Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books

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Top Three Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books (Does a character eat something you’d love? Or maybe the book takes place in a bakery/restaurant that makes yummy things? You could also talk about 10 of your favorite cookbooks if you don’t read foody books.)

Sugarbread- Balli Kaur Jaswal

Chilli crab. Tofu with peanut sauce. Chinese vegetables with plump stalks and juicy leaves. Hainanese chicken rice with sweet soy sauce and ginger chilli. Noodles – both thick and thin – with fish cake and pork balls. Red-hot South Indian curries served with sticky bread and milk tea. Durians, longans, rambutans for dessert. Chendol. Ice kachang.

Delicious! – Ruth Reichl

She had fed me a fluffy cloud, no more than pure texture, but as it evaporated it left a trail of flavour in its wake.

“Lemon peel,” I said, “Parmesan, saffron, spinach.” She held out another spoonful, and this time, at the very end, I tasted just a touch of something lemony but neither lemon nor verbena. It had a faint cinnamon tinge. “Curry leaf!”

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

“What a marvellous smell!’ answered Grandpa Joe, taking a long deep sniff. All the most wonderful smells in the world seemed to be mixed up in the air around them — the smell of roasting coffee and burnt sugar and melting chocolate and mint and violets and crushed hazelnuts and apple blossom and caramel and lemon peel.”

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#RIPXII The Bear and the Nightingale

 

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From the very start of the book, I am hooked.

And that is not a usual thing. I am a reader of many books. By that I mean that I tend to read several things at once. So it can sometimes take me several tries to get into a book.

(You might just wonder then, why not just concentrate and read that one book, finish it, and then move on to another? Well, that’s just not the way I work. I just like multiple books going on!)

First of all, I love that it’s a fairytale. And more than that, that it’s a snowy, wintry kind of read. I have lived most of my life near the equator – where the only seasons are hot and dry or hot and rainy. And I now live in Northern California where winters are, at the most, rainy, although we could easily drive a few hours to find snow. So I’ve never really been in that kind of dense and intense winters that  the north of Russia must have.

Vasilisa is the youngest child of a wealthy lord of a northern Russian village. She can see  the spirits of the house, forest, river, the spirits that protect them from evil, like the domovoi, which lives in the oven. Her new stepmother can see these spirits too, but she calls them demons and seeks refuge in the church. She soon forbids the household from honoring these spirits with offerings. But Vasya tries to continue this ritual when she can, fearing that something bad is about to happen.

“The domovoi was small and squat and brown. He had a long beard and brilliant eyes. At night he crept out of the oven to wipe the plates and scour away the soot. He used to do mending, too, when people left it out, but Anna would shriek if she saw a stray shirt, and few of the servants would risk her anger. Before Vasya’s stepmother arrived, they had left offerings for him: a bowl of milk or a bit of bread. But Anna shrieked then, too. Dunya and the serving-maids had begun hiding their offerings in odd corners where Anna rarely came.”

Things get even more interesting when Father Konstantin is sent to their village and the villagers grow more fearful, and so is bold and brave Vasya.

“No, Vasya was frightened of her own people. They did not joke on the way to church anymore; they listened to Father Konstantin in heavy, hungry silence. And even when they were not in church, the people made excuses to visit his room.”

Something is waking, something evil. And without these spirits’ protection, crops start failing, the creatures of the forest roam closer, danger lurks.

The Bear and the Nightingale was an absolute charmer of a book. I loved all the Russian folklore throughout and the rural setting. Perhaps the only part that didn’t sit too well with me was the last act, which seemed a bit rushed.

 

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This is my fourth read for RIP XII

#ripxii The Unquiet Dead

Goodness, I was not expecting this. Not at all.

What was I expecting? A crime/police procedural/mystery type book.

And yes, this was that. But it was also a lot more.

What is truly amazing is that this is a debut.

Inspector Esa Khattak is the head of Canada’s CPS, Community Policing Section, which handles minority-sensitive cases, but he’s a former homicide detective and counterintelligence agent. The story opens with him at prayer, which is interrupted by a phone call requesting him to investigate a suspicious death.

It seems simple at first – a man has fallen off a cliff.

But it turns out that this man Christopher Drayton may instead be Drazen Krstic, a war criminal behind the Srebrenica massacre of 1995 in which thousands of Muslims were slaughtered. So of course they have to figure out – was he pushed? Was he murdered? And did it have something to do with his war crimes or does it have something to do with his money-grubbing fiancée?

Rachel Getty,  “a strong, square-built, hockey-playing female police officer”, is Khattak’s partner. I like how they are so very different yet are still kindred spirits of sorts, with family problems and other personal issues that plague them.

Khan intersperses all this with testimonies from war crime trials. And she leaves us guessing until the last pages. A truly impressive debut!

Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law with a research specialization in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans, so she definitely knows what she’s talking about.

Bibliography:

Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak series

  • The Unquiet Dead (2015)
  • The Language of Secrets (2016)
  • Among the Ruins (2017)
  • A Death in Sarajevo (2017) (novella)
  • A Dangerous Crossing (forthcoming 2018)Khorasan Archives series
  • The Bloodprint (2017)

This is my third read for RIPXII

Joining #RIPXII

Happy RIP season! I’ve been taking part since RIP IV – it was the very first challenge I took part in, so it will always be special! Every September 1 through October 31 for the last 11 years Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings has hosted the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril Challenge, affectionately known as the R.I.P. Challenge. And now it’s being run by Andi of Estelle’s Revenge and Heather of My Capricious Life.

But it remains the same, it’s always about books of:

Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.
And I always go for
Peril the First:
“Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (our very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be Stephen King or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Shirley Jackson or Tananarive Due…or anyone in between.”

I’ve decided this year to focus on women writers!

Here’s my pool:

The Vicious Deep – Zoraida Cordova

Ink and Ashes – Valence E. Maetani

Waiting on a Bright Moon – JY Yang

The Reader – Traci Chee

The Chaos – Nalo Hopkinson

Lagoon – Nnedi Okorafor

City of the Lost – Kelley Armstrong

The Witches of New York – Ami McKay

The Unquiet Dead – Ausma Zehanat Khan

Best Books Read In 2017 So Far

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Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far

 

 

I am terrible at this kind of post! How to pick??? Especially since I’ve read 118 books so far.

I decided to just run through my list of books and see what stands out. I’ll try to break it up into some categories…let’s see!

Literature

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces – Isabel Quintero
I’m not much of a YA reader but loved this spunky determined Gabi


The Woman Next Door – Yewande Omotoso
Great story of a reluctant friendship between two women in South Africa

Funny Boy – Shyam Selvadurai

So glad I read this coming-of-age story set in Sri Lanka.

Comics/graphic novels

El Deafo – Cece Bell
Such a great story for all ages about what it’s like growing up deaf

Captain Marvel – Kelly Sue DeConnick
I love DeConnick’s Captain Marvel!

Spider Woman – Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez
Coincidentally, Spider Woman is Captain Marvel’s best friend!

Audiobooks


Lab Girl – Hope Jahren
Wasn’t sure at first about this writer narrating her own book but I loved the passion she put into it.

Classics


The Dollmaker – Harriette Simpson Arnow
This classic really surprised me. Loved it.

Nonfiction


In the country we love: My family divided – Diane Guerrero, Michelle Buford
For me it was really interesting – and heartbreaking – to read of how Guerrero survived after her parents were deported.

Series I’ve been meaning to start

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Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start But Haven’t

I started with a few in mind then looked up some lists on Goodreads for more. And there are just so very many series out there that I want to read! Let me know which you’ve read and enjoyed.



Game of Thrones by George R R Martin

Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas 


The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson


The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay (I’ve loved some of his standalones!)


The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix (haven’t read anything by Nix before!)

The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb (haven’t read anything by Hobb before!)


Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs (another new-to-me author)


The Others by Anne Bishop (new-to-me author)


Darkest Powers by Kelley Armstrong

Cainsville by Kelley Armstrong (I love her Women of the Otherworld series but haven’t read her other books) 

#AsianLitBingo: Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai


I’ve been wondering why I’ve not read Selvadurai’s works before. Why have his books escaped my eye? It’s such a pity because he is such a great writer.

I knew that this book was a gay coming-of-age story but didn’t know that a big part of the story would be about the riots in Sri Lanka.

“But we are a minority, and that’s a fact of life,” my father said placatingly. “As a Tamil you have to learn how to play the game. Play it right and you can do very well for yourself. The trick is not to make yourself conspicuous. Go around quietly, make your money, and don’t step on anyone’s toes.”

Funny Boy is also a story about Sri Lanka and the ethnic violence that erupted in the 1980s – which is what drove the author and his family to flee Sri Lanka for Canada. Selvadurai’s mother is Sinhalese (the majority group) and his father is Tamil. The 1983 “Black July” riots resulted in the deaths of an estimated 400 to 3,000, thousands of shops and homes destroyed, and some 150,000 people were made homeless.

What seemed disturbing, now that I thought about those 1981 riots, was that there had been no warning, no hint that they were going to happen. I looked all around me at the deserted beach, so calm in the hot sun. What was to prevent a riot from happening right now?

Arjie and his cousins spend one Sunday a month at their grandparents’ house, free of their parents. The boys play cricket for hours in the front and the field, the girls play in the back garden and porch. Arjie plays with the girls, mostly “bride-bride”, where he, being the leader of the group, plays the bride.

“I was able to leave the constraints of my self and ascent into another, more brilliant, more beautiful self, a self to whom this day was dedicated, and around whom the world, represented by my cousins putting flowers in my hair, draping the palu, seemed to revolve.”

But his “funny” ways are soon discovered and the adults insist that he stick to the boys’ games.

“I would be caught between the boys’ and the girls’ worlds, not belonging or wanted in either.”

Arjie starts to attend a new school, as his father explains, it will force him to “become a man”. It is at this academy that Arjie meets Shehan, who is rumored to be gay. They become friendly and then, more than friends, but even that is something of a risk, as Arjie is Tamil while Shehan is Sinhalese.

Throughout the book, ethnic identity is brought to the fore. Arjie’s aunt falls for a Sinhalese man. But the community’s prejudice tears them apart. His mother meets an old friend, a reporter investigating police abuses of power, who disappears in Jaffna, where violence erupted.

Funny Boy is a moving, engaging read about a young boy’s journey into adulthood in Sri Lanka.

 


I read this for Asian Lit Bingo – South Asian MC