May 31, 2012

The Jungle: Book Nook

Somehow, I managed to go through highschool with only the barest knowledge of this book, rather than actually having been asked to read it. It was this month's selection in my local bookclub and I was very happy to pick it up and check it out.

Quick history lesson: the book was originally published as a serial in a socialist magazine, and shortly after was published in novel format in 1906. It caused quite an uproar, and even lead to an investigation of the meatpacking industry and legislation being enacted (legislation I am personally rather fond, because it lead to the creation of the FDA not long after).

The story centers around a Lithuanian family who immigrates to Chicago to make a better life for themselves. Instead, however, they're met with swindlers, abhorrent working conditions, sickness, death, and despair. Without giving too much away, several family members die from these hardships caused by the disease of industrialization. I don't recommend you read it when you're in a sad mood.

That being said, however, I do highly recommend you pick it up. It is incredibly relevant to things going on today both in the US and abroad, particularly where immigration is concerned. Sinclair intended to open people's eyes to the plights of immigrants in the States, but, selfish creatures that we are, we were more worried about eating contaminated meat that people being worked literally to death.

Yes, it was published in a socialist magazine and it has a socialist message at the end- but if that's what's turning you away from the book, then you definitely need to pick it up more than anybody else. Socialism isn't a dirty word and thinking so should not deter you from acquainting yourself with this terrific read.

May 17, 2012

Healthy Pumpkin Bread Batter for Muffins or Loafs

This is a nice healthy recipe using one of my favorite switcheroos- substituting the oil for applesauce. Making pumpkin bread is probably my favorite way to use that trick. The bread comes out more moist than with oil, in addition to being tastier. I feel that the apples enhance the rest of the flavors in the bread.

This recipe is adapted from the one my mother made when I was growing up. I have many fond memories of eating slices of this bread, warmed with a little butter, on Christmas morning. She still makes it when we come to visit around the holidays.

Healthy Pumpkin Bread
makes 24 cupcake sized muffins

What You'll Need:
1, 16 oz. can pumpkin
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
3 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup walnuts or raisins (optional, not calculated into Points+)

May 13, 2012

A Little Shake Up at LTL

After much thought, I've decided that it's high time to split up Little Thunder Lizard into two separate entities, this one focusing on quilting and crafting and my new one focusing on wargaming and painting. It is with tremendous excitement that I introduce to you:

All the Warhammer and gaming posts from this site have been moved over to the new site. In about a month's time, they'll be taken down from here and only on Chickhammer. After that, it'll be back to quilting, crafting, and cooking.

Getting the new site pulled together took up most of my weekend, so it'll be a few days until I can get back to posting. I have some fun things waiting in the wings, including a delicious marinade that I tried this weekend. I've been devoting most of my time to painting the last few weeks, so it's high time I got back to sewing.

May 2, 2012

The Satanic Verses Review

Today, I finally get around to the very first Book Nook post! I sometimes read too many books at once and it takes me ages to finish any one of them. This book was selected for a local book club meeting I had planned to attend, but I ended up missing it due to unforeseen circumstances. I did, eventually, manage to finish reading it.

Satanic Verses was written by Salman Rushdie in 1988. It's still a controversial book, as it lead to a call for Rushdie's death. Numerous attempts were made on his life (to the point where he went into hiding), as well as the killing of many others. The book itself was banned in many places and copies were burned because it contains what some people consider blasphemous content.

Unfortunately for the book, the controversy surrounding it is far more interesting than the text itself. The magical realism throughout should have been a draw for me, but between his superfluous descriptions and the way it skipped around through time, I could not really get invested. It's not the easiest read because of those time jumps (and because Rushdie uses a lot of untranslated Arabic), but sadly, it's not worth the effort put into it.

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