Wednesday, October 9, 2013

600 Watercolor Mixes

So I'm reading this book called 600 Watercolor Mixes by Sharon Finmark. 

I love color.  More than anyone else I know.  When I was in preschool and kindergarten I much preferred dumping out my Crayola 64 box and resorting the crayons by color to actually coloring anything.  I confess I still do something like that most days.  My favorite game app is called Blendoku (available at Android Market and the App Store).  You are given a template of blank squares and enough colored tiles to fill in every blank.  The trick is you need to position the colors in order.  What order?  It depends on the puzzle.  Sometimes it's by shade, sometimes by tone, sometimes (when it's easy) just by color.  My friends look at the easy levels and laugh and say, "Lame.  That's so easy."  Then they look at the medium levels and they're like, "Whaa? I don't get it," while they walk away.  :)  I dabbled a little bit in watercolors in high school and college.  This was when I discovered that what I really loved were the colors themselves, just like my old box of barely used Crayola 64.

I'm dipping into Finmark's book a little at a time.  What she's doing here is explaining how to effectively mix watercolor paints to achieve shimmering, lifelike, three dimensional images.  Along the way she also explains some more difficult to grasp concepts of color theory.  It's like music theory's pretty little sister.  There are finished paintings that beautifully represent what she is trying to teach in each chapter.  There are also loads and loads of color swatches.  I find myself staring at those more often than the finished pictures.  The perfect green, a cool grey purple, pink so deep it looks like the heart of a peony.  I love it. 

This book is a must own for colorphiles (like me!), watercolor dilettantes, and people who wished they had paid better attention in art class.  Get it! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Halloween: Magic, Mystery and the Macabre

As a connoisseur of weird short fiction will, and Halloween themed anthologies in particular, I was so looking forward to reading this.

It seems like every Halloween anthology I own starts with a scholarly retelling of the origins of Halloween or the history of its celebration in the US. That was fine for a while but it's long lost its appeal, at least to me.  Paula Guran doesn't fall into that trap.  She's not afraid to get into a little of the religious background on the celebration of All Saint's Day and then All Souls.  As someone who grew up celebrating all three I thought that was pretty engaging.

Her introduction struck me as the kind of thing a hostess might say before inviting her guests to indulge themselves in a buffet, if you will, of darkly delicious treats.

I read this book much like I'd eat at an actual buffet. I started with something familiar: Caitlin R. Kiernan taking us off planet to a dystopian future still celebrating with hollowed out gourds.  I ventured to the exotic (at least to me) Laird Barron and an ominous first date. There were a few dishes I didn't care to finish after my first taste. There were also stories that left me wanting seconds like Jonathan Mayberry's offering. Apparently a sequel, it relates the story of  a good  soldier coming home to a ruined town.  I'll need to track down whatever it was a sequel to.

I love autumn. Crisp days, rainy mornings, college football, soup and Halloween. Perfection!

Soup Night

So I've just finished reading Soup Night by Maggie Stuckey.

What a wonderful book for the first full week of autumn!

Stuckey has accomplished what cookbook readers most desire. She's told an engaging story about how sitting down to share a simple soup meal has the power to bind a neighborhood.  She's also shared delicious, simple and wonderfully unique recipes.  If you're soup obsessed like I am you already know what a challenge it is to find recipes that are actually new.  I have three or four soup cookbooks that probably only have seven unique recipes between them. The choices here are almost overwhelming. In fact, I had a hard time choosing which one to make first, but I think it's going to be the chipotle sweet potato soup. I'd really love to try the pear and blue cheese tonight, too, but I'm not sure that will be Bink's favorite.

I'll report back with results but I'm sure the sweet potato is going to be a hit.

I would definitely say this book is a MUST OWN for soup lovers, community organizers, neighborhood captains, and anyone who faces the prospect of preparing delicious food for a big crowd.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hi! Welcome!

I'm larissamorn.  My husband BayouBink and I are Readers. Our kids are, too, as well as our folks.

When I was a girl my mom kept my early appetite for books stimulated. Every summer she'd pull out a tiny three ring binder ( no kidding, this thing was miniature, maybe 4x3in) and keep a list of everything I read.  I would compete with my last-summer-self and read more, and more challenging, books every year.  She stopped keeping the list by the time I was in high school but by then my summer reading habit was ingrained and entirely self-sustaining.

Bink's mom was a librarian and his dad a college professor. A love of books came standard in his DNA.  He somehow found time to read lots of books in between watching lots of college football and playing lots of baseball.  Nowadays he still finds time to read lots of books in between watching lots of college football and playing lots of video games.

For a long time after finishing my college career I dreamed of finding a job as a professional reader.  I never pursued it past the dreaming stage and ended up in a career that has absolutely nothing to do with books.  When the opportunity to go semi-pro presented itself I jumped in headfirst.  Bink was right behind me, " get to read books that haven't been published yet? And publishers just send them to you? Heck yeah!!" Followed of course by a hearty high-five.

Thanks for coming along with us on this adventure.  We'll be posting weekly (at least) and keeping you abreast of whatever we're reading. I'm sure we'll reminisce about some of our past book-loves, too.  You'll definitely get to know us by our very different tastes and writing styles.  Bink loves historical fiction and latches onto a good series like a lamprey.  He's also very terse. In fact, he would never even say "very terse." Just "terse." I'm practically florid in comparison.  I'm a sucker for short stories, all manner of nonfiction and I'm also down to get much darker than Bink is willing to go.

We can't wait to get started so if you'll excuse us for a moment there's this book we're reading...