Saturday, December 1, 2012

TLC Book Review - The Lost Art of MIxing

The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister
Penguin, 2013

Format? oversized paperback ARC
Source? the publisher via TLC Book Tours
**FTC Disclosure - I received a review copy of The Lost Art of Mixing from the publisher via TLC Book Tours.  However, all opinions and comments below are my own.

Title? I believe the title is a play on words about the mixing of people and how are lives are made up of those we choose as well as those we're born with...and how sometimes the mix is even better than any of the ingredients by themselves.  The idea of mixing as an art, rather than just a haphazard grouping of people by chance, I think is perfect for Bauermeister's characters.

Cover? Tom looks in the window at one point during the does Finnegan, and each sees the life inside of the restaurant.  The warmth of the wood and the feel of Italy on the cover of my ARC makes me want to read the book.

Why? I've had The School of Essential Ingredients on my TBR shelf for over a year...When the opportunity arrived to read The Lost Art of Mixing for TLC Book Tours, I jumped at the chance to read both it and its predecessor.  

What Now? I didn't like The Lost Art of Mixing as much as The School of Essential Ingredients, but I'm anxious to read Joy for Beginners.

Golden Lines

Memories turned into recipes, recipes turned into stories (57).

Lillian's love for her kitchen was the radiant gratitude of an artist for a space where imagination moves without obstacles, the small, quiet happiness of finding a home, even if the other people in it are passing through - maybe even a bit because of that (68).

Lillian knew that time was the only real solution for grief, but the loss of her mother had also taught her that unlimited lengths of time were nothing to be counted on (88).

The similarities between Charlie and Lillian were obvious --- their mutual love of food, the way they changed others' lives through the simple act of feeding them.  But where Charlie had been the warmth of sun on a beach, Lillian was more like fall, loss and bounty brought together (192).


In the follow-up to The School of Essential Ingredients, Lillian, Chloe, Isabelle, Tom, Al, Louise, and Finnegan's lives intertwine and sometimes intersect.  They don't all know each other, even those who do know each other don't always know each other well, and they certainly don't all realize how their lives affect one another.  Each is dealt cards that he/she must live with and adjust to while also living their lives as honestly and as purposefully as possible.  

What I Liked

Reconnecting with some of the characters from The School of Essential Ingredients - especially Lillian and Tom's story...their story was, for me, the one that kept me going.  

Chapters that switch points of view - I like characters and I think in a book like this where the plot is about how these characters interact with one another...or not, it's very effective to give each his/her own voice.  I even was interested in the chapters/sections on Louise and Al even though they were the least likeable characters for me.

The connections, the near misses of the characters' lives - I swear I could not help thinking about the "6 degrees of separation" game.

The theme of customs and rituals...from illness to marking a milestone birthday, numbers, etc.  While food still plays a major role in The Lost Art of Mixing, the traditions of life 

What I Didn't Like

Al and Louise - their story seemed so out of place to me...seriously, at the beginning I was afraid Al would turn out to be a weirdo...and then, once I met Louise, I realized exactly why he had issues on top of issues.  Of course, she also brought her issues to the table and WHAM, you've got a pretty impossible situation.  Given the overall positive vibe from The School of Essential Ingredients, I didn't expect this negative picture.

Louise - a seriously unlikeable character for me...I never liked her...ever...even at the end where there might possibly be a chance.

Abbey - I wanted to slap her and tell her to chill out.  Good grief...Isabelle's diagnosis was sad enough as it was without Abbey (the doctor) treating her own mother as an item on her to-do list.

Overall Recommendations

Anyone who likes to read about food, people's histories and how those histories make them who they are, including how they react with others will like this book.  The Lost Art of Mixing isn't exactly the same as The School of Essential Ingredients though, and I think it's important for readers not to expect that same "warm fuzzy feeling."

The Author

Other Stops on the TLC Book Tour

Friday, November 2nd:  Life in the Thumb
Monday, November 5th:  She is Too Fond of Books – Spotlight on Bookstores guest post
Monday, November 5th:  Savvy Verse and Wit
Tuesday, November 6th:  Stephanie’s Written World
Wednesday, November 7th:  Book Chatter
Thursday, November 8th:  Books and Movies
Friday, November 9th:  Book Club Classics!
Monday, November 12th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, November 13th:  girlichef
Wednesday, November 14th:  Library of Clean Reads
Thursday, November 15th:  2 Kids and Tired
Friday, November 16th:  Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Monday, November 19th:  WV Stitcher
Tuesday, November 20th:  Joyfully Retired
Wednesday, November 21st:  Silver and Grace
Friday, November 23rd:  A Chick Who Reads
Monday, November 26th:  Diary of an Eccentric
Tuesday, November 27th:  Mom in Love with Fiction
Wednesday, November 28th:  Book Dilettante
Thursday, November 29th:  Southern Girl Reads
Friday, November 30th:  Peppermint Ph.D.
Monday, December 3rd:  Just Joanna
Tuesday, December 4th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, December 5th:  HopefulLeigh
Thursday, December 6th:  Sidewalk Shoes
Friday, December 7th:  Book Addiction

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Salon - The After Thanksgiving Edition

Thanksgiving is Over

Thanksgiving officially ended last night as my alma mater, Mississippi State relinquished the Egg Bowl trophy after a 3 year winning streak to Ole Miss.  Most schools have a #1 rival, and in the SEC, we feel those rivals all the way to our core.  I'm not exaggerating here...the week before this game feels very much like a presidential election week...snarky Facebook statuses and quips between friends that very quickly get personal.  Families divide should any member desert generational tradition and actually enroll in the wrong school.
Heaven forbid.  
Neither of our college aged kids even considered Ole Miss as a prospective college...not that the husband and I told them that they couldn' just somehow was understood...that's how deep this goes.
My husband does have one prodigal brother who attended Ole Miss...sometimes we all watch the game together...but sometimes we don't.  In his defense, it's probably pretty difficult to be the lone ranger in the wild west of crazy Bulldog fans.  He has succeeded in indoctrinating his children, however, so now he has back-up.  
Age doesn't matter though...if you choose the other team, you choose to be maligned, no matter how old you are ;)
The husband's mother tries to keep the peace...she even supports Ole Miss as long as they are not playing Mississippi State.
Blasphemy ;)

Anyhoo, the game is always a toss-up...doesn't matter what the teams' records are, whether or not there are magical players on either team, and/or even where the game is played, anything can happen in this game. 
And, so it did last night.
Ole Miss won last night...that's hard for me to type.
I couldn't find a picture this morning of the trophy without those pesky Rebels/Black Bears holding it, so this one will have to suffice:

Poor little trophy...stuck in the middle of nowhere...until next year... :p
Should you be interested in a blogger's short history of The Egg Bowl, you can find that here.

Back to the Old Grind

5 a.m. will come pretty early in the morning...Oy. It's always hard to go back after a teaser holiday.  I also have to work hard to keep myself sane during one of the most hectic times of year.  I really do become quite a hermit...hiding in my house till all the hoopla settles down.  I'm not a fan of hoopla.  

I'm almost caught up with my Dexter watching...I've made it to Season 7 and am a few episodes in.  I won't be able to watch tonight's episode bc I'm not quite there yet, but I should be caught up by next Sunday!  I've got a review of Season 5 and 6 already started and will share my thoughts soon.

I got sidetracked with my Thankfully Reading weekend plans...Notorious Nineteen was released last week, and I had forgotten about it.  I downloaded it to my Nook since I know those are just fun books and not "keepers" for me.  I read it in just a few hours and snorted through much of it.  Evanovich seems to have returned to classic Stephanie Plum and thank goodness for that.   
I'm reading The School of Essential Ingredients today and will start The Lost Art of Mixing by tomorrow to prepare for my review later this week.

Today is the last day to enter the Gratitude Giveaways, so be sure to take a look at the books I have there in case your interested and then hop through the other giveaways listed at the bottom of the post.

In December, I'll be participating in a Blog Hop organized by Amy over at Passages to the Past.  If you're a fan of historical fiction, then check out the sign ups post linked below.  This is Amy's first Blog Hop and focused on one specific genre, so I expect it to be a little more low-key than some of the crazy blog hops out there...just perfect for the Christmas season, I think (see hoopla statement above).

Passages to the Past Blog Hop Sign Ups

This Sunday Salon post is already long enough, but I want to include the last two links from the NYTimes this week.

Texas and Secession - WTF - seriously, people, this isn't a party thing for me.  I understand the whole "if so many people sign the petition, then The White House has to make a statement" but really????? 
 Lord, have mercy.  
The Civil War wasn't pretty...not at all...for either side.  I don't think this kind of "I'm gonna take my ball and go home" politics is what this country really needs right now.
Just sayin'

Larry Hagman dies - Aww, man.  Dang. I watched the old Dallas on Friday nights and became a fan of the new Dallas last year.  We also own every season of I Dream of Jeannie on DVD.  
Just dang.

And there you have it...the brain purge of the week :)
Happy Sunday, everyone!