Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- Ohio...A Strange Place

Just a few weird things in the great state of Ohio...

A Cow Made of Butter at the State Fair

A Field of Giant Ears of Concrete Corn

Yes, Concrete Corn

A 7 Story Building in the Shape of a Giant Basket always, for more Wordless Wednesday, check these out.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bandit Tuesday. Bandit is a Sneaky Little Thief...

...with a very pink tongue.

Ok, no one is watching. I will just sneak up here, 'cause something in this dishwasher thing smells good...and no one will see me. I am invisible.

Hmmm...I love this's like a buffet! someone coming? Quick, one last lick before they catch me!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Musing Monday... It's the Book or my Nose

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about multitasking.

Do you – or are you even able – to do other things while you read? Do you knit, hold a conversation, keep an eye on the TV? Anything?

I do multi-task..but not when when reading. I have been known to eat breakfast while driving. Talk on the cell while driving...before it was illegal in NJ and before I got the new car with the bluetooth thingie. I do draw the line at texting or applying makeup while driving. That is just wrong.

And I do multi-task while blogging. I would say about 99.9% of the time I have the TV on while I type on my laptop. I only subtract the .01 because I do not have it on now. Mostly because I am late leaving for work and want to concentrate.

OK, yes, at work I watch the news on TV while working, but that, rather than hurting my efforts, helps them. Especially in my Lenten, non-tea state. Otherwise I might fall asleep. I do not need full concentration and I can give a few percent to the TV, just to keep my eye on world happenings and such.

Awwww...see that is the word to keep in mind...CONCENTRATE. My issues with distractions has been noted before. I admit things like driving and blogging and working I do with less that my full attention.
But reading..reading takes it all. Especially if I really like the book. Otherwise I will not get fully into the book.
Now on occasion I play music, at a low volume while reading. OK, sometimes I even have the TV on, again, just in the background. But it is just white noise.
But really, reading must be done in a fairly low stimulus environment.
Which is why, as much as it annoys me, I can not listen to audio books and do something else at the same time. And if you are not doing something else while listening, what is the point?

I could 'read' so much more if I could figure out how to listen to audio books without crashing the car or tripping and breaking my nose. Again.

As always, hosted by Rebecca at Just one more page...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Weekend Cooking...A Useful Gadget

I am not one that usually buys gadgets for the kitchen. After re-doing my kitchen a few years ago, I have made a concerted effort not to clutter it up too much, not to have a gadget drawer that needs to be opened with a pry bar. Also I hold to the Alton Brown, he of Good Eats fame, idea that one should not have uni-taskers, tools that only do one job.

But when I was at the Philadelphia Flower Show this year, I saw a fellow in the vendor's area, demonstrating this little item to the right there...and I admit it...I had to have one.

It is a grater. It is a plate with a surface covered with little V shapes that are fired into the plate and glazed. Mine, as you see, is yellow with a little red garlic design, because garlic is something this thing excels at. Peel your clove (at that is what the blue tube is for. Oddly, it really works) hold it by the root end and rub it over the rough surface. It will turn your garlic to a paste, that you then gather together with that little brush and Ta-Da! This is especially great (pun intended) if you want it for a dressing or marinade but I have started using it in most of my garlic applications. Cleanup is simple. Just rinse it off and you are good to go.
You know, the finer your garlic, the stronger the taste, so be careful when using this fresh garlic paste. I love garlic, but this stuff is stronger than a minced clove would be. Which I personally love.

As he demonstrated, it also works very well for fresh ginger. I have not tested that yet, but the niece verifies it is true, and it can also be used to grate hard cheese and chocolate and any number of things I imagine. And unlike a metal grater, it won't take the skin off your fingers, which is always good.

The  Garlic grater  is available from Amazon and you can also buy it online at this site, where you can also see the very annoying man using it. Check out the Winter Special at the bottom, where you can get two for one...way cheaper than I paid.

But it was still worth it.

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wow! Caite is Having a Giveaway!

I don't do it as often as I should, especially considering the danger these piles of books are putting my imaginary kitty, Kitty, in. But since I find myself with an embarrassment of riches when it comes to this book, I have decided that it is time for a GIVEWAY! So if you have read MY REVIEW, (you did read the review, right?) and it sounds like something you might like, throw your hat in the ring.

I have two copies, both ARC's, one very gently read and one unread, and they will both be available.

Just leave a comment here, with your e-mail address, and you will be entered. Now, you don't have to be a follower, or become a follower. And quite honestly you will get nothing extra if you are, because I am just too lazy to check. Although, of course, you are just silly if you are not, because you may be missing some really great stuff.
Like Bandit Tuesday! ;-)

So, just leave a comment and I will let Kitty pick a winner in two weeks, on April 9.

a review of "One Amazing Thing" [21]

One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
(Voice, ISBN 978-1401340995)

If you found yourself in a potentially life threatening situation and were challenged to tell a story about yourself, about "one amazing thing" from your life, what story would you tell? This is the challenge given to the characters in this story and it is the challenge that is at the heart of this interesting little book.

A small group of people are sitting in a basement office of the Indian Embassy in an unnamed city, seemingly San Francisco, waiting for their visa applications to be processed, when a slight rumble shakes the building. But then there is another and...
"This time there was no mistaking its intention. It was as though a giant had placed his mouth against the building's foundation and roared. The floor buckled, throwing Uma to the ground. The giant took the building in both his hands and shook it."
In all, nine people are trapped in the visa office by the earthquake. There is our first narrator, Uma, a graduate student, confused about her feelings for her boyfriend and taking a break to visit her parents in India. There is an elderly Chinese woman, returning home to India for the first time since she was forced to leave during the Sino-Indian War in the 60's and her teenage granddaughter. Then there is a young Muslim-American man, still dealing with the changes since 9-11, a middle-aged Caucasian couple who seem to be barely speaking to each other, an African-American ex-soldier, dealing with his own personal demons and two visa workers, who were, before the earthquake struck, on the verge of an adulterous affair. As Uma comments, they are like their own little min U.N summit.

They are trapped by the partially collapsed building, no electric, no phones, some injuries, but at first, assuming they will be shortly rescued, things don't seem that bad. Cameron, the ex-soldier, takes charge, getting them to collect drinking water, merge together their very limited food, organize what first-aid materials they can find. But as hour after hour goes by and there is no sign of rescue, water starts rising on the floor and aftershocks bring down more of the room they are trapped in, things become more desperate and people begin to panic. It is out of an attempt to calm people down and distract them from the fact that help may not arrive in time to save them, that Una suggests they gather in a circle and take turns sharing one story from their lives, one amazing thing that they have never shared with anyone else before.

Most of the book, about 2/3 of the short 200 pages are taken up by these stories and it these short, revealing tales, told by each of the nine characters in turn, that are the heart of this book. No, we will not know all there is to know about these people after they share their tales, but we will have a glimpse at their hearts and their shared themes of love and loss, betrayal and redemption and a glimpse of their common humanity.

When the book begins, Uma is reading The Canterbury Tales, as she sits waiting, and that is no coincident. At the book's launch party,
"Divakaruni explained why she adopted the Canterbury Tales-like structure of the novel. By having her nine characters tell stories, she could "open up" the novel to nine different worlds while maintaining the dramatic tension created by the unfolding disaster, she said.

"Also I believe strongly in the power of story in creating a community," she said. "It is when we learn about the core of the lives of strangers that they become family to us.""
While it was not an issue for me, some readers may object to the ending of this book, which I will admit is not all neatly tied up. And granted, not all the stories are of the same high quality. But a few, especially that of the elderly grandmother, are good enough that they could have been the subject of their own book. The writing is often quite beautiful, much of the book very entertaining and several of the characters so clearly drawn and appealing that they will remain with you long after you have finished the book. In fact, you may find yourself wishing that you could know more about these people of whom you have just had a small glimpse.

So, where did I get this book. Well, I was fortunate enough to have received a copy from The Boston Bibliophile...thank you again. But then, since I assume at some point I requested a copy somewhere, I received another copy. So...I think it is time for a giveaway! See the next post for info on that rare "a lovely shore breeze..." occurrence. ;-)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

a review of "Malice" [20]

Malice by Lisa Jackson
(Kensington Publishing, ISBN 978-0-8217-7940-8)

When  New Orleans Detective Rick Bentz wakes up in his hospital bed, recovering from an accident that nearly took his life, and sees his ex-wife Jennifer standing in the doorway of his hospital room, he is, without question, quite upset.
You see, his ex-wife Jennifer committed suicide 12 years ago.

At first, he thinks his 'vision' may be the result of the pain medication he is on. But when he is  home months later and long off the medication, and the glimpses of her continue, he doesn't know what to think. Is it possible that Jennifer is not dead? Is it possible that the body he identified years ago, terribly mangled in the head on car crash into a tree, was not his ex-wife? The sightings continue but when a copy of her death certificate, marked with a big red question mark, arrives in the mail, he decides that he must learn the truth about what is going on. He leaves New Orleans, his new wife Olivia and returns to Los Angeles to find out if Jennifer might still be alive, or if he is losing his mind.

Having left LA, and the LAPD, after Jennifer's death, Bentz left behind some terrible memories, some friends and a number of enemies. He starts to investigate Jennifer's death, seeking out her old friends and it is soon apparent that he is stirring up a hornet's nest...and walking right into a killer's trap. A trap that may soon ensnare his wife Olivia, and their unborn child, as well.

This is the seventh book in Lisa Jackson's New Orleans/ Detective Bentz series and I am sorry to say, I don't think it is the best. I have read a number of the books in the series before and each was, I think, a stronger book than this one. The premise of this book is good, the plot and the ultimate conclusion pretty entertaining. Bentz, his friend Detective Montoya and his wife Olivia are good characters but they have been better used in previous books.

One problem is that it just takes way, way to long to get where this book is going. I have run into it before but this is another book that I think could have benefited from some serious editing. It feels at times as if the same scenes, the same sighting, the same chases, the same foolish mistakes on Bentz's part are happening again and again, with just minor changes in settings and people involved. At over 500 pages, this book could been cut by a couple of hundred and been a much tighter, leaner, better thriller.Sometimes less is more.
Also, I must say that setting this book in the series for the most part in LA rather than the much more interesting New Orleans, and giving Olivia a much more minor part, does little to win my interest.

And I won't even go into how I hate to see characters that are supposedly smart, experienced professionals, like Bentz, do stupid, stupid things. No, I won't even go there..because it drives me nuts.

If an interesting thriller series, set in a very atmospheric New Orleans, sounds like something you would like to read, I would recommend you might go back to the beginning of Jackson's series and give another of her books, like the first in this series, Hot Blooded, a try. Perhaps this series has just run it's course.
I read on her web site that she is giving this series a rest and took her newest book, Without Mercy, in a new direction. I think that is a good thing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- Stones

Two groups of stones, one natural, one man made. And a cow. always, for more Wordless Wednesday, check these out.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Return of Bandit Tuesday

Due to popular demand...and Bandit sends his thanks out to both of you!...the cutest doggie in the world is back this week.
Seems he is doing a little housekeeping...

What am I doing? Awww...

I'm helping Mommy change the sheets!Yeah...that's what I'm doing...Really!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Musing Monday...Look! A Shiny New Book!

It is Monday once again, so let's check out this week's Monday Musing question, from Just one more page..

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about TBR books.

Where do you keep the books on the top of the TBR pile? Not the bunk of the mountain, but just the tip of the peak – the ‘almost up to’ books?

Have I mention my short attention span, my propensity to be easily distracted? Well, it applies to my To Be Read pile, as it does to so any things. So, I am sorry to say, but the book that get my first attention is often the last book to catch my eye. Someone mentions a book that sounds interesting, I buy it or get it at the library and it assumes the top position on the TBR pile, mentally and physically.

It is wrong. I know it is. There are perfectly nice books, waiting patiently, holding their place in line...and they get pushed out by a line jumper. But just like a bright, shiny object, a bright, shiny book catches my eye and I am hooked.

Physically, where are these Top of the TBR? Well, usually, they are next to my oh-so-comfy recliner. Actually, there are a few piles there. ARC's and other books I have received in return for the promise of a review are in Pile #1. They should, and often do, have first priority. But... the library will charge me money if I don't read and return their books ASAP, so honestly, I put them, again physically and mentally on the top of that pile. Next to that pile, to keep it company, are a couple of other piles of books I want to read soon...soon being a relative term. Relative to the height of the ARC/Promised Pile. If the Arc/Promised Pile, also known as the APP, gets higher than the arm of my chair, I am in trouble. And of course, Kitty, my imaginary cat, will then be in danger of being crushed to death in a terrible TBR Pile Collapse...We will call that the TBRPC. In math terms, if the
APP >(is greater than) the height of recliner arm = TBRPC = Dead Kitty.

A book is removed from this pile, read, and then moved, once completed, to another pile(s) in another room. That is the "awaiting review" pile. Then, once reviewed, it is moved to the completed pile.

Someday I will decide what happens to them after that.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Saint Patrick's Day Feast

Sunday, my brother, sister-in-law, niece and I had a little pre-St.Patrick's Day Celebration, a fairly good approximation of a authentic Irish meal, that I though I would share with you. It will be followed by my secret Irish brown bread recipe, you lucky devils.

We started with some shrimp. Now usually, when this is served in Ireland, they use wee, little shrimp, but like this, served on a bed of lettuce with salad dressing, what we would call thousand island dressing. That was followed by some vegetable
soup. When we traveled in Ireland, it became a bit of a joke. You go into a place for lunch and they will say there is a 'soup of the day'. You ask what it is and the answer always is "vegetable" soup. What veggie that is is rarely mentioned. Sometimes the soup will be orange, so lots of carrots, sometimes it might be green, sometimes white, all depending on the dominate vegetable. But it is always a pureed veggie soup and it is almost always very good.
As was mine, of course.

Then, the main course. Ham, corned beef, boiled potatoes, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. A word now about corned beef. There is NOTHING...ok, very, very little...Irish about corned beef. It is almost totally unknown in Ireland and you will never see it on a menu or in a store. What they do eat is when then boil something and serve it with cabbage and potatoes and a variety of vegetables like cabbage, rutabagas, turnips, carrots, sprouts, is ham or a 'bacon' joint. Not corned beef. So, we had both, ham and corned beef..because we are, of course Irish-American.

For dessert, I baked my attempt at an Irish style apple tart. According to my brother, our Aunt Maure makes the perfect Apple Tart and while mine was close it was not perfect. Unlike our apple pie, their tart is quite thin, not terribly sweet and very subtly spiced. Served with a dollop of barely whipped, slightly sweetened heavy cream.
I will keep trying.
The niece also made some nice "Irish Potatoes", again, unknown in Ireland and some 5 Minute Key Lime Tarts...which were green.

And finally, there is the bread. Brown bread, a whole wheat quick, that is non-yeast, bread is, to me, the quintessential Irish bread. One that I have worked on recreating as perfectly as I could. One problem is that Irish whole wheat flour in not the same as American flour. Ours is made from a hard wheat, theirs from a soft wheat. For years, I would sneak a few 5 lb bags home in my suitcase...not sure that is legal...but then, happily, I found that King Arthur Flour carries a very acceptable substitute, so I buy a couple of bags and freeze them until I need them. Then there is our buttermilk, which I thing lacks some of the tang of the Irish version. So I added plain yougurt as part of the 'liquid'.

When my cousin Catherine and her husband Paul came over to the USA, she tasted bread made according to my recipe and pronounced it very good, so I think I have succeeded.

Brown Bread

3 cups Irish style whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 cup raw Irish oatmeal
1 tsp. baking power
1 tsp. baking soda
1 TBS. wheat germ
1/2 tsp. salt
1 TBS. sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 cup buttermilk, plus enough to moisten

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the remaining three, wet ingredients. Mix the wet into the dry and then add enough additional buttermilk to make a rather wet dough. With moistened hands, quickly form into round loaf, handling as little as possible, and put on a baking sheet to bake free form or into a 2 qt, round Pyrex bowl , if you like a perfect round loaf, to bake.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes then reduce to 400 for remaining 45 minutes. Cover with foil if it starts to brown too quickly.
When done, it will sound hollow if you tap the bottom.
Wrap in a tea towel to cool.

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

Friday, March 19, 2010

a review of "The Whale" [19]

The Whale; In Search of the Giants of the Sea by Philip Hoare
(Harper Collins, ISBN 978-0-06-197621-6)

Many of us find whales fascinating creatures. Their size, their power, their beauty alone are enough, but then add in their place in the eco-wars in modern times, and the huge place whaling has had in the history of so many places in the United States and much of the world, and you can see why Philip Hoare decided to devote this very interesting book to the subject.

Mr. Hoare always had a close relationship with the sea, thinking it might have been "Perhaps it is because I was nearly born underwater." Actually it was a great fear and a great fascination, perhaps taking to heart the words from Moby Dick that he quotes.
"Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure."
As a child, he feared the great monsters that his grandfather told him lived just below the surface, but as an adult he was so taken by his first sight of a young humpback breaching the water on a whale watching trip out of Cape Cod that he set, as he admits, almost obsessed, to learn about these creatures. He is guided in no small part by the the book Moby Dick and the history of it's author, Herman Melville and fans of that book will find a great deal of wonderful information about the book and Melville here.

Some might object that this book is more about whaling, in the past and present, than it is about whales. Perhaps that is true, but first, I think it is impossible to tell the story of whales without understanding the huge economic force that whaling was in this nation in past centuries. He visits places like New Bedford and Nantucket that made their fortunes from the killing, in huge numbers, of this very vulnerable animal.

Secondly, even in our modern age, there is so much we don't know about whales. So much of their lives take place so far out to sea, in water too deep for us to follow them, that in many ways they remain a mystery. Which, of course, is also part of their appeal.
"Whales existed before man, but they have been known to us only for two or three generations: until the invention of underwater photography, we hardly knew what they looked like. It was only after we had seen the Earth from orbiting spaceships that the first free-swimming whale was photographed underwater....Even now there are beaked whales, or ziphiids, known only from bones washed up on remote beaches- esoteric, deep-sea animals with strange markings which biologists have never seen alive or dead, so little studied that their status is 'data deficient'."
This book is part science, part history, part exploration of how the book Moby Dick became a part of national mind set but perhaps the book is at it's best when the author himself become a part of the story. At the end of the book he talks about the experience of swimming with whales off the Azores, an account that is simply beautiful and remarkable and a fitting end to this story. The boat he is in comes across a pod of huge sperm whales and the author slip into the water with mask and snorkel. Suddenly, less than 30 feet away was a huge female..
"I could not believe that something so big could be so silent. Surveyed by the electrical charge of her sixth sense, I felt insignificant and yet not quite...As the whale turned past me, I saw her eye, grey, veiled, sentient; set in her side, the centre of her consciousness. Behind it lay only muscle, moving without effort. The moment lasted for ever, and for seconds. Both of us in our naked entirety, nothing between us but illimitable ocean.
Then she was gone, plunging soundlessly into the black..."
If you are interested in whales, the history of whaling, the history of New England or a fan of Moby Dick, I would recommend this as a book that you will find entertaining and informative.

Winner of the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction.

Photos are mine, from the Great Alaskan/Yukon Adventure.
Read on loan from my ever generous local public library.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

a review of "The Khan Dilemma" [18]

The Khan Dilemma by Ron Goodreau
(iUniverse, ISBN 978-4401-5123-1)

It starts as a routine crime in Las Cruces, California. A young Muslim man is apprehended by a neighbor after having killed two residents of a house. The police, in the person of the quite distasteful Detective Dale Cox, seem willing to accept the crime as a break in and robbery and charge the young man, Khan, as soon as he is out of the coma the neighbor's sap put him in. But it seems things are not so simple, as the two sinister FBI agents sitting in the car outside the house make clear. For reasons that neither Cox nor the corrupt DA Rich Danko really are told much about, the FBI make clear that it is a matter of national security that Khan quickly and quietly be found guilty. And while they may not know why, each, for their own reasons, is willing to go along with the wishes of the FBI.

Danko is smart enough to sense a political hot potato and brings his personal nemesis and possible political rival, Max Siegel, out of exile to handle the case. But as Max starts to investigate, he soon realizes that the case is not the simple break in that the police claim it is. He also realizes that forces reaching high up into the government do not really want this the truth of what happened in this case to be known and will go to very extreme lengths to see that it is not. But Max is a man of principles and one tough dude and a frame up or two will not stop him. He will find out the truth, even though it is not only his career that is in jeopardy, but his very life and the lives of those he cares about and the lives of those helping him on the investigation.

The author, Ron Goodreau is, according to the publicity info I received with the book, “a deputy district attorney in California, presently living in Sacramento. He is an Air Force veteran with degrees in government and law”, which all sounds very promising. I wish I could say I felt that promise had been fulfilled in this book, but I don't. If you go to Amazon, you will read some very good reviews of this book, which made me hopeful. I wish I could agree with them, but I can't. Let me give a few reasons why.

The basic premise of the story is not bad and is certainly timely. But it just goes too, too far. Over the top far. The Bad People are very bad and the Good People are very good and everything is very black and white. For example, Detective Cox is bad, so not only is he a crooked cop but he is rather stupid and boorish, with a filthy apartment and bad personal hygiene. It seems bad guys do not bathe. The FBI agents are so evil they are almost like villains in a cartoon. The plot...just goes from interesting as the book begins to the totally beyond belief by the end. Squads of hit men on rooftops? FBI agent snipers...really? I, for one, was not at all sold.

But personally for me, the most annoying problem was the dialog. Most of the book, with the exception of a number of editing errors, is pretty well written, but often the dialog is very awkward and not at all natural sounding. That is something I find particular grating in a book and something that might have been corrected with more careful editing.
From the few reviews out there, it seems once again I am in a minority on this one, but I am sorry to say that this is not a book I could recommend.

My thanks to Jocelyn Kelley at Kelley and Hall for my copy of this book.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...In Honor of St. Patrick

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, a few photos from Ireland.

 always, for more Wordless Wednesday, check these out.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

And Now...a Pause for a Musical Interlude.

Since Bandit seems to be missing in action here today, something different...

As the folks at Fallible Blogma, who I also thank for posting this, said, "It’s awesome that God made creatures who do things like this…"
I can barely tie my shoes correctly, but I can tap my toes to this music just fine. ;-)
Hope you like it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Musing Monday... A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

It is almost Monday, not quite, but close enough, so let's check out this week's Monday Musing question, from Just one more page...

Today’s MUSING MONDAY post is about picture books.

Do you have a favourite picture book, either from your own childhood, or reading to you children?

I don't have any children, and while I am sure I read some books to my niece when she was little, that was decades ago. How can I remember such things? Now recently, we happen to have been picking out some story books for a baby shower and she picked two Little Golden Books as favs, The Poky Little Puppy and The Little Red Caboose. I have not read them yet, but I trust her judgement :-)

As to my own childhood, I have said it before but I have little memory of reading or being read to from picture books. Not to brag, but I think I went on to regular books at an early age. I seem to have skipped most of the so-called children's classics too when I was a wee Caite. I was reading, certainly before I was in school, since I was hanging out in our local library before I was in school, but I have no idea what.
Another thing I should have asked my mom while I had the chance. Along with many of her recipes...Oh well.

The only book I remember my mom reading to me was a collection of fairy tales, that she read to me before I went to sleep. I don't remember the name of the book, but I remember the book was a hardcover, with a cloth cover that I think was blue/gray. And the only story I remember, I think one that I requested again and again, was the Tale of the Headless Horseman from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. It was only one story in the big book but I can remember the picture of the rider, galloping away, his "head" in his hand and I loved it.
Perhaps I was an unusual child...

Now, if we move to the present, I do have a book, with a lot of pictures, that I loved. In fact I have two. One for children and one for adults. In both, the illustrations are integral to the book, so I will consider them picture books. It is all about the picture to word radio..and I think these pass the test. Even if they don't. I still love them both. We adults can have pictures books too, can't we?

For children, the book is Lady Liberty: A Biography, which is listed for grades 3-8, perhaps a bit out of the typical 'picture book' range. But, it is a lovely book, with beautiful illustrations and a great text.

The second is a picture book for adults. Well, again, it has a LOT of illustration, so I will consider it a picture book. It is When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler's Journal of Staying Put. A very pleasurable book to read, fantastic drawings by the author, illustrations that I just loved.