“Lady Susan”: Jane Austen’s First Work of Significant Length

Jane Austen’s “Lady Susan” is intriguing if only for the format it is written. Austen chose to write the novel as a series of letters between the people involved in the plot. This approach is interesting to me for a couple reasons: first, there is no narrator; second, we become intimately familiar with all the players without ever having a description of them. We get a clear sense of their motivation by reading their correspondence with those closest to them.

What I will say in criticism is that the ending has not been fully fleshed out. Understandably so, as Austen never intended for the novel to be published. Had she herself put it forward for publication I’m sure more attention would have been put on the details of the conclusion. That being said, the ending was rather unsatisfactory. The reader is not given much indication at all of what happens to the characters they have become attached to.

Allie Brosh’s “Hyperbole and a Half”

Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and  a Half shines a much needed light on mental health issues and provides an in-depth look into what it feels like to suffer from depression and anxiety. It’s chaotic and confusing and often profoundly sad. However, Brosh takes this delicate subject and injects comedy which allows the reader to not be afraid of relating to the book. I am grateful this book exists and applaud Brosh for having the guts to make herself so vulnerable — she is an inspiration.

You should read this book if: you suffer from depression and/or anxiety, you know someone who is dealing with or has dealt with mental health issues, you are human.

You can find it here: http://tinyurl.com/lnmpstx

Kat Kruger’s “The Night Has Teeth”

Kat Kruger’s The Night Has Teeth is a cornucopia of emotions.  I enjoyed it fantastically. Kruger has an easy and comfortable way with words.   Her novel`s voice is confident and I was rapidly lulled in to a cozy world of fantasy.  Kruger never lets you settle; whatever theories you may have are constantly being uprooted.  The reader experiences the story directly from the main character, Conner’s, point of view.  Thus, as his perceptions and ideas shift, so did mine.

There are two sides to every story, as the saying goes, and this expression definitely applies to Kurger’s novel. This aspect of the story means that I can empathize with Conner as he works to determine the right thing to do.  His decisions are not made lightly; he weighs each option carefully before making decisions.  Because of this, Conner is a role-model for young adults.  Although his life is fantastical, the idea of sorting through life’s intricacies is one that always applies in any reality.

As I was nearing the end of the novel, my mind was already thinking about what was to come in the next book in the series.  It was extremely tempting to pick up The Night Has Claws, the second book in The Magdeburg Trilogy.  I resisted, however, so that my review would be unbiased by how the story continues in book two.  But, because I am itching to dig in to the second book, I know The Night Has Teeth is a wonderful book written by an adept author from whom great things can be expected.  Everyone should read it so go out and get yourself a copy forthwith (follow this link to get yours: http://tinyurl.com/kuy6mlg)!

H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”

I thought this was going to be an easy read, but boy was I wrong!  It took me quite a while to get in to this story.  I was often confused about what was happening and I often found myself wondering why such mundane details were included.  It felt as if Lovecraft started telling one story (about Charles Ward), and then was all of a sudden more excited about a different one (about Joseph Curwen).  As the story progressed, and the story of Joseph Curwen began to unfold, the details I had discounted earlier as irrelevant, began to become significant and the story started gaining momentum. Lovecraft has a nifty way of tying the story together. For this reason, I think the story is genius. At least in terms of story structure.  However, I don’t agree with the book’s title.  This is not the story of Charles Ward.  In truth, the story is about Joseph Curwen told through the life of Charles Ward.  If you’re interested in working through a story, then this book is for you. But you need to be prepared to pay attention and work because this is a demanding book.

Fun in the Kitchen

My husband and I have always loved being in the kitchen together, it was one of the first things we bonded over. I grew up in the kitchen; some of my fondest memories are from working with my mom, dad, and grandparents in the kitchen. I spend a lot of time collecting recipes from all over the world. We love trying new things and exploring other cultures. Although I love following recipes because it’s sort of like sharing an experience with the author, recently, we’ve been cooking without a recipe.

Today, for lunch, I spent some time freestyle cooking and was really pleased with the outcome. It’s always satisfying when something you prepare yourself tastes good. My husband urged me to share my recipe with all of you and so I’ve included it in this post. If any of you try it, please let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your recipes too — I’m always looking for something good to eat.


Tuna Rice Paper Wraps with Citrus Feta Dip

Citrus Feta Dip

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp lime juice

1/2 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp Sambal Oelek

¼ cup crumbled feta

Salt and Pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to small bowl and mix to desired consistency.

Tuna Rice Paper Wraps

1 pkg Rice Paper

2 cups Vermicelli

Boiling Water

1 Carrot

1 Avocado

1 cup Lettuce, shredded

1 small Cucumber

2 tbsp Capers

2 tbsp sliced Olives

1 can Tuna, drained

1. In medium bowl pour boiling water over vermicelli. Set aside to cook. Fill large bowl with hot water. Set aside.

2. Cut carrot, avocado, and cucumber in strips. Arrange on platter with lettuce, capers, olives, and tuna.

4. Place rice paper sheet in hot water and soak until just pliable. Hold the sheet up and let some of the water drip off. Place the sheet on flat surface and begin putting ingredients into the center of the sheet. Fold an end up. Fold one side over and squeeze and roll wrap, folding the other end in as you go. Serve wraps with Citrus Feta Dip.