Radreffies' blogs

All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion, the

Lower East Side librarian - Fri, 12/27/2013 - 4:36pm
author:  Flagg, Fannie

Fannie Flagg novels always go down easy and are southern charming as all get-out. All-Girl centers on a 60-year-old woman who finds out she's not southern, at least not in the southern way of knowing who your people are a few generations back. It's also about Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). Unless you're a real crankypants, you should be moved by protagonist Sookie Poole's evolution, the WASPs accomplishments, or both. I sniffled quite a bit reading about the titular event while riding a New Jersey transit train home from Jewish Christmas.

reviewdate:  Dec 25 2013 isn:  978-0-8129-9463-6

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Teatime for the Firefly

Lower East Side librarian - Thu, 12/26/2013 - 9:10pm
author:  Patel, Shona

The publisher is Harlequin MIRA, but it didn't occur to me when I originally read a review of this book that it was a romance. I'm still not sure if that was the intent, because, finding the protagonist and her love interest annoying, I put the book down 200 or so pages in. The MIRA imprint is meant to encompass literary and genres aside from romance, for women.

reviewdate:  Dec 23 2013 isn:  978-0-7783-1547-6

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Bogota, Bogota, Bogota.....

World of Cherie - Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:06am
"You're going to get robbed." 

This is what many people told Wayne and I when we announced our intentions for our Christmas trip to be in Colombia. Oh, Bogota was SO dangerous. We were going to get mugged, kidnapped, or worse. And yes, it does happen at times, and we were paranoid at times, uber cautious. And happily, everything turned out okay.

We landed in a rainstorm. Our cabbie (who ripped us off, which seems to happen way too often with Colombia cabbies) told me that it normally doesn't rain this much. It basically rains every single day, for a short while. But today, it was pouring for way too long.

We got into our hotel, Casa Platypus. We had a cute room on the 2nd floor (about 140-150 pesos). I had a wicked migraine from not sleeping the night before (We stayed up all night to pack and clean our apt.), so we basically went out in the pouring rain to the closest restaurant, which was actually pretty good. The walls were covered with paintings of trolls and kitsch (ice skates, old irons, other random things). The food was pretty good. I basically collapsed into bed as soon as we got back.

In the morning, I went for a run. Duh. I ran down a pedestrian-only street a bunch of times, and got to see some pretty neat anti-war graffiti on the flower boxes. Wayne and I spent the morning in a lot of museums. El Museo del Oro was as boring as I thought it would be, but Wayne liked it. We discovered a bunch of fantastic museums, many of them free. We stumbled into a random vegetarian restaurant for lunch. We went back to Casa Platypus to regroup and the skies opened up. We cuddled in bed and read books until it relaxed, and then walked around the Candelaria, looking for a restaurant that had something vegetarian. We ended up at a random cafe with a space cadet American server. We walked around some more, then found a cute bar for the world's sweetest mojito and a beer for Wayne.

The next day, we took a field trip to Catedral de Sal. It was cool, but our tour was entirely in Spanish, I missed a lot of words, and Wayne knows zero Spanish. Wayne was excited to take Bogota's Bus Rapid Transit. The journey was long and we got back to Casa Platypus exhausted...but we should go to the church at the top of town! We quickly dumped some stuff and then headed out. We took the funicular up and the cable car down, and got to see the stages of the cross illuminated by fabulous Christmas lights - a little weird. The Christmas lights were amazing. We got pissed when we realized the ticket seller only sold us one-way tickets and pocked the difference. Tourist tax, sigh.

Our last morning in Bogota had me freaking out after my run that I lost my camera; it turns out, it was in Wayne's bag. Quickly, got ready, stowed out luggage, and headed out on a Bike Tour of Bogota. It was fantastic. My bike should have been put to rest a long time ago, and being nervous on a bike with crappy brakes, Wayne switched with me so I rode the less-sucky-but-still-not-great bike that he got. But the tour was fantastic. We learned a lot about Pablo Escobar's Colombia, the new Colombia, Galen, Gaitan, graffiti art, the red light district, went to a market and sampled wonderful fruit, visited a cemetery. It was really interesting. The only snafu was a woman on our tour thought it was acceptable to take photos of the prostitutes in the Red Light District, who were really angry and wanted to fight her. A little crazy. Why would you take a photo of someone who clearly did not want a photo to be taken of them?

Fascinating, art-filled, vibrant, energetic, polluted, literary, and fun. I did love Bogota, yes, I did.

Categories: Radreffies' blogs

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

Lower East Side librarian - Sun, 12/22/2013 - 3:25pm
author:  Knisley, Lucy

I'm not much of a foodie, but I do love graphic memoirs, so I was happy to receive Knisley's book from my homie C-Dog as a solstice (or whatever) gift. I found myself envying how Knisley's love of food and cooking shored up her relationships with parents and friends. As you may know, I also have a soft spot for anything period related, so I loved this passage:

A woman's body craved protein and iron.

< copyrighted image I can't reproduce >

I grew into my mother's cravings - the demands of my inherited body chemistry.

< copyrighted image where Lucy says, "Once a month I need spinach." and "Like a were-rabbit." >

reviewdate:  Dec 21 2013 isn:  978-1-59643-623-7

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Behind the Mountains

Lower East Side librarian - Sun, 12/22/2013 - 3:02pm
author:  Danticat, Edwidge

Danticat tells a story similar to her own, but set about twenty years later and with plenty of other elements to differentiate it from a fictionalized memoir, about a Haitian girl, Celiane, moving to the US and reuniting her family.

reviewdate:  Dec 19 2013 isn:  0-439-37299-2

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Bone Season

Lower East Side librarian - Sun, 12/22/2013 - 2:35pm
author:  Shannon, Samantha

In an alternate history clairvoyance is unnatural and a crime. Clairvoyants have to hide their power or risk being consigned to The Tower. It turns out there's something even worse than The Tower, an alternate government in Oxford, run by Rephaim, which Wikipedia and other sources define as giant spirits from the netherworld.

reviewdate:  Dec 17 2013 isn:  978-1-62040-140-8

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Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy

Lower East Side librarian - Sun, 12/15/2013 - 7:45pm
author:  Crawford, Lacy

She was already the daughter of a celebrity; an alumni connection could help only so much more. Why on earth hire an independent consultant, too? But then, there were Anne's clients: the parents who left nothing to chance. They refused to play with a deck that wasn't stacked. They'd raise a child unvaccinated before they'd consider letting him apply to college unaided.

Anne helps privileged (and one unprivileged) students get into college, mostly by working with them on their applications essays, but also a little bit by handling their families.

reviewdate:  Dec 11 2013 isn:  978-0-06-224061-3

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Lower East Side librarian - Sun, 12/15/2013 - 1:26pm

This is a listing of my zines, made and distributed by me.

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Frozen Bonsai Half-Marathon Left Me Frozen

World of Cherie - Thu, 12/12/2013 - 9:39am
Loops in Central Park? But why not when it's the Frozen Bonsai Half-Marathon, put on by the super duper awesome NYC Runs. And what else did I have to do, a day after running a 50k?

Photo by Ken Allen himself. My legs felt tired as I ran over the Pulaski to the 7 train, and as I ran to Central Park from the 6 train. Hmmmm.

When I got to the park, one of my NBR teammates said, "Oh, a half marathon? This is a walk in the park for you." I responded, "Literally, it will be." Literally because I could barely run, my legs were so tired. After the 50k the day before, my legs would be lucky if they could slog out 13.1 miles in a walk!

I started the race, joking around with whoever was around me. Mat Gerowitz was right by, and we began catching up, chatting, talking, laughing. After a few miles, he told me to go ahead.

I ran, and because it was so cold, never once looked at my Garmin. I decided I was running 10 minute miles, and hoped by some miracle I might break 2 hours. Not sure if that would happen.

I ended up meeting a nice guy, Leroy, and chatting with him the last few miles. Then a familiar bike came along - Wayne! "Hey, did the race start late?" Um, no, thanks for reminding me how slow I was. (Turns out, he thought the race started at 8:30 a.m., not 9:00 a.m.! Ha!)

I finished, miraculously, in 1:47. I say miraculously because that's a decent half time, especially since I have raced almost every weekend since September, and I ran a 50k the day before. Wooooo!

Freezing, I headed over to NYC Runs food area to eat some blueberries and bagels with cream cheese and strawberries and hot chocolate, and then went to meet my mom. What a cold day, some hills, but you know what? Awesome medal made it all worth it!

Categories: Radreffies' blogs

Staten Island Trail Festival: Race Report: Cold, Muddy, and a Mud Bath to Boot!

World of Cherie - Tue, 12/10/2013 - 11:30pm
I was going to fly out to San Francisco for the North Face 50 miler, but when I learned there was a race the same weekend in NYC, and I was traveling nearly every weekend prior, staying in town was a no brainer. Sign me up for the Staten Island Trail Festival! 50k please!

I headed out with some friends from my running club, all of whom were running the 25k. Beth and I planned on getting a ride home with someone running the 50k, unless he had to leave suddenly. Hmmm...we figured someone else from NYC would hopefully have room; if not, we could call Wayne and beg him or take a car service home. Oh, let's not worry about this during the race (okay, just a bit.), but just run.

The course consists of a 4 mile loop, then you do another big loop, and then repeat the second loop. Despite being Staten Island, there were some hills, lots and lots of mud, some pretty scenery. The aid stations were SUPER basic with bare bone minimum, but the volunteers were very friendly.

I started out feeling good, running with Matthew, who's a pretty tough runner, even when he's not even trying. We had fun chatting, catching up, laughing, telling stories. At one point, we began passing people who were behind us - seems like a bunch of people did a 3 mile loop instead of a 4 mile so...a little confusing but oh well.

After about 10 miles, we hit a hill and I decided to walk it and eat a gel. Matt kept running. He was in my sight for a long time and then he was not. I was bonking pretty bad; only gels don't sustain me and I wish I had packed mini bags of pretzels.

I got to the drop bag area and shoved a bunch of cookies in my mouth. I took off, walking it off, eating more animal crackers (I love bringing bags of animal crackers w me to races - they are carbs, a bit of sweetness, but plain enough to settle an upset stomach.). And then I began running. With strangers.

On a lollypop section, I saw Beth, Zandy, and Will were about a half mile behind me. "I want to run w you guys," I yelled. "Catch up w me."

I walked the hills, stretched, and ran. Eventually they caught up. We chatted, laughed, told stories. 

And then I fell in a pile of mud. Completely. Gloves, pants, shirt, skirt. UGH.

I finished, clearly muddified. But who cares? I was done. I put on warm clothes, and ate some brownies. Apparently, I was 1st in my age group. I didn't realize that until my friend told me later. Wooohooo! Let's eat. I was so cold and tired and hungry that I got home, hopped in a hot tub w Epsom salts and a sandwich. I ate and read and chilled in the tub. YAY.

Categories: Radreffies' blogs

Tofurkey Trot in Branford CT

World of Cherie - Tue, 12/10/2013 - 10:58pm
Turkey trots are funny. All these non-runners come out to run this 5k so "I can eat whatever I want today." Realistically, they're only burning about 300 calories, so they probably can't have too much.

Wayne and I ran the Turkey Trot in Branford. The course is flat with a few hills. We ran the race, finishing a few seconds within each other. Then I went out for a 5k cooldown, during which Wayne caught up with old friends and ate chowder.

And then we went to the feast that is known as Thanksgiving. That's all, folks. Run a little, smile, cheer everyone on, and then go eat. 
Categories: Radreffies' blogs

Channukah Chalf: The Coldest, Windiest, Most Miserable Race I Have Ever Run, and It Only a Half-Marathon

World of Cherie - Tue, 12/10/2013 - 10:55pm
Because I'm stupid, I signed up for the Channukah Half. "Oh look, there's an Oy Vey 10k and a Gelt 5k. This is the festival of lights race series! And put on by the beloved NYC Runs." I'm not Jewish, but I have a bacon-cheeseburger Jew as a brother-in-law (and don't tell him there's no such thing as a bacon-cheeseburger Jew), so I figured I'd do my part.

"Don't eat gelt. It sucks," he told me.

Okay, Brian. I'll just run the half instead.

As the days approached, I noticed how horrifying the weather reports were. Well, weather.com isn't always right,  right? 

Unfortunately, it was worse than you could have even imagined.

Cold. In the 20s, but feels colder. Windy. Wind gusts up to 50 mph. As the race was run along the water, spray from the water would come up and cover the entire race course, which would mean you'd be soaked. And then a gust of wind would come. It sucked. It was a double out and back, which meant it sucked worse in one direction (coming back). There were times I was running as fast as I could, and a glance at my Garmin would show me 10:30 pace. And then my Garmin showed some 6:50s. Ouch.

Tears down my face. I couldn't feel my hands. My feet. OMG I can't even move. This sucks so bad.

Then I finished. A volunteer frozenly handed me a heat sheet and Wayne put my down coat on over that. "C'mon, let's get you out of here."

I grabbed a salt bagel w frozen cream cheese and hot chocolate (Gotta love NYC Runs!) and stumbled to the car. The heat felt so good. I cried when I had to get out. Why? Why be someplace cold and miserable? This race sucked, I'm glad I did it, and I hope I'll never do a race that cold again.
Categories: Radreffies' blogs

Dark Currents

Lower East Side librarian - Sun, 12/08/2013 - 5:01pm
author:  Carey, Jacqueline

Carey's new paranormal series has a wide variety of magical creatures, including mermaids, norns (?) and your run-of-the-mill vampires and werewolves. The protagonist is a halfie, herself, a hell-spawn doing her best to not invoke her birthright and thereby destroying the world. She's also a file clerk at the local PD, doing supernatural detective work on the QT.

reviewdate:  Dec 6 2013 isn:  978-0-451-46478-1

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Brooklyn Marathon: Why the Hell Not?

World of Cherie - Mon, 12/02/2013 - 9:36pm
 It's really not a good idea to run a marathon the week after running a 24 hour race (and the week before that, doing a marathon, and the week before that doing another 24 hour race, and the week before that, a half-marathon). But I'm not always so keen on good ideas.

Wayne has been pretty injured w sciatic problems for a year. But he insisted on running The Brooklyn Marathon, and I thought, "Well, a week after a 24 hour race, the playing field will be pretty level." So we ran together.

We started out, and I felt pretty good. Wayne was not feeling as good, so we ran slower than I would've liked - but faster than we said we were going to run. Oh well.

It began raining. My posture instantly changed and I curled up in the fetal position - well, as much as I could while continuing running. When we got to the NBR water stop, I ran behind it to where my bag was and pulled out a long sleeved t-shirt I had stashed in my bag. Ahhh.....

Then - duh, I ran a 24 hour the week before, WTF was I doing running a marathon? My back hurt and I just felt like crap.

Mile 23. Wayne and I shared an airport-sized bottle of whiskey at the top of the hill. I could barely run for a little bit, laughing and feeling the whiskey immediately.

I began to kick and Wayne didn't have it. He pulled me back so I'd slow down and run next to him. Then we crossed the finish line and kissed.

Categories: Radreffies' blogs

Unbearable Lightness: a Story of Loss and Gain

Lower East Side librarian - Sun, 12/01/2013 - 1:54pm
author:  de Rossi, Portia

If you want to know what it's like inside an eating disorder, this is your chance. It's hardcore, but reading it, you understand how it happens. At least I could see it.

De Rossi (not remotely her real/given name) is a serious overachiever from childhood, the kind of kid who goes undefeated in classroom times tables challenges for years because she's drilled them so hard, even though she's not especially adept at math.


Also, I was scared of lesbians. In fact, I would cross the street if I saw one coming toward me. One time I didn't cross the street and I ended up sleeping with a lesbian because I felt sorry for her.

reviewdate:  Nov 30 2013 isn:  978-1-4391-7778-5

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If You Could Be Mine

Lower East Side librarian - Sun, 12/01/2013 - 1:22pm
author:  Farizan, Sara

Did you know it's easier to be transsexual in Iran than homosexual? According to the novel and Wikipedia, the only country in the world that does more sex reassigngment surgeries than Iran is Thailand, and many of the surgeries are subsidized by the government. Being born the wrong gender is an ailment, being queer is a sinful aberration. So that's what our heroine Sahar is dealing with as her best friend, who she has wanted to marry since the girls were six years old, gets engaged to a dude.

reviewdate:  Nov 28 2013 isn:  978-1-61620-251-4

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Night's Edge: Dancers in the Dark, Her Best Enemy, Someone Else's Shadow

Lower East Side librarian - Sun, 12/01/2013 - 12:47pm
author:  Harris, Charlaine Shayne, Maggie Hambly, Barbara

I plugged the word "dance" into a search of ebooks available for checkout from NYPL, and this was the first result. Charlaine Harris's story, about a survivor of a brutal sexual assault trying to distance herself from her past is readable (as in fuckable). It's set in the same universe, or at least with the same rules about vampires as the Sookie Stackhouse novels. The protagonist is similar to Sookie, personality-wise, but doesn't have her mind-reading ability. Her vampire dance partner is a still-waters-run-deep Irishman.


Special thanks got to Doris Ann Norris, reference librarian to the stars, who can look up the inner dimensions of a sarcophagus faster than I can whistle "Dixie." (Charlaine Harris)

reviewdate:  Nov 27 2013 isn:  978-1-4603-0265-1

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Not My Small Diary #17

Lower East Side librarian - Sun, 12/01/2013 - 12:26pm
author:  Green, Delaine Derry

Cartoonists who are not Delaine depict their miserable high school years that were miserable. There's angst about popularity, getting beaten up, horrible teachers, bad hair, and more than I expected about boys' libidos. I mean, as a woman, I understand from pop culture that adolescent boys are sex-obsessed, but I didn't fully grasp that the arty nerdy guys are just as strung out as meathead future frat boys.

reviewdate:  Nov 25 2013

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Grandma Betty's Broccoli Casserole

World of Cherie - Mon, 11/25/2013 - 1:53pm
Grandma Betty makes it old-school. This delicious (though it may sound scary, mayo, eeek!) dish will win over crowds at your Thanksgiving potluck party at work or on the Thanksgiving table itself. I'm pretty full.
  • 2 packages of chopped broccoli, cooked & drained
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup of mayo
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1 T minced onion (optional; I find onions to be gross)
  • Breadcrumbs
Mix beaten eggs with mayo, 3/4 of cheese, onion and broccoli. Put in a greased baking dish; sprinkle remaining cheese and bread crumbs on top.
Bake covered 30 min 350. Remove cover last 10 min.
Categories: Radreffies' blogs

Attitude!: Eight Young Dancers Come of Age at The Ailey School

Lower East Side librarian - Sun, 11/24/2013 - 7:52pm
author:  Fishman, Katharine Davis

Fishman follows eight high school dancers studying at The Ailey School, trying to discern what exactly talent is and what makes it go. She doesn't separately profile each student. Instead it's one narrative with themes (like eating disorders and weight, sexuality, race and friendship) explored by chapter. Although you can tell Fishman cares about her subjects, she manages not to get too sucked in. I like her researched but relatively casual approach.

reviewdate:  Nov 24 2013 isn:  1-58542-355-6

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