November 28, 2014

Non-Fiction Friday - Chop Suey, USA

Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in America
(Yong Chen)
November 25th 2014, Columbia University Press

American diners began to flock to Chinese restaurants more than a century ago, making Chinese food the first mass-consumed cuisine in the United States. By 1980, it had become the country’s most popular ethnic cuisine. Chop Suey, USA offers the first comprehensive interpretation of the rise of Chinese food, revealing the forces that made it ubiquitous in the American gastronomic landscape and turned the country into an empire of consumption.
Engineered by a politically disenfranchised, numerically small, and economically exploited group, Chinese food’s tour de America is an epic story of global cultural encounter. It reflects not only changes in taste but also a growing appetite for a more leisurely lifestyle. Americans fell in love with Chinese food not because of its gastronomic excellence but because of its affordability and convenience, which is why they preferred the quick and simple dishes of China while shunning its haute cuisine. Epitomized by chop suey, American Chinese food was a forerunner of McDonald’s, democratizing the once-exclusive dining-out experience for such groups as marginalized Anglos, African Americans, and Jews.
The rise of Chinese food is also a classic American story of immigrant entrepreneurship and perseverance. Barred from many occupations, Chinese Americans successfully turned Chinese food from a despised cuisine into a dominant force in the restaurant market, creating a critical lifeline for their community. Chinese American restaurant workers developed the concept of the open kitchen and popularized the practice of home delivery. They streamlined certain Chinese dishes, such as chop suey and egg foo young, turning them into nationally recognized brand names.

November 24, 2014

Did somebody say hibernation?

Just a short note to let you know that The Book Garden will be in hibernation until March 2015 (Edit: I have extended my hiatus until further notice). There will be the odd post here or there (two more scheduled this week) and I will be participating in some giveaway hops during that time, so stick around folks and see you all again in full swing next spring!


November 21, 2014

Non-Fiction Friday - Liquid Intelligence

Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail
(Dave Arnold)
November 21st 2014, W. W. Norton & Company

In Dave Arnold’s world, the shape of an ice cube, the sugars and acids in an apple, and the bubbles in a bottle of champagne are all ingredients to be measured, tested, and tweaked.
With Liquid Intelligence, the creative force at work in Booker & Dax, New York City’s high-tech bar, brings readers behind the counter and into the lab. There, Arnold and his collaborators investigate temperature, carbonation, sugar concentration, and acidity in search of ways to enhance classic cocktails and invent new ones that revolutionize your expectations about what a drink can look and taste like.
Years of rigorous experimentation and study—botched attempts and inspired solutions—have yielded the recipes and techniques found in these pages. Featuring more than 120 recipes and nearly 450 color photographs, Liquid Intelligence begins with the simple—how ice forms and how to make crystal-clear cubes in your own freezer—and then progresses into advanced techniques like clarifying cloudy lime juice with enzymes, nitro-muddling fresh basil to prevent browning, and infusing vodka with coffee, orange, or peppercorns.
Practical tips for preparing drinks by the pitcher, making homemade sodas, and building a specialized bar in your own home are exactly what drink enthusiasts need to know. For devotees seeking the cutting edge, chapters on liquid nitrogen, chitosan/gellan washing, and the applications of a centrifuge expand the boundaries of traditional cocktail craft.
Arnold’s book is the beginning of a new method of making drinks, a problem-solving approach grounded in attentive observation and creative techniques. Readers will learn how to extract the sweet flavor of peppers without the spice, why bottling certain drinks beforehand beats shaking them at the bar, and why quinine powder and succinic acid lead to the perfect gin and tonic.
Liquid Intelligence is about satisfying your curiosity and refining your technique, from red-hot pokers to the elegance of an old-fashioned. Whether you’re in search of astounding drinks or a one-of-a-kind journey into the next generation of cocktail making, Liquid Intelligence is the ultimate standard—one that no bartender or drink enthusiast should be without.

November 19, 2014

Funny photos? Photo fun(ia).

Downtime between meetings? Slight case of boredom? Or maybe in actual need of, say, a profile pic for a social media site of your choice? I think I have just the thing you need then.

PhotoFunia allows you to create amazing photo collages and spruce up your pictures with different effects in seconds and for absolutely free. Who could ask for more? What's that? Book related, you're saying? Now would I be blogging about this if that weren't one of the many options you are offered? *shakes head in disbelieve*

Here's one of my favorite selfies from way back when ... if you ask me, the combination "me + old book" totally rocks!

Were you already familiar with PhotoFunia? Which of the many effects would you choose for a profile picture or just to generally play around with? 

November 17, 2014

Monday Five's - Why I'd rather read on a Kindle than a physical book! (Part II)

Last week I let you in on why I prefer to hold an actual book in my hands, the kind that trees had to die for. While my reasons for this more traditional approach to reading described in Part I are something not easily surpassed by an eReader, these sleek gadgets do have a thing or two going for them too. I guess what it all boils down to is that I do like them both, each for different reasons. Now why is that? Here are my main reasons why eReading rocks.

The storage of a gazillion books that don't take up any physical space.

The ease with which you can read 1.200+ pages monster tomes.

The gratification of instant downloads.

The option to change font sizes.

The forests that don't get chopped down to make books.*
*Though, admittedly, I have no clue how "environmentally friendly" the production of an eReader is.

Do you prefer reading on an eReader or are you a die-hard fan of physical books? What advantages do you appreciate about a Kindle or Nook? And if you had to choose to only read physical books or eBooks, which would you go for? Please share!

November 15, 2014

Gratitude Giveaways (Open WW)

Welcome to the Gratitude Giveaways (November 15th - 30th)

How about showing your love for literature by sending a bookish postcard to friends and family? To get you started I'm giving away the winner's choice of one of these boxed postcard collections from Penguin.

100 Book Covers in One Box
100 Writers in One Box
Please note: This giveaway is open worldwide, but only for countries TBD offers free shipping to - please check here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

November 14, 2014

Non-Fiction Friday - Come Home at Once

Come Home at Once
(Guy Atkins)
November 13th 2014, Bantam Press

For more than a decade, Guy Atkins has collected postcards sent by the Edwardians. In this incredible treasury of 100 cards, he shares the very best from his collection. From the tantalising, to the hilarious, to the downright shocking, this compendium shines a light on an extraordinary phenomenon of communication.
At half the price of sending a letter, and with same-day delivery in urban areas, Britain became obsessed with the postcard between 1902 and 1914. By the outbreak of the First World War, the Post Office was delivering close to a billion cards a year. In fact, the speedy delivery meant Edwardian postcards were the text messages of their day!
Come Home at Once presents an intriguing piece of social history. In it, Guy explains just what made the postcard such an Edwardian sensation, what it really meant to tilt your stamp and how same-day delivery made Edwardian postcards completely different from the postcards we know today.

November 12, 2014

Quote Garden - There is not a particle of life which does not bear poetry within it ...

An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere.

You must write for yourself, above all. That is your only hope of creating something beautiful.

Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.

I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.

Gustave Flaubert

November 10, 2014

Monday Five's - Why I'd rather read a physical book than on a Kindle! (Part I)

I still remember how I refused to get an eReader for a very long time. Of course, things change quite easily in this techno-crazed world and in my case I simply couldn't bare reading books for review on the computer screen another minute. So I purchases my first eReader. My eyes thanked me and I had to admit that this was actually a pretty neat gadget.
Meanwhile I progressed to my second eReader, a Kindle, and while I do enjoy reading on it, I wouldn't want to miss holding an actual dead-tree-variety of a book in my hand. And here are the main reasons why I hold physical books dear.

The wonderful sensation of turning pages.

The olfactory delight of sniffing (old) books.

The eye-candy that a pretty cover offers.

The ability to easily sneak a peek at the last page. *wink*

No risk of the battery running out.

Watch out for next week's Part II where I'll let you in on the reasons why I'd sometimes rather read on a Kindle than a physical book.

Do you prefer reading physical books or are you an eReader convert? What do you miss the most when reading on a Kindle or Nook compared to a "real" book? And in case you don't even own an eReader yet, what are your reasons? Please share!

November 7, 2014

Non-Fiction Friday - Regulating Desire

Regulating Desire: From the Virtuous Maiden to the Purity Princess
(J. Shoshanna Ehrlich)
November 1st 2014, State University of New York Press

Starting with the mid-nineteenth-century campaign by the American Female Moral Reform Society to criminalize seduction and moving forward to the late twentieth-century conservative effort to codify a national abstinence-only education policy, "Regulating Desire" explores the legal regulation of young women s sexuality in the United States. The book covers five distinct time periods in which changing social conditions generated considerable public anxiety about youthful female sexuality and examines how successive generations of reformers sought to revise the law in an effort to manage unruly desires and restore a gendered social order. J. Shoshanna Ehrlich draws upon a rich array of primary source materials, including reform periodicals, court cases, legislative hearing records, and abstinence curricula to create an interdisciplinary narrative of socially embedded legal change. Capturing the complex and dynamic nature of the relationship between the state and the sexualized youthful female body, she highlights how the law both embodies and shapes gendered understandings of normative desire as mediated by considerations of race and class.

November 3, 2014

Monday Five's - It's never too early to get started on Christmas shopping!

Some people get started on their Christmas shopping once January rolls around with its after-Christmas sales. Of course this is just for those of you who aren't of the forgetful predisposition, otherwise you A) don't remember where you hid the present or B) forget you even bought it in the first place. Then you might resort to throwing yourself into the shopping frenzy a bit later in the year. If you're not faint of heart you might even face the last minute trip to the mall on December 24th. Not fun. That is why I decided to remind you that the clock is ticking and there's always online shopping with bookish gift ideas just a mouse click away.




Obviously these shops aren't exclusively bookish with the last two offering a broader spectrum of gifts that cater to the bookish mind. Yet as far as gift ideas for readers and writers go they also have quite a few treats in store (pun fully intended). So, did I manage to help you out with ideas? Good. Mission accomplished.

Do you like to give books of bookish presents to family and friends for Christmas? Maybe you already bought from one of these shopping sites? If so, what did you purchase? Please share!