the Little Red Reviewer

Scifi, French Cooking, decadent dinner, and packing!

Posted on: March 28, 2021

but to start, has “classic editor” entirely disappeared from WordPress, and now I’m fully stuck with block editor? This post is all in one long block of text because I can’t figure out where the “more” button is, that means you have to click the “read more” link. that sucks. But, as you’ll read about in a bit, I have amazing decadent food in the fridge, which makes everything better.

I recently read Across a Billion Years by Robert Silverberg. Every time I read him, I remember what a fantastic writer he is. The pages just fly by, I’m immediately drawn in, he has the perfect balance between how much time to spend on worldbuilding, how much time to spend on characterization, and always always moving the story forward. Across a Billion Years was written in 1969, and other than one scene, it doesn’t feel dated. Open Road Media has been doing wondering printings of a ton of scifi from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, if you’re interested in reading some old stuff that doesn’t smell like it’s been in grandma’s basement for 40 years.

The story follows Tom Rice, who is an archeological grad student. He’s sheltered, priveledged, degreed, and his lack of experience with the real world (and women) make for humorous reading. When we first meet him, he’s on a ship travelling to the planet where the team will be digging up artifacts from an ancient civilization known as the High Ones. Tom spends the entire voyage writing letters to his sister about how dumb, rude, and worthless everyone else on the team is, especially team members from other planets. Yes, Tom does eventually get over his naïve stupidity as he takes the time to get know his fellow archaeologists. The title comes from that the artifacts they are digging up are approximately a billion years old, and that the High Ones are sending them all this cultural information, across a billion years. When he’s not being an idiot, Tom is actually quite the romantic, when it comes to why he got into archeology and his views on studying the ancient past.

The entire novel is Tom’s letters home to his sister Lorie. Due to a lifelong illness, Lorie is paralyzed and lives in a hospital. Lorie is also a telepath, and part of the telepath communication network, which is a very, very cool technology that Silverberg has a lot of fun with. Lots of discussions of alien races, and what if the High Ones are still alive somewhere? I liked how the characters are thinking about how cultures change over time, and what does it mean if your race dies out after a billion years? I really enjoyed this book, and it was am enjoyable fast read. I’d happily read it again, and I recommend it.

Not a scifi book, I also recently read The Hundred Foot Journey, by Richard Morais. I’d seen the movie version (Helen Mirrin! so good!) a few years ago, and I had no idea the movie was based on a book! So of course when I saw the book at the library I grabbed it! Hassan Haji and his family move to London after fleeing violence against Muslims in Mumbai. They first land in London, and then in rural France, where they open a restaurant with Hassan as head chef. Their restaurant just happens to be across the street from the Michelin starred traditional French restaurant Le Saule Pleureur, with the intimidating Madam Mallory at its helm. Mallory is shocked and offended by the loud cheerful music from across the street, and even more offended at the Haji’s casual family restaurant. She gets over herself when she tastes Hassan’s cooking, and agrees to take him under her wing and train him in French cooking. The novel takes place over 25 years of Hassan’s life, of his time with Madam Mallory, of working in restaurants in Paris, of finally opening his own restaurant, of changes in what French diners expect. It is a beautiful story of a love affair with food. There is also a lot in the story about how do you grow as a chef in the culture in which you find yourself (Hassan didn’t choose to go to France!), yet still stay connected to your roots? The Hundred Foot Journey is just a lovely book to read. Although it will make you hungry!

hmmm . . . maybe it was The Hundred Foot Journey that inspired me to go a little overboard for Saturday night’s dinner? It was the first night of Passover, which means traditional foods like matzah ball soup and charoset (and apple and nut mixture), and beyond that I like to get as creative and international as possible. My philosophy is Passover food should be so decadent and delicious, that you look forward to it every year, instead of dreading a week without bread. The stand out dish was the chicken roasted with thyme, sumac, and pomegranate molasses, and our dessert of pavlovas with lemon curd. And my mother was right! make your matzah balls with seltzer instead of water! My fridge is full of delicious leftovers.

and packing! we are so, SO close to buying a house! at ages 51 and 41, my husband and I are about to be come first time home buyers. what sold us on this house was the beautiful kitchen, the back patio, and the spacious backyard that backs up to woods. we have so, SO many books to pack. I’ve already packed 19 boxes of books, and that made a small dent.

how many boxes do you think we’ll end up with?

also, if you are getting ready to pack a metric shit ton of books, go to Walmart and get diaper boxes. They seem to be the perfect size for books!

19 Responses to "Scifi, French Cooking, decadent dinner, and packing!"

Silverberg is always a treat. Did you read his awesome novella „Sailing to Byzantium“? Here’s my take:

As for relocating: it’s been twenty years ago for me. We moved from a rented house to our own. More than a hundred boxes. Your idea with diaper boxes is good because they are small and books weight like bricks. But it is also bad, because they’ve got no handle holes with reinforcements. You can buy smaller transportation boxes (also used), they are worth it.

Good luck for your journey! Take a look at the neighbors, you’ll have to live with them for a long time! (In Germany we don’t relocate from our own houses ever)

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I really need to read Sailing to Byzantium. Pretty sure I have a copy of it. . . somewhere. One of my favorites of his is Dying Inside, have you read that? I need to reread that one sometime.

I know some people who have been in the same house for 30+ years, other people who relocate every 10 years or so, seemingly for fun. I’m hoping to be in this house for a long, long time. We’ve lived in rented apartments for 20 years, ready to have our own.

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I‘ve added that to Mt TBR, sounds great.
Mobility in the US seems to be higher than here. It would be a nightmare to sell our house.

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Btw you can always add a block „classic editor“ and stay inside of it. Just use that fat blue + sign and search for „classic“ as soon as you start a new post.

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GENIUS!! to be honest, I’ve been more than a little afraid of that blue plus sign, didn’t realize it actually had something helpful in it!

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Actually, there is one additional nice thing: „stars“ where you can give half stars. I often put the cover into its own block just by copy-pasting it into the post, then add the stars and after that the classic editor.

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I’d wished I’d known that about the diaper boxes LOL I got file boxes for my books, and uhaul “small boxes”. 🙂


last time we moved, we were able to borrow a ton of really nice file boxes. no such luck this go around. but now that I know about the diaper boxes, I just stop at Walmart at 6am, go to the baby area, and they have tons of boxes they are getting ready to throw out! i figure a few more runs to Walmart and I should have enough boxes for everything. problem is. . as we are packing, where the heck do I stack these boxes? gonna start putting them under the kitchen table.

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Ha, yeah, I went to target and walmart for boxes because I needed some oddly shaped boxes. I still have boxes stacked up, because I’m hoping my current locale is just a waystation…it’s a little unnerving because I’m on the second floor and we’ve been having earthquakes! LOL!


omgosh , earthquakes? that sounds terrifying! I live in Michigan, we have blizzards and tornadoes, but no earthquakes!

in one of our apartments, i don’t remember why it took us so long to unpack but it did. we had boxes stacked up everywhere. I took the kitchen table apart, and put the tabletop on top of stacks of boxes, If those boxes were gonna sit there unpacked, I was gonna put them to use!

Liked by 1 person

Ha, yeah, maybe I should add Michigan to the list of next places to move to LOL (I would, except it’s already on there!)


if you like crappy winters and humid summers, really big lakes, and really good farmer’s markets, Michigan is it!

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Lakes, check! Humidity, check! Winters-as-long-as-don’t-have-to-drive, check!, And, really good farmer’s markets, one heck of a check, for sure!

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Ha, maybe I should do that with the tabletop I have, which isn’t screwed to the base! Great idea!


Good luck with your packing and your move!


Good luck with the move! I’d guess about 40 boxes, if the boxes are the size U-Haul sold us for books, about 16×18. Think of the fun of putting in bookcases!


we’re at about 25 so far (of just books), so 40 sounds pretty close! the living room has a big empty wall with no windows, no fireplace, no nothing. . . I’m already dreaming of having a wall of built-ins there!


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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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