Library Loot (September 8 to 14)

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Library 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.

I picked up more RIP-related books!

What I got from the library this week:

Creatures of Passage by Morowa Yejidé

With echoes of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Yejidé’s novel explores a forgotten quadrant of Washington, DC, and the ghosts that haunt it.

Nephthys Kinwell is a taxi driver of sorts in Washington, DC, ferrying ill-fated passengers in a haunted car: a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere with a ghost in the trunk. Endless rides and alcohol help her manage her grief over the death of her twin brother, Osiris, who was murdered and dumped in the Anacostia River.

Unknown to Nephthys when the novel opens in 1977, her estranged great-nephew, ten-year-old Dash, is finding himself drawn to the banks of that very same river. It is there that Dash–reeling from having witnessed an act of molestation at his school, but still questioning what and who he saw–has charmed conversations with a mysterious figure he calls the “River Man,” who somehow appears each time he goes there.

When Dash arrives unexpectedly at Nephthys’s door one day bearing a cryptic note about his unusual conversations with the River Man, Nephthys must face both the family she abandoned and what frightens her most when she looks in the mirror.

Creatures of Passage beautifully threads together the stories of Nephthys, Dash, and others both living and dead. Morowa Yejidé’s deeply captivating novel shows us an unseen Washington filled with otherworldly landscapes, flawed super-humans, and reluctant ghosts, and brings together a community intent on saving one young boy in order to reclaim themselves.

Toil and Trouble – Mairghread Scott

Something wicked this way comes.

The three fates—Riata, Cait, and Smertae—have always been guiding and protecting Scotland unseen, indirectly controlling the line of kings according to the old religion. When there is a disagreement between the weird sisters, Riata and Smertae will use men as pawns, and Smertae will direct Macbeth to a crown he was never meant to have.

This re-telling of Macbeth from the witches point of view is brought to life by Mairghread Scott (TRANSFORMERS: Windblade, LANTERN CITY), and illustrated by talented duo Kelly & Nichole Matthews. TOIL AND TROUBLE brings a new and inventive take on the tragedy we all know and love. 

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We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker 

Val and Julie just want what’s best for their kids, David and Sophie. So when teenage son David comes home one day asking for a Pilot, a new brain implant to help with school, they reluctantly agree. This is the future, after all.

Soon, Julie feels mounting pressure at work to get a Pilot to keep pace with her colleagues, leaving Val and Sophie part of the shrinking minority of people without the device.

Before long, the implications are clear, for the family and society: get a Pilot or get left behind. With government subsidies and no downside, why would anyone refuse? And how do you stop a technology once it’s everywhere? Those are the questions Sophie and her anti-Pilot movement rise up to answer, even if it puts them up against the Pilot’s powerful manufacturer and pits Sophie against the people she loves most.

The kids’ loot:

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It’s Monday (September 6, 2021)

It’s Labor Day in the US and Canada, so if that’s where you are, hope you’re enjoying the long weekend.

We had no travel plans, so hung out at home. Played tennis, went swimming, the kids went biking. It was nice and relaxing.

Some things last week:

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The husband made sushi for dinner. Or rather, I prep all the ingredients, and he does all the rolling.
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A visit to the library and a peek at the new arrivals shelves.
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Korean BBQ at home. We also had some bulgogi (marinated thinly sliced beef), rice, lettuce.
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It’s grape season at the farmers market.

Currently…

Reading:

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Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy and The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg

Watching:

Last week, there wasn’t a new episode of Hospital Playlist… sad…

But I finished watching the first season of KDrama Let’s Eat. Which always makes me hungry as they feature some tasty looking foods every episode. It’s a story about a woman who reluctantly becomes friends with her two neighbors and colleagues. She’s a foodie but can’t eat out by herself. The show has its problems, such as the “ugly” character, who is used as fodder for laughter at times.

Eating and Drinking:

For breakfast, toasted homemade sourdough bread and tea.

Cooking:

Something simple like fried noodles, or noodle soups.

Last week:

I read:

Forest of Memory – Mary Kowal Robinette

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion – Margaret Killjoy

I posted:

The Disaster Tourist – Yun Ko-eun

Library Loot (September 1 to 7)

Ham Helsing: Vampire Hunter – Rich Moyer

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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

The Disaster Tourist – Yun Ko-eun

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Simple dinner tonight of a salmon, mushroom, spinach miso soup over rice. Also, some kimchi on the side because I love kimchi! 

It’s probably just me growing old but I often crave simple meals like this soup and rice these days. Although in THE DISASTER TOURIST, they mentioned samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly) a couple of times and that made my mouth water…😅 

This book isn’t about food of course. It’s about a woman who works in a disaster tourism agency. She surveys disaster areas, turns them into travel destinations. She’s told to go to an area where the tour isn’t doing so well, a remote island with a sinkhole that’s not living up to people’s expectations of a disaster area. 

And turns out that’s because it’s not exactly a disaster area anymore. 

“According to the rules, it’s only possible for you to quit in the middle of a business trip if you die.”

A quick read, although not exactly the thriller the blurb makes it out to be. 

This book takes off in unexpected ways. It touches on capitalism, the dark side of tourism. Towards the end, it veered off toward the surreal. 

Strangely entertaining and thoughtful. 

Library Loot (September 1 to 7)

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Library 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 Library Loot Day! What did you get from your library this week? Link-up below or let us known in the comments!

I got some books for RIP season. I’ve taken part in Readers Imbibing in Peril for… oh I have no idea how many years now. It’s such fun. Here are some of my previous RIP posts.

What I got from the library this week:

Water Ghosts – Shawna Yang Ryan

Locke, California, 1928. Three bedraggled Chinese women appear out of the mist in a small Chinese farming town on the Sacramento River. Two are unknown to its residents, while the third is the long-lost wife of Richard Fong, the handsome manager of the local gambling parlor. As the lives of the townspeople become inextricably intertwined with the newly arrived women, their frightening power is finally revealed.

A lyrical imagining of what happens when a Chinese ghost story comes true, Water Ghosts is a rich tale of human passions and mingling cultures that will appeal to readers of Lisa See, Anchin Min, and Gail Tsukiyama. 

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion – Margaret Killjoy

Danielle Cain is a queer punk rock traveller, jaded from a decade on the road. Searching for clues about her best friend’s mysterious and sudden suicide, she ventures to the squatter, utopian town of Freedom, Iowa. All is not well in Freedom, however: things went awry after the town’s residents summoned a protector spirit to serve as their judge and executioner.

Danielle shows up in time to witness the spirit—a blood-red, three-antlered deer—begin to turn on its summoners. Danielle and her new friends have to act fast if they’re going to save the town—or get out alive.

The Merry Spinster – Mallory Ortberg

From Daniel M. Lavery comes a collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Adapted from his beloved “Children’s Stories Made Horrific” series, The Merry Spinstertakes up the trademark wit that endeared Lavery to readers of both The Toast and his best-selling debut Texts from Jane Eyre. The feature become among the most popular on the site, with each entry bringing in tens of thousands of views, as the stories proved a perfect vehicle for Lavery’s eye for deconstruction and destabilization. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children’s stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief.

Readers of The Toast will instantly recognize Lavery’s boisterous good humor and uber-nerd swagger: those new to Lavery’s oeuvre will delight in his unique spin on fiction, where something a bit mischievous and unsettling is always at work just beneath the surface.

Runtime – S.B. Divya

The Minerva Sierra Challenge is a grueling spectacle, the cyborg’s Tour de France. Rich thrill-seekers with corporate sponsorships, extensive support teams, and top-of-the-line exoskeletal and internal augmentations pit themselves against the elements in a day-long race across the Sierra Nevada.

Marmeg Guinto doesn’t have funding, and she doesn’t have support. She cobbled her gear together from parts she found in rich people’s garbage and spent the money her mother wanted her to use for nursing school to enter the race. But the Minerva Challenge is the only chance she has at a better life for herself and her younger brothers, and she’s ready to risk it all.

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Kids’ loot.

Ham Helsing: Vampire Hunter – Rich Moyer

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It’s hot. So this calls for ice-cream and a fun comic! This is HAM HELSING VAMPIRE HUNTER by Rich Moyer, and it was such a blast! The kids read it first and it looked like such fun that I knew I had to read it too. 

Ham Helsing is on his first assignment, to hunt down a vampire. But the vampire isn’t the one terrorizing the town. So who is? 

The illustrations are delightful. The dialogue is witty. And the characters are great. A vampire with social anxiety. Treasure-obsessed rats. A ninja pig. 

Just brilliant! 

It’s Monday (August 30, 2021)

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Happy Monday!

We made it through the first full week of school! The kids are happy to be back. And I am happy to not have to deal with making sure they’re paying attention to Zoom classes!! I’m so glad schools are open. Of course I still have to make sure they do their homework but that’s been ok so far.

Last week, there were 2 positive Covid cases in the school (although apparently the kids may not have actually been in school at the time). The school district sent an email out to all parents. And supposedly, close contacts were notified. The number hasn’t increased since then, so I guess it means that it’s ok?

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Went out with some friends on Saturday for what the kids called a “mom date”. Our kids all go to school together and all started out in the same kindergarten class so we’ve been friends since then. We had lots of delicious food from this izakaya style place that also had Malaysian food. It was fun to have a night out without kids!

Some things last week:

Currently…

Reading:

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Meddling Kids – Edgar Cantero

Watching:

Season 2 of Full Bloom, that delightful flower competition on HBO Max

Listening:

The new Butter remix

Eating and Drinking:

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Singapore-style peanut pancake, called min jian kueh. It uses yeast and baking soda to create a honeycomb look within the pancake.

Cooking:

Chicken stew

Last week I made chilli and we had it with baked potatoes. The kids loved it. And I wanted to do more stuff with baked potatoes this week too. So I was thinking of trying something from this round up of stuffed potatoes. It made me think of when I was studying in the UK, and one cafe at the university had all kinds of baked potatoes and stuffings/toppings.

Also, the kids decided they’re having more school lunch this week. They tried it out last week for the first time. The verdict? The hot dog was yucky but they loved the brownie. Ha.

Last week:

I read:

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Ham Helsing – Rich Moyer

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Silver Silence – Nalini Singh

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The Disaster Tourist – Yun Ko-eun

I posted:

Library Loot (August 25 to 31)

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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

Min Jian Kueh or Peanut Pancake #WeekendCooking

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Something the husband always makes sure to eat when we visit Singapore, is a snack called min jian kueh or ban jian kuih. It’s essentially a thick fluffier than usual pancake that’s filled with a variety of ingredients, folded in half, and sliced up. There’s a thick soft version, but also a thin crispy version. I’m never sure if they’re both called by the same name.

I decided to see how easy (or not!) it was to make, first watching this video to see how it’s made. I combined two recipes, one from The Meat Men above, and also, this one from What To Cook Today. Because it used tapioca starch and that was something I had in the pantry.

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For the pancake batter

  1. 100g plain flour
  2. 30g tapioca starch
  3. ½ tsp baking soda
  4. ½ tsp instant yeast
  5. 2 tbsp sugar
  6. 1 egg
  7. 160ml water (lukewarm)
  8. pinch of salt

For the filling:

  1. 50g roasted ground peanuts
  2. 25g sugar
  3. A few small cubes of butter (optional)

Essentially, mix together the batter ingredients, until relatively smooth. Set it aside for at least half an hour to let proof. There should be some bubbles in the batter.

Meanwhile, mix your sugar and peanuts together for the filling.

Heat a medium-sized frying pan for a few minutes on medium heat. This is to make sure the whole pan is well heated, to ensure that you get the characteristic honeycomb look.

Spray some oil and spread it evenly with a paper towel.

Pour the batter into the pan. I used about a ladle and a half. Spread it across the pan properly.

Cover and let cook for about 4 minutes on medium heat. Don’t have the heat too high. The first time I made this, the bottom was a bit overdone.

Lift the cover and check that there’s bubbles and that the batter is cooked (you don’t want it to be wet, as it won’t be flipped over). Spread the filling over half the pancake. I also tried adding some small cubes of butter to one pancake before the peanuts, for additional flavour perhaps? Not sure if it’s needed.

Here’s where recipes seem to differ. Some of them say to put the filling on, and cook for a couple more minutes. Others say to take the pancake out of the pan and fill it. And fold it in half.

I guess it doesn’t really make that much of a difference if you make sure the pancake batter is no longer wet, then fill it. You don’t want to have raw batter in your pancake.

Other possible fillings…

cheese and scallions

chocolate chips or chocolate rice

shredded coconut

Instead of ground peanuts, some eateries in Singapore use chunky peanut butter. Also very good.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page

Library Loot (August 25 to 31)

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Library 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.

Just grabbed one new book this week. I’m trying to finish up some previous loot!

What I got from the library this week:

The Near Witch – V.E. Schwab

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. 

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. 

There are no strangers in the town of Near. 

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. 

But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. 

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. 

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

All-new deluxe edition of an out-of-print gem, containing in-universe short story “The Ash-Born Boy” and a never-before-seen introduction from V.E. Schwab.

It’s Monday (August 23, 2021)

The kids started school last Wednesday. It was both exciting and bit worrying being back in school. So many kids! So many adults! But the school district has required masks to be worn by students, staff, and parents when on the campus. And they’ve staggered the lunch times so there’s less crowding in the cafeteria. The kids also get to eat in the outdoors amphitheatre now, which they were happy about.

The school district said that 95% of the teachers have been fully vaccinated so I’m just glad that we are all working together to keep our kids safe.

The kids were excited to see friends that they haven’t seen since March 2020, when the schools here closed. They’ve met up with some friends regularly but there were plenty they haven’t seen for a long time.

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The air quality the last few days hasn’t been the best. It was better over the weekend, but we tried to stay indoors after school last week. I am thankful for the amazing firefighters who are working so hard to put out these fires. Hopefully the weather continues to cooperate so that the fires can get put out – it’s currently about 5% contained…

Some things last week:

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From bottom: belachan kangkung, KL-style Hokkien mee, char kway teow, satay chicken

Singapore’s National Day is August 9 but because of the pandemic, the National Day Parade got postponed to last weekend. So we got to watch it on Youtube. And we had to watch and eat with Singapore food!

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We had to pick up something for the kids in the neighbouring city, so we ordered lunch too. There’s panfried dumplings, xiaolongbao, snowflake gyoza, zhajiang mian. Not pictured was the deliciously spicy beef noodle soup. The photo looks a bit orangey as my patio umbrella is orange 😛
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I bought myself some flowers – a reward for surviving the mad rush to get the kids ready and out to school, perhaps? I loved the vibrant green chrysanthemums and the contrast with the purple and white carnations!

Currently…

Reading:

The Disaster Tourist – Yun Ko-eun

The Wolf and the Woodsman – Ava Reid

Watching:

Every week, Hospital Playlist‘s new episode (last week’s was especially good!). Also I started watching The Good Place season 4.

Listening:

No audiobooks at the moment.

Eating and Drinking:

Had some toast for breakfast. Am now drinking coffee.

Cooking:

I just placed a Weee! order – it’s an online store specialising in Asian and Latino groceries. So I hope to make some bak kut teh, a Singapore dish that’s essentially a pork soup with herbs and spices. It’s eaten with rice and vegetables. And youtiao or fried dough sticks.

Last week:

I read:

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Last Words from Montmarte – Qiu Miaojin

Oh well, guess I only finished one book last week. I’ve got so many going though…

I posted:

Reading: Last Words from Montmartre by Qiu Miaojin

Library Loot (August 18 to 24)

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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

Reading: Last Words from Montmartre by Qiu Miaojin

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I’m very slowly making my way through LAST WORDS FROM MONTMARTRE by QIU MIAOJIN, translated by Ari Larissa Heinrich. 

This book begins by telling the reader to “begin anywhere”. It’s a collection of letters. Some to Xu. Some to Yong. Some that read more like a journal entry. But the narrator is unnamed. 

The reason I’m taking this book slowly is it’s full of all this raw emotion that’s pouring out. It’s intense in its musings and meanderings over love and loss. 

Perhaps the hardest part about reading this is knowing that Qiu committed suicide not long after finishing this book (before it was published). She was only 26. And knowing that, I can’t help but read this novel wondering if it’s fiction or based on Qiu’s life. 

“True love makes it through any ordeal. I yearn to be in a relationship that can shake off the frosty wind and the couple still stands hand in hand. I yearn for a love that, because of devoted vigilance, can withstand time’s ceaseless erosion and come out alive.”

Qiu is known as the pioneer of Taiwanese queer literature. She also wrote NOTES OF A CROCODILE.