Cooking is Terrible by misha fletcher

Cooking is Terrible is not a cookbook so much as it is a field guide to turning the various elements in the kitchen into something your mother would agree counts as food. (Or at least my mother. YMMV, your mother may vary.)

Sometimes we do not have the time, energy, or desire to feed ourselves. That might be because we’re fighting a head cold and can’t taste anything anyway. It might be that we don’t have time to put together even 30 minutes of cooking, and something we can cook AND eat AND clean up after needs to take, say, 20. We might have other mental or physical disabilities that are preventing us from standing at a stove. We might just not have the spoons to deal with it.

Cooking is Terrible is like, ok, that’s not a problem. Here are some sandwich ideas. Here are some salad ideas, most of which are heartier than “dress up a lettuce”. Got a stick blender? Here are some soup ideas and here are some smoothie ideas.

It is definitely geared toward Americans who are easily able to buy things like precooked chicken or other meats, and bonus points if you can buy precut veggies, frozen fruit, etc. Since I am one of those, I’m all-in.

I’m looking forward to using some of these ideas / recipes to take the pressure off of figuring out food.

Foxes In Love, Volume 1 by Toivo Kaartinen

You’re probably familiar with the green and blue foxes that star in Foxes in Love, because Toivo Kaartinen posts them on twitter, Instagram, and tumblr. If you’re not, you’ll want to be. These are some of the most loving and caring comics available on the internet, with just enough of a humor twist to make you grin.

When you’re done volume 1, go preorder Foxes in Love volume 2.

Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle

Atomic Robo and the Knights of the Golden Circle is written by Brian Clevinger and drawn by Scott Wegener.

Semi-spoiler alert: That thing the dinosaur did in the previous book sort of but didn’t quite work, resulting in Atomic Robo traveling back in time.

Most of the “back in time” books of Atomic Robo are actually just stories we haven’t heard yet, about a younger Robo during a younger time, a time post-Edison and Tesla, perhaps of World War II or the Cold War, punching Nazis or threatening Soviets.

This book, however, takes place in the Old West, before Edison and Tesla. Before electricity. Before robots, certainly. And Robo, who certainly didn’t plan ahead for his predicament, has only a limited amount of power, a strong desire to not change the past, and of course, an overdeveloped sense of justice.

Thus he finds himself with two famous westerners in 1884, fighting cyborg cowboys and saving the world. As you do.

There’s quite a bit of tension in this volume, some dry humor, and enough cyborgs to choke a steam engine. Definitely worth picking up.

The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher

I’m not saying that The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon) was scary. I am saying I read it in the bath and there’s now big blue hair dye spots on the wall where my skull was pressing against it because apparently my brain was trying to crawl away from the book.

Don’t read it if you’re remodeling. Jesus.

Shadows of the Dark Crystal by J. M. Lee

Shadows of the Dark Crystal is the first of a series of books set in the Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance universe. It might be worth noting that while I’ve seen the original Dark Crystal movie probably a dozen times, I’ve not yet seen the new series.

The story centers around Naia, a young Sog Gelfling woman who isn’t quite old enough to be considered an adult, but certainly is ready to make her way into the world. She’s got a twin brother named Gurjin who works at the Crystal Castle…. until word arrives on the back of a Gelfling soldier that Gurjin has committed treason against the Skeksis who guard the crystal.

Naia rapidly learns that to defend her brother she must make her way across Thra, the land of the Crystal to the All-Maudra to stand trial in his stead. The journey takes a rapid turn for the worse when she, her father, and the soldier, discover that the creatures of Thra have turned dark and violent for reasons that seem to lead back to the crystal roots that permeate the world.

As in all good coming-of-age stories, things continue to go downhill from there.

If you were a kid when The Dark Crystal came out, there’s a few things to recognize about this book before reading. It’s classed as a Young Adult book (ages 12-17 on Amazon’s scale) but I’d definitely put it at the low end of that scale based on the simplicity of the reading level and the generally-slower pace of the book. This story simultaneously relies on building tension throughout while not scaring the pants off its intended audience, and so can feel a bit slow at the beginning and/or a bit rushed at the end.

It’s also written as the first book of a prequel set to a story we already know — a story that’s going very badly for the Gelflings at the beginning of the movie. In other words, if you’re looking for a series with a happy ending, or heck, even a pick-me-up, this book is probably not where you want to look. Once again, it’s important to remember this is a Young Adult book and speaking as someone who was once a Young Adult that read almost every Young Adult in the local Waldenbooks, angst and disaster is a craving at that age. So, yeah, might not be your thing (even if you are a YA) but typical of the genre.

Overall it’s a good enough book that I’m getting the sequels… and seriously considering watching the series, which is a big deal for someone who has trouble sitting still in front of a TV.