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An old friend

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Per a suggestion in my comments (thanks Jenn), I enjoyed a relaxing afternoon in Cranbury this past weekend, spending over an hour in a really cool used bookstore, previously unknown to me, called the Cranbury Bookworm.

The place is an old house with almost every inch of wall space in most of the rooms and closets, upstairs and downstairs, covered with rows and rows of wonderfully musty-smelling used books.

Naturally, I gravitated toward the science fiction section, alphabetically zeroing in on the letter H. There’s just something about Robert Heinlein’s books that are just so comforting to me. Three more of his books are now on my shelf, and I’ve started to read Job: A Comedy of Justice.

Every time I read or re-read or (re-re-read) one of his books, it really does feel like I’m visiting an old friend. It’s a good thing that he was so prolific.

…time for me to burn through a few more chapters before nodding off.

Guess what I'm reading?

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 Foolish man. You cannot turn me into a phantom because you are frightened. You do not dismiss a muse at whim. If you will not join me—then I will come to you.

Feel free to leave your guess in the comments…

With the pages of book four of this trilogy (yes, it’s one of those) now having passed through my greedy fingers, I am reminded how incredibly inspiring, intriguing, and engaging this author’s work is. When I read the first three books five years ago, I enjoyed them, but now I am experiencing this series with different eyes (in some sense, literally), and I am blown away.

No other collection of works I have read have provided me with such profound multi-sensory pleasure. (Hey, get ’yer mind out of the gutter; I didn’t mean that.)

I will certainly blog about this after I have read book six (and most likely start re-re-reading book one). In fact, I have already noticed this artist’s “ephemeral” influence starting to creep into the mock-ups for this site’s evolutionary redesign.

Cooking to Hook Up?

I noticed that a few bloggers had taken the What Kind of Girl Are You? quizlet (via LiL, via wolfangel, via Profgrrrrl, etc.). The quiz is actually a sales vehicle for a book with a somewhat intriguing premise, Cooking to Hook Up: The Bachelor’s Date-Night Cookbook. After taking the “for guys” version of the quiz with a hypothetical girl in mind (Indie/Progressive hybrid), I actually bought the book. (I needed something to push me up into “Super Saver Shipping” territory after adding Jon Stewart’s America (The Book) to my cart.)

Cooking to Hook Up cover

Cooking to Hook Up presents ten categories of women—Girl Next Door, Party Girl, Athletic Girl, Academic Girl, Progressive Girl, Indie Girl, Granola Girl, Career Girl, Uptown Girl, Gourmet Girl, and 45 hybrids. It then recommends a number of dinner plans tailored to each “type” with varying levels of difficulty.

Once you get past the title and the questionable notion that a potential significant other could be so neatly categorized, Cooking to Hook Up is an eclectic, novel collection of fifty dinner menus, music suggestions, and even footwear recommendations (?). One advantage that this book has over other cookbooks I own is that it focuses on the entire meal, including recipes for each course, food prep pacing tips, and what to grab from the liquor store. While I have, on occasion, caused a few mouths to water with my culinary prowess, I have little experience planning a multi-course meal because I am usually cooking for myself and only bother putting substantial effort into the entrée, so I really appreciate this aspect of the book.

While the book is pretty specific about recommending certain meals and approaches for certain categories of women, I imagine that it would be no great tragedy if one prepared, for example, “Pesto Swordfish over Capellini” (a Progressive Girl dinner) for an Academic Girl. The key here, it seems, is not to get too hung up on the book’s theme and just have fun with the gastronomic experimentation.

Going beyond the recipes, the book even dishes out apartment preparation advice that ranges from the useful (proper place settings), to the obvious (scrub down your bathroom from top to bottom), to the ridiculous (throw or lock away any stuffed animals because she will assume they came from a previous girlfriend).

The book, optimistically, does not end with dinner. The “Florentine Omelet” (another Progressive Girl dish) looks like it would be quite the yummy breakfast in bed.

Cooking to Hook Up won’t quite supplant my favorite cookbook on my bookshelf, but I can’t wait until my diet has run its course, and I can try out a few of its recipes, preferably sharing them with an Indie Girl, or a Progressive Girl, or an Academic Girl, or….

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