Book Review: The Wordy Shipmates

After suffering through years of history lessons about the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and John Winthrop’s role in shaping his “city upon a hill,” one would think that (yet another) novel on the subject would be a less exciting read than the New York City phone book.
Sarah Vowell’s newest novel about the Puritans’ stateside adventures, however, is a pleasant anomaly in the catalogue of history books about 17th century New Englanders. Witty and cheeky in the face of Puritan sobriety, Vowell interprets excerpts of our forefathers’ diaries and doctrines to reveal a society more complex than our history books have taught us.

Take This Dish and Twist It

With chapter titles from “Grillin’ Like a Villain” to “How Sweet It Ends,” George Duran’s unique cookbook sets out to take comfort food to a new, decidedly unexpected level. While the recipes may not make for the most appetizing sounding dishes (potato chip Spanish tortillas?), the book is, overall, well written and interesting.
Duran explains right off the bat his penchant for fried foods, and even goes so far as to list some of his favorites: fried pickles, fried strawberries, fried olives, etc. As Duran himself writes, “You can fry all of these things. The question is, should you?” In my opinion, you should not, so the enormous amount of fried food in the cookbook was a bit off-putting. Once past the initial grease, however, there are delicious recipes to be found.

The Host

Combine science fiction with romance and you have Stephanie Meyer’s first adult fiction novel. The Host concentrates on what it means to be human in the wake of a foreign invasion.
We’ve all heard the alien conspirators, the paranoid people who believe that the Earth is under attack and people are being abducted. This novel shows what would happen if those conspiracy nuts were right all along. Not just another extraterrestrial science fiction conundrum, we see the story through the eyes of one of these aliens, forcing a perhaps unwanted sympathy. By constructing this point of view, Meyer turns the violence and animalistic nature of humans into a dualistic package.

Chasing Harry Winston

While I really do love “chick lit,” I strongly believe that it has two distinct categories: the good and the really, really bad. Unfortunately, the newest novel from Lauren Weisberger ’99, Chasing Harry Winston, falls in the latter category. Yes, Weisberger is a Cornell alumna, so I feel terrible about trashing her work. But let that go to show just how unfortunate the book is, because I am going to trash it anyway.