October 4, 2011

Tried but Not True: Or Books Abandoned

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I'm usually good at reading only the books I enjoy but there are times when reading a book becomes a chore. Sometimes these books are abandoned. The following are a couple of abandoned books.

funny pictures of cats with captions

Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O'Toole. This was a book club pick. I knew early on I was in trouble. I would find just about any excuse not to read it and fell way behind schedule. It's one of those books where either you get it or you don't. Just like the fish slapping skit from Monty Python, either you think it's hilarious or stupid. I couldn't take Ignatius. Or his mom. It was too much.

Tris and Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison. It's Tristan and Isolde. In High School! I thought this would be fun. I love the Tristan and Isolde folklore and that movie with a brooding James Franco so I thought I'd love this book too. Izzie and her boyfriend Mark King (ha!) are uber popular (or as Whitney would say uber pop-pop). And she has secret magical powers. In chapter one, Izzie has an awkward confrontation with some boy who has a magic wine bottle. She was so snooty about it. She pretty much lost me when she ponders whether or not she should have her boyfriend 'exile' him. Exile. Hmm. That was it for me. Maybe you just can't do Tristan and Isolde in high school. (from Netgalley)

The next one wasn't abandoned since it was a cookbook and I did three recipes from it. However, I decided to put all my negativity into one superific post.

The Treats Truck Baking Book by Kim Ima. First the good, this cookbook is so cute! I loved the retro designs and how the recipes were laid out but pretty will only get you so far. I tried 3 recipes, each a failure in its own way. When I review a cookbook, I follow the recipes exactly unless there are discrepancies. There are times when I think to myself, "I would do this or add that instead." Still, I stick to what is printed for the first try. Maybe these recipes could be improved with a few of those changes. Instinct can make all the difference.

1. Lemon Squares. I love lemon squares but these didn't cut it. First, the oven temperature was missing from my copy so I just assumed it was 350. Then there was too much mixture for the pan size recommended but I squeezed it in there anyway. My daughter's verdict: too mushy. They may have been better in a bigger pan. Then again, maybe not. They were really sweet too.
2. Brownies. These were good but crumbly. I didn't need to cut them. We all just broke pieces off.
3. Pumpkin Swirl Cookies. Everything was fine until I went to roll them, like a jellyroll, and instead of rolling it just folded and cracked. It made a gloppy, sticky mess and I had to throw the dough out. That was the most disappointing since at least we could eat the other experiments.

So I don't know what happened here but 3 out of 3 is enough to tell me this wasn't for me. Maybe the rest of the recipes are fine, I don't know. Maybe it was something I did, but it's pretty hard to screw up brownies. My verdict is that it's a gorgeous looking cookbook but I'll try her goodies if I'm ever in New York instead of making them. (from Netgalley)


13 comments :

  1. I couldn't finish Tris and Izzie either. I got a few chapters in before I had to move on.

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  2. That's not a good sign for a cookbook to go 0 for the first 3 recipes.
    I don't review cookbooks, but when I'm browsing them in the store my rule of thumb is if I find two or three recipes right away worth trying then I will purchase it. Some of those recipes turn out, some not, but by the time I have the book at home I've found other good recipes in it.

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  3. I'm sorry to see A Confederacy of Dunces didn't work for you - I loved it when I read it years ago. The other books are new to me.

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  4. I love reading these kind of posts - makes me feel better about all those books I've deluded myself into thinking I'll finish one day!

    I had to laugh (at myself) when I read "it's pretty hard to screw up brownies." I am known by all my friends and family to be an excellent baker (why, thank you), but for some reason I could never make brownies. They just would not cook properly no matter what I tried. I nearly gave up, until I trued a Bill Granger recipe and it works perfectly every time! I never deviate to a different recipe though. Don't mess with what works, right? :)

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  5. Rachel- It isn't getting good ratings on Goodreads either.

    Suzanne- I like reviewing cookbooks from Netgalley because I get to try them out before committing to them.

    Kathy- Our club was divided over it. Some loved it, others did not.

    Shannon- Brownies are your Achilles Heel! Mine is boiling eggs. I can never get my eggs right and I've tried every technique I've found.

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  6. I felt the exact same about Confederacy of Dunces. I finished it, but I hated it. I have a friend who adores it, so I think you're right about the get it or don't get it factor.

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  7. Nooooooo, not Confederacy of Dunces. It's one of my two favorite books ever (along with Gone with the Wind!. I can understand how Ignatius is polarizing though.

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  8. I really enjoyed A Confederacy of Dunces and at the same time was grossed out by it. Kind of brilliant in an appalling way. I can certainly see why it wouldn't thrill everyone!

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  9. I adore Lemon Squares and hate when they go wrong.

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  10. Melissa- I think you can tell from the comments, that seems to be the experience.

    Lola- lol! He definitely is.

    Bookfool- Grossed out is the right word.

    Bybee- I love Lemon Squares, usually.

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  11. Lately I've been abandoning books really really easily. It's much more rare that I finish one, sigh.

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  12. My book club read A Confederacy of Dunces last summer. Nearly everyone disliked it with a passion and some of them abandoned it as well. There were a couple of folks who really enjoyed it.

    -jehara

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  13. Cannot handle A Confederacy of Dunces. I've tried reading it a few times over the years and it just didn't work for me.

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