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Showing posts from November, 2016

List love: 12 foods/dishes I discovered or want to try thanks to books other than cookbooks

I haven't written a List Love post in ages, but while going through some of my files I found a fully written post from several years ago and decided to post it, with a few minor adjustments.  Note that it was written before I was diagnosed with diabetes, so I would have to make certain adjustments if I was planning to make some of the recipes today.  This really should go on my cooking blog, but I thought it would be fun to do a cross-over post. It’s no secret that I like to cook and eat and discover new recipes, and thanks to my reading of all kinds of novels and non-fiction over the space of 40+ years I have come across lots of different interesting foods and dishes. I am not counting stuff I have come across in actual cookbooks and recipe collections and I am not including any books deliberately written as foodie books, but only books that made me take notice of some particular dish. However, I might do a post on mouth-watering foodie books later. Goodness know

Friday links, November 25, 2016

Last week's first link was to a Roundworld reference in a Discworld book. Here is another one: Treacle mining . Treacle Mine Road is frequently mentioned in those Discworld books that take place in Ankh-Morpork, and treacle mines are mentioned as well. Do all those books with "girl" in the title annoy you? Me too. Someone decided to investigate and came up with this: The Gone Girl With The Dragon Tattoo On The Train . Love France but can't afford to go there? Try this: Food-and-Book Pairings in Lieu of Travelling to France .   A useful blog for writers, full of cautionary tales exposing less than ethical (and sometimes illegal) practices in the publishing industry that writers should be aware of: Writer Beware .  The book list: The 86 Greatest Travel Books of All Time . Why 86? Why not the usual 100, or 17 or 42?  I rather think it's because these are ones you can buy through the website. But don't let that disturb you: there are some grea

Review: Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Genre : Urban fantasy police procedural. Setting : Modern London. Themes : Violence, death, crime, gods, magic, ghosts. Constable-in-training Peter Grant is facing a career at a desk, writing reports for other policemen, at the end of his probationary period, due to being easily distracted. Things start looking up when he meets a ghost at a murder scene he is guarding. Next thing he knows, he's been recruited into a special branch of the London police that deals with paranormal and supernatural crime, has become a wizard's apprentice and is learning how to use magic. However, finding out he's able to see ghosts and do magic is soon the least of Peter's worries as a series of bizarre acts of violence and murder sweep the city. To add to the confusion, the river gods of London seem to be heading into a turf war. I first heard of this book when I was browsing the Discworld discussion forum on Reddit, where it was recommended as something a Discworld fan might li

Last week's book haul

I acquired four books last week. Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities was written by Ian Stewart, who I am familiar with as one of the co-authors of The Science of Discworld books, and it will be interesting to read this as I have been wanting to study maths again. I had my interest and joy in maths severely maimed by bad teachers when I was a teenager and I have always wanted to go back and study maths without the pressure of having to get passing grades. Rivers of London is an entertaining urban fantasy police procedural. I will post a review tomorrow. I was very happy to get my hands on a lovely, illustrated hardcover edition of Mark Twain's Diaries of Adam & Eve . I've already read both diaries, but it will not hurt to read them again in such a lovely book. Why Not? looks like a nice loo book - I am beginning to see an end to my current toilet book ( 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die ) and need something totally different to

Review: Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann

Translated by : Carol Brown Janeway. Genre : Historical novel. Themes : Mathematics, science, travel, human interactions. Kehlmann's novel is about two great men of the 19th century: Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Friedrick Gauss. Von Humboldt is best known as a naturalist, geographer and explorer, and Gauss is considered to have been one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. Both were pioneers in their respective fields and what Kehlmann focuses on in his book is that both men measured the known world - one travelling far and wide to do so and the other doing it all inside his own head, rarely leaving his home state. The narrative jumps around with alternating chapters about each man, going back and forth in time a little and showing the reader both men at various ages and stages of their careers. We also get to see parts of the story through the eyes of von Humboldt's long-suffering travel companion and collaborator, the French physician and botanist Aimé Bon

Weekly Monday Round-up (November 21, 2016)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading ? is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date and is "a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week." Visit the Book Date to see what various other book bloggers have been up to in the past week . Books I finished reading last week:  Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann. Historical novel. I'm working on a review. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. Fantasy police procedural, set in modern London. I'm working on a review. What the Butler Saw: Two Hundred and Fifty Years of the Servant Problem by E.S. Turner. This is an informative account of life in service in England (and America) and a look at the upstairs-downstairs dichotomy.  Books I acquired last week: I will discuss them in more detail later in the week. Weather report:  We had the first frost in the Reykjavík area last week, with a little snow, which then melted and re-froze. The slippery pavemen

Juicy Friday links, November 18, 2016

I decided to make some changes to the Friday links. There will no longer be a fixed number of links, but any number up to 10, depending on what interesting stuff I have discovered during the week's web surfing. I will also start posting links that are not related to books and reading, or only indirectly or marginally so, because I often find interesting, fascinating or funny links related to my other interests that I want to share. I will continue to post one link to a book list per week, and I am considering putting in links to books on my TBR wishlist. Here are today's links: Link the first relates to Terry Pratchett's Discworld, specifically to the resograph, the "thingness-writer" in Moving Pictures that measured disturbances in reality. It was made from a large vase and expelled steel balls from an aperture in the direction of the disturbance. It has a Roundworld counterpart, an ancient Chinese seismometer . Link the second is about cliches in


Why is it, now that I can finally glimpse a hope that I'll be able to finish the bedspread - the one I started making three years ago - before this Christmas, is it that I feel no interest in continuing with the task of crocheting it all together and instead am plotting to make myself a Hogwarts scarf to wear this winter? And I'm not even a Harry Potter megafan.

Reading Report for October 2016

I finished 13 books in October, of which 5 were rereads. 8 were fiction in 5 genres and 5 were non-fiction in the same number of genres. The stand-outs were  Not on the Label and Dragonology , the former because it is a very thought-provoking book and the latter because of its gorgeous design. I also enjoyed getting reacquainted with Charlotte MacLeod's writing - I had forgotten how good she is at writing funny characters. The Book of General Ignorance was like having Stephen Fry speaking in my head throughout the reading. The Mystery of Swordfish Reef turned out to be one of Upfield's more far-fetched mysteries and I got the feeling he had got to thoroughly hate his detective by the time this book was written. Rereads:  A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh. Regency romance.  The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie. Murder mystery. Audiobook. Appleby's End by   Michael Innes. Mystery.  Whose Body? and The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers. Murder m

Book haul for last week and the week before

I acquired 4 books in the week before last: 3 non-fiction books and one novel, and have already read two of them. The big red book is a richly illustrated history of the Vikings . It was fist published back in the 1960s, so I expect some more stuff has come to light since it was written, but it's a gloriously beautiful book worth owning. Common Grounds is a book on the natural history of a small area of land in Harrogate, Yorkshire. Click on the link to read my review.   Alice is about what might have happened to Alice after her adventures in Wonderland.  Clink the link to read my review.   The Devil in the White City is another history book.I expect I will read it soon, as it has been on my TBR list for several years. Then I acquired 12 books last week and have already read 2 of them and started reading a third. First photo: The book in the top left corner is titled Deutschland , and is a photo book about Germany. It was published in 1964 and all

Top Ten Tuesday (November 15, 2016)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Visit the hosting blog to see lots of other lists . Today's topic is a movie freebie, and I chose to list my 10 favourite musicals and music movies.  I love musicals, especially the song and dance kind, but I also love a good music movie. The difference between a music movie and a musical is that while the former contains music that’s integral to the plot, it is presented in a realistic manner, i.e. with musicians performing, while in a musical people are liable to burst into song (and often dance as well) at the drop of a hat and no-one blinks an eye. In fact the spectators often join in. I am only including fiction, i.e. no documentaries or concert movies. I think I’ll start my list with one of my all time favorite movies: The Commitments . Music movie. To me, this is the ultimate “let’s get a band together” movie, and one of the things that makes it so goo

Weekly Monday Round-up (November 14, 2016)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading ? is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date and is "a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week." Visit the Book Date to see what various other book bloggers have been up to in the past week . Books I finished reading last week:  I seem to be out of the reading slump and am reading at full pace. The trick seems to be to not hesitate when choosing the next book, and to get reading right away and read enough to get yourself hooked. (Or maybe I have just been lucky in my choices). I finished and reviewed (links lead to my reviews): Common Ground by Rob Cowen. Natural history and meditation on man's place within nature. Alice by Christina Henry. Fantasy. Dark spin-off of Alice in Wonderland . I finished and haven't reviewed:  The Solace of Open Spaces by Gretel Ehrlich. I may review this one, but in case I don't get round to it, it is a memoir of sorts about the US

Review: Common Ground by Rob Cowen

Genre : Natural history, memoir Themes : Seasons, births and death, man and nature, animals, history. Books about intimate natural history appeal to me almost as much as travelogues do. These books usually deal with one person's view of a single place, natural phenomenon or animal and can offer one both a very narrow and a wide view of the subject, often delving deep into history, anthropology, zoology, botany and geology. Others skim along the surface and present us with a glittering snapshot of a place frozen at a point in time. My favourites of this sub-genre of both the memoir and of popular science are The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey, The Land of Little Rain by Mary Austin and Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey. This book is not quite at the level of excellence as those three, but it is enjoyable and makes for a nice, slow read. Cowen began gathering material for his intimate study of the natural history of a bit of edgeland in his home-t

Review: Alice by Christina Henry

Genre : Fantasy. Themes : Madness, amnesia, power struggles, magic, facing your fears. Warning : Possible triggers and definite spoilers. It was the cover of this book that first caught my eye. With a cover and title like this, I realised it must have something to do with Lewis Carroll's Alice, the girl who went to Wonderland. However, I have on several occasions read or tried to read spin-offs or "takes" on classic literature, and rarely have they been satisfying reads. So, I passed it up. However, I kept thinking about it and when I returned to the charity shop a couple of weeks later, it was still there, and so I bought it. It lay on the floor by my bed, silently screaming "read me!" for the whole time it took me to finish Rob Cowen's Common Ground , and once I was done with that book, I immediately picked up this one. The only reason I didn't pull an overnighter to finish it in one session was that I had a meeting in the morning and needed to b

Review: The Adventures of Elizabeth in Rügen

The Adventures of Elizabeth in Rügen describes the adventures of the Elizabeth of the title, on a holiday on the German island of Rügen, which is situated in the north-east corner of Germany and was already a popular holiday destination at the time of her visit. The author visited Rügen near the turn of the 19th century - the publication date is 1904, but in the opening chapter she writes as if this holiday had been taken some years earlier. At first it was to be a walking holiday, but she could not get any of her friends to accompany her, and so ended up taking a small horse carriage and driver, and a maid to serve as a chaperone, as her husband would not let her go alone. They circumambulated the island, following the shore as much as possible. This makes it a road trip story, a genre I love, both in fiction and non-fiction. I decided to read it because I have booked a fare on the Norröna ferry the European mainland and will be taking my car on a journey around Germany ne