reading recap: april 2016

All right, everybody. I didn’t finish any books in April. I have a good reason:

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I am moving to SINGAPORE!

My husband will be the new assistant professor of composition at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music at the National University of Singapore this fall. I’m so, so proud of him and so excited for this adventure! So as you can imagine, there is a lot of preparation to do for this upcoming international move. You’ll have to forgive me for not posting lately and I may not finish any books in May either… maybe one by the end of June?? But yeah, writing blog posts and getting through books is the least of my concerns at the moment. There will be LOTS of time on the plane ride out there… and when I arrive jobless… for reading, haha!

I still love to see what others are reading, though! What did you read in April? Who’s ready for summer to start!?

kitchen confidential (audio)

On the drive up to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving, my husband and I listened to Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, read by the author. Edited from Goodreads:

A deliciously funny, delectably shocking banquet of wild-but-true tales of life in the culinary trade from Chef Anthony Bourdain, laying out his more than a quarter-century of drugs, sex, and haute cuisine.

Bourdain gives away secrets of the trade in his wickedly funny, inspiring memoir/expose. Kitchen Confidential reveals what Bourdain calls “twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine.”

I had already read this on paperback in 2012 and loved it. Nick has been a fan of Bourdain’s tv shows, so I thought this would be something great for both of us. And it was! Even better on audio than on paper, as expected when read by Bourdain himself. Here’s some of my review from 2012, which I still feel about the book:

Part memoir, part exposé, part editorial, Kitchen Confidential was totally engrossing for me. Bourdain brazenly describes his inflated self-confidence and youthful pride, while admirably owning up to mistakes, failures, and shameful moments in his career. He gives credit where it is deserved and shows honest appreciation for hard work, dedication, and tenacity in the kitchen. Bourdain knows he is not a perfect chef—or human being, for that matter. I like how Bourdain did not gussy up his writing with too-unusual terms or flowery language. He rhapsodizes about food, of course, but in a genuine, down-to-earth way. After all the descriptions of how nasty, chaotic, and vulgar restaurant employees and kitchens are (in Bourdain’s experience), I really loved the chapter about Scott Bryan and his kitchen.

A section that really stood out this time around for me on audio was the “day in the life of a chef” chapter—just the relentless pace and stress of it was mind-boggling. I wasn’t quite as shocked by the behind-the-scenes kitchen reveals, but the tips for restaurant dining (don’t order fish specials on Mondays, etc.) were interesting… I wonder how many still hold up today, 15 years after the book’s original publication.

Kitchen Confidential is not PC—plenty of vulgar language and stupid behavior—and a seriously entertaining read. I still haven’t gotten around to any of his other, newer books; I better get on that!

Listened to audiobook from November 22 to 25, 2015.

denver anniversary trip

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know we’ve been through Denver before, when Nick was a fellow at the Aspen Festival in 2013, but we didn’t spend much time in the city—just passed through. This time, we went to celebrate our anniversary with a Slash concert, and we had a really fun visit.

We drove in on Thursday, and immediately went to the nearest brewery, Station 26 Brewing Co. They don’t serve food, but the Meatball. food truck was there. The next day we shopped at Tattered Cover Books and Twist and Shout and came out with a real nice haul of books and records:

tattered twitstmedia haul

After shopping, we hit up the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, which had a Marilyn Minter exhibit throughout the building (plus me in an egg):

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Before the concert, we had beers and dinner at Vine Street Pub & Brewery, just a mile from the Fillmore Auditorium where Slash was playing.
fillmoreThen on Saturday, we hit up Voodoo Doughnut for breakfast. Nick had already been to it in Portland, but this was my first time. We had the Pot Hole, the Diablos Rex, and a Memphis Mafia, which was so massive we saved it for breakfast the next day! Delicious. After the donuts, we wandered around the 16th Street Mall for a bit, where there was a zombie festival just getting started. There were djs, stations for makeup and accessories, fashion runways being set up, and tons of people in costumes all over the place. Generally, the area was a bit “touristy” for us, but all the zombie stuff was pretty cool.

saturday

After the mall, we went back over to Station 26 Brewing Co. to meet up with a couple of friends from grad school who had moved to Denver. We were having such a good time we stayed the whole evening.

I wish I could have had one more day in Denver! It was a wonderful trip.

madison audiobooks

My husband and I just got back from six wonderful days in Wisconsin, visiting family and having a ton of fun! Of course I forgot my camera, so there are no pictures. We listened to two audiobooks on the road, one new to me and one I read on paper last year. Both of these were absolutely perfect for the car.

On the way up we heard The Daily Show crew read America: The Audiobook. Sigh, I miss Jon Stewart already. Although America is slightly out of date now (released in 2004), it was still a fun and funny look at our political history. I loved how it was a group effort, with not only Stewart narrating but also Stephen Colbert, Ed Helms, Samantha Bee, and more. The only bummer was that it was abridged, which I generally try to avoid, but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything here. [Listened to audiobook on August 11, 2015.]

During our drive home we listened to Rob Delaney’s Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. I loved it as much as I loved it last year when I read it on hardcover (my review), but I enjoyed it even more hearing Delaney narrate. He’s just the best! I hope to have a chance to watch his new show Catastrophe soon, too. [Listened to audiobook on August 16, 2015.]

it’s monday! what are you reading?

It’s Monday, what are you reading?—a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It’s Monday once again, and I’m (once again) heading up to Wisconsin this week! This time it’s to celebrate the birthdays of my mom and my little niece (her first). I’m hoping to get to Devil’s Lake, Vitense putt putt, a beer at Weary Traveler, Jazz at Five, Cash Box Kings at the Terrace, and a bunch of other fun south-central Wisconsin stuff I haven’t had a chance to do in years. Should be a great trip!

DSC04243I’ve downloaded a couple of audiobooks (Mother. Wife. Sister. … by Rob DelaneyAmerica (The Book) by Jon Stewart (miss you already)) for the drive, but I was a little befuddled by what to read on paper next. I did start The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan, but I’m not sure I want to bring that out of town (library book). So to round out that non-fiction, I chose to start An Untamed State by Roxane Gay as well over the weekend. So far I’m completely hooked… I’ll bring it along up north but figure I likely won’t have much time to read it!

What are you reading this week?

it’s monday! what are you reading?

It’s Monday, what are you reading?—a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Last week was insane, with KC Fringe Festival happening! I saw and reviewed nine shows total (more on that Wednesday). I’m exhausted! But it was so much fun, as always. Tonight I’m going out to send off a friend who is moving to Wisconsin. Not far, though! I’m sure we’ll see him either back in KC or when we visit Wisconsin.

DSC04243I mentioned last week that I found my old mass market paperback copy of Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton at my folks’ house when I was up there a couple weeks ago, and well, I just couldn’t wait to dive in. I’m only about 25% in and already has triggered some great memories of my mom reading it to me first on a road trip, then rereading it at my grandparents’ house in Green Bay. I love how books can transport you to where you bought it, or where you were the first (or second) time you read it!

What are you reading this week?