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salt marsh

Joined 2 years, 7 months ago

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Baking and Pastry (Hardcover, 2009, Wiley) 3 stars

The Culinary Institute of America holds nothing back in its mission to provide students, professionals, …

A bit of a letdown

3 stars

I found this book a little disappointing because of how it's organized and how much of baking it tries to cover. It starts out with a ton of information about baking as a profession, tools, and technical information about baking (like tables of different gelling agents, and bread techniques and terminology). All of that information is really good, well curated, and clear, but I wished that the techniques specific to certain kinds of baking were placed with the recipes, rather than all together at the beginning. It also spends a lot of time, understandably, on professional bread techniques, and a lot less on pastry techniques. It feels at times like a bread book with some pastry recipes included.

There are tons of recipes, but often they are variants on a theme (like banana, chocolate, or lacenut tuiles) but no basic recipe and no information on how to modify the recipe …

Lao Tzu : Tao Te Ching (1998, Shambhala) No rating

No other English translation of this greatest of the Chinese classics can match Ursula Le …

To be in favor or disgrace is to live in fear. To take the body seriously is to admit one can suffer.

What does that mean, to be in favor or disgrace is to live in fear? Favor debases: we fear to lose it, fear to win it. So to be in favor or disgrace is to live in fear.

What does that mean, to take the body seriously is to admit one can suffer? I suffer because I'm a body; if I weren't a body, how could I suffer?

Lao Tzu : Tao Te Ching by ,

The final stanza relates this to the public good and body politic, but I like these bits on their own as well

Piranesi (2020, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc) 5 stars

Piranesi's house is no ordinary building; its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls …

Birds are not difficult to understand. Their behavior tells me what they are thinking. Generally it runs along the lines of: Is this food? Is this? What about this? This might be food. I am almost certain that this is. Or occasionally: It is raining. I do not like it.

While ample for a brief neighborly exchange, such remarks do not suggest a broad or deep intelligence. Yet it has occurred to me that there may be more wisdom in birds than appears at first sight, a wisdom that reveals itself only obliquely and intermittently,

Piranesi by 

Some Desperate Glory (2023, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 5 stars

All her life Kyr has trained for the day she can avenge the murder of …

Dark but not heavy

5 stars

This book really stuck with me after reading it. I had to stop reading it before bed because I would stay up too late reading it, which is a trait I cherish in a book and is also hard to pull off in a book with such heavy themes -- brainwashing, abuse, reproductive coercion, war,.... And the characters were so well articulated. I really live for books where characters seem like actual humans who are capable of being really truly horrible to each other and also capable of kindness and growth.

Worker Cooperatives in America (Hardcover, 1984, University of California Press) No rating

This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California …

But worker cooperatives, no matter how successful they might be, cannot be seen as an end in themselves when they are located with a capitalist economy. In the best circumstances, the forestry worker cooperatives of the Northwest may provide examples of something more vital -- of how people who organize in cooperative and egalitarian ways can reach out to more oppressed and exploited people around then and demonstrate a viable alternative to traditional work organizations.

Worker Cooperatives in America by ,

A Winter's Promise (Hardcover, 2018) 4 stars

Volume 1 of The Mirror Visitor Quartet

Winner of the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire

Where …

like re-reading a childhood favorite

5 stars

I think on some spiritual level, even though this wasn't published until I was an adult, I feel like I read and loved this as a young teen. Reading it now felt like wrapping myself in the coziest blanket of imaginary nostaliga. I stayed up late reading this and read it instead of doing other things I needed to do. It's been a very long time since I have felt this immersed in a world.

It reminded me a little of The Goblin Emperor in its depth of humanity, and its portrayal of cruelty that doesn't make light of it, and, weirdly, I feel like there's some backstory parallels with Gideon the Ninth, although it couldn't be more differently tonally.

There were times were I did find it a little moralizing, and when the writing rang a bit off, but I loved it very much and if you don't …

The Vegetarian Flavor Bible (Hardcover, 2014) 5 stars

Throughout time, people have chosen to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet for a variety …


5 stars

If I could only own one cookbook, it would be this, which isn't actually a cookbook, but rather an encyclopedia of what flavors go with what. I have one ingredient in mind that I'm excited to bake with, and I can look it up and get a comprehensive list of what will go well with it. A particularly good outcome was bread with preserved lemons, fennel seeds, and green olives.

The Sumerians (Paperback, 1971, University Of Chicago Press) No rating

The Sumerians, the pragmatic and gifted people who preceded the Semites in the land first …

... near the very beginning of the document, one of these worthies addresses the other as follows:

You dolt, numbskull, school pest, you illiterate, you Sumerian ignoramus, you hand is terrible; it cannot even hold the stylus properly; it is unfit for writing and cannot take dictation. (And yet you say) you are a scribe like me.

To this the other worthy answers:

What do you mean I am not a scribe like you? When you write a document it makes no sense. When you write a letter it is illegible. You go to divide up an estate, but are unable to divide up the estate. For when you go to survey the field, you can't hold the measuring line. You can't hold a nail in your hand; you have no sense. You don't know how to arbitrate between contesting parties; you aggravate the struggle between brothers. You are one of the most incompetent of tablet writers. What are you fit for, can any one say?

The Sumerians by 

"you Sumerian ignoramus" is perhaps the greatest insult I have ever read, just an incredible document of diss tracks from antiquity

The Witness for the Dead (Hardcover, 2021, Tor Books) 4 stars

A standalone novel in the fantastic world of Katherine Addison's award-winning The Goblin Emperor.

When …

a beautiful world to exist in

4 stars

This was one of those books that when it ended, I missed getting to be in the world. It has a kind of understated, slice-of-life feel, with a lot of detail and reverence paid to the minutia of daily life and community relationships, that felt more prominent to me than the murder mysteries. Addison writes with an immense amout of compassion and tenderness, and for me that is what makes this book, and The Goblin Emperor, transcend what they would be on their face, in terms of plot.

The writing style drops you into the cultural nuances of the society largely without explanation, and you can infer, for example, what different honorifics mean through context. I really really like this and I think overall its very well done, but I think it would be more daunting if I hadn't already read The Goblin Emperor, and there were some …