It’s Monday (November 23, 2020)

Happy Monday!

The kids are on break this week. We don’t have any plans but to hang out at home, maybe hit the park, lots of reading and video game time.

If you’re in the US, what are your Thanksgiving plans?

Here’s some of what we did last week…

Some crafts done in second grade distance learning. The top one is corn. The fourth grader made a basket out of a paper plate and yarn (which I forgot to take a photo of)

The 7yo and I started working on a 500 piece puzzle that’s all about books.

Currently…

Reading:

The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe – Kij Johnson

Watching:

Listening:

Still listening to Dear Girls by Ali Wong. A delight!

Eating and drinking:

I had oatmeal with raisins for breakfast. Cold mornings always make me want oatmeal.

Cooking:

Our usual Thanksgiving meal is hot pot. We didn’t grow up here and none of us (except my youngest) likes turkey anyway, plus hot pot is always a great idea for cold weather!

Last week:

I read:

My Fake Rake – Eva Leigh

I posted:

Keeping track of Best Books of 2020 links

Library Loot (November 18 to 24)

10 (ok maybe more) characters I’d name a cat after #TopTenTuesday

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

Library Loot (November 18 to 24)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Wednesday!

Claire has the link-up this week

The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe – Kij Johnson

One of NPR‘s Best Books of 2016 and a Hugo, Nebula, John W. Campbell, and Locus Award finalist for Best Novella

Professor Vellitt Boe teaches at the prestigious Ulthar Women’s College. When one of her most gifted students elopes with a dreamer from the waking world, Vellitt must retrieve her.

This poetry/comic from Singapore sounds interesting

In the Year of the Virus – Felix Cheong

In the Year of the Virus is an innovative poetry comic book inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic. The story revolves around several characters affected ― and infected ―- by the viral outbreak. The poetry by award-winning writer Felix Cheong, adapted beautifully by artist Eko, examines our humanity as our lives are upended and ended.

This is a ground-breaking work that marries text with artwork and aptly captures the wild swings of emotion we all felt after the pandemic hit and the lockdown began.

That is one gorgeous cover. Also I am fond of books that have to do with music.

The Kingdom of Back – Marie Lu

Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart. 

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish–to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age–her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

And as Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true–but his help may cost her everything.

In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.

What did you get from your library this week?

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10 (ok maybe more) characters I’d name a cat after #TopTenTuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

Characters I’d Name a Pet After

We don’t have pets! But if I did, I’d have a cat, so here are top ten cat names!

Count Fosco (The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins) – because he has pet rats that he’s trained…

Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride by William Goldman) – I just love the name and the book!

Merry, Pippin, Bilbo, Frodo, Samwise Gamgee (The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien) – really all the hobbits names make great pet names, but I’m partial to the Tooks, so I can say “Fool of a Took!”

Nicodemus, Mrs Frisby (Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh) – I loved this book when I was a kid, although it might be odd naming a cat after a rat or mouse character!

Peregrine Overmantel (The Borrowers by Mary Norton) – Another series I loved as a kid. And I always secretly loved this character’s name!

Tybalt (Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare) – The “King of Cats”!

Serafina Pekkala (His Dark Materials series by Phillip Pullman) – her name sounds like a song

Octavian (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing series by M.T. Anderson) – ok so partly because one of my favourite Animal Crossing characters is the grumpy octopus Octavian.

Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics) – well they are comics right, so they kinda count??? I love Buffy and the rest of the Scooby gang.

Flavia de Luce (The Flavia de Luce series) – The precocious solver of murders with a fondness for poisons has a good cat name, also there was even a cat-related title in this series! 

 


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

It’s Monday (November 16, 2020)

Oh boy, it’s Monday. The kids are on minimum schedule this week (until 120pm), as the teachers are doing parent-teacher conferences (via zoom that is). And it’s the week before Thanksgiving break. For which we have…no plans!

Here’s some of what we did last week…

I made some red bean soup and red bean paste. Hopefully I’ll be able to get it together and make some red bean buns (an pan)

We had our favourite Indian-Pakistani food. Tandoori chicken legs, tandoori fish, four types of vegetable curry, garlic naan and plain naan.

The last Meyer lemons (my tiny tree had tiny lemons). And some last San Marzano tomatoes, although there are still a few left on the vine.

Also, I decided to break out the Christmas mugs…

Currently…

Reading:

The Golden Thread by Kassia St Clair

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Watching:

As a family, we’ve been watching Long Way Up. And we’re down to the last episode! The kids really love it and I think it’s an interesting look into places that we’ve never been to (South and Central America). Especially since the guys occasionally stop by Unicef centres. This season is all about electric vehicles – electric motorbikes and two electric trucks. So it’s quite unlike the first two seasons. Also, the first two seasons aren’t all that little kid-friendly as the two guys sometimes use the F-word, and are seen smoking on screen. The husband was guessing that since Long Way Up is for Apple TV, maybe they had to make sure all the cursing was edited out.

Listening:

Dear Girls by Ali Wong  (listening with headphones is important if you have little kids!)

Eating: 

I had a slice of walnut bread and a mug of milky tea for breakfast

Cooking:

Oh boy I have no idea.

Last week:

I read:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Legacy Edition book one and book two

I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf – Grant Snider

I posted:

Chocolate Cherry Loaf Cake #WeekendCooking

Library Loot (November 11 to 17)

Book titles that would make great song titles #TopTenTuesday

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

Chocolate Cherry Loaf Cake #WeekendCooking

I think I did it.

I actually added something to a recipe and made it better!

While I am fond of riffing off cooking recipes, I tend to be a stickler when it comes to baking. Follow that recipe. Follow its instructions! All of them! Well, except when it comes to sugar, as most American baking recipes are really too sweet so I tend to reduce the sugar amount by a quarter or so. But usually, I stick to the baked goods recipe.

But this time, I wanted to use up the remainder of the cherry preserve (recipe from here) of sorts that I had made for the husband’s Black Forest birthday cake and of which there had been far too much for the cake.

I had thought of a few things, including just adding it to a regular butter cake mixture, using it as topping for pancakes or yogurt (delicious).

But what about adding it to a chocolate cake? Especially a rich chocolate cake recipe like this Quadruple Chocolate Loaf by Nigella Lawson which is a beautiful rich and moisture chocolate cake. The chocolate is in the form of cocoa powder and chocolate pieces in the cake, as well as a chocolate syrup to be poured over the top after baking, and chocolate shavings to top it all off. It is an absolutely gorgeous cake to make in all its chocolate glory, but after following the recipe – but replacing chocolate chips with chocolate chunks I cut off from a bar of chocolate – I stirred in the cherry preserves into the batter.

It needed a little longer than an hour baking time, but it came out just nice. The cherries added that slight acidity to cut the richness of the cake. And also some added moisture, to an already moist cake. I didn’t add the chocolate syrup and it’s chocolatey enough to do without the chocolate shavings, but I’m sure making the proper quadruple chocolate loaf would make for an intense chocoholic stupor.

Weekend Cooking was started by Beth Fish Reads and is now hosted by The Intrepid Reader and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

Library Loot (November 11 to 17)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Wednesday! It is Veterans’ Day in the US, so the kids have no school, which feels weird as they seldom have a day off in the middle of the week. At any rate, I borrowed quite a variety of ebooks and an audiobook this week. And who knows, maybe I will get to do some reading today. How about you? Share your haul in the link or comments!

So not a book to listen to when there are children around…headphones on!

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, and Advice for Living Your Best Life – Ali Wong

In her hit Netflix comedy special Baby Cobra, an eight-month pregnant Ali Wong resonated so heavily that she became a popular Halloween costume. Wong told the world her remarkably unfiltered thoughts on marriage, sex, Asian culture, working women, and why you never see new mom comics on stage but you sure see plenty of new dads.

Something I picked up after browsing the Libby catalogue

I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf – Grant Snider
It’s no secret, but we are judged by our bookshelves. We learn to read at an early age, and as we grow older we shed our beloved books for new ones. But some of us surround ourselves with books. We collect them, decorate with them, are inspired by them, and treat our books as sacred objects. In this lighthearted collection of one- and two-page comics, writer-artist Grant Snider explores bookishness in all its forms, and the love of writing and reading, building on the beloved literary comics featured on his website, Incidental Comics. With a striking package including a die-cut cover, I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf is the perfect gift for bookworms of all ages.

Much as I like romances, there’s still something about romance novel covers that has me screaming and running away, like this one. Although I suppose since there are bookshelves in the background, and she’s holding glasses, maybe this isn’t too bad? At any rate, I heard about it on the Reading The End podcast and I trust Jenny’s opinion, so I borrowed it!

My Fake Rake – Eva Leigh (The Union of the Rakes #1)

Lady Grace Wyatt is content as a wallflower, focusing on scientific pursuits rather than the complications of society matches. But when a handsome, celebrated naturalist returns from abroad, Grace wishes, for once, to be noticed. Her solution: to “build” the perfect man, who will court her publicly and help her catch his eye. Grace’s colleague, anthropologist Sebastian Holloway, is just the blank slate she requires.

In exchange for funding his passage on an expedition leaving London in a few months, Sebastian allows Grace to transform him from a bespectacled, bookish academic into a dashing—albeit fake—rake. Between secret lessons on how to be a rogue and exaggerated public flirtations, Grace’s feelings for Sebastian grow from friendship into undeniable, inconvenient, realattraction. If only she hadn’t hired him to help her marry someone else…

Sebastian is in love with brilliant, beautiful Grace, but their bargain is complete, and she desires another. Yet when he’s faced with losing her forever, Sebastian will do whatever it takes to tell her the truth, even if it means risking his own future—and his heart.

So when the TV series first came out, I didn’t watch it because I don’t have HBO. But hey, now I do, thanks to switching to AT&T Internet. However, with the popularity of the TV show, I did give the first book a try. I was bored, and I didn’t go on. But now that I have seen the show – which is such good watching – I wanted to go back and try reading the books again. So here is the first.

A Game of Thrones #1 – George EE Martin

Here is the first volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

What did you get from your library this week?

Book titles that would make great song titles #TopTenTuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

Book Titles that Would Make Great Song Titles

I decided to go with books that are on my TBR list. So please let me know if you’d recommend any of these! Perhaps I should first explain that I tend to like bands that lean a bit more indie, and I especially enjoy unusual song titles like:

Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips

They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhh! by Sufjan Stevens

Hail To Whatever You Found in the Sunlight That Surrounds You by Rilo Kiley

(Linking to another music-related TTT post – the one on titles that would make great band names)

Tarnished are the Stars – Rosiee Thor

The Drowning Eyes – Emily Foster

Beyond the Black Door – A.M. Strickland

When the Moon Was Ours – Anna-Marie McLemore

Gather the Daughters – Jennie Melamed

Dancing at the Pity Party – Tyler Feder

Useful Phrases for Immigrants – May-lee Chai

If I Had Your Face – Frances Cha

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water – Zen Cho

Opposite of Always – Justin A Reynolds


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

It’s Monday (November 9, 2020)

Wait, is it Monday, really? Because it felt like last Tuesday went on for…what… three? four? days.

I felt on edge the entire week. You probably did too.

I live in California but I’m not a citizen so all I get to do is doom-scrolling on my phone, and hoping people make the right choice. So thank you thank you thank you to all of you who voted!

And so we celebrated with food on Saturday – suitably, an Indian-style pizza half-paneer tikka half-paneer masala. (You probably know we love the pizza here, since I’ve posted about it quite a few times.) I also made a mango lassi (yogurt, milk, honey, frozen mango cubes).

Then for dinner, scallops with spinach risotto. I was finishing up the risotto and cooking the scallops in the cast-iron pan when the husband said, “no mushrooms?”. Dang it. I had forgotten the mushrooms. Luckily I could quickly slice them up and throw them into the pan after I took the scallops out. I like to try to brown them as much as possible, and add some butter and season and that makes for a far more delicious mushroom. I think I was watching The Chef Show recently, I believe it was the episode with chef Jessica Largey, when they talked about how a lot of people don’t like mushrooms, and the chef said that’s because they’ve not had one that’s cooked properly. Which is so true! For me, searing them until they get a little brown, that is, leaving them untouched for a few minutes in a single layer, makes a huge difference.

Also, it finally rained! After our usual extremely dry summer (and spring, really). It didn’t drizzle for long but it was just so very welcome. I hope for more!

Currently…

Reading:

The Golden Thread – Kassia St Clair

Watching:

Game of Thrones

Listening:

Dear Girls – Ali Wong

Eating:

I had some toast for breakfast

Drinking:

Darjeeling tea

Cooking:

The boys asked for shepherd’s pie and it’s a nice chilly week so I’ll be happy to have the oven on!

Also, I found lamb loin chops at Costco last week (I usually see the rack of lamb and ground lamb but not the loins), and there were only a few packs so I quickly picked up one. I love lamb and luckily the kids do too. Not sure what to serve it with, maybe some smashed potatoes and sprouts.

Last week:

I read:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer vols 1 to 3 – Jordie Bellaire

Cemetery Boys – Aiden Thomas

I posted:

Library Loot (November 4 to 10)

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

Library Loot (November 4 to 10)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Wednesday!

Claire has the link-up this week. 

A couple of nonfiction reads this week, for Nonfiction November as well as this YA

Furia – Yamile Saied Mendez

An #ownvoices contemporary YA set in Argentina, about a rising soccer star who must put everything on the line—even her blooming love story—to follow her dreams.

In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.

At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.

On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.

I’m picking the next two up for Nonfiction November

In Montmartre: Picasso, Matisse and the Birth of Modernist Art – Sue Roe

In Montmartre is a colorful history of the birth of Modernist art as it arose from one of the most astonishing collections of artistic talent ever assembled. It begins in October 1900, as a teenage Pablo Picasso, eager for fame and fortune, first makes his way up the hillside of Paris’s famous windmill-topped district. Over the next decade, among the studios, salons, cafés, dance halls, and galleries of Montmartre, the young Spaniard joins the likes of Henri Matisse, André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, Georges Braque, Amedeo Modigliani, Constantin Brancusi, Gertrude Stein, and many more, in revolutionizing artistic expression.
Sue Roe has blended exceptional scholarship with graceful prose to write this remarkable group portrait of the men and women who profoundly changed the arts of painting, sculpture, dance, music, literature, and fashion. She describes the origins of movements like Fauvism, Cubism, and

Futurism, and reconstructs the stories behind immortal paintings by Picasso and Matisse. Relating the colorful lives and complicated relationships of this dramatic bohemian scene, Roe illuminates the excitement of the moment when these bold experiments in artistic representation and performance began to take shape.

A thrilling account, In Montmartre captures an extraordinary group on the cusp of fame and immortality. Through their stories, Roe brings to life one of the key moments in the history of art.

This one sounds quite fascinating!

The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History – Kassia St Clair

From colorful 30,000-year-old threads found on the floor of a Georgian cave to the Indian calicoes that sparked the Industrial Revolution, The Golden Thread weaves an illuminating story of human ingenuity. Design journalist Kassia St. Clair guides us through the technological advancements and cultural customs that would redefine human civilization—from the fabric that allowed mankind to achieve extraordinary things (traverse the oceans and shatter athletic records) and survive in unlikely places (outer space and the South Pole). She peoples her story with a motley cast of characters, including Xiling, the ancient Chinese empress credited with inventing silk, to Richard the Lionhearted and Bing Crosby. Offering insights into the economic and social dimensions of clothmaking—and countering the enduring, often demeaning, association of textiles as “merely women’s work”—The Golden Thread offers an alternative guide to our past, present, and future.

What did you get from your library this week?