Article

Week on the web

weekontheweb

Here are my finds for this week…

Have you found anything interesting lately?

Article

June Readalong: Girl reading by Katie Ward

Want to join us for a readalong of “Girl Reading” by Katie Ward?

girl_readingSome weeks ago Caroline from “Beauty is a sleeping cat” blogged about Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier, a writer whose “Girl with a Pearl Earring” I enjoyed. In the comments talk went from Chevalier to Susan Vreeland, and then Caroline mentioned a book called “Girl Reading” by Katie Ward that Danielle from A work in Progress had blogged about. All three books deal in their own way with art and women and Caroline and I decided to read Girl Reading together in June.

This is the synopsis of Girl Reading:

Seven portraits. Seven artists. Seven girls and women reading. A young orphan poses nervously for a Renaissance maestro in medieval Siena, and an artist’s servant girl in 17th-century Amsterdam snatches a moment away from her work to lose herself in tales of knights and battles. A young woman reading in a Shoreditch bar catches the eye of a young man who takes her picture, and a Victorian medium holds a book that she barely acknowledges while she waits for the exposure. Each chapter of this richly textured debut takes us into a perfectly imagined tale of how each portrait came to be, and as the connections accumulate, the narrative leads us into the present and beyond – an inspired celebration of women reading and the artists who have caught them in the act.

We are planning to start in the last week of June, that would be Monday the 25th.

Is anyone else interested in reading along with us? Let me or Caroline know, so we can keep track of each other’s progress and discuss the book together.

Who will read along?

Article

Death of a charming man by M. C. Beaton

Very short synopsis:

Beautiful young newcomer to a dreary village charms all the women. Eventually he gets killed which was practically unavoidable. Hamish saw it coming.


Cover Death of a Charming Man by M. C. Beaton

inanutshell 

I read it in: English

I liked it:    Yes

For people who like: I don’t know whether M.C. Beaton does not like women very much or whether it is just coincidence that again the women are all daft and gullible. They seem to be all over Scotland, too, as this time we are not in Lochdubh, but in another backwater village called Drim.

Hamish’s and Priscilla’s engagement is a joke! I can’t find fault with Hamish; Priscilla knows he is unambitious, but the second they are engaged she starts to try to “change” him – and when has that ever worked? On top of that she is a cold fish and not responsive at all to his romantic advances. What a couple! Oh, well, the engagement only happened by accident, so to speak, so what can you expect? Not surprised to see them split up at the end of the book.


Product info and buy link :

Title Death of a charming man
Author M. C. Beaton
Publisher Robinson Publishing
ISBN 9781845297336
I got this book from I bough it
Buy link Buy Death of a charming man

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

Quizzical Monday

quizzical_monday

It’s time for another “Quizzical Monday”!

Question:

From which book is this beginning?

Cigars had burned low, and we were beginning to sample the disillusionment that usually afflicts old school friends who have met again as men and found themselves with less in common than they had believed they had.

Leave a comment with your answer. Then, to see whether you got it right,  click on "Show" below.  As usual, there is nothing to be won, this is just for fun!

Answer SelectShow
Article

In my mailbox

 

 

Actually this is not my doing, really. John keeps pestering me to get more Hamish Macbeth books because they are such comfy reads, and with Awesome Books’ low prices and additional coupons you can’t not buy books there. So I complied.

I bought

    Nothing else turned up even though I have been waiting for a Titanic book that I mooched at Bookmooch. It seems it takes months for a book to arrive from Australia.
    Cover Death of a dentist by M. C. BeatonCover Death of a scriptwriter by M. C. BeatonCover Death of a dustman by M. C. BeatonCover Death of a celebrity by M. C. Beaton

 

What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 

Article

Death of a travelling man by M. C. Beaton

Very short synopsis:

Hamish takes an immediate dislike to a travelling man and newcomer to Lochdubh. Needless to say the unpleasant bloke gets his head smashed in.


Cover Death of a Travelling Man by M. C. Beaton

inanutshell 

I read it in: English

I liked it:    It was ok, but for me one of the weaker books in the series. I never understood the lure of the victim and how he “seduced” the women of the village. So my interest in seeing his murderer brought to justice was was low. I couldn’t have cared less. The women of Lochdubh are painted in a rather unfavorable light. They are all easily seduced (not necessarily sexually, see "Death of a perfect wife”) and rather simple and one-layered.

Hamish’s engagement with Priscilla happens quite unexpected and under unusual circumstances. We will see how long that relationship lasts. My prediction: Not very long.

For people who like: Cozy mysteries, the Highlands.


Product info and buy link :

Title Death of a travelling man
Author M. C. Beaton
Publisher Robinson Publishing
ISBN  
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy Death of a travelling man

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

Thursday 13: WordPress plug ins

thursday13

The Plug in challenge during Bloggiesta made me think about the plugins that I am using and which make blogging life so much easier (or simply nicer and prettier).

CommentLuv
The plugin fetches the feed found at a commenter’s site URL while they type their comment and extracts the last blog post title with link and displays it below the comment form. When they submit their comment, the last blog post link gets added on the end of their comment for all to see!
It’s a great way to see what your blogging friends are talking about. The plugin is also available as an Intense Debate plugin for Blogger.

Configurable Tag Cloud
Use this instead of the boring tag cloud that comes with WordPress. It shows all your tags, nut just the most used ones.

Easy Spoiler
I use this for my Quizzical Mondays and think it is fun. People can decided whether they want to read the spoiler or not by choosing to display it.

Google Analytics

Google XML Sitemaps
Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.
(From: Sitemaps.org)

nRelate Related Content
I used to use Microkid’s Related Posts where I can manually choose my related posts (which is, of course, the most accurate way of dong it), but nRelate does such a good job doing it automatically that I switched.

Print friendly & PDF
Gives your readers the option to print your posts and delete images or text before they do so. Very convenient.

Stray Random Quotes
I love my little quote widget where I can manually add quotes and have they displayed at random.

Subscribe to comments
Lets your readers do just what it says.

Sweet Captcha
Isn’t that much cuter than those illegible letters where you have to guess what the heck it is supposed to be.

Dynamic WP Contact Form
Contact form so your readers can reach you without you having to display your email address. I kind of like how it is floating on the edge.

Socialize
My newest plugin which adds this neat box under each post.

WP Mobile Detector
Displays your blog in a mobile friendly way.

 

What are your favourite plugins? What are your favourite time savers, what adds a good feature to your blog or is simply helpful in daily blogging?

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

Article

Readers’ workout #7

Readers' Workouts

I have nothing to tell this week. I had to go for a biopsy last week and was not allowed any sports until the end of the week. However, on Sunday, I at least went for my usual swimming. It will be the same this week, because I had a second appointment on Tuesday.

What has everybody else been up to work out wise?

 

 

To see other participants’ progress go to Joy’s Book Blog.

Article

Top Ten Blogs/Sites I Read That Aren’t about Books

Top Ten Tuesday

My Google reader is full of feeds for various topics, but I only skim most of them. Some sites, however, I spend a fair amount of time at. Here they are:

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Blogs/Sites I Read That AREN’T about Books
  1. The Daily Digi
    A site with digital scrapbooking news that gives a good overview of what is going on in the digiscrapping community.
  2. Better After
    I just love makeovers of any kind. Before and after photos fascinate me. The amount of time people put into making over furniture that other people consider trash is amazing.
  3. iPhone Ticker
    German iPhone info site. All the latest news on apps and iPhone related topics.
  4. The Geek Art Gallery and the Great Geek Manual
    Everything geeky under the sun, photos, art, movies, links etc…
  5. Just something I made
    Crafty site with plenty of ideas – and freebies.
  6. Funky Junk Interiors
    Look how you can create a beautiful and original home with repurposing, up-cycling and re-using things.
  7. Mamas kram
    Craft site with beautiful home decor, sewing, decorating, you name it. In German.
  8. House of Svea
    See above, just in English and Swedish.
  9. SPIEGEL online
    Online service of the German news magazine. Everything I want to know about what is going on in the world. My hangout during morning coffee.
  10. Martha Stewart
    My go-to site for recipes, household tips, craft ideas, kids’ activities and what not.

What are your Top Ten blogs or sites you read that AREN’T about books?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.

Article

Quizzical Monday

quizzical_monday

It’s time for another “Quizzical Monday”!

Question:

Who is the mother of the female protagonist in Alexandre Dumas’ “La Reine Margot”?

Leave a comment with your answer. Then, to see whether you got it right,  click on "Show" below.  As usual, there is nothing to be won, this is just for fun!

Answer SelectShow
Article

In my mailbox

In my mailbox 

 

Finally there were a couple of books in my mailbox again!

 

I bought

  •   The Grass Crown by Colleen McCullough.
    Even though – at my speed – it will take me another year to finish “The first man in Rome” I like to be prepared and already got the second book in the “Masters of Rome” series. Another chunkster with 894 pages!

I got as a gift

  •  The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Warren Adams.
    Published between 1862 and 1863 (5 years earlier than The Moonstone) this books is considered by some critics to be the first detective novel in English. I am very much looking forward to it. On the back it says it is in the form of diary entries, letters, analysis reports, interviews, forensic evidence and maps and therefore “utterly of its time and utterly ahead of it” (NY Times Book Review).

Cover The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Warren AdamsCover The Grass Crown by Colleen McCullough

What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 

Article

Weekend cooking: Literary Baking

Something exciting happened so I had to interrupt my new weekend cooking veggie series to show you something else. You might call me insane, at least my husband has done just that. He said – and I quote – “you are like one of those nutcase women who see the face of Jesus Christ in a sponge cake”, but, naturally, I don’t agree.

 The Original Grinch

Last week I baked banana bread again for a kindergarten party and when the cake came out of the oven I noticed this little piece of dough sticking out of the cake. Imagine my surprise when I took a closer look and discovered that it was The Grinch! I recognized him immediately. I got the book and found the corresponding image and there was my proof.

My GrinchThe mirrored Grinch

Once I had mirrored the Grinch even John recognized him (it took some encouragement, though).

Next time you bake something and a little bit of dough escaped its mold, don’t snap it off and throw it away carelessly! It might be a hidden treasure.

This post is part of

Weekend cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. For the other weekend cooking posts please go there.

Article

Week on the web

weekontheweb

Here are my finds for this week…

What did you find on the web in the last few days?

Article

Death of a glutton by M. C. Beaton

Very short synopsis:

Disgusting woman is being killed in an eccentric way. Hamish encounters eccentric suspects galore to choose from.


inanutshell 

I read it in: English

I liked it:    Yes.
The victim was such an unpleasant creature that you could only root for the murderer. A group of visitors in a hotel are always a great cast for a mystery, and the story set in Tommel Castle adds a little extra flair. However, the way that hotel is being run makes me wonder how they make any money at all. A luxury hotel where people have to replace the light bulbs in the rooms themselves? This is unheard of! Shows that the Halburton-Smythes as owners are just amateurs who have their upper class status going for them.

For people who like: very cozy mysteries, the Scottish Highlands


Product info and buy link :

Title Death of a glutton
Author M. C. Beaton
Publisher Robinson Publishing
ISBN 9781845297350
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy Death of a glutton
More info The Hamish Macbeth series

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

Quizzical Monday

quizzical_monday

It’s time for another “Quizzical Monday”!

Question:

What are the names of the three musketeers?

Leave a comment with your answer. Then, to see whether you got it right,  click on "Show" below.  As usual, there is nothing to be won, this is just for fun!

Answer SelectShow
Article

It’s Tyrannosaurus Rex–Smithsonian Prehistoric Pals

trexVery short synopsis:

Short e-book for the iPhone or iPad about the T-Rex and its living environment.

 

 

 


inanutshell 

I read/listened to it in: English

I liked it:    Yes, but more important, my son liked it even more. This is my first step in the world of iPhone books (I don’t read e-books on the phone) and I was surprised at the convenience and possibilities. The book is short – and just right for the attention span of children. You can either swipe to get to the next page/scene or have it play itself on auto, and you can either read yourself or have the book read to you. A tap on an animal shows or tells the name of it and a tap on a word in the text has the word read to you. It’s a lovely, entertaining e-book for kids and has great illustrations to boot.
There are more books in the series about other dinosaurs as well.

For kids who like: Dinosaurs, especially T-Rex, and want to know more about them.


Product info and buy link :

Title It’s Tyrannosaurus Rex
Publisher Oceanhouse Media
I got this book from Publisher’s Weekly with a coupon code. A review was not required.
Buy link Buy It’s Tyrannosaurus Rex on iTunes

 

What children’s books for iPhone do you know and recommend?

Article

Weekend cooking: It’s the rhubarb season!

Last week I mentioned on twitter that I was baking a rhubarb-meringue cake and a weekend cooking participant asked me whether I am going to blog about it. I hadn’t planned to but then I had this idea of creating a series of blog posts about various vegetables or fruit to educate myself (and maybe others). You see, until two weeks ago I didn’t care for rhubarb. At all. But then our neighbour knocked at our door and brought me some. Not being a person to turn down a gift I took it and then searched the net for recipes and for instructions on how to use rhubarb – I had never made anything with rhubarb before.

What is rhubarb?

In spite of being used as a fruit – for jam, cake, compote – rhubarb is a vegetable in the botanical sense- Already in the third millennium BC the Chinese used its roots for medical purposes, the ancient Romans and Greeks did the same. The stalks were thrown away. Rhubarb

Rhubarb came to Europe only in the 18th century when an apothecary grew it in the UK. Only 1820 it made its way to the US and twenty years later into Germany and it seems the love for rhubarb still remains a rather regional matter. Its main areas of popularity are England, Germany, the three Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg)  and North America.  As opposed to ancient times, today we only use the stalks of rhubarb.

After I got this pack of rhubarb I went looking for a cake recipe and found this one. The day before I had had a very delicious lemon-meringue cake, so the meringue part immediately caught my eye.

Image credit: Wikipedia user 4028mdk09

Rhubarb honey-meringue cake
  • 125g soft butter
  • 125g sugar
  • 1 pack vanilla sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks (will need egg whites later)
  • 50g corn starch
  • 150g flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • a bit shredded lemon peel
  • pinch of salt
  • 1kg rhubarb
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 100g sugar
  • 50g honey (if desired) Mix all dough ingredients (up to the salt) thoroughly for about 3 minutes and spread evenly in a greased springform pan. If you can create a little edge.
    Heat oven to 190°C upper and lower heat.
    Wash rhubarb and cut ends off generously. Cut into 2cm wide pieces. Put on top of dough. Do NOT add sugar on top! Bake for 45 minutes.
    After half an hour whisk egg whites with lemon juice until very stiff. While continuously stirring add the sugar and honey (you can leave the honey away if you prefer the cake without).
    Take cake out of the oven and spread stiff egg white on top. Bake another 15 minutes until meringue is a honey-ish yellow.

Take out of the oven and let it cool down. Enjoy!

If you can’t get enough of rhubarb now, here are some more  Rhubarb recipes at Martha Stewart.

This post is part of

Weekend cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. For the other weekend cooking posts please go there.

Article

Thursday 13: Books where the movie adaptation worked for me

thursday13

In spite of my dislike of movie adaptations of books in general there are some that worked for me. Here is a selection (the links go to Youtube):

  1. Misery
    Most Stephen King adaptations are pretty bad, but this was was brilliant. Kathy Bates WAS Annie Wilkes.
  2. I, Claudius
    A British TV series adapting Robert von Ranke Graves’ books about Claudius. Unforgettable: John Hurt’s dance
  3. Girl with a pearl earring. You just have to like everything with Colin Firth.
  4. The Princess Bride
    My last re-read of the book was disappointing, but the movie is fabulous. My favourite character: Vizzini
  5. The Enchanted April
    A great book that we read around the world. The movie is just like it.
  6. The Lord Peter Wimsey series with Ian Carmichael.
    He owns that role.
  7. The P&P BBC mini series
    With Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle. Need I say more?
  8. Rebecca.
    Isn’t Laurence Olivier great as Maxim de Winter?
  9. Why didn’t they ask Evans?
    Not the one with Miss Marple! No idea why they always put sleuths into the story where they don’t belong. This is a stand alone. The movie with Sir John Gielgud, Francesca Annis and James Warwick is it!
  10. Bridget Jones’ Diary.
    And yet again Colin Firth. Not saying this is the best film ever, but it worked. I like Renée Zellweger as Bridget.
  11. Psycho
    Alfred Hitchcock never fails to deliver. The film was better than the book.
  12. Rosemary’s Baby
    Not sure whether I didn’t like the Bramford best.
  13. The Lord of the Rings
    Much better than the books (sorry, all Tolkien purists). I don’t know how often I watched those movies with every possible commentary and without. This is one of my many favourite scenes. Can’t wait for The Hobbit.

What movie adaptations of books worked for you?

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

Article

Readers’ workout #5

Readers' Workouts

This week I did much better and got my Wii Fit board out every day (except on the one day when I went swimming). My total workout minutes are 151 (goal is 90/week), so I am quite pleased with myself.

I got rid of one of my Wii Fitness programs which is a total waste of money and time. If you ever feel tempted to get Exerbeat, don’t bother. After every exercise – some of them are only 90 seconds – you are forced to watch your Mii wander all across the globe on a “tour around the world” and listen to educational little tidbits about the countries you are visiting. I have heard that eventually you unlock the option to put a workout sequence together without interruptions, but I never even got that far because I was so annoyed by this pseudo-historical-geographical chatter. There is no possibility to turn it off in the general settings.

My search for a good Wii fitness program goes on. Does anyone have any recommendations? Preferably with (Step-)Aerobics exercises and boxing and not so much dancing. Thanks already in advance!

To see other participants’ progress go to Joy’s Book Blog.

Article

Quizzical Monday

quizzical_monday

It’s time for another “Quizzical Monday”!

Question:

What is the maiden name of Mr. Rochester’s first wife?

Leave a comment with your answer. Then, to see whether you got it right,  click on "Show" below.  As usual, there is nothing to be won, this is just for fun!

Answer SelectShow
Article

The Accusers by Lindsey Davis

Cover The Accusers by Lindsey DavisA quick lesson in ancient Roman law.

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

Marcus gets caught up in a lawsuit by providing some evidence against the accused. When the convicted man commits suicide so that his family can keep all their property the accuser (who would have received all the dosh) suspects foul play and hires Marcus to find out the truth.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes, very much.

For people who: like Ancient Roman sleuths, courtroom dramas, Perry Mason & Matlock


My thoughts: 

Starting to read:

I didn’t remember how fun Marcus Didius Falco can be. I didn’t think the first book with him (The Silver Pigs) was so great but since then there were some books that I really really liked, like A Body in the Bathhouse, Ode to a Banker or Three hands in the Fountain. I think this is going to be one of them.

Such fun to read that people in ancient Rome were complaining about the same sorry state of affairs as we do nowadays, just a little different:

No wonder our roads are blocked with dead mules’ carcasses and the aqueducts leak.

Later on:

The evidence reports from Falco to Silius and various other reports and minutes give this an official touch and court room flavour. Also it is a very practical method to skip over a lot of rather boring interrogations. It gives us the gist without going through every conversation with the last minor witness. 

What is the business with the door slave? What happened two years ago? Why did the sibling not defy the will of the deceased? Why were they all excluded and Saffia put in? Metellus was found guilty of corruption, but where has all the money gone?

As you might know I have very little reading time, but I only have the book for another day. More than 190 pages left, so I am neglecting my household duties in order to finish it. I am totally obsessed with the story by now,

Towards the end:

The story has taken a turn for the worse (for our hero sleuths) and I am very curious to see how they will wriggle out of it – I am sure, they will somehow come out on top of everything.

All in all:

A very satisfying detective story and ending (and a VERY fitting title, too). It is not action filled but mainly relies on the spoken word (with the exception of a couple of fisticuffs as can be expected in Rome).

The main theme of this novel is the judiciary system in ancient Rome, its corruption and – to us – rather inexplicable “justice”. From serious accusation of blasphemy made by civilians, to corruption charges for the sake of monetary gain, to false murder charges and the resulting financial recompensation, to the torturing of slaves in order to obtain a valid statement, it is all there. Hereditary law as well as illegitimate offspring and the consequences for the child, everything you ever wanted to know (on a general level) you will find out in this story.

This is an absolutely delightful read; I need to get my hands on another Marcus Didius Falco book now.


Location: Ancient Rome around 75AD

ColloseumColosseum

Images from wikipedia. Marie-Claire and  Diliff


Product info and buy link :

Title The Accusers
Author Lindsey Davis
Publisher Mysterious Press
ISBN 9780446693295
I got this book from the library
Buy link Buy The Accusers. This is the Arrow Books edition
More info Lindsey Davis’ website

If you click on the buy link above you will be taken to The Book Depository.co.uk. If you buy the book through this link I will earn a small commission. You can find my general affiliate links to The Book Depository, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com here.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

Article

Week on the web

weekontheweb

Here are my finds for this week…

    Have you found anything interesting this week? Please share!
Article

Top Ten Books You’d Like To See Made Into A Movie

Top Ten Tuesday

Totally forgot to post this yesterday…it was a public holiday and my schedule was messed up…

I don’t know whether I can come up with even one book that I would like to see made into a movie. Movies from books – with the exception of a few – suck. Big time.

I don’t want someone to re-create a book on film and destroy all the images in my head. When I was still a child I remember my disappointment and anger after watching “The Neverending Story” (which is only half the book to boot). Until then I had this great image of Fuchur in my head which I have never been able to conjure again after I saw that horrible WORM in the movie (don’t tell me you think this creature is cuddly or cute or anything!). The Neverending Story has never been the same again thanks to Wolfgang Petersen. I could go on and on forever, actually the topic today should rather be “Ten books you never wanted to see made into a movie”…

That being said sometimes I think that they do a really good job and do the book justice, so I probably COULD come up with a list of books where the movie adaptation worked for me after all, but this is not today’s topic.

 

Top Ten Books You’d Like To See Made Into A Movie

  • None

What are your Top Ten Books you’d like to see made into a movie?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.

Article

My reading list for May and April recap

readinglist

In April I

For this month I am planning to:

  • continue “The first man in Rome”. How long does it take me to finish a 900 page book, for Christ’s sake?
  • finish “The Accusers” by Lindsey Davis. I only have one more week to finish it.
  • finish the Get yourself organized project by Kathi Lipp (again, this was on my list last month already). I only have it for another week. I need to get going.

How was YOUR reading month?