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Showing posts from August, 2012

What‘s in a Name challenge review: The Raven in the Foregate, by Ellis Peters

Here is my first What‘s in a Name challenge book: item no. 2, the something you'd see in the sky, that thing of course being a raven.

I have been making my way through the Brother Cadfael series in order of publication for the last several years, going rather slowly because I have been picking them up from second hand book shops, flea market stalls and BookMooch, knowing I would want to keep them after reading them. This is the 12th in the series out of 21, so I am a little over halfway there.

Synopsis:
The parish priest of Holy Cross, commonly called the Foregate because it lies just outside the walls of the abbey, dies and the Abbot of Saint Peter and Saint Paul brings back from a visit to his bishop a priest to replace him. But the priest clashes with his flock due to his inflexibility and lack of humility and kindness. When he is found drowned in the mill-pond on Christmas Day with a suspicious wound on the back of his head, foul play is suspected and Brother Cadfael and sher…

Reading Challenge

As a regular visitor to this blog will have noticed, I have not been very active lately. This is because of many things that have combined to make me disinterested in posting reviews and writing about books. However, I would like to become more active and to that end I decided to join a reading challenge and pledge to blog about the books I read for that challenge to give me a little boost. 

I mentioned back in January that I would probably just do my personal TBR challenge this year and if I were to do or join any other challenges, it would be somehting small that could fit within the TBR challenge, and I decided on the perfect mini-challenge for that: the What's in a Name challenge run by Beth Fish Reads.

The challenge is, in the words of the challenge mistress:

 "Between January 1 and December 31, 2012, read one book in each of the following categories:
A book with a topographical feature (land formation) in the title: Black Hills, Purgatory Ridge, Emily of Deep Valley

Top Ten Tuesddays meme: Bookish confessions

This week the bloggers of The Broke and the Bookish urge us to use our blogs as confessionals:
"Anything! You dog ear, you hated a book  but said you loved it, you have $500 library fines...anything goes!"
So, in no particular order, here are my confessions (don't forget to check out the rest):
I break spines (but only on paperbacks). I buy most of my books second hand, meaning the authors don’t get any royalties from me. Give me a book and unless I specifically asked you to give it to me I will, in all likelihood, return it and use the credit to buy a book I know I'll want to keep. Back in my student days (when I was pretty much broke) I would buy books, read them and return them to the book-store. I have been known to check out 20 library books at once... and return 19 of them unopened.Back when I was studying English. Lit., I read several classic novels and wrote admiring and glowing essays about them that got full marks from the teachers, but in actuality I hat…

Review: Twain‘s Feast: searching for America's lost foods in the footsteps of Samuel Clemens by Andrew Beahrs

As anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time will know, I enjoy reading books about food and books about history, and I love travelogues. This book combines all three. The premise of the book is to hunt down some of the foods that Mark Twain wrote about longing for when months of insipid European hotel food were beginning to wear on him during the journey he describes in his travelogue A Tramp Abroad (I know just how he feels). 

Beahrs is an unapologetic foodie and clearly a fan of Twain‘s and he seems to have been tireless in chasing after the foods he chose to discuss in the book. Some of these he makes sound mouth-watering, and the reader can‘t help joining in his lament over how some of these foods have been lost or stopped being as easily available as they were in Twain‘s time, e.g. prairie chicken and terrapin. Others, I must admit, I would give a miss, such as raccoon and possum. Cranberries and maple syrup I am familiar with (when this is written, I am happi…

Review: Stuff White People Like: A Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions by Christian Lander

I used to be a regular visitor of the eponymous blog that spawned this book. I was aware from the first that it should really be titled "Stuff liked by stereotypical, white, middle-class, liberal, urban Americans aged between about 18 and 40", but that didn‘t make it any less funny. I‘d check in, smile or occasionally giggle over the humour, agree or disagree with Lander, and then move on to the next blog in my feed. For some reason (i.e. I found another blog I liked better – I have limited time to read blogs and only ever juggle about 10 at any given time) I stopped reading the blog, but coming across the book in a second hand shop brought a smile to my face and I bought it and took it home with me to read. 
The thing to keep in mind when reading this book is that it is, as I said above, very much about stereotypes and therefore it is by necessity hyperbolic. It also seems to aim to shoot down or at least uncover pretentiousness and one-upmanship, which makes it satirical.…

Reading report for July 2012

I finished 14 books and 2 novellas in July, all but one of which I started reading within the month, so the page count is impressive, around 5400 pages, not counting those parts of London: The Biography I read earlier. You could say I‘m making up for lost time, having read very little (for me) during the winter.

Of the books I read in July, I have already reviewed London: The Biography . Not unsurprisingly, 3 of the other books and one novella came from the Black Dagger Brotherthood series. The other novella takes place in the same world but is not part of the series. Neither novella will go on the Books Read list until I have finished the books they are to be found in, but the titles are Father Mine and The Story of Son. The former is about the couple from Lover Awakened , the third book in the series, and what happened afterwards. The other is a sweet paranormal love story.

Another series I recently discovered Debbie Macomber‘s Cedar Cove books, of which I read the two first in…