the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘scifi

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!


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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.