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Showing posts from November, 2009

Review of The Godmother

Author: Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
Year published: 1994
Where got: Public library
Genre: Fantasy (real world, alternate reality/possible future), fairy tale

As I mentioned yesterday, I went to the library to look for a suitable romance to review so I could keep my promise to choose reading material outside my comfort zone. Found no romance I liked the look of, but came home with The Godmother, Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen and Foucaults’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco.

I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading The Godmother, never having read anything by Scarborough before. What got my attention was the the title and the cover , which shows a middle-aged woman (who resembles Lauren Baccall) with a knowing smile and a pose of authority and confidence, surrounded by graphics that suggest magic and interposed on an image of the Seattle skyline (immediately recogniseable because of the Space Needle). Woohoo, I thought. Magic in the modern world. Nice!

I finished it in one sitting, around …

Review of The Professor and the Madman

Originally published in 2 parts, in May 2004.
Book 17 in my first 52 books challenge.

Full title:The Professor and the Madman: A tale of murder, insanity, and the making of the Oxford English Dictionary
Author: Simon Winchester
Published: 1998
Genre: History, biography, lexicography
Where got: National library

This book is about two men who worked on the making of the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) and their longstanding relationship. What got me interested in it was the title. We will have to see if the book lives up to it.

The story:
The book touches upon several subjects, but the core story is that of two men who were influential in the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. One was Professor James Murray, the longest-serving editor of the OED, and the other was one of the most useful contributors of quotations to the book, Dr. William C. Minor, an inmate in a lunatic asylum (as they were called in those days). The life stories of both men are told in brief, showing how Prof. Murray ro…

Review of A Hat Full of Sky

Originally published in 2 parts, in May 2004.
Book 16 in my first 52 books challenge.

Author:Terry Pratchett
Published: 2004
Where got: Amazon.co.uk
Genre: Fantasy, children's

This book was delivered by the mailman on Friday afternoon, and I had to restrain myself not to start reading until after dinner. Finished reading it around midnight. I am going to read it again - more slowly - before I review it.

This is the sequel to The Wee Free Men and is the third Discworld book for children.

As usual, Pratchett has done an excellent job. The book is written for children, but is actually quite a good read for adults, who will read it at a deeper level. As this is a children's book, there are not as many allusions to other works as there are in the adult Discworld books, but there are still quite a few, some of which will be easily picked up by children and some which are better understood by adults.

Here be SPOILERS
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The story is slower than The Wee Free Men and not quite as laugh-…

Review of Icelandic Food and Cookery

Book 15 in my first 52 books challenge.
Originally published in 3 parts in May 2004.


Entry 1:

Author: Nanna Rögnvaldardóttir
Year published: 2002
Where got: public library
Genre: Food, recipes, social history

Nanna Rögnvaldardóttir is at the moment Iceland's most famous cookery book author who is not a chef. Her previous two cookery tomes, Matarást (Love of Food) and Matreiðslubók Nönnu (Nanna's Cookbook) are veritable food bibles. The first is an encyclopedia of food, ingredients, cookery methods, kitchen science, cookery terms, food history etc. etc., and the second is a collection of over 3000 recipes from all over the world. Both are unfortunately only available in Icelandic.

Icelandic Food and Cookery is Nanna's first cookery book written in English (to my knowledge). It focuses on food that may be called Icelandic, both traditional and modern. This book is of special interest to me because what Nanna is doing with this book is exactly what I have been doing with my cooking …

Wednesday reading experience #44

Discover the literature of a foreign country you are not much familiar with.

I plan to see if I can find some English translations of Indian writers while I am in India, because my reading of Indian literature consists of a prose retelling of the stories told in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, and a handful of books by Indian women writers who write in English*. When this posts (I am posting this ahead of time) I should have finished reading a translation of the Bhagavad Gita, which is part of the Mahabharata.

*Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Anita Desai.