Category Archives: Books

Level Up to Bees Knees

1 minute, 52 seconds

So, y’all remember how much I loved American Born Chinese? Mr. Yang’s latest is Level Up and I just finished it. It’s great! Not quite as good as ABC, but it stands on its own.

There were a couple things about this book that resonated with me. The first is the addictive behavior of a young kid playing a video game. And not just any video game, but the video games my generation grew up on: NES, Super Mario Brothers, Zelda and the like. I actually wasn’t that good at these games back in the day, but I wasted hours down at Freeway Variety, the local five and dime store, watching my friends play (oddly the only mention of Freeway online is the glossary for a movie from some guys who grew up in my “hood”). To this day there’s still a few friends who I can say, “Elf needs food” and they’ll finish the saying with, “badly!”.

The second thing that resonated with me was that at that age, I read a lot of comic books. I would go to Comic Relief (clearly I haven’t been in a while, I just found out they’re closed, R.I.P.), go around the corner and by two slices from Arinell Pizza (it was 1/2 the size back in my day. Really!) and sit and read comics. That same night I’d go home and read every comic I’d gotten that day. Then I’d re-read them. How does this tie into Level Up? Well, I just couldn’t wait to start, let alone finish, the graphic novel, so I sat and read it as fast as I could, just like back in my salad days. Just like the protagonist in the book and his video games.

One big difference between eating Arinell’s pizza or 10 rolls of Smarties ’til I’m sick while I read comics and graphic novels, is now I’m all grown up! I can have adult drinks while I read. Ya know, like Bees Knees! My wife recommended a recipe from Not without Salt. Bees knees are tasty! Oddly, I think I might try the next ones with a bit of rosemary:

  • 2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz Honey Syrup
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice

NWOS suggests doing the honey syrup like simple syrup: 1 to 1 of honey to water, bring to simmer, let cool and use. However, I cheated and just did the 1 to 1 measurement using piping hot water, and then stirring the bejeesus out of it. Worked fine and no dirty pan.

American Born Chinese

1 minute, 10 seconds

abc_monkeyTime to kick of the “review” and “book” tag of this ol’ blog here. As I just finished the OG Watchmen, I’ll start with another graphic novel I read a while ago. Let me preface this by saying it is not only the best graphic novel I’ve ever read, but is in the top 10, possibly top 5 of the best books I’ve ever read. Yes, that good!

American Born Chinese is the title of this wonderful tale about a young Chinese boy growing up in the U.S. What really ties this book together are the three plots woven into it. The author cleverly works the hormone filled, acceptance seeking trials of a blonds, American teen along with the unique adventures of a newly immigrated Chinese boy oh so wisely offset with action packed, water breathing inception of a kung fu monkey demigod. Yes, one of the three main characters is a power hungry monkey demigod who does not wear his shoes on his ears, but on his feet.

There were some solid themes from the hero’s journey in this novel, akin to The Alchemist, but you know, with more fisticuffs, high school brawls and kids speaking Chinese. I must say, of all the themes in this book, the ancient monkey demigod’s struggle is my favorite. His plight to become the equal of the more powerful and wise god gods is chock full of morals, wisdom and humor that is right up my alley.

This book went on to win many awards. Go pick up a copy at your local, locally owned bookstore and find out why.