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Monday Morning Book Review: “Breaking Dawn,” “Drink This: Wine Made Simple” and “The Edible Woman”

December 21st, 2009

On review for today:

Speaking of blood, I’m on page 483 out of 756 pages of “Breaking Dawn” (by Stephenie Meyer, 2008, Megan Tingley Books, Little, Brown and Company, $22.99). I am facing the wrath of my 10-year-old writing this but I have to say it: This book sucks. I mean, sucks. (Edited at 4 p.m. to say — just finished the book. Am standing by this review. wm.)

The vampires, the werewolves, the sex, the drinking of blood… it outdoes “Rosemary’s Baby” and I’m not meaning that as a compliment. I frickin’ love “Rosemary’s Baby,” both the Ira Levin novel and the film version and no, I do not care to discuss Roman Polanski. Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer are just brilliant in it, and I’ve seen it, I dunno. Twenty times?

“Breaking Dawn” does not give me the satisfaction of, say, Rosemary spitting in Guy’s eye when she realizes she’s been set up. I don’t know what else to say about this book, but it is not the book to read, or attempt to read, when you’re recovering from surgery. Or any other time. Who said this about “Twilight,” Neisha? That her favorite part of the book was the blank pages? No. When asked what her ten least-favorite books were, Neisha said, and I’m quoting here, “Can I just say ‘Twilight’ ten times?” Ha. Ha. Ha. I think it was Susan who said that about the blank pages. Anyway. You were so right.

OK. Enough about blood. Next topic: Wine! I am no wine snob, but I do like my pinot grigio (or gris, or what have you) and I like the fizzy stuff, prosecco — prosecco a la Brian Boitano (see? I told you I am low-brow here) with the grapefruit juice and the sugar cube. Well. This book, “Drink This: Wine Made Simple” (by Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, 2009, Ballantine Books, 348 pages, $26) did not make me feel like an idiot for not knowing my wines. Also, she devotes a brief page or two to pinot grigio, which apparently is the Slut of White Wines (my words, not hers) and she also mentions the Ponzis and I love the Ponzis. They are such a nice family, those Ponzis, and they’re local.

She discusses all that you need to know about wine:
1. Type of grapes.
2. Where the grapes were grown.
3. How the grapes were turned into wine.

Also she discusses decanters, glasses, yadda yadda. I liked this book — it would make a good gift or purchase for your own self.

“The Edible Woman,” Margaret Atwood’s first book (1969) is just fantastic and you should just go buy a copy and read it right now. (Why does it fit so nicely into this round-up? You figure it out, I cannot.) You should especially read it immediately if you’ve been unfortunate enough to have read something like, say, “Breaking Dawn” or any of the other “Twilight” books. You need to get that taste out of your mouth and head. Wacky Cousin is right — it’s like you just ate a big bag of Cheetos and feel sick to your stomach once you’ve read Meyer.

The End. You vampire fans can just start throwing stuff at your screen now, I don’t even care. (More randomness: I actually liked the 2nd “Twilight” movie, we just saw it a couple weeks ago. Hmm.)



PS — I just heard that one of the best editors/writers/reporters I’ve ever known, Mr. J, is moving on to some new projects. Good for him. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. In his honor, and because this post, in particular, fucking really needed an editor, I will leave you with a quote:

“You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.” — Arthur Plotnik, editor and author (b. 1937)


  1. Nan says

    An “Edible Woman” would certainly appeal to vampires. I still haven’t read any of those books! I get “READ IT!” from one camp and “GAH!” from another.

    December 21st, 2009 | #

  2. wacky cousin says

    It’s one of those things. You can read it fast, but you will lament the loss of that time.

    WM, glad you seem to be on the mend. Love YOU!

    December 21st, 2009 | #

  3. Neisha says

    Thanks, WM! This sounds like recovery to me!

    It was a list of books we wished we hadn’t read. I’m very impressed that you made it this far in the series, you’re a very dedicated book critic! I didn’t even make it through the first book. I happened to be reading “Twilight” at the same time as “The Historian” — a really excellent vampire book. To say it suffered in comparison would be the understatement of the year! And it wasn’t just the bad writing, it was being stuck in the head of one of the most annoying characters ever. I recently saw the first movie, and it’s the only time I’ve ever said that the movie was better than the book. Kristin Stewart is such an appealing young woman, and you’re not stuck in Bella’s head.

    December 21st, 2009 | #

  4. WackyMummy says

    Love the Plotnik quote. I wish I was more of a reader, but time doesn’t permit. That said, I borrowed Dan Brown’s new book from the library (which made me wait, like, 12 weeks for it because they only have ONE copy and it’s such a hot item) and I’m devouring it every chance I get. So that meant 4 am when I got up to pee and couldn’t go back to sleep right away. Sleep deprivation, pffft! Whatever. That’s why god created coffee. ;)

    December 22nd, 2009 | #

  5. edj says

    I read only the first Twilight, and that only for Ilsa’s sake. She got the first 3 and really liked them and I wanted to be able to discuss how dating a man who could kill you but not caring wasn’t actually a healthy model. (Before we throw up our hands in despair, she also recently read and loved To Kill a Mockingbird. So I am holding out hope that she’ll be a decent grownup after all ;) )
    I’m v impressed you could get through more than one book! Gah! blech! that was an awful book. Soooo drippy and overwrought and pathetic and, honestly, Bella has some real issues. And the cold dead sparkly vampire skin? Shudder!

    December 22nd, 2009 | #

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