January’s book of choice was Jim Butcher’s Storm Front, the first book in his popular Dresden Files series. This book kicked off Harry Dresden’s wizardy adventures which has inspired a graphic novel series as well as a short lived Syfy television series. It also inspired some interesting conversation at this month’s Read It & Steep.
I remembered reading this book several years ago and loving every moment of it. This time around … I had a more difficult time (i.e.- I couldn’t finish it and watched the appropriate episode of the now defunct show … God Bless Netflix).
Our group was compiled of readers who loved it, hated it, and felt rather indifferent to it. Consensus was (even among the Dresden die-hards) that Harry’s first outing doesn’t show either him or the author in the best light. The female characters are weak and poorly realized. Detective Karrin Murphy, who is described as being a hard, gutsy, no-nonsense cop, cries when Harry doesn’t share information with her. Reporter Susan Rodriguez isn’t above openly seducing Harry (who doesn’t get it even though she’s terribly overt) to get her story.
It’s fair to say that many of our lady Steepers had big problems with how juvenile Butcher’s hero appears in his first outing. We got the feeling that Dresden is as Butcher always wanted to be … a little strange in his long leather duster, but oddly magnetizing to all the women he knows … let’s just say that our group had a long discussion of the meaning of “chauvinism.”
By the way, the definition according to dictionary.com (definition) reads:
3. the denigration, disparagement, and patronization of either sex based on the belief that one sex is inferior to the other and thus deserving of less than equal treatment or benefit. Compare male chauvinism.
As I mentioned before, I didn’t quite get through it this time, mostly because I was blinded by what I found to be poorly developed characters. Steeper Tara decided to dip into the graphic novel, but found that it was strange that it suddenly stopped. We came to find that they did the first graphic novel in two parts … that explained it! Many of our readers enjoyed the book for what it was, but were not planning to continue with the series.
This month the decision of what sort of treats to serve was tough! There wasn’t much mention of food in the book, but Angela remembered one scene where Harry wants to call a fairy and needs to set up a spell to do so:
“It was a perfect night for catching faeries … I poured a thimbleful of milk into the cup and daubed the bowl full of honey from the little plastic bear in my backpack.
“Then I tore a piece of bread from the loaf I had brought with me and pricked my thumb with the knife. In the silver light of the moon, a bit of dark blood welled up against the skin, and I touched it daintily to the underside of the coarse bread, letting it absorb the blood. Then I set the bread, bloody side down, on the tiny plate.
“My trap was set. I gathered up my equipment and retreated to the cover of the trees.”
… So, I had my answer! I would serve bloody bread, milk, and honey to the steepers!
This month’s treat consisted of milk, raspberry poke cake (standing in for blood and bread), and homemade honey ice cream! It was all quite good (especially the ice cream, which had fantastic tupelo flavor.)
The photo and recipe are courtesy of Betty Crocker.
There was also a specialty tea this month, Tutti Fruiti, chosen because the fairy’s name is Toot-toot!