Book Corner 2020.8


Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener

It kept me reading. I liked the coy refusals to name any company, making us feel like we might be living in a similar but other world: the “social network everyone hated,” the “search engine,” the “litigious corporation based in Seattle.” At one point she not-name-drops my favorite blogger, “a libertarian economist” and describes him in a not altogether flattering light. I wrote to tell him about it, and he responded, yes, “the book is fiction in a number of respects.” She’s not the only one who can be coy. My interest waned a bit when I realized that nothing was really going to happen. ( )

Book Corner 2020.7


The Eating Instinct by Virginia Sole-Smith

Discusses all the different ways eating can sometimes be anything other than a simple, pleasurable, nourishing experience. The impetus for the book was the author’s baby born with a congenital heart defect, which required surgery and for her to be put on a feeding tube as an infant; Violet then refused to eat for many months, even after the tube should no longer have been needed. It was an arduous journey getting Violet to eat. This drove the author to examine other ways and reasons humans may not or can not do such a simple act as eating; she discusses babies with adverse reactions to milk, anorexics, severely “picky” adult eaters, people too poor to eat properly, and of course just plain women born and bred to this diet-crazy, thin-obsessed culture. It was absorbing. I’m not usually into “kid stuff,” but she told Violet’s story and the other baby/kid/parent stories in such a way that made even me interested. ( )

Book Corner 2020.6


Mansfield Park: an Annotated Edition

by Jane Austen, annotated by Harvard University Press

Even with the annotations, I was soon reminded why this is my least favorite Austen. Fanny is a pretty insipid character to spend this amount of time with. Book I is so great, though – the young people getting carried away with their theatricals, the Bertram sisters withering in their jealous vying for Crawford’s attentions, Rushworth just so wonderfully stupid and clueless, and all of it culminating with Sir Bertram’s unexpected return literally in the middle of all the ranting and strutting upon the stage. Ha! If only the rest of the book were as fun. After that climax, it would have been better if it had ended much more quickly. And all I can say about the Mary-Edmund romance is she must have had one damn fine pair of ****- the way she disparaged his chosen profession, her crassness, her obvious lack of any of the fine virtues he purports to hold so highly – it was very hard on the page to accept him being so smitten with her.

The annotations in these Harvard editions are great – not overly intrusive, as in other annotated classics I’ve read where they feel the need to define every other word. They occasionally veered off well into “who cares” territory, so I skipped some of them. I like when annotations shed direct light on the culture and customs that lie behind the brief or antiquated words of the author. ( )

Heal the World, Cook Dinner Tonight

Haven’t posted in ages.  No books or fiber projects have been completed in a while, but both efforts are on the cusp of victory.  Food certainly marches on:


Mini Nitty Gritty corn muffins…  a small bit of grapefruit hef… and experimenting with black bean soup in the Instapot Knockoff.

Follow-up: The soup was AWESOME!  I had heard tell from Christopher Kimball of Milk Street, formerly of America’s Test Kitchen, publishers of the “The Best” series, that pressure cooking was really the best way to make beans.  That man knows what he’s talking about.  So creamy!


I do love me my gadgets.


Zero Fucks Given

I’m doing great, because I’ve decided to take principles from The Fuck It Diet and apply them to my entire life; I call it “The Fuck It Life.”


a.  There’s a diet/eating/”wellness” crap book called French Women Don’t Get Fat.

b.  There’s a province in Thailand called Phuket.

c.  There should be a book, Phuket Women Get Fat; They Just Don’t Care.