires” to arrive via the USPS/Military Mail Service so to tide me over till then I came across these sites.  The first one is an INTERVIEW with Ruth Reichl from American University Radio WAMU.  Ruth is now the Editor-In-Chief of Gourmet Magazine. 

The second thing I found is an interview with Ruth on NPR‘s MORNING EDITION from this past summer.  It is an interview of Ruth discussing her favorite food memoirs.  Check it out!

The third site is for GOURMET Magazine.  I came across this RECIPE which has autumn drizzled all over it.  The weather here in Okinawa had started to cool off last week but today we are back up to eighty degrees and lots of humidity.  I hate it!!  I am looking forward to our trip to D.C. for Christmas and freezing my butt off at a Redskins game.  I’m excited about seeing my breath as I go from the car to the mall and having the heat pumping while sitting in traffic on 495 too.  Winters in Okinawa brings temps that dip into the low 60’s but because we are so acclimated to the warm weather here, the low 60’s feel like the low 40’s to me.  I had a scarf wrapped around my neck just last Friday while I went to Starbucks for my hot Chai latte for my drive down to the airport to pick up the hubby.  Earlier last week, on a chilly 70 degree day, I found myself roasting marshmallows on my stove with a fondue fork.  The wonderful aroma mixed with the burning Butter-cream Yankee Candle filled the house with a cozy and warm feeling that I just loved. 

I hope that you are enjoying your copy of “Garlic & Sapphires” and get to take a moment to listen to the interviews linked above and maybe even pick up an issue of Gourmet Magazine and make something delicious for yourself.