Links for Wednesday

Sous Chef author Michael Gibney names his top 10 restaurants and bars in modern lit

The Millions on food and literature:

“When I think about my favorite books, I remember how they made me feel, and I remember the food, and sometimes those two feelings get all mixed up. I remember when a girl is hungry and when she eats something. Especially when the girl is hungry and when she eats something.”

50 Novels By Women Writers On Conflict, Displacement And Resilience (Huffington Post)

The Center for Fiction’s 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize long list:

The Anatomy of Dreams by Chloe Krug Benjamin (Atria Books)
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay (Black Cat)
Byrd by Kim Church (Dzanc Books)
Cementville by Paulette Livers (Counterpoint)
The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld (Harper)
The End of Always by Randi Davenport (Twelve)
For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson (Ecco)
The Girls from Corona Del Mar by Rufi Thorpe (Knopf)
The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil (Grove Press)
The Invention of Exile by Vanessa Manko (Penguin Press)
The Kept by James Scott (Harper)
Land of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique (Riverhead Books)
The Land of Steady Habits by Ted Thompson (Little Brown and Company)
Life Drawing by Robin Black (Random House)
Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah (Sarah Crichton Books)
Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnston (Random House)
Ruby by Cynthia Bond (Hogarth)
Saint Monkey by Jacinda Townsend (W.W. Norton & Company)
Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler (Thomas Dunne Books)
The Sixteenth of June by Maya Lang (Scribner)
The Visionist by Rachel Urquhart (Little Brown and Company)
We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas (Simon & Schuster)
What Ends by Andrew Ladd (New Issues Poetry & Prose)
The Word Exchange by Alena Gradeon (Doubleday Books)
Young God by Katherine Faw Morris (FSG)


Things I’m loving this Thursday

20140731-084030-31230703.jpgThese two. Always and forever. (That’s his favourite book)

The nice and cool morning we’re having. A bit of an overcast sky is a nice change from the full blast of the sun!

Jenny Lewis is back with Voyager. I’m so glad.

This three ingredient salsa from Smitten Kitchen makes me want to go out and get me some tomatoes!

This blueberry lemon cake with lemon glaze from Averie Cooks

Celery Bread sounds like a good way to use up celery next time.

I’m going to see whether my library has any of these books by Rose Tremain for Savidge Reads’ Trespassing with Tremain

I’ve added books to my TBR list thanks to these links:

Mr Gwyn – Alessandro Baricco (B&N Review)

This one’s for the kids: What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom (BookDragon)

JoV at Bibliojunkie is back on her blog and making me want to read Apple Tree Yard by Louis Doughty!

Aarti’s #Diversiverse genre spotlights, like this one on non-fiction, this one on historical fiction. And here’s her main post explaining what it’s all about.


Things I’m loving this Thursday

One thing I’m not loving: the possibility of getting a sore throat! I’ve been chugging down plenty of green tea and watching what I eat!

But here’s what I am loving today:




This gorgeous pink daikon I picked up at the farmers market. I’ve never seen pink daikon before and just had to grab some. They went in a pot of chicken stock with some ginger and carrots for a lovely comforting bowl of soup, served with spam fried rice last night.

Dinah Washington. I’ve been reading Last Night at the Blue Angel by Rebecca Rotert and Dinah Washington was mentioned and I’ve been listening to her a lot since.

Pretending I’m right there along with Book Snob at Chevening in Kent

Celeste Ng (author of Everything I Never Told You – haven’t read it yet but keep hearing good stuff about it!) on becoming a writer in a family of scientists. 

Dovegreyreader on The Coat Route – Craft, Luxury & Obsession on the Trail of a $50,000 Coat, by American journalist Meg Lukens Noonan. Sounds interesting!

A Cup of Jo talks about some approaches to sibling rivalry.

I always have to add a link about Singapore food. So here’s one from Food Canon about dry horfun (flat rice noodles) with minced pork

Gorgeous ‘fireworks’  cookies for July 4th at Bake at 350!







Links I’m Loving this Wednesday

After reading this review of Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas on BookDragon, I immediately put in a request for it at the library. Looks like a great story!

Julia Fierro (author of Cutting Teeth) on writing: (via The Millions)

When I tell the story of how I became a writer, I make sure to include the seven years I spent notwriting. Even after all I’ve accomplished, I still feel ashamed of those years spentnot writing.


Mmm, coffee brownies!

This is why I read food blogs. This tomato, peach and avocado bruschetta from Love and Lemons.  Because I would never ever think to put those three things together. Peaches, tomatoes and avocados??! Love it!

It’s not something I’ll ever make, but I was so very fascinated by the making of this Cassata alla Siciliana on David Lebovitz’s blog

These great pictures – and a recipe – of a Blackcurrant and Morello Cherry Drizzle Cake. Those plump berries sitting on top the cake just made me open my fridge, grab some cherries and eat them.

The summery colors in this chickpea salad! So very happy!

And I’m off to try finish reading The Goldfinch.

Things I’m loving this Wednesday

This book bingo. Sounds fun!

You might have seen this news already, but I’m always fascinated by hidden pictures found under famous paintings

This fashion spread is gorgeous. And underwater.

What it’s like to take a 36-hour sleeper train ride from LA to Seattle

These photographs of London bookstores

This recipe –  a reminder that I’ve not made Bibimbap in ages – and a thought to try it with bok choy next time

I am drooling at the thought of curry puffs…. How I miss them!

Random thoughts while vacuuming

– why does the husband use the bathtub as a clothes hanger?

– can I just vacuum around these books instead of moving them off the floor?

– ooh that’s where that book went

– must congratulate Yu-Mei on her stories and tell her that Lighthouse was my favourite story in Balik Kampung

– why can’t I just think things and have them typed out and ready for uploading onto the blog when I’m done

– why do I keep blogging anyway?

– what am I going to do about the kids’ lunch?

– must link to that funny discussion about social media by Maureen Johnson, John Scalzi and Bill Barnes

Maureen: “But isn’t it possible—”
Scalzi: “NO NO NONO NO NO NO. Wait until I’m done.”
Maureen: “I thought maybe…”
Scalzi: “Why haven’t you made me a sandwich yet??” He sighed in frustration, but then allowed, “Now you may speak.”
Maureen (whispered): “I love you.”

– must read something by all three soon. I already like them in person. I prob would like their writing.

– what happens if it’s the opposite? Has that ever happened to you? That you like the book but then discovered you don’t like the writer? Like VS Naipaul. I’ve not read any of his books, I’ve heard he’s a good writer (he does show up in many ‘best of’ lists) but he also is extremely arrogant and just an overall unpleasant person, to put it nicely

Wednesday things (aka the ‘I was surfing the web instead of reading/writing’ post)


I recently made ribs in the crockpot (slathered with homemade BBQ sauce) and oatmeal raisin coconut cookies.



David Lebovitz has lunch at Google

I’ve been thinking of getting a cast iron pan and this article (and video) from the New York Times  about cooking steak on a stovetop is making me put that thought into motion. You don’t really see cast iron pans in Chinese/Singapore kitchens so I haven’t the faintest idea where to start. I’m guessing Lodge is a good brand? Plus what else do you use a cast iron pan for?


Just in case you thought this post was all about food, here’s one bookish thought. I’m not much of a manga reader (although I love graphic novels) but I really really want to read What did you eat yesterday? by Fumi Yoshinaga (here’s a review from BookDragon).


And then after browsing BookDragon for a bit I find another Japanese manga series, Oishinbo: A la carte: Japanese Cuisine (vol. 1) by Tetsu Kariya, art by Akira Hanasaki, translated by Tetsuichiro Miyaki.

Foodie manga! That thought alone makes me smile.




Wednesday Links and a cup of tea

– Over at BookRiot, Swapna talks about minorities and mainstream reading:

“You don’t have to write a minority story in order to embrace a minority character.”

Thank you for that, Swapna. It’s exactly how I feel. As a Chinese Singaporean, I try to read more Asian and Southeast Asian literature, but most of the time read more, er, general works, often by American or British writers (who tend to be white). Having grown up and lived most of my life in Singapore where I wasn’t a minority (Chinese make up about 75% of the population), I never thought much about whether I read books with non-white characters. These days though, I’m far more aware of that. And I think it’s even more so when I select books for the kids. I do appreciate that the drawings are becoming more diverse, that they reflect people of different colours and backgrounds (sure wasn’t like that when I was growing up!). And there are picture books by authors like Wong Herbert Yee (Tracks in the Snow and Who Likes Rain?) which aren’t about being Asian or Asian culture but use Asian-looking children as their main characters. Of course we do enjoy books like Grace Lin’s Dim Sum for Everyone and Roseanne Thong’s Round is a Mooncake which are specifically about Chinese culture, but it is nice to be able to read them a picture book that uses a minority character to illustrate a situation that any child, no matter the colour of their skin, can relate to, such as playing in the rain.

– On a similar note, Tao Jones writes in the Wall Street Journal about the Fresh Off the Boat TV series based on Eddie Huang’s memoir, musing first about Margaret Cho’s All-American Girl series (20 years ago!):

For decades, Asians had been all but invisible on this most mass of mass media, flickering on and offscreen again in bit parts or as background scenery; when primetime deigned to include us, it was nearly always in roles that presented us as buffoons, monsters or victims (and sometimes all of the above). The idea that millions of people across the nation might be gathering to watch a show in which they’d be invited into an immigrant Asian household, experiencing our unique issues and aspirations through the humanizing lens of comedy — this was incredible. It was groundbreaking. It seemed like the culmination of decades of struggle for cultural relevance and social inclusion. And from May to September, it was all that my friends and family members could talk about.

But when the show finally arrived, all those expectations came crashing to the ground.

– Buried in Print is back after some database issues and has a great post about standalone mysteries, many of which I’ve not read yet. Onto the TBR list it goes!

– I was rather struck by that picture of Benedict Cumberbatch on the cover of Derry Moore’s An English Room, which Lynn at I prefer reading posted about.  It was like, wait is that who I think it is? It sure looks like him, but it seems so more quiet and gentle than the Sherlock that I know! 😛

– Barnes and Noble Review has a nice interview with George Saunders on Congratulations, by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness, a revised and expanded edition of his 2013 commencement address at Syracuse University. I especially liked the last bit in the interview, where the interviewer tells Saunders that he had first met Saunders at the National Book Awards, and Saunders had been very kind to him:

Actually, that night, I got a lesson in kindness from my wife. That event is kind of exciting. You’re there with your editors and your agents, and it’s really exciting. Then, when you don’t win, you feel a bit like, “Oh God, I’m in public and I just didn’t win.” Just a little bit.  But afterwards, my wife just said, “Let’s dance.” I went, “Well…” She says, “Yeah, come on. I got all dressed up. We’re gonna dance.”

BNR:   You can’t ask for better than that.

GS:   No, exactly. It was a physical cure to whatever whininess or hurt feelings I had, whatever was embarrassing and uncomfortable. She fixed it with this physical gesture of taking my hand. “Let’s go dance.” You dance for two minutes and you’re like, “Yeah, we’re happy.” She used to be a ballet dancer, so her way of being in the world is very physical, very joyful. I remember thinking, “I don’t want to dance; it’s embarrassing; I’m not going to…” But then I couldn’t say no. She looked so beautiful. I’m not going to say no to her. Within a couple of minutes, you’re back to yourself again. And I didn’t do that. She did it. So that’s marriage. A good marriage.

Foodie links:
Cheese, vegetable and egg muffins at Averie Cooks

– The James Beard Award for best cookbooks

– I just made oatmeal cookies (half chocolate chip, half raisin and coconut) and now I wish I had seen this recipe for brown butter chocolate chip cookies from Joy the Baker. Yum

– I’ve never cooked polenta or fennel before but this recipe (and the lovely photos) makes me want to give them both a try!

Garlic Roasted Tomatoes with Fish sounds like what I need to make for dinner another day!

– Mmmm, laksa. I miss that rich spicy coconutty broth.

Something random:
– Check out these crazy-luxurious suites on an airplane!!

Hankering for mee pok and other links for a hot Wednesday

It’s currently 74F/24C and forecasted to hit a high of 90C/32C today! *ahem, despite four years of living in the US, Farenheit numbers still never quite make sense to me.*

I’m currently very absorbed in a Noel Streatfeild e-book I found in the Singapore Overdrive library! I am thrilled to bits because I adore adore Adore Noel Streatfeild despite my constant difficulty in typing her name (‘e’ before ‘a’?, ‘e’ before ‘i’?) , and it always reminds me of the movie You’ve Got Mail. But it has been so very long since I’ve read her books. My sister and I owned quite a few of her books, Ballet Shoes still being my favourite but I also like Curtain Up and Apple Bough. The one I’m currently reading is Ballet Shoes for Anna, not quite as huggable as the other books but it’s Noel Streatfeild! It has kicked me back into a good reading zone again. I was faltering a little after the Readathon, and it didn’t help that the 1yo had a really bad couple of nights/naptimes, probably due to a runny nose he’s been having. He’s knocked out right now for his morning nap, and slept well last night again so hopefully things are back to normal.

Anyway, here are some links I’ve been saving on Feedly

I love reading Design of the Picture Book. Every post makes me want to go browse the children’s section in a bookstore/library. This gorgeous book featured in her latest post is Collect Raindrops.

Have you heard of #WeNeedDiverseBooks yet (here’s mine)? Book Riot tells us all about it

It’s a post from last week but I wanted to highlight Thomas at My Porch’s idea of a Reading Revolution, where you “spend some time at the library and check out as many overlooked books as our lending limit allowed”.

Added some books to my TBR List:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which Claire from Word by Word says “caresses the mind like the sea cradling the body as if it were weightless”.

Vasilly says Mr Loverman by Bernadine Evaristo is one of the best books she’s read this year. Ok I’m sold!

I really like the sound of Shotgun Love Songs, thanks to The Book Catapult’s post

Foodie stuff:

I’m hankering for some fish ball mee pok now... Sigh…

I’m on the book tour for Ruth Reichl’s Delicious! but I just have to point you to Kahakai Kitchen’s recipe of a lovely simple kale salad that goes along with her review. Much as I love kale (we devour homemade kale chips here!), I’ve never actually made a kale salad before, so this sounds great!

Links for a sunny Wednesday



An actual review of some books I’ve read will be up soon. (Amazing huh!). But here are some links that I’ve been admiring recently:

Lisa at ANZ LitLovers has a great post on The Abandoned Book

Pooja at Notabilia points us to the online bookstores in Singapore

Love the artwork and story in this children’s picture book (via Bookriot)

There are just so many books to look out for in June says A Life in Books

If you haven’t yet checked them out, Shiny New Books has been plenty of reviews of books, both brand new and reprints. That TBR list of mine is growing…

A post on how one book blogger manages to read so much. I’m in awe!

If you live in California, it’s California Bookstore Day on May 3!


Food-wise, a great idea for spinach and red pepper bacon wrapped eggs from How Sweet Eats. Pretty!

I tend to be a tomato sauce kind of pasta person, but this Fettucine Alfredo from Nigel Slater that Kahakai Kitchen cooked up sounds simply delicious.

Wee Reader loves these Japanese biscuits called Tamago Boro (I didn’t know what they were called till today!), I’m not sure I’ll actually make them but it’s still a fun read.


Neither bookish nor foodish, but something that’s been on my mind for a while now. The kids sharing a room. Currently, Wee Reader sleeps in his own room. Wee-er Reader (turning one next week!) is in the loft. No door so we installed two sets of curtains to separate the loft from the corridor and the staircase. It was a bit drafty in the winter but luckily it was a warm winter. They both sleep great in separate rooms. But I’m wondering whether they should sleep in the same room. Can they sleep in the same room? Might work better when Wee Reader no longer needs an afternoon nap (he goes to bed from 2-4 everyday, but he doesn’t necessarily nap). But it sure is good to read others’ experiences!