Saturday, April 28, 2012

My book selection criteria.

Television viewing has grown wearisome . . . filled with endless reality/nonsense shows, so I've been reading, and reading a lot.
But how do I select my library of books?
Well I have three measures that help me chose my books.
A) Front Cover - The cover is the first thing I see - that and the title.
However I can only think of one instance when the front cover was so compelling I knew I was going to get the book before even reading the blurb on the back . . .  Those Who Save Us, by Jeanna Blum.
The image of a young girl, I'm guess 4-5 years of age was wearing a red coat, kind of like one I remember having in Brooklyn.  It drew me! 
B) The back blurb is about 95% of the reason I select books. Rarely have I actually cracked one open in advance of buying it, rather base whether the book returns to shelves on what the blurb has to say.
C) Topic - I'm pretty consistent in this regard.
I'm a strident Holocaust-aholic, reading everything I can get my hands on.  And also enjoy books that have jewish characters. ex: The Midwife of Venice.
Religion comparison books, and those that knock religion are big on my list. ex: Dancing with Angels.
Fantasy books, and no I'm not talking x-rated. Harry Potter and books about dragons get me. I have yet to dabble into vampires.
And lastly books set in the orient. I find those so fascinating. Memoirs of a Geisha,  Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
On occasion I do select books outside my norm, i.e. The Glass Castle, The Da Vinci Code, and am always interested in memoirs.

I have a friend who never looks at the blurb on the back, but cracks open the book and reads the first page. IF that author writes in a style she likes AND catches her with a hook, she buys the book.

What about you, what makes or breaks a book being selected by you?

I'm just curious.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

When is it time to replace Gefilte Fish?

It's Passover this week and my family sat down to our traditional meal of chicken soup with matzo balls, chopped liver, gefilte fish etc.
To me those dishes ARE passover. But those dishes are also Rosh Hashana.
What I mean to say is that they define the holidays to me. I don't care a lick about the prayers but the food is as important as turkey is for Thanksgiving.
BUT not everyone shares my thoughts.
My sister and son want to modernize our menu. They're tired of the old tried and true. For them the holidays would survive a menu change, but I am a hold out.
I once heard that smells trip memories, but so do foods, and to me the taste of sweet gefilte fish or dill laced chicken soup with big fluffy matzo balls bring me back to a table I sat at with two parents and five siblings.
I fear the replacement would weaken that memory.
I think I would be willing to bypass all the other dishes, but not the chicken soup or gefilte fish.
I'll give it a try for the next holiday.
But between you and me, I wish I didn't have to.