Thursday 13: Truffles

Today’s post in my indulgence T13 series is about truffles. Click on the image to enlarge it.




Credits: all images from flick’r (by izolan; jamesjyu; qwrrty; digital defection; SanFranAnnie; cacaobug; Surat Lozowick; Chocolate Reviews; Quintana Roo; artizone; Andy Ciordia) Template: Simply Yin; Paper: M. Fenwick, Title font: One Fell Swoop; Text from wikipedia


GLBT Steampunk anthology


Torquere Books have released an anthology with Lesbian steampunk stories called “SteamPowered”.

This is the blurb:

The fifteen tantalizing, thrilling, and ingenious tales in Steam-Powered put a new spin on steampunk by putting women where they belong — in the captain’s chair, the laboratory, and one another’s arms. Here you’ll meet inventors, diamond thieves, lonely pawn brokers, clockwork empresses, brilliant asylum inmates, and privateers in the service of San Francisco’s eccentric empire. Though they hail from across the globe and universes far away, each character is driven to follow her own path to independence and to romance. The women of Steam-Powered push steampunk to its limits and beyond.

If you are interested in GLBT and Steampunk you might want to check them out.


The eBook Insider

Via the Dan Brown Newsletter (yeah, I know) I learned about the eBook Insider, “The ultimate readers’ resource” from the editors and authors of various publishing houses, like Doubleday, Anchor, Vintage and a few more.

I had never heard of that thing before, even though I get the newsletter regularly, so it might be new or I have just always missed it.

The new edition of that newsletter covers quite a few interesting topics: A roundup of the best books of the year, favourite books by authors like Norah Ephron, Chuck Palahniuk and the ubiquitous Dan Brown among others, a selection of the season’s hot titles, for example “At home” by Bill Bryson and, of course, “The Lost Symbol”, notable new books in various genres (guess what the first book in the Mysteries and Thrillers section is!), Read the book…see the movie and a lot of excerpts.

The newsletter is a bit heavy on the Dan Brown side (excerpt of The Lost Symbol included), but other than that it might be worth a look. Download the eBook Insider here.


Literary Giveaway Blog Hop in February


Judith from Leeswammes’ Blog will be hosting her first Blog Hop in February. She had the lovely idea to organize a giveaway blog hop where everybody gives a literary book away, meaning, no romance, YA, Paranormal or Urban Fantasy. Now, that rules out a lot of popular books, but also it will make it much more exciting.

The hop will take place from Feb 19 – 23 and already a few blogs have signed up for it. The books can be either gently read (now that rules out a lot of my books already) or new, of course.

Head on over to Leeswammes’ Blog to get more info and sign up for the hop! It’s going to be fun!


Bloggiesta update 2

Working on two blogs at the same time is a bit much, I found. Next time I will have to concentrate on one… What did I get done for The Bookkeeper?

  • I wrote down some ideas for future posts.
  • I finally found out why my WYSIWYG editor hasn’t worked for ages. It didn’t matter that much, because I use Live Writer, but when I wanted to edit a post it so annoyed me to use html that I went and finally looked for the solution to the problem.

That’s it really. I got more things done at my Teleidoscope, though. How is your Bloggiesta going so far?


In my mailbox

Hosted by The Story Siren

I didn’t get much in my mailbox in the last days…Here we go. 


“Ten Thousand Leaves. Love poems from the Manyoshu”. This book is filled with tanka about love.


“Sweet as sin” by Inez Kelley from Carina Press

“Like Clockwork” by Bonnie Dee from Carina Press
This is a steampunk romance by an author I like a lot. So far I have read two hetero erotic romance novels by Bonnie Dee (one of the a collaboration with Lauren Baker) which I loved, so I am having high hopes for “Like Clockwork”


ten_thousand_leaves sweet_as_sin_cover like_clockwork_cover

What was in YOUR mailbox recently?  Check out other In my mailbox participants here.


Bloggiesta Update 1

What have I done so far? Not much I’m afraid, at least not at The Bookkeeper.

Still do do:

  • Do the Devourer of Books’ Google forms challenge
  • Have a look at the Bloggiesta Feed and visit some blogs
  • Write some future posts, but at least I cooked something today for the next weekend cooking post and took pictures along the way.

How are you all doing with Bloggiesta?


10 things a blogger shouldn’t do

I thought it would be interesting to join the Word Lily’s 10 Things a Blogger shouldn’t do challenge.

If I assign 0.5 points to every list item I think I would score around 4. That doesn’t mean that my blog is perfect and I have millions of readers. No. For example, I am doing pretty good at the “You must not expect success without promoting” item, but this only means that I do not expect success. I suck at promoting and am actually not active enough in that area, but at least I’m not complaining about the lack of success, :).

The one thing that definitely needs improving is the networking angle. I comment on almost every comment on MY blog but do not comment on many others. My Google reader is neglected, the number of blogs I really read regularly is very small and I do not comment nearly as much as others. I am not overly active on twitter and I only use Facebook sporadically for my real life. There, I know what the problem is, but lack of time and lack in inclination (sometimes) throws a spanner in my works.


Bloggiesta has started once more

blogiestaIt’s Friday and Bloggiesta has started. It is already evening here and due to work I haven’t done anything yet. But I already had a look at Maw Books Blog and decided what I want to do. I must go and have a look at twitter, too. I just hope I am not going to get lost there and as a result won’t get anything accomplished.

My plans include not only this blog, but also my craft blog Rikki’s Teleidoscope which is very badly neglected. It needs tons of work, so I might put the focus on that other blog this year.

For The Bookkeeper

  • I am mainly planning to write posts for a rainy day and prepare some review posts of books that I already have but not read yet.

Then I want to

  • add some sort of footer under each post encouraging comments

and do three mini challenges that are not related to a specific blog:

For the Teleidoscope, I’ll do a separate post over there, otherwise I’ll just get too confused.


For all the news about Bloggiesta you can either


Thursday 13: Food named after people, part 2


Image by ilco

This is the second part of the Thursday 13 about food named after people.

  • Fettuccine Alfredo – Alfredo di Lelio, an early-20th century Italian chef who invented the dish for his wife in  1914-1920 at his Roman restaurant. The dish became famous in part because Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks touted it after their 1927 visit to Rome. The authentic Alfredo recipe contains only several butters, no cream sauce.
  • Béchamel sauce, named to flatter the matre d’Hotel to Louis XIV, Louis de Bchamel, Marquis de Nointel (1630-1703), also a financier and ambassador.
  • Caesar salad – Caesar Cardini (1896-1956), an Italian who came to San Diego, California after World War I, is generally thought to have created the salad (sans anchovies, except those in the Worcestershire sauce) at his restaurant in 1924. The restaurant was located in Tijuana, most likely to avoid Prohibition in the U.S. As with many popular dishes, there are more claimants to the salad’s invention, including Cardini’s business partner, his brother, and one of his young sous-chefs who said it was his mother’s recipe. Julius Caesar is not involved, except perhaps as the source of Mr. Cardini’s first name.
  • German chocolate cake, originally known as German’s Chocolate Cake – the 1950?s American cake took its name from Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate, which in turn took its name from Sam German who developed the sweet baking chocolate (between milk and semi-sweet) in 1852.
    Earl Grey tea – named after Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, Viscount Howick, and British Prime Minister 1830-1834.
  • Kaiserschmarren – the Austrian pancakes were created for Franz Josef I (1848-1916).
  • Macaroni Lucullus – Lucullus (c. 106-56 BC), full name Lucius Licinius Lucullus Ponticus, was perhaps the earliest recorded gastronome in the Western world, and he may also be its most famous. After a long spell of wars, the Roman general retired to a life of indulgence and opulence, most evident in his gardens and his cuisine. His name has become associated with numerous dishes of the over-the-top sort, using haute cuisine‘s favorite luxury staples – truffles, foie gras, asparagus tips, artichoke hearts, sweetbreads, cockscombs, wild game meats, Madeira, and so on. Macaroni Lucullus incorporates truffles and foie gras
  • Mirepoix – the carrot and onion mixture used for sauces and garnishes is thought to be named after the Duc de Lvis-Mirepoix, 18th-century marshal of France and one of Louis XV‘s ambassadors.
  • Mozartkugel – Salzburg, the birthplace of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), is also the place where this marzipan/nougat-filled chocolate was created c. 1890. Also in the composer’s honor, Ranhofer created “Galantine of pullet la Mozart” at Delmonico’s.
  • Dr Pepper – Dr. Charles Pepper. The soft drink invented by pharmacist Charles Atherton in 1885 at a Waco, Texas drugstore owned by Wade Morrison is said to be named for Morrison’s first employer, who owned a pharmacy in Virginia.
  • Dom Perignon – Dom Perignon (1638-1715), (Pierre) a blind French Benedictine monk, expert wine maker and developer of the first true champagne in the late 17th century.
  • Baby Ruth candy bar – most likely, Babe Ruth (1895-1948) was the inspiration for the name. Although the Curtiss Candy Co. has insisted from the beginning that the candy bar was named after a daughter of Grover Cleveland, Ruth Cleveland died in 1904 at the age of 12, while the Baby Ruth was introduced in 1921 right at a time when George Herman Ruth, Jr. had become a baseball superstar. It is interesting to note that very early versions of the wrapper offer a baseball glove for 79 cents. Babe Ruth’s announced intent to sue the company is probably what drove and perpetuated the dubious cover story.

    To see what other Thursday 13ers write about today, visit Thursday 13.


    One real thing by Anah Crow & Dianne Fox


    Nick Addison has taken care of Hollister Welles since college. Though the responsible grad student and the uninhibited partier were total opposites, they had always shared an inexplicable bond. Nick knows he should stop saving the out-of-control Holly, but when Holly hits rock-bottom hard—and publicly—he can’t resist coming to his rescue one last time. Can’t resist the feeling of having Holly need him again.

    Bringing Holly back to New York City, Nick gives Holly the chance to face his demons and break his dangerous habits—while keeping Holly’s presence a secret from Nick’s wife. He doesn’t want to face Caroline’s hatred of Holly…or the reasons she might have to resent him.

    Then the tables are turned. Just as Holly pulls himself together, Nick’s life falls apart. Now it’s up to Holly to bring Nick back from the brink—and to make Nick finally face the desires he’s long denied.

    My thoughts: 

    While reading “One real thing”  I kept thinking that both characters seemed to be caught in some sort of destructive behaviour pattern sooner or later and needed some slapping. Sorry.

    Holly – at the start – is the worst of the bunch. He doesn’t give a damn about himself and sets out to destroy himself with his lifestyle. The reason: his unrequited love for Nick. I found that slightly over the top. However, once Nick started to take care of him he recovered quickly and turned out to be a reasonable person.

    Nick. He denied his desire to Holly to himself, unfortunately he did it in such a way that his wife still managed to pick up on it. I don’t know about you, but her bitchiness seemed somewhat justified to me. By normal standards it is quite understandable that a woman does not exactly like the man her husband secretly desires. By normal standards a wife would find it rather unusual that her husband tells her he is away on a business trip when in reality he locks himself up in an apartment for days with said other man to detox him and in order to get that man’s life back on track. 

    Then, when it turns out that both partners had been cheating on each other (Caroline on Nick with his editor, Nick on her with Holly, at least emotionally) and they decided to get divorced it is Nick whose world is turned upside down. I didn’t quite understand the impact that had on him. It wasn’t that he was so madly in love with his wife that he could have been devastated, was it?

    But anyway, when Holly realized what is going on he came back to help Nick out for a change and did that beautifully. They both were really good together and – once they finally found each other the way both desired – a perfect couple. The first part of the book was a bit hard to digest (still good though), with Holly, respectively Nick having to get out of their funk. Once all the trials and tribulations were over, the last part of the book made for a fun and easy read.


    Title One real thing
    Author Anah Crow & Dianne Fox
    Publisher Carina Press
    ISBN 9781426891021
    Buy link Buy One real thing

    Weekend cooking: Italian homemade bread

    For one of my Thursday 13 posts I was looking for an image of bread and came across one at Stock Exchange. The photographer had not only posted the picture but also gave the ingredients to make the bread. Not that it was complicated anyway, just a basic yeast bread. But the bread looked yummy and I thought how hard can it be to make bread out of four ingredients.

    So I made it the same afternoon and it turned out quite lovely. There, stock photo sites can even broaden your cooking horizon.

    Italian homemade bread


    • 500g flour
    • 30g fresh yeast
    • 300ml water
    • 2tbsp olive oil
    • I added: some salt

    bread1 Just prepare a yeast dough as usual, after letting it rise, form some balls –they don’t need to be particularly round or even –, put them on a tray and let them rise a bit more. Then bake in the oven. I baked them at about 200C for ten minutes and at 170C for another 25 minutes. Someone suggested to put a pot with water at the bottom of the oven to make the bread more crusty.



    bread2 The bread did turn out quite crusty, but I don’t know whether it wouldn’t have anyway, even without the water.







    Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads


    Thursday 13: Food quotes by authors

    I’m continuing my indulgence T13 series today with quotes about food by famous writers. 


    Image by bybar

    • Edible, adj.:  Good to eat, and wholesome to digest, as a worm to a toad, a toad to a snake, a snake to a pig, a pig to a man, and a man to a worm.  ~Ambrose Bierce
    • The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.  ~G.K. Chesterton
    • There is one thing more exasperating than a wife who can cook and won’t, and that’s a wife who can’t cook and will.  ~Robert Frost
    • Everything I eat has been proved by some doctor or other to be a deadly poison, and everything I don’t eat has been proved to be indispensable for life.  But I go marching on.  ~George Bernard Shaw
    • Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.  ~Mark Twain
    • Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.  ~Mark Twain
    • All sorrows are less with bread.  ~Miguel de Cervantes
    • A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will’s freedom after it.  ~Aldous Huxley
    • Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist. ~G. K. Chesterton
    • There is no love sincerer than the love of food. ~George Bernard Shaw

    • Sacred cows make the best hamburger” ~Mark Twain
    • Don’t let love interfere with your appetite. It never does with mine. ~Anthony Trollope
    • It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. ~Douglas Adams

    To see what other TT 13ers are talking about, go to the Thursday 13 website.


    Steampunk is coming to Germany

    Today I went to Thalia to buy a greeting card and was surprised to find a new decoration theme in there. Far from the usual cutesy Princess Lillifee style they came up with a pretty stunning display of Steampunk. Click on the images to see a larger version.

    steampunk_deco2 steampunk_deco


    steampunk_cabinet_sign In our city we have the first (and probably only) Steampunksteampunk_cabinet_window shop in Germany called “The Contemporary Steampunk Cabinet”. 

    I went by there a few times already but every time it was closed. Their opening hours seem to be a bit irregular. But obviously the owners are not dead yet, as they have supplied Thalia with some items to decorate. And a splendid job they did!

    Maybe now people won’t look at me with big questioning eyes anymore when they hear that there is something called Steampunk out there.


    What I like…besides books: Insensatez

    I am a big fan of songs by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. You might know the song “Garota da Ipanema” (The girl from Ipanema – this is a great performance by Frank Sinatra and Antonio Jobim from 1967) which is probably their most famous one.

    “Insensatez” is one of my favourite songs. This here is an absolutely stunning video and performance of Fernanda Takai, a Brasilian singer.

    If you would like to see Antonio Jobim perform the song himself, you can do so here (there are tons of great videos of that song).


    German(y) for the bookish traveller 3

    First of all a few more words that you might find in a bookshop…

    German English
    Antiquariat antiquarian bookseller, seller of rare books
    modernes Antiquariat Area in a regular bookshop where they sell cheap books, usually because of suspended agency pricing
    Remittenden Remaindered books, being sold cheap at the bookshop
    Sonderpreis Special price
    Klappentext blurb
    Buchumschlag dust jacket
    Bucheinband book cover
    Buchrücken spine
    Schnitt edge
    Eselsohr dog ear
    Mängelexemplar faulty or flawed book
    Erstausgabe First edition
    Auflage print run
    Exlibris book plate
    Bindung binding
    Impressum imprint

    If you want to know a specific term not covered yet, just ask!


    In my mailbox

    Hosted by The Story Siren

    This is going to be a post that spans over the last weeks, since I haven’t done in a long while….Quite a few of them I have already blogged about, so there is not that much new.


    • “Joseph Goebbels” by Kurt Riess, a biography that I am going to read for the One, Two, Theme challenge


    • “The summer of skinny dipping” by Amanda Howell, another YA book I have been thinking about reading for a while. Unfortunately I stopped and can’t bring myself to continuing.
    • “He’s just not that into you” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, also for the One, Two, Theme challenge. Read it, not too fussed.
    • “Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating: How to Choose the Best Bread, Cheeses, Olive Oil, Pasta, Chocolate, and Much More” which was recommended some time ago by someone in a Weekend Cooking post.

    I got for Christmas

    • “Essays in Love” by Alain de Botton, also for the One, Two, Theme challenge. Read it, loved it.
    • “Horns” by Joe Hill,. Reading now.



    I so liked “Essays in love” that I am now obsessed with reading more from Alain de Botton. Amazingly, my library for once lived up to expectations and had some of his books.  I managed to get three of them.

    • “How Proust can change your life”
    • “Consolations of Philosophy”. Reading now.
    • “A week at the airport: A Heathrow Diary”


    What was in YOUR mailbox recently?  Check out other In my mailbox participants here.


    Which Austen heroine are you?

    I finally took the plunge and found out what Austen character I am.


    I am Catherine Morland!

    Take the Quiz here!


    northanger_abbey_cover I don’t know about that. I love Northanger Abbey and I quite liked Catherine Moreland, but am I like her? “Sweet, adorable, unworldly”? Many people would disagree. On the other hand from what I have seen there are plenty of Elizabeth Bennetts out there and not many Catherines, so at least I’m not one of many.

    Then again, my first thought was that I would have preferred to end up with Mr. Darcy than with Henry Tilney. Probably because I didn’t particularly like the looks of Peter Firth (superficial as I am). However, that thought caused me to have a look around for Henry Tilney as he was quite inconspicuous and I remembered next to nothing about him. After searching for a bit I stumbled across this post at Jane Austen’s World. I will have to reconsider, maybe Mr. Tilney is not so bad after all…



    Demon’s Dance by Evey Brett


    Wanting to live freely as a human, half-incubus Tristan flees the Wardens. Broke and starving, he accepts Cory’s offer of a paid photo shoot, never dreaming he’d find a man with whom he could be aroused and erotic in his own body without having to submit to his demonic half.

    Psychically sensitive Cory didn’t meet Tristan by accident; he volunteered to find the beautiful, exotic man for his patron. Cory had never before been able to touch a man without discomfort and soon can’t stop, but the hotter the sex gets, the more he can sense the darkness Tristan is trying desperately to escape.

    Cory will do anything to keep Tristan safe, even if it means going against both his patron and the Wardens. Cory must learn how to soothe the demon—and to love the man within.

    My thoughts: 

    The blurb sounded nice enough and you don’t see too many incubi in books, even though you would think for erotica they would be the perfect protagonist.

    However, the story did not live up to the blurb. No, that’s not true, the blurb doesn’t say anything that is not in the book, however, it leaves out a few things that made reading this book quite unsatisfying.

    Let’s start at the beginning. Poor Tristan, half incubus, half human, is left in the care of a promising warden, assigned to him by Blanco. The warden turns out to be a sadistic jerk who uses and abuses Tristan continuously. Eventually Blanco comes to his aid (more about this later) and Tristan manages to get away from the “sheltered” life that he has known so far. He wants to live a normal life.

    What bothered me?
    (By the way, for better understanding I am saying “incubus/incubi, when in the book the term for the half incubus/half human beings is “cambion”).

    • Cory, a talented, yet unsuccessful photographer, catches Blanco red-handed while killing someone, but in order to be left alive himself he agrees to find Tristan for Blanco. What follows now is so strange and appalling that I really needed to wrap my head around it in order to talk about it in a way that makes sense.
    • Cory takes Tristan, who is homeless and totally screwed up, in and takes nude pictures of him. The nature of the pictures gets more explicit in the course of the book, mainly at the request of Blanco. Why Blanco requests nude pictures doesn’t interest Cory in the least.
    • Cory, I can only repeat it, an unsuccessful photographer, who explicitly says to Tristan that he does not have many models which is why he is so grateful for Tristan posing for him, has a large collection of nude or pornographic photos of various men. Where do all those men come from? Who are they?
    • Cory keeps a laptop Blanco has given him on at all times so that Blanco can watch what is going on in his apartment, this includes sex scenes. Naturally Tristan knows nothing about this.
    • Cory masturbates in front of his laptop for Blanco for a few hundred dollars. He reckons, since Blanco has already seen him sleep with Tristan, what the heck?
    • Blanco, who is supposed to protect the incubi, in fact he has sworn an oath to do so, let’s Tristan be abused for years and does not step in, because he was distracted by the suicide of his own protegé. He admits that he failed Tristan, but makes up for it later by killing the abusive warden. What about the oath that he broke? Shouldn’t there be repercussions?
    • The wardens, who are supposed to protect the incubi from society and their inner demon, don’t think anything of exploiting the incubi’s sex driven nature by pimping them, renting them out as escorts, dancers in clubs or porn stars.
    • Cory’s career is furthered by Blanco who organizes a show for him. As it turns out his work, mostly his pornographic work I might add, is being shown in the “ghetto” for the incubi. Almost all the guests at the show use his photographs for sexual stimulation there and then. Is this the sort of career an aspiring photographer who wants to get his name out is aiming to have? Shooting porn pictures for the sexually overactive?
    • Cory eventually decides to become a warden in order to help Tristan. He reaches that goal by being touched sexually by Blanco (who very much desires Cory) and in return by touching Blanco. How that would empower him to deal with an incubus and his demon is beyond me.

    All in all, apart from Tristan, who was a character who was constantly pushed around by people who “wanted the best for him”, I thoroughly disliked the main characters. Cory sold himself out for his career. Blanco failed at his job, failed Tristan in a big way and has no valid excuse whatsoever. The way the wardens dealt with the incubi and their demons made no sense to me. The overall feel of the story was disturbing. I can’t recommend it in good conscience.


    Title Demon’s Dance
    Author Evey Brett
    Publisher Carina Press
    ISBN 9781426891090
    Buy link Buy Demon’s Dance

    Thursday 13: Food named after people, part 1

    Today’s Thursday 13 is about dishes that are named after famous literary people.


    Image by Shermeee at flick’r

    • Omelette Arnold Bennett – an unfolded omelette with smoked haddock invented at the Savoy Hotel for the writer Arnold Bennett
    • Chateaubriand – a cut and a recipe for steak named for Vicomte Franois Ren de Chateaubriand (1768-1848), French writer and diplomat. His chef Montinireil is thought to have created the dish around 1822 while Chateaubriand was ambassador to England. There is also a kidney dish named for him. 
    • Salad à la Dumas – Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), noted French author. Apparently a favorite of Charles Ranhofer, there are also timbales, stewed woodcock, and mushrooms la Dumas.
    • Lamb chops Victor Hugo – the renowned French author, Victor Hugo (1802-1885), is commemorated with these, and with fillets of plover.
    • Timbales à la Irving – Washington Irving (1789-1859), the American author, given Charles Ranhofer’s penchant for honoring writers with his creations, is the likely source of the name. 
    • Potage anglais de poisson Lady Morgan – Lady Morgan, née Sydney Owenson (1776-1859), a popular Irish novelist, was visiting Baron James Mayer de Rothschild in 1829, when Creme created this elaborate fish soup in her honor. If you have several days available, you can make it yourself.
    • Mornay sauce – diplomat and writer Philippe de Mornay (1549-1623), a member of Henri IV’s court, is often cited as the name source for this popular cheese version of Béchamel sauce. The alternative story is that 19th-century French chef Joseph Voiron invented it and named it after one of his cooks, Mornay, his oldest son.
    • Lamprey à la Rabelais – François Rabelais (c. 1484-1553), French monk, turned physician, turned famed writer and satirist, was honored in this dish by Delmonico’s chef Charles Ranhofer. 
    • Chicken sauté George Sand – George Sand, the pseudonym of French author Amandine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin, Baronne Dudevant (1804-1876), a major figure in mid-19th century Parisian salons, had several dishes named for her, including fish consommé and sole. 
    • Wild Duckling à la Walter Scott – the dish named for the Scottish writer Walter Scott (1771-1832) includes Dundee marmalade and whiskey.
    • Lobster cutlets la Shelley – Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), the great English poet, drowned off the coast of Italy. Charles Ranhofer remembered him with this.
    • Omelette André Theuriet : the French novelist and poet Andr Theuriet (1833-1907) has this omelette with truffles and asparagus named for him.
    • Sole Jules Verne : Jules Verne (1828-1905), the famous French novelist, had several dishes named after him besides this, including a sauce, a garnish, grenades of turkey, breasts of partridge, and meat dishes.

    Source: Wikipedia

    To see what other TT 13ers are talking about, go to the Thursday 13 website.

    Want to see how much you know about food? Check your knowledge with the ultimate food quiz at the Guardian. Beware, it’s hard.


    Essays in love by Alain de Botton



    "Essays in Love" will appeal to anyone who has ever been in a relationship or confused about love. The book charts the progress of a love affair from the first kiss to argument and reconciliation, from intimacy and tenderness to the onset of anxiety and heartbreak. The work’s genius lies in the way it minutely analyses emotions we’ve all felt before but have perhaps never understood so well: it includes a chapter on the anxieties of when and how to say ‘I love you’ and another on the challenges of disagreeing with someone else’s taste in shoes.While gripping the reader with the talent of a great novelist, de Botton brings a philosopher’s sensibility to his analyses of the emotions of love, resulting in a genre-breaking book that is at once touching and thought-provoking.

    My thoughts: 

    This is the second book I read for my “relationships topic” for the One, Two, Theme Challenge. I have been ogling some of Alain de Botton’s books for quite a while and finally decided to start with this one, as it was his debut novel. It certainly won’t be my last.

    I absolutely loved his style here. Basically it is the story of a romance from the very beginning to the end and a bit further on, so that the reader knows that the cycle (at least for the male narrator) started all over again. And a cycle it is. The story is divided into chapters, like for example, “Romantic Fatalism”, talking about that the chance meeting of the soon to be lovers is actually fate, “The Subtext of Seduction”, talking about how to seduce the beloved properly and the thoughts behind it, “Contractions”, here black clouds are showing up on the horizon, and “The Jesus Complex” where eventually the one who was left behind comes to the conclusion everything is the other person’s fault. Every chapter describes one or more specific, often mundane, situations and then reflects upon them with the help of numerous philosophers. Really everybody will recognize him- or herself in those scenes, or, if not in a specific situation, at least in the general thoughts that are lying behind it.

    I read some reviews on amazon saying that the romance was incredibly predictable and therefore the book was highly unoriginal. I disagree. The book was original simply BECAUSE the romance was so ordinary and predictable. The whole point of the book is to show how every romance takes its course in a predetermined way and the reason our romance here is so predictable is that everyone has experienced exactly that before.

    I was not too enthusiastic about both the male and the female character. Probably I sympathize more with Chloe, however, because the man turns out to be a total jerk right after their first night together. She cooks a wonderful breakfast for him and he insists on having a certain jam, a flavour she hasn’t got. He acts so stupidly that I would have kicked him out right away, but Chloe puts up with his crap – amazingly what love can do to you. The narrator himself, who can’t explain his own behaviour at the time, later comes up with a reason for it which is not completely unfeasible.

    This is what I liked about the book. Every little detail and nuance is looked at from all sorts of perspectives and talked about. I found it very insightful. I also liked the language, I don’t think there was one sentence I found boring or too much.

    A nice little touch – if somewhat trite – was the fact that the beginning and the end of the romance not only take place on a plane, but also that the exact same sentence describes the landing of the plane and  the disembarking of the passengers. The circle is closed.

    If you want to know more about ordinary relationships, how they work and about their dynamics, this is a must read.

    Disclaimer: If you are a romantic and want to stay that way, better not touch this book. It takes a relationship apart and scrutinizes it minutely. The result is 100% realism with no room for romantic idealization. 

    Judith has mentioned she didn’t like this book too much. If you would like to read what she had to say you can go the the comments of this blog post where she copied her Shelfari review.


    Title Essays in love
    Author Alain de Botton
    Publisher Picador
    ISBN 978-0330440783
    Buy link Buy Essays in Love

    Bloggiesta 4th Edition

    blogiestaIt’s time for another round of Bloggiesta soon. The 4th edition will take place on the weekend of January 21-23, 2011 and will be again hosted by Maw Books Blog. I participated for the first time last year and it was such a fun event, I’d recommend it to every book blogger out there. Not only did I manage to get a lot of things done re my blog or book blogging in general, I also got to know a few very nice people who are now some of my favourite bloggers and online friends.

    If you are planning to re-organize your blog or learn something new about book blogging and maybe need some motivational help and/or would like to meet new book bloggers, you should head on over to Maw Books Blog to sign up.


    My reading list for January


    I really don’t know why I even keep the reading list posts. I suck at sticking to lists. Let’s see, my December list consisted of only three books that I planned to read:

    • The summer of skinny dipping by Amana Howell
    • Steampunk, an anthology
    • The Vesuvius club

    And I read / finished none of them… How good is that? “The summer of skinny dipping” is nice YA read. I’m almost finished, but I suspect it will end badly and I just don’t want to continue reading now. Call me a coward.

    The other two, well, what can I say?

    Now, January: I will move two of the above to January, hoping I will do better… So, apart from various review books I will read I am planning to read

    • Steampunk, an anthology
    • Horns by Joe Hill
    • and to finish The summer of skinny dipping. Geez, how hard can it be?