A friend gave me the idea to blog as we travel. I’ve been lax with this blog recently, and I hope that switching platforms (from WordPress to Octopress) will spur me to write more.
Here’s a quick list of some of the things this year that I enjoyed the most. The films, TV episodes, music and moments are all chosen from 2013. However, as I mainly read “older” books this year, the books were from whenever – I just read them this year.
- Ozymandias (Breaking Bad, S5 E14)
- The Rains of Castamere (Game of Thrones, S3 E09)
- In The Flesh (mini-series)
- The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
- I, Claudius by Robert Graves
- The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
- The death of DOMA/Prop 8 being struck down, and subsequent marriage
- Getting a green card
- Cruise to Alaska and Glacier Bay National Park
- Vaughan, Brian K – Y: The Last Man – 7.0
- West, Nathanael – The Day of the Locust – 7.5
- Xinran – Sky Burial – 6.9
- Yates, Richard – Revolutionary Road – 8.6
- Zeltserman, Dave – The Caretaker of Lorne Field – 7.3
There’s a couple of things worth mentioning about these last few letters of the alphabet. X and Z were surprisingly good considering they were “throwaway” letters.
I couldn’t help comparing Revolutionary Road with Rabbit, Run. They had broadly similar themes, in my head. Unhappy couples in the 1950s/60s who live dull lives. I thought Revolutionary Road did this far, far better. I understood the characters. Updike seemed to write off Rabbit’s wife as unexplainable – she was incredibly two-dimensional. Compared with April Wheeler, which was a very sympathetic portrait of a woman trapped in a life she didn’t enjoy.
Anyway, I’ll do a longer wrap-up post this weekend on LIFE-LESSONS and such.
- Saramago, José – Blindness – 8.0
- Thompson, Hunter S – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – 8.2
- Updike, John – Rabbit, Run – 6.8
Two things. First, I really didn’t understand Rabbit, Run and I need to find someone who’s read that (and preferably the other ones in the series) to discuss it with.
Second, I’m almost there! Just four more letters left. I think I’ll make it before 2014 starts. I must admit, this challenge wasn’t as satisfying as War and Peace. It’s been good to get to some new authors, but I’ve found myself wanting to stray too much. At least with War and Peace I could still read other books.
At Local Edition on Market at 3rd, there’s a nice bourbon-based cocktail called the Brass Check. I think it’s my favourite on their menu. The grapefruit comes through, but the syrup softens it so it’s not too sour. The Rosebud is pretty good, too.
- Buffalo Trace Bourbon
- Maple syrup
When you eat at a fancy restaurant (or at least a restaurant with a world-renowned chef), you have to get the weirdest thing on the menu. That chef (or restaurant) is famous for a reason – it creates flavour profiles that are going to be pleasing. So why waste your time on something standard?
That philosophy was how I ended up getting the Breakfast of Champions cocktail, pictured above, at ad hoc the other weekend. Ingredients:
- St George Botanivore gin
- Fruit Loop-infused milk
- Egg white
It was so. bloody. delicious. In fact, I called the bartender over to congratulate him. The cocktail had only been on the menu for about a week, and he seemed chuffed with my praise. He even brought over some of the milk for us to try.
The cocktail itself was a more floral/fruity version of a standard sour drink. It wasn’t too heavy and didn’t have that gross milk aftertaste. It was seriously good. I must figure out how to make it at home.
Seriously, at nice restaurants always try something you think sounds gross.
- Morrison, Toni – The Bluest Eye – 7.6/10
- Naipaul, V.S. – A House for Mr Biswas – 8.3/10
- O’Brien, Flann – At Swim-Two-Birds – 2.1/10 °
As I’m just over half-way through the alphabet, I’m going to do a top five books so far:
5) In Cold Blood – Capote 4) Under the Skin – Faber 3) Dubliners – Joyce 2) A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Eggers 1) I, Claudius – Graves
° I couldn’t even finish it. I made it to the half-way point, then had to stop. The book is supposed to be (partly) a take on Joyce, but I found the obfuscated narrative unreadable. Maybe this is what Finnegan’s Wake is like?