Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Went to Queen of Sheba restaurant for dinner Tuesday. Yum. Ethiopian food is better than I remembered.
Best dish of the meal, though, was an appetizer called a sambosa which was a little triangle of phyllo pastry filled with a meat and vegetable mixture, spicy, with relish of spicy lentils and a jalapeno-laced pico-de-gallo-type garnish. YUM! Sambosas are a lot like samosas, which is an Indian dish. Loved the cardamom in several of the dishes. Ethiopian coffee at the end of the meal smelled and tasted of clove. Delicious--better than coffee usually is. Best detail about eating Ethiopian? No forks! Along with the big round tray of victuals comes a bowl of rolls of long strips of a light, fluffly bread with which you scoop up the sloppy bits. Nice. Eating with hands is a good thing. Ook!
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Had lunch at a sushi bar Tuesday and a woman sat next to me turned out to be friends with one of the doctors my mom works for. Small world, eh? Anyway, she asked about my book and then about Terry Pratchett, and we started talking about sci-fi. She said her book club was trying to branch out and try different genres, and if I were to recommend just one sci fi book, what would it be? The first one that occurred to me was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I hope I didn't steer her wrong, but I think that's a good one because for all the heaviness of the subject, it's more character-driven than big on techy-type stuff, and also the personal drama aspect is something I think would be more appealing to women who (no offense) I suspect have read too much of Opran's must-read book list. What do you think? What would you recommend to a first-time sci-fi reader? It's funny to me to turn my mind back and realize I started falling in love with that genre at about age 9 with Madelein L'engle and all that. Funny to think I've loved sci fi for 3/4 of my life. It's also funny how I've read sci-fi in fits and starts. In a strange way, I very much consider my beloved South American magical-realism to be sci-fi - Isabel Allende and whatnot.
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Despite the flip convo I posted, I'm really sad when I hear about people who slip when they are young and never get their footing again, famous or not. Beside Heath Ledger is the actor Brad Renfro who overdosed at 25 last week. It's like I always say: growing up in the glare of the spotlight warps and ruins more lives than it improves. Mamas: don't let your babies grow up to be actors.

9 comments:

Tam said...

For you?

Stranger In A Strange Land.

First Heinlein book I ever read. Really, really interesting.

Tickersoid said...

Nothing more lonely than being cooped up in a hotel room unable to go out for fear of being mobbed but having thousands of strangers adore you.

DBA Dude said...

Those sambosas sound good, when doing an all you can eat buffet at an Indian I like to have a few samosas and some onion bhajis as a starter.

Tricky question on sci-fi, cannot find fault with your recommendation.

If I was going for something more techy then it would coin toss time between Neuromancer by William Gibson or Consider Phlebas by Ian M Banks. Both stunning first novels with a couple of follow ups set in the same environment for readers who enjoyed the first ones.

Christina LMT said...

I would suggest any so-called "young adult" Heinlein book to start. "Tunnel in the Sky", "Red Planet", "Star Beast", etc.

Then, definitely "Starship Troopers" (forget the movie!), and "Stranger in a Strange Land".

I couldn't believe it about Ledger. He was truly fantastic. I wonder if they can determine whether it was accidental or not.

Brad Renfro? He's been circling the toilet bowl for a long, long time. And he was absolutely brilliant in "The Client".

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I have been wanting to head out for some Ethiopian dining for the longest time now! This fuels the flame.

Myron said...

I'm thinkin' some Jack L. Chalker. The Well World series and the Flux and Anchor series are great. The Flux and Anchor might be a bit much for newbies. I mean when her tongue turns into a penis so she can really satisfy her lover....

Lin M. said...

Stranger in a Strange Land.

THE best.

Haven't had Ethiopian (and I KNOW I spelled that wrong) food. . There was a plane called Alladin's in the city I used to live that had incredible Middle Eastern Foods. AND the biggest collection of genuine USA cheesecakes for dessert. Heaven.

Kevin said...

"Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card is one of my all time favorite sci-fi novels.
Indian food rocks! I LOVE samosas! I must try these sambosas you speak of... hafta find an Ethiopian restaurant - pretty sure there ain't one in this here valley...

pdb said...

I think The Mrs' experience with it was atypical (natch), but after reading John Ringo's Ghost on a whim after I had raved about it on my blog, she poked around the Baen CDROM mirror and read Road To Damascus, then devoured the March Upcountry series.

Ringo wouldn't have been my first choice for an introduction to scifi, but he's well moderated by a coauthor.