Burning Eyes

Yesterday I posted this long list of everything I wanted to accomplish this summer. I included a list of books I planned to finish or to start and finish.  Well, being the obsessive book reader that I am, when I come across cheap books at discount retailers I always look through, never really expecting to find anything.  Of course, yesterday I found The Tea House on Mulberry Street, by Sharon Owens for 3 dollars at Big Lots. I had just finished the Uglies on the bus on the way over, so I picked up this book thinking I’d at least start it on the way back.  It sounded cute and quick. It’s about a tea shop in Belfast and the lives of its married owners and various patrons. For a bargain book, it drew me in pretty quickly.  There’s a particularly funny story line about a starving art student who write love letters to Nicholas Cage. I went through my British Chick Lit phase (thank you Bridgette Jones) and thought this would be in that vein.  It wasn’t.  The Irish spin on the story and the multiple story lines made it more interesting.  So of course, I ended up starting and finishing it yesterday, even though it wasn’t on my list.

When I finished that books, I felt guilty that it wasn’t on my list, so I finished the Einstein book. I’m going to put that one in my class library.  I think my students would be interested in the science behind what happens in the kitchen.

Okay, so onto the Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. I won’t spend too much time with this one because it wasn’t so good.  I understand that it was written for young adults, and I will put it in my classroom library- I know a bunch of students that would like it. It was boring and trite and the characters and dialogue were uninteresting.  I couldn’t care less about their struggles with being pretty and stupid or being ugly but with their mind intact. It’s unfortunate that books like this are written for young readers, because everything felt so dumbed down. If we challenge kids to read interesting books that spark the imagination, we’ll hook more readers earlier- maybe we won’t lose the battle to video games so often. But in fairness, here is the cover and the link:

Malinche by Laura Esquivel is my next book to finish.  It’s a short 190 pages.  She wrote Like Water for Chocolate ( I read that one in it’s original Spanish in high school for a book report and saw the movie-so great!). In college I majored in archaeology and focused on Mesoamerican studies.  I’ve always been interested in Mexican ancient history, so this book appeals to me on subject alone.  Malinche is a figure in Mexican history who is both honored and despised.  She is known as a traitor (in fact, in Mexico, a malinche is a traitor) because she was Cortez’s lover and translator which supposedly helped him defeat her people. I’m only into the book about 20 pages, where Malinalli is born and being presented to the Gods. Even in that short time I’m in love with the book.  The writing is vivid and lyrical.  An illustrator drew pictures for the beginnings of each chapter in the Codex style- Aztecs kept history in drawing form, and Malinalli grows up to be a Codex painter. The dust cover of the book is actually a folded up poster of all the illustrator’s drawings that tell the life of Esquivel’s Malinche.

Before I did all that reading yesterday, I collaged (that’s not a word, is it?) my lesson plan book for this school year.  I’m not so into the teachery designs and decor of most teacher-related products.  No apples, or themed sweaters for me. If I have to look at this book everyday from September to June, I’m going to make it pretty:

And for dinner- Stuffed Eggplants.  My own recipe, so no VT links today.  I started by making stuffing from the crusts I cut off of the Egg nests from yesterday.  I put them in the toaster over at 400 for about minutes then mixed them with margarine and an egg white and seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic and set aside.  Then I preheated the big oven to 350 and sliced three small eggplants ( I don’t know what you call them, they’re not the big squash size ones, but they weren’t the mini fingerling size, either) in half and scraped out the flesh, leaving about 1/8 inch left on the skin.  Then I popped the skins on a cookie sheet and baked about 15 minutes.  While they were baking I sauteed the eggplant flesh, half a small onion, scallions, an heirloom tomato, a cup of spinach, and the stuffing and added seasoning.  Then I pulled the skins out, mixed in some feta cheese with the eggplant mixture and spooned it into the skins.  I put everything back in the oven for about 10 minutes.  It turned out pretty yummy.  I liked the saltiness of the feta with eggplant.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    draabe said,

    Big Lots (not to mention the Salvation Army) is a great place to get books cheap. Why let all those words go to waste?


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