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The written word has always been a joy for me.  I can not remember a time in my life when I did not have books. Before I was able to read them, my mother read books to me. As soon as I could read independently I was never without a book in my hands or very nearby.  As years passed, writing developed into a passion for me as well. I tried novel writing while home with my two children during their early years and was challenged to focus on the craft.  I never gave up the love even when I had to give up the pursuit.  Now, with grown children and the fact I am sitting on the other side of fifty I can pursue my dream of writing.  I have continued the reading quest but now the writing is attainable as well.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

In Memory of Bread

Paul Graham's memoir, In Memory of Bread,  is one of the most entertaining reads I have experienced this summer.  A delightful surprise, Graham's book has taught me a wealth of information about his journey being diagnosed with Celiac disease as an adult and how he eventually learned to live, eat, and bake gluten free.

In choosing this read, I honestly did not expect to be entertained.  My daughter, recently graduated with her dietician and nutrition degrees and acquired her registered dietician licensure.  She helped me to choose this selection to read.  I did so to pass the book on to her after my review.  I expected the book to be a dry account of gluten sensitivity and diet requirements.  Well, I was most whole-heartedly wrong.  Not only was Graham's book full of information about the ideas behind the upsurge of gluten sensitivity in the United States, but his writing was full of humor and voice that I devoured the book with zeal.

I felt sympathy for him when he wrote about missing the hot bread and beers that he loved so in his past. I understood his anger when he tried to bake gluten free breads, make gluten free pastas and the attempts were complete failures that left him throwing a bit of a culinary temper tantrum.  It can happen.   I laughed out loud when he stated another attempt at a gluten free product, crepes, "made me its bitch."  Most of all I learned compassion for his circumstances.

I confess, I did not feel the true struggle someone with gluten sensitivity endures until I read Graham's memoir.  When so many gluten free products flooded the markets during the last couple years, I thought it was a bit of a marketing fad.  Healthy individuals were embracing the gluten free items as if they were a necessary alternative eating regimen.  I thought this was silly.  Now, although I do believe some choose gluten free unnecessarily, I also understand the desperate need for the products for individuals that suffer from gluten sensitivity and full blown celiac disease.  That so many products are now available is a blessing, and I am happy for them.

I certainly enjoyed In Memory of Bread, and recommend this book to anyone living with gluten sensitivity, wanting to learn more about the disease, or those just wanting to read a great piece of writing.  In Memory of Bread is a true joy.

FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Punderdome: The Game That is a "Pun of Fun"

I love puns, I love words, so it only makes sense that puns would be a joy for me.  This being said, the idea of a game built on and based on puns was a certain choice for me on the Blogging for Books website.  I laid awake, well not really, but I did check the post everyday waiting for my new box of fun to arrive.  It did and I happily opened it.  First impression, the box is attractive, the instructions were easy to understand and made learning the game easy. The object of the game is to create real groaners, awful puns.  Joy for me!

I must say one of my favorite parts of the game is the cards themselves.  There are two hundred cards and every single one has a pun on it, a pure punner's heaven!

Just a couple puns that I enjoyed right off were:

What is the most psychic type of plant?
 The Palm Tree (Ba dum dum!)
What did they call the bug that didn't talk about his accomplishments?
A "Humble Bee." (GROAN!)

There are also two mystery envelopes that encourage the game players to include prizes for winning the game.

That being said, actually playing the game became a bit of a problem.

There are two colors of cards, white and green.  The game players are told to take turns being the reader and read the two categories on the cards then the other players  make a pun.  The reader is then to judge the puns and choose their favorite.  The favorite one awards the pun writer with the set of cards.  The first player to acquire ten pairs wins the game.

I tried to play this game with two dynamics of players.  One set were not necessarily word aficionados.  Very literate professionals, but not  people who make puns at every opportunity.  Needless to say this group struggled with the game.  In fact, it was a total bust.

Next, I played the game with true game players and word smiths.  Those who carefully play games and strategize for optimum results.  Also word lovers that do make puns quite often.  Sadly, I did not have a much better result in the playability of this game.

This said, I feel this game has potential.  It just needs "more".  I am not certain what kind of "more" it needs, but perhaps  more details to the prompts for making puns, or maybe more parameters in the instructions.

I love the concept of the game, I love puns in general and the fact that there are 200 puns written on the cards, however, I did not love the game.  Yet, I hope the creators look into adding more to the game because I would certainly enjoy playing it with a bit more depth.

FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review