Cooking and Composition

adventures in discourse and dinner

Prepping Myself for the #KonMari Method — April 8, 2015

Prepping Myself for the #KonMari Method

I will be moving soon, and as I look around my house, I just think, “man, how am I going to get all of this packed up and organized and still do all of my regular work?” It’s kind of embarrassing what a disaster I am. It’s like my life just. . .exploded.

So, I was sitting in a department meeting on Monday, not even thinking about this. A few minutes before it started, something called the KonMari Method appeared in my news feed. Apparently it’s “all the rage.” But I clicked on the link, saw it centers on only keeping what you truly love, and requested a sample of the Kindle book almost immediately. Continue reading

Ten Books that Changed My Life — September 17, 2014

Ten Books that Changed My Life

You’ve probably seen these posts circulating on Facebook: a friend posts ten books that were influential to hir*, then tags more people to make their own top ten lists.

I thought I had escaped from this social media meme unscathed, even as people who commonly tag me in these types of things posted their own.

I did not.

A couple of weeks ago, a former professor challenged me to post my list of ten books that influenced me. But I want to do more than just post an overly long status. That’s not very fun.

Seeing as I haven’t posted here in a while, I thought I would make this list of ten books an opportunity to get back into posting on Cooking and Composition.

Yay! You know you’re this excited.

10. On Beauty by Zadie Smith. I don’t love this book. I don’t even like this book. But On Beauty reminded me that I can appreciate the artistic or technical value of something without my liking it. I understand what people applaud this book (and Smith in general). Continue reading

Review: Hidden by Catherine McKenzie — April 23, 2014

Review: Hidden by Catherine McKenzie

When Amazon started e-mailing me a book about picking out a free book every month before anyone else could buy it on Kindle, I figured “why not?” But I still didn’t get in a hurry to read any of the books I’ve been selecting.

Last week, I decided to give Hidden by Catherine McKenzie a try. I probably read a description of the book when I chose it, but I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. The prologue, which ends with the perspective character’s death, totally hooked me in.

The Goodreads summary says:

While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Two women fall to pieces at the news: his wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son as well as contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members, and the arrival of Jeff’s estranged brother, who was her ex-boyfriend. Tish volunteers to attend the funeral on her company’s behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff’s life.

Told through the three voices of Jeff, Tish, and Claire, Hidden explores the complexity of relationships, the repercussions of our personal choices, and the responsibilities we have to the ones we love.

So, there’s death, a couple of different love affairs, and an interesting set of shifting perspectives between a dead man, his wife, and his girlfriend. It took me a few minutes to get used to the shifting points of view, especially when Jeff’s perspective starting coming through. Where was he speaking from? How was he able to share his story?

To say that shift was a bit jarring is an understatement, but after I got about halfway through the book, it seemed to feel right. However, his perspective is also kind of what ruined the book for me.

I was all set up to love this book until the very last chapter. I could sympathize with both Tish and Claire. While the book was often sad, I enjoyed (doesn’t that sound sick?) watching both of their stories unfold, overlap, and then go their separate ways. Tish and Claire were so realistic, like I could walk out my front door and meet either one of them for dinner or drinks. It’s not often that I feel that way about characters, so these two really worked for me.

But the final chapter ruined it for me, and I won’t explain why here because, in the words of River Song, *spoilers.*

In short, this was a good book. It was great to read and I really enjoyed it, but I was ultimately dissatisfied by the end. I’m glad I didn’t pay anything for this, but I definitely would not be disappointed if I had!


Review: Feminist Rhetorical Practices by Royster and Kirsch — April 14, 2014

Review: Feminist Rhetorical Practices by Royster and Kirsch

I started reading Jacqueline Jones Royster and Gesa E. Kirsch’s Feminist Historical Practices: New Horizons for Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy Studies as it was selected for March/April by Goodreads Comp/Rhet Reading Group. This is my first time reading along with the club and attempting to participating, but unfortunately there hasn’t been much discussion happening. If you’re interested, you can (and should) check out the club!

I really enjoyed reading FHP, in part because it’s very different than most of the scholarly work I select on my own. That being said, I am seeing many connections between the practices that Royster and Kirsch discuss and my own strategies for research. It has certainly caused me to think more about where feminist research methods come into play and how I can connect those to my own work. Continue reading

Spring Break Give Away! — March 7, 2014

Spring Break Give Away!

If you’re reading this, I just finished up teaching my last class before Spring Break!

What a semester it’s been so far. Between snow days, technology issues, yada yada yada. . .I am so ready for this week off. And I’ve even managed to keep up with grading so that I get to have a week off.

This is rare. I still have some work to do, but nothing major. Yay!

And to share this excitement, I’ve got a GIVE AWAY for you! Continue reading

Review: Bellman and Black — March 5, 2014

Review: Bellman and Black

Bellman & Black
I won a free copy from Atria Books on Goodreads, so that’s a silver lining here.

I was really, really excited to start Bellman & Black, the second novel by Diane Setterfield. I adored her first book, The Thirteenth Tale.

I had been warned that Bellman & Black was nothing like The Thirteenth Tale. And I wanted to believe that that was okay, that it would be fine, that Setterfield’s academic-y prose and excellent use of suspense would win out.

It didn’t. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Never Have I Ever — March 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Never Have I Ever

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is pretty fun: what popular authors have you never read? This is the first time in a while that I’ve participated in the weekly meme from The Broke and the Bookish.

It’s hard for me to think of authors that I haven’t read. My brain immediately jumped to those authors who I have limited familiarity with (Jane Austen, anyone?). So I went to this list of Popular Authors on Goodreads.


So here we have it: Ten Authors I’ve Never Read. Continue reading