Oct 18, 2010

It's Monday: Three Old Books and One New

This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

What I'm reading right now is a book I am keeping temporarily for a friend who is renovating. I have a bunch of her books; this is the one of those I've gotten from her pile.

Cloud Mountain
Cloud Mountain by Aimee Liu is based on the story of  the author's grandparents, one of whom was from China. The book was published 1998. I am interested what this book has to say about a period of history that interests me - 1930s-1940s China.

Tending Roses (Tending Roses Series, Book 1)

Tending Roses (Tending Roses Series, Book 1) by Lisa Wingate is about a young family relocating to Missouri and trying to persuade their Grandma Rose to leave her farm and enter a nursing home.  Emotional and full of memories and hard decisions.

Flower Net: A Red Princess Mystery (Red Princess Mysteries)Flower Net: A Red Princess Mystery (Red Princess Mysteries)A thriller set in Beijing and Los Angeles. The book was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best First Mystery.

All in all, I found a few good books in my friend's pile! What books are you reading this week?

The Love Goddess' Cooking School

Just arrived on my doors step: The Love Goddess' Cooking Schoolby Melissa Senate, from Simon and Schuster, Oct. 26, 2010. Thank you. A novel that combines  Italian cooking and love, amore!

Love the cover.

Oct 17, 2010

Sunday Salon: Halloween Reading/A Poem

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A very long list of Halloween Mysteries and cozies has been put together by Janet Rudolph in her Mystery Readers website. Check it out for some spooky and not-so-spooky Halloween reading!

 It includes titles such as The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts (The Cat Who...) by Lillian Jackson Braun, Nightmare in Shining Armor by Tamar Myers, and Witches' Bane by Susan Wittig Albert.

My 5-star reads: The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel (P.S.) by Barbara Kingsolver and Intuition by Allegra Goodman. I recommend both books highly. Excellent writing, plot, and character development. Both books I own.

My 4-star reads: Death of a Valentine (Hamish Macbeth Mysteries) by M.C. Beaton and Fatally Flaky (Culinary Mysteries)by Diane Mott Davidson, the 15th in the series. Fun cozy novels from the library.

Other than that I've been writing short verses for several poetry blogs which offer weekly word or picture prompts. This is the most fun, as there is lots of feedback from the community of poet bloggers. And almost all give positive and supporting comments!

Spurred words, unspurned,
A comfort for poets gives
The urge to say more.
                                       - Harvee Lau

What have you been reading or doing recently?

Oct 12, 2010

Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes

Food & Wine Best of the Best Cookbook Recipes, the best recipes from the 25 best cookbooks of the year, by Food & Wine Publications, 2010.

Lemon icebox pie, chocolate bread pudding with salted caramel, Turkish baked eggplant with chile, feta and mint, burnt carrots with goat cheese and arugula, chipotle-deviled eggs, cafe au lait creme brulee.
Comments: Did I really pay $39 for this cookbook that was sent to me by my credit card company? I had meant to return the offer in its envelope, but forgot to do so, and so this book arrived. I opened it, looked, and decided to keep.

Squash ribbon salad with goat cheese is something I could easily make. I have the grater/slicer to sliver the squash/zucchini. And the pork chops with plums and Chinese 5-star spice....I think I could manage that one too. Forget the roast cod with anchovies and beet puree.  Sounds wonderful, but I'm allergic to cod. The other recipes I'm willing to try though.

Oct 11, 2010

It's Monday: What Are You Reading?

Sheila from One Person's Journey hosts this weekly meme with links to all those who participate. Click on her website to join in!

Another surprise for me. I picked up The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, expecting to put it back down as uninteresting. A family living as missionaries in the Congo? Been there, read that. I had flashbacks to Conrad's Heart of Darkness (Norton Critical Editions) and visions of Apocalypse Now: Redux, the film with Marlon Brando based on Conrad's book.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the family went there in the 1950s, at a much later date than the time in Conrad's book, which had traders in the Belgian Congo in the 19th century.

I have only just begun The Poisonwood Bible but I'm intrigued by the first chapters - the preparations the family makes, the items of clothing, household goods, and other things they decide they will most definitely need. More on the book later.

Cloud Mountain
Cloud Mountain

Here's another book I found in a pile of books I am "fostering" while a friend undergoes house renovation: Cloud Mountain: A Novel by Aimee E. Liu. Based on the lives of her grandparents, the book is about a teacher Hope Leon and her husband Liang Po-Yu, separated by war in China in the 1940s. The story spans four decades.

The historical aspects should be interesting. China in the 1930s and early 1940s has a fascinating history of war and upheaval. This is also what I'll be reading!

Would you believe I have other books that I've started and have to finish, too many to list here.

What are you reading this week and next?

Oct 10, 2010

Sunday Salon: 10-10-10

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I'm reminded everywhere on the news and on blogs about today's date, Oct. 10, 2010. Hopefully it will be an auspicious and happy day!

Another reason I remember Double Ten is the Wuchang uprising in China that began on Oct. 10, 1911. This led to a year long revolution that overthrew the 4,000 year-old Qing Dynasty. The Republic of China under the guidance of Sun Yat Sen was formed. In Taiwan, Oct. 10 is considered their Independence Day. Information on this piece of history is in an article on the The Origins of Double Ten Day by Andrew Bullen.

It's interesting too that two days ago, Chinese jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, though we don't know if he will be released anytime soon.

On the homefront, I've been reading, but again, not reviewing! Here are some thoughts on recent reads, however.

Intuition by Allegra Goodman, published March 13, 2007, surprised me. I hadn't expected such a good book even though it was on the New York Times bestseller list. I gave a near-5 to this novel about the competitive, frustrating, but sometimes highly rewarding world of scientific research and funding in the fight for cures for cancer and other diseases. Intuition, the novel implies, plays a part in how research is conducted and evaluated.

The Dante Game: A Homer Kelly Mystery by Jane Langton, June 1, 1992, was another book I read and liked. This one I thought was a 4. I liked the setting in Florence, Italy and the sketches of the buildings and streets that were scattered throughout the mystery novel. Some Americans are in Italy to teach Italian literature, language, and history to international students. However, when there are several murders at the school, trouble is seen as brewing in this beautiful and artistic city, and especially at the school. The plot involves the Pope, his anti drug campaign, and some ruthless businessmen and officials.

I am now reading Barry Eisler's Fault Line: A Novel, about missing videotapes of torture of political prisoners, blackmail, and a particularly terrifying villain.

My new poetry blog is up, with two entries so far. It's Strummed Words, and I hope you'll visit it!

What did you do/read last week?

Oct 5, 2010

To Surrender to a Rogue by Cara Elliott

Hosted by MizB, Teaser Tuesdays asks you to choose two sentences at random from your current read. Identify the author and title for readers.

Her pulse was now pounding out of control, but somehow, above the din in her ears, she heard the voice of Reason.
Dangerous.  (ch. 2) 
To Surrender To A Rogue (Circle of Sin Trilogy) by Cara Elliott is a book I won that I thought I'd like after reading the paranormal romance, Flirting with Foreverby Gwyn Cready. This one is a straight romance however, and sounds as if it's set in the 19th Century in England. Not exactly my cup of tea, but a romance that lots of people would like. I've reserved this book for some family members who love the conventional, risque romance!
Book description: "An expert in antiquities, Lady Alessandra della Giamatti arrives in Bath to excavate newly discovered Roman ruins-only to find herself caught in a web of evil intrigue by a blackmailer threatening to expose her scandalous past. The one man who can help her is Lord James "Black Jack" Pierson, a fellow member of the expedition and a sinfully handsome rogue whose tempting presence ignites a different sort of danger." (Goodreads)
What's your teaser this week:?

Oct 3, 2010

Sunday Salon: Books and Haibun Poetry

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The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (Flavia De Luce Mystery 2)I reviewed only one book last week:  The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, which I liked thought I think it's a bit over rated. Nevertheless, I'm heading to the bookstore/library for the next in the  series featuring the precocious 11-year-old Flavia, The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag (Flavia De Luce Mystery 2).

A Red Herring Without Mustard: A Flavia de Luce Mystery (Flavia De Luce Mysteries)The third in the series is already available on Amazon (for pre-order): A Red Herring Without Mustard: A Flavia de Luce Mystery (Flavia De Luce Mysteries) and I'm looking forward to that one too.

A Corpse for Yew (A Peggy Lee Garden Mystery)I've been reading books but not necessarily reviewing all of them. Finished  A Corpse for Yew (A Peggy Lee Garden Mystery), which I loved! Am heading for others in the series.

And now for writing.

I've discovered haibun, a combination of prose interspersed with  a few lines of poetry such as haiku. Perfect format for me! This is what I've been looking for to write my memoir!

Am also getting to know other forms of poetry besides the popular haiku, forms such as senryuHaiku has nature as its subject and is considered serious poetry, while senryu has human foibles as a theme and can be humorous. Both are short three line poems. Tanka are an ancient Japanese poetry form of 31-syllables which I won't tackle as yet.

Question is, should I create a separate blog for poetry? Scroll down to my two or three previous posts to see my first few feeble attempts! You can also join in by following the weekly poetry prompts hosted online by a variety of writer poets!

What have you been reading and/or writing this past week?

Sunday Salon: Japanese Authors and a Mystery

  Klara and the Sun   by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Klara and the Sun was easy to read for a literary novel of such magnitude and celebrity, I found...