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ExUrbanis

Urban Leaving to Country Living

Snapshot Saturday 28May16

May28

Southern France 2014: At the end of the laneway to our gite; the village of Nougein

Nougein photo IMG_3238 450_zpsiohnuta0.jpg

 

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at West Metro Mommy Reads.

WONDROUS WORD: Sporran

May25

This week’s word is one that most people are familiar with, but rarely use. In Carol Shields’ Swann: a Literary Mystery, one of the main characters meets a Scotsman in a kilt and can’t remember the word for the little purse attached to his outfit, until it comes to him in the night a few weeks later. Rationalizing, he says:

Of course, it’s not a particularly common word. One could go years and years without hearing it. But still he should not have forgotten.

The sporran (/ˈspɒrən/; Scottish Gaelic for “purse”), a traditional part of male Scottish Highland dress, is a pouch that performs the same function as pockets on the pocketless kilt.

Sporran photo sporran_zpsigcrv4j4.jpg

Made of leather or fur, the ornamentation of the sporran is chosen to complement the formality of dress worn with it. The sporran is worn on a leather strap or chain, conventionally positioned in front of the groin of the wearer.

When was the last time you used the word sporran?

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Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Snapshot Saturday 21May16

May21

Southern France 2014: Cows in the yard, in the heart of the village.  

Cows in the village photo French cows in the yard_zpsbxpsm0gm.jpg
 

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at West Metro Mommy Reads.

Friday Linkups – 20May16: HOOPERMAN

May20

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Book Beginnings on Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Hop on over there to get a linky to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.
 

Opening sentences from Hooperman: a Bookstore Mystery by John M. Daniel
 photo hooperman_zpsn1a3dbim.jpgHooperman Johnson, a tall, skinny, bushy-bearded man of few words, lived that spring and summer of 1972 in a rented room with a bed, a table, and no phone over the ‘At’s Amore Pizza Palace on University Avenue in Palo Alto, California.

My thoughts: Whew! His life story in one sentence. I’m not asking if I should read on, because there’s no way you could stop me. 1972? I remember it well.


* * * * *

Here’s an entry from page 56 of Hooperman:

“You guys aren’t shipping out as much as you were when that other guy was in charge.”
“That right?” Hoop asked.
“Usually be a box or two every day for the Returns Center. I guess you guys aren’t returning as many books nowadays. I guess that’s a good sign.
“Retu,turns Center? What’s that?”
“You tell me,” Mitch said. “it’s your store, guy. I’m just a mailman.”

My thoughts: This sounds a little sinister to me, so I’m looking for a mystery here. This is first up on my Kindle so I’ll be able to let you know!
 
Friday 56 photo Friday 56_zps0btxjm5r.jpg The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice.The only rules are to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 (or 56% in your ereader) and find any sentence or a few (no spoilers) that grabs you and post it.

What do you think? Would you enjoy this book?

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

WONDROUS WORDS: Seisún & Bodhran

May17

This week’s word comes from the first in the Rare Book Murder series, The Dirty Book Murder. The protagonist is visiting his favourite Irish pub:

An informal seisún began in a corner with a fiddler, a bodhran player, and a girl with a pennywhistle. They played “The Bold Fenian Men” and followed that with “Black and Tan” to put the crowd in a fine rebel mood.
 

seisún: a mostly informal gathering at which people play Irish traditional music. From the Irish sheisiún: session; from Old French session, from Latin sessiō ‎(“a sitting”), from sedeō ‎(“sit”).

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bodhran /ˈbôˌrän,-rən/: a shallow one-sided Irish drum typically played with a short two-headed drumstick. Origin: Irish bodhrán. The first known use is 1972.

 

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Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Saturday Snapshot 14May16

May14

Southern France – shouldn’t that be ARRÊTEZ?

French stop sign--- photo IMG_3059 450_zpsgczklift.jpg
 

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken and then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at West Metro Mommy Reads.

Friday Linkups – 13May16: THE THIRD SON

May13

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Book Beginnings on Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Hop on over there to get a linky to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

Opening sentences from The Third Son by Julie Wu

My journey began when the Americans bombed us, in 1943, because it was during the bombings that I met the girl.

I was eight years old.

My thoughts: What do you think? Should I read on?


* * * * *

 

Friday 56 photo Friday 56_zps0btxjm5r.jpg The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice.The only rules are to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 (or 56% in your ereader) and find any sentence or a few (no spoilers) that grabs you and post it.

Here’s an entry from page 56 of The Third Son:

I had never known how hard the ground could be.

Oh, wow – that could be the middle of so many things! I am intrigued. What do you think?

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

WONDROUS WORDS: Incunabula

May11

This week’s word comes from the first in the Rare Book Murder series, The Dirty Book Murder. And it’s a lovely “book word”.

“There were thirty more books in the two boxes, all related to travel, adventure, or sporting activities such as hunting and fishing. I didn’t expect to find any incunabula, but these beautifully bound editions covered a period from the mid-eighteenth century to the early nineteenth that was in a price zone I could afford.”
 

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incunabula: books produced before 1501, in the earliest stages of printing from movable type.

Incunabula
(pronounced in-kyoo-nab-yuh-la) is plural; the singular, of course, is incunabulum. The word originated about 1815-25 and is derived from the Latin: straps holding a baby in a cradle, probably equivalent to *incūnā (re) to place in a cradle + -bula, plural of -bulum

Do you have any other “book words” to share?
 
Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION from “Perfume – The Story of a Murderer”

May7

This link-up is hosted by Books Are My Favourite and Best, and was inspired by Hungarian writer and poet Frigyes Karinthy. In his 1929 short story, “Chains”, Karinthy coined the phrase ‘six degrees of separation’. The phrase was popularized by a 1990 play written by John Guare, which was later made into a film starring Stockard Channing.

On the first Saturday of every month, Kate chooses a book as a starting point and links that book to six others forming a chain. Bloggers and readers are invited to join in and the beauty of this mini-challenge is that I can decide how and why I make the links in my chain.

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May’s starting book is Perfume – the Story of a Murderer.

1. I haven’t read Perfume but I understand that it is translated from German, as is Thomas Mann’s classic of modern literature, The Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family, first published in Germany in 1900. I read this in my pre-blogging days for our local book club, The Loquacious Compendium.

2. The Mountain and the Valley by Ernest Buckler, a modern classic in its own right, also documents the decline of a family over three generations of farming people in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. The tale culminates in the story of David Canaan who wants to leave the family farm to devote himself to writing.

3. Loyal Blood, the main character in Annie Proulx’ Postcards also leaves the farm – this one in post WWII Vermont, and for an entirely different reason. Loyal has unintentionally killed his fiancee – the literal girl next door, hastily buried her body, and fled in the night leaving a note to say that he and she have run off together. Afraid to ever leave a trail, over the years Loyal sends heart-wrenching barely-literate postcards from across the USA to his family, but remains unable to receive news from them.

4. The postcards in Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence are of a different type. They are part of an artistic correspondence documented in this incredibly imagined & illustrated book. (Click on the title to see my 2012 review.

5. The topic of illustration put me in mind of The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury which I also reviewed in 2012.

6. And Bradbury leads me to my sixth and last link in the chain: Dandelion Wine, Bradbury’s enchanting tale of twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding and the summer of 1928. I read (and reread) and loved this book as a teenager. It holds its magic still.

So that’s my chain: not as strong as I’d like but leading from the slums of 18th century France to the small town of Green Town, Illinois two centuries later. Do you have any suggestions for me? Why not visit Kate’s blog and see how she made the final connection to The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Friday Link-Ups – 06May16: THE AUTOMOBILE CLUB OF EGYPT

May6

Book beginnings photo book beginnings_zpsklyjo57x.jpg

Book Beginnings on Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Hop on over there to get a linky to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

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Opening sentence from The Automobile Club of Egypt by Alaa Al Aswany:

My wife finally understood I needed some time on my own . . .

My thoughts: hmmm – what’s he up to? Would you read on?


* * * * *

 

Friday 56 photo Friday 56_zps0btxjm5r.jpg The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice.The only rules are to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 (or 56% in your ereader) and find any sentence or a few (no spoilers) that grabs you and post it.

Here’s an entry from page 56 of The Automobile Club of Egypt:

My life stretched before me like a long road, but I could see where it led. Then, suddenly, it changed course. It is strange how that can happen unexpectedly due to some small matter or a passing word, going down some street at a particular hour or turning right instead of left or appearing late for work and bumping into someone–any such thing has the potential to change everything.

Intriguing! What are your thoughts?

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Ten Childhood Characters I’d Love To Revisit As Adults

May3

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by The Broke and The Bookish! This is the first time I’ve joined in and I picked a week with a topic that I’ve struggled with. The Broke and the Bookish explain that these characters might be someone I’d like to read about in a novella or something to see what they grew up to be. I couldn’t get to ten – but I got half-way!

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The Saturdays photo Saturdays_zps4h4rm0ci.jpg1. Rush Melendy, one of the four Melendy children whose story I read and reread in Elizabeth Enright’s The Saturdays, The Four-Story Mistake, and Then There Were Five. I loved all the Melendys but I had a real crush on Rush, right into my teens.

Never mind the novella: I’d like to meet him in person and catch up with what he and his siblings (Mona, Randy & Oliver) have been doing for the last 50 years!
 

Trixie Belden #1 photo trixie_zpsfm0csi3o.jpg2. Trixie Belden, young heroine of the eponymous series, only 13 books long (the first six by Julie Campbell, and the next seven by Kathryn Kenny) when I was young and reading them. but since taken into syndication. Trixie and I were soul-mates, except that she was athletic, had big brothers, and had rich friends. Okay – I liked to solve mysteries, neither of us were rich, and I thought she was down-to-earth. That’s more of a connection than I made with Nancy Drew.

And, again, never mind the book, I’d like to have dinner with the older Trixie and find out about her brothers, Brian, Mart and Bobby, and her friends Honey Wheeler, Jim Frayne and Diana Lynch.
 

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3. Holly Hollister of the Happy Hollisters series by Jerry West. (Again, the series was a lot shorter in the early ’60s.) There were five kids in the Hollister family (just like mine!) and we grew up in the same era. I should have identified with Pam because she was the oldest, but Holly had braids just like mine.

I’d love to read a novella set in the ’80s and then present day to see how they all turned out.

 

Bobbsey Twins photo bobbsey twins_zpsufq6ng8t.jpg
 
4. Nan and Burt Bobbsey, the older set of Laura Lee Hope’s Bobbsey twins. I suppose I could hear about how Freddie and Flossie made out too.

The first 15 original Bobbsey Twins books were published between 1904 and 1922 (on Kindle for .77 cents) so I guess something set between 1950 and 1980 would catch them up.

 
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5. Laura Ingalls Wilder from her own Little House series. This one’s a little trickier because Laura was a real person and we know how her life turned out. But rather than read what someone else has said, I’d like to have had her version of events after The First Four Years.
 

So that’s all I could come up with. Who have I missed? Who from your childhood reading would you like to catch up with?

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Friday Afternoon: The View from My Window 29Apr16

April29

A few years ago, I ran a series of pictures with the view from my office window every Friday afternoon. I stopped because I thought there wasn’t enough change week to week to bear recording.

What I’ve decided to do now is to post a picture from the last Friday afternoon of each month. view from my window Friday 29Apr16 photo 2016-4-29 450_zpsuc993unr.jpg
We’ve had a milder winter than a lot of places but April has been cold and spring is still slow to come. I maintain that it’s only the first three weeks of May that are spring in Nova Scotia, anyway.

I’ll be in Ontario for a couple of weeks in May, so I’ll miss a lot of it. Buy–hey!–it’ll be summer when I come home!

And what a difference a day makes: this was yesterday.
view from my window Thursday photo 2016-4-28 450_zpsai9chbgi.jpg

How’s the weather where you are?

WONDROUS WORD: Cevapcici

April27

This week’s word comes from Death of a River Guide by Richard Flanagan, the author of Booker Prize winning The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Death of a River Guide is set in Tasmania and is told by Aljaz, said guide, who has a vision of his father:

(T)here it is, smoking and spluttering, Harry’s celebrated barbeque, spitting and flaring, the griddle full of roo patties on one side and cevapcici on the other(.)

cevapcici photo cevapcici_zpshexytdjt.jpg Ćevapi is a grilled dish of minced meat, a type of skinless sausage, found traditionally in the countries of southeastern Europe (the Balkans), originating during the Ottoman Period. According to Wikipedia, they are considered a national dish in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and are also common in Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia, as well as in Albania, Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania. They are usually served 5–10 pieces on a plate or in a flatbread with chopped raw onions.

From Persian kebab, sometimes with the South Slavic diminutive ending -čići.

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Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Mailbox Monday – 25Apr16

April25

I got books from all over last week: one win, one purchase new, one from the bring-some-take-some fundraiser at my dentist’s office, two library loans, two library sale items, and two from the bring-some-take-some fundraiser at our village post office. In total, I spent $7.00 on the used books.

Mailbox Monday 25Apr16 triptych photo crayons amp paris triptych_zpswpaf1flw.jpg

The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home, both by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers are two delightful children’s picture books. I’d recommend them for ages 4-8. I borrowed these from my library.

Secret Paris by Zoe de Las Cases is a beautiful adult colouring book I bought from Amazon. It was strictly a cost-saving measure since I needed $10 to bring my order of a new ironing board cover to the free shipping level. Hey – why pay good money on shipping when we can pay the same $10 and get a book?

* * * * *

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Ann Morgan’s Beside Myself is a win from Bloomsburg Publishing via a TLC Book Tour post by Kelly of The Well-Read Redhead. I haven’t started this yet but it promises a whole lot of suspense.

From the boxes at my dentist’s office where the fundraiser benefits local hockey activities, I picked up a classic “dime novel”: Murder Racquet, edited by Alfred Hitchcock. I’m a sucker for Hitchcock mystery pulps, and those published under the auspices of ‘Ellery Queen’.

From the small sale table at the library, I bought The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg, and Caro Peacock’s Foreign Affair:, which seems to be the first in the “Liberty Lane” series.

The former is meant for fans of The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and the latter is set in 1837 when “Queen Victoria, barely eighteen, has just ascended to the throne”. The promise of a young Queen Victoria sold me on this book. These two books were .50 cents each.

The sale “table” at our post office has grown over time and actually occupies a couple of bookcases as well as the table and windowsills. The books there are gems but the prices are the highest of any the places I obtained books last week.

I spent $3 on Accordian Crimes by E. Annie Proulx. I read this story that follows the life of a “little green accordian” through a century of American history, about 20 years ago and have been wanting to reread it.

M.L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans needs no introduction and has been on my TBR list for a while now. It cost $2
 

Do any of these interest you? What was your favourite book acquisition this week?

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Go on and visit Mailbox Monday and have a look at the wonderful goodies in other people’s mailboxes!
 

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase after clicking through on them, I will earn a small percentage of the sale.

Friday Link-Ups – 22Apr16: SWANN

April22

Book beginnings photo book beginnings_zpsklyjo57x.jpg
Book Beginnings on Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Hop on over there to get a linky to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

Opening sentences from Swann: A Literary Mystery by Carol Shields:

As recently as two years ago, when I was twenty-six, I dressed in ratty jeans and a sweatshirt with lettering across the chest. That’s where I was. Now I own six pairs of beautiful shoes, which I keep, when I’m not wearing them, swathed in tissue paper in their original boxes. Not one of these pairs of shoes cost less than a hundred dollars.

My thoughts: I’m so curious to find out how the narrator got from point A to point B! Would you read on?


* * * * *

 

Friday 56 photo Friday 56_zps0btxjm5r.jpg The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice.The only rules are to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 (or 56% in your ereader) and find any sentence or a few (no spoilers) that grabs you and post it.

Here’s an entry from page 56 of Swann: A Literary Mystery:

The news they imparted was good, wholly positive, in fact: the lump removed from my mother’s side this morning was not, as they had feared, the pulpy sponge of cancer but a compacted little bundle of bone and hair, which, they told me, was a fossilized fetus, my mother’s twin sibling who somehow, in the moths before her own birth, became absorbed into her body. A genuine medical curiosity, one of the devilish pranks the human body plays on itself from time to time.

Shades of My Big Fat Greek Wedding! (Swann  predated the movie by 15 years.) What do you think?

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Wondrous Words: Colours!

April20

I ran across this week’s words while reading the latest installment in Julie Mulhern’s Country Club Murders, Clouds in My Coffee. The protagonist, Ellison Russell, is an artist living in 1974 Kansas City, Missouri.

The world around us faded like a watercolor painting left in the rain. The soot, the brilliant leaves–burnt umber, orange-red, gamboge, and the Tyrian purple of the now-trampled pansies in my hosta beds dimmed.
gamboge photo gamboge_zps9zakbkbu.jpggamboge: a gum resin from various Asian trees of the genus Garcinia, used as a yellow pigment; yellow or yellow-orange.

From New Latin gambog-, variant of cambog-, after Cambodia

Tyrian purple photo tyrian_zpsteot2gzt.jpgTyrian purple: a crimson or purple dye obtained by the ancient Phoenicians from gastropod mollusks (sea snails); also known as Tyrian red, royal purple, imperial purple.

Phoenicia, which roughly corresponded to modern-day Lebanon, was noted for its Tyrian purple dye, named after the city of Tyre, a maritime city of ancient Phoenicia. Tyrian purple was the most precious dye of its time, in large part because of the labor required to produce it.

Wondrous Words Wednesday photo wondrouswordsWednesday_zps7ac69065.png
Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love. It’s hosted by Kathy at Bermuda Onion. Hop on over and see what wondrous words other bloggers have discovered this week.

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Mailbox Monday – 18Apr16

April18

Everything that landed in my mailbox this week was ebooks: one ARC from NetGalley and two purchases.
 
Clouds in My Coffee photo clouds in my coffee_zpsgufve5eo.jpg

I was most excited about Julie Mulvern’s Clouds in My Coffee, due for release on May 10, 2016. This is the third installment in the Country Club Murder series set in 1974 Kansas City, Missouri.

The protagonist, Ellison Russell, widowed and “on the cusp of 40”, is smart and funny; and the electricity between her and Homicide Detective Anarchy Jones could run the lights in my house for a year. This time out, it seems someone is trying to kill Ellison, although no one can figure out why.

 

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Wednesday’s BookBub mailing tipped me off to to Michael Alvear’s Eat it Later: Mastering Self-Control and the Slimming Power of Postponement on sale for $1. Although the title makes this sounds like a diet book, the author insists that it’s not, and I think he’s right. No doubt putting into practice what he advises will result in weight loss in the long run; but the goal, as Alvear say, is well-being.

 

Heiress of Linn Hagh photo heiress of linn hagh_zps344spu7p.jpg

I should write these things down because I’m getting old and forgetful: I can’t remember what twigged my attention to Karen Charlton’s Detective Lavender mystery series, set in Northumberland England in the early 19th century. Whoever it was, was talking about Charlton’s second or third book but intrigued me enough that I actually bought (at full Kindle price!) the first in the series, The Heiress of Linn Hagh.

Mailbox Monday photo mailbox monday 75_zpsqqfupmk9.jpg 
Go on and visit Mailbox Monday and have a look at the wonderful goodies in other people’s mailboxes!

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

WEEKEND COOKING – Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert

April16

Weekend Cooking new logo photo wkendcooking 125_zpsljojsy3j.jpg
 
Weekend Cooking 16Apr16, sponsored by Candace at Beth Fish Reads, is a chance to share the food love. Follow the link to see what delish dishes other bloggers are talking about this week.
 

Patty at Books, Thoughts and a Few Adventures has mentioned the wonderful recipes in the cookbook Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert a few times over the last few months. So when I saw a copy of it discounted at Book Closeouts, I snapped it up.
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Sheet Pan Suppers is a beautiful book to behold: all glossy photos and heavyweight papers, although I do wish it would lay flat so that I could more easily stay on the recipe. But, of course, the true test of any cookbook is the recipes. And the recipes look wonderful!

The first recipe I tried was Lemon & Herb Sole on Crispy Potato Rafts. Gilbert notes that haddock, halibut and cod are also good choices for this dish so I used the wonderful frozen cod I get from the “fish guys” who come to my door in their truck once a month. I substituted dried thyme for the fresh and I skipped the capers because I didn’t have any on hand. I’m sure that made some difference in the finished product but the recipe still came out a keeper.

Fish & potato rafts photo sheet pan - fish amp potato rafts_zpsv9wgl58p.jpgMy seven-year-old grandson whose usual comment on my cooking for the past year-and-a-half has been consistently only “good”, pronounced these potatoes as “GREAT”. I’d have to agree. As Gilbert says: “They’re hot and crisp and supremely garlickly, a noble base for the delicately light, flaky, herb-, lemon-, and butter-flavored fish fillets.”

You can find the recipe here.

 

P.S. The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small percentage of any purchase you make after clicking through from this blog.

Mailbox Monday – 11Apr16

April11

It was a strange week last week: I brought home no library books, I didn’t download any ebooks (nearly unheard of!), and I didn’t have one book come in the mail. It’s mainly because I’m trying to read my own books this year, but still – when I have had this kind of willpower before?
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But, just as I was coming up empty for Mailbox Monday, I visited our local Caper Cafe where there is a bookshelf of “bring some, take some” books in support of an insect rescue/restoration fund. There I found this paperback. Look! Carol Shields? Check. Mystery? Check. Literary? Check. All my boxes were ticked before I even got to the cover: a vintage fountain pen, with a journal and a leather-bound book(!!)

There was no question I had to make a donation and bring this book home and, what’s more, begin reading it immediately!

Go on and visit Mailbox Monday and have a look at the wonderful goodies in other people’s mailboxes!

P.S. This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase after clicking through on them, I will earn a small percentage of the sale.

Six Degrees of Separation from “A Prayer for Owen Meany”

April5

This is the first time I’ve joined in this meme. It’s hosted by Books Are My Favourite and Best, and was inspired by Hungarian writer and poet Frigyes Karinthy. In his 1929 short story, “Chains”, Karinthy coined the phrase ‘six degrees of separation’. The phrase was popularized by a 1990 play written by John Guare, which was later made into a film starring Stockard Channing.

On the first Saturday of every month, Kate chooses a book as a starting point and links that book to six others forming a chain. Bloggers and readers are invited to join in and the beauty of this mini-challenge is that I can decide how and why I make the links in my chain.

 photo 2014-4 A Prayer for Own Meany 450_zpsuevr66ti.jpg

April’s starting book is A Prayer for Owen Meany. The Vietnam War plays a large part in the adult lives of the two main characters John & Owen, and I haven’t yet read a better book to explain (from the side that wasn’t protesting for peace) the emotions and politics of that war in the USA than Altamont Augie. It’s nothing if not thought-provoking.

The Headmaster’s Wager shows the life of the South Vietnamese people during that War, particularly the headmaster of an elite school. Seeing troubles on the horizon Percival Chen, said headmaster, sends his son to live in China, from where his parents emigrated decades earlier, not realizing that China is undergoing even greater change under Mao than Vietnam.

Those changes are only alluded to at the end of Pearl S. Buck’s Pulitzer prizewinning novel, The Good Earth set in mid-twentieth century China. Peasant Wang Lung’s very life is tied up in cycles of that earth that he works so diligently to acquire.

That same question of whether a person owns the land, or vice versa, is a central theme in The Meadow set in the Rocky Mountains on the Colorado/Wyoming border. The author, James Gilman, brings home the hardship of winter, a theme addressed more comedically, in Cathie Pelletier’s The Weight of Winter. It’s the third book in her Mattagash, Maine trilogy. I’ve just finished reading the first title: The Funeral Makers. (I hate reading books out of order, but this just happened.) That finishes up my version of this month’s Six Degrees of Separation – in Maine, next door to Irving’s New Hampshire where we began our journey.

So what six connections can you make from A Prayer for Owen Meany? Visit Kate’s blog and see how she got to Fates and Furies.


P.S.
This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase after clicking through on them, I will earn a small percentage of the sale.

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