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My reading list for March and February recap

readinglist

In February I

Also I

This month I am planning to

  • continue “The Grass Crown” by Colleen McCullough. I got back into it again, I just wish it wasn’t so bloody heavy in weight.
  • finish “August is a wicked month” by Edna O’Brien

 

How was YOUR reading month?

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Crafty Tuesday: Spiral Mesh Bag

After reviewing the “Crochet One-Skein Wonders” book I thought I need to put my money where my mouth is and actually create something from that book. As I am a sucker for bags of any kind I decided to go for a so called Spiral Mesh Bag. It is for medium weight yarn and the pattern calls for 113g of it. Our skeins are usually 50g and I had two of the one I wanted to use and in the end I ran out and had to finish the bottom with another one. This might also have to do with the fact that I never much care for the gauge with such projects, I just start crocheting and see where it takes me. Anyway, I ended up with the lower part of the bag in another colour and the whole thing also is a bit smaller than in the pattern, but I am happy with it.

Spiral Mesh Bag

At first I didn’t twig at all what I was doing, but just followed the instructions until I realized I was working from the strap down. This was a really quick project (it took me a few days because I only crocheted a little every evening), and easy on top of that. There are only single and half double crochet stitches involved, and two different stitches, a linen stitch and a mesh stitch. You can see where I ran out of purple yarn and had to finish off with grey, but it looks ok to me. I can always say it was intentional.

Have you done anything crafty lately? Let me know, I am always looking for inspiration.

If you would like to see some more craft projects today head on over to Heather’s Needlework Tuesday! 

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Let the right one in by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Cover Let the right one in by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Not your ordinary vampire romance

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis: Oskar meets a strange girl in his apartment complex. At the same time strange murders take place in his suburb of Stockholm.

Language I read the book in: English. Translated from Swedish by Ebba Segerberg

Did I like it? Yes. A lot.

For people who: love vampires, but not the schmaltzy smooching, don’t mind a little gore.  


My thoughts: 

When I started reading I vaguely knew what was coming as John has read the book and watched the two movies and had told me a little about it. But I was not prepared for this wonderful coming of age story, combined with gore, vampires, great side characters and an overall great atmosphere. Every person in this book has a distinctive personality and the writer took his time to develop each of them. We get to know the story from various points of view and this worked very well – even though I normally don’t enjoy character jumping too much. Apart from a few people, everybody was really likeable – which is quite an achievement considering the atmosphere in this book is dark, dreary, violent and not a happy one. Everybody has problems, everybody is fighting, and it still is an uplifting story!

What I particularly liked was that a lot of the side characters had facets that you normally don’t find in books. A glue sniffing boy with a problematic background has a great sense of humour (I really felt for Tommy in many ways. Not only does he have to spend the night with Hakan in a dark cellar, he also has to put up with insufferable Staffan, which is only slightly less unsettling). Drunken bums are very well educated, literate people (how many people you know can tell that the corresponding cat to Thisbe should be named Pyramus?). I loved them all.

The vampire angle was done really well, gave vampires a bit of a new spin and was quite exciting to read about, even though I found a few situations quite disconcerting and not for the faint of heart. But not the nightmare inducing kind either, at least not for me.

I do have a couple of complaints though. The end was disappointing. The conclusion of the book was done way too quickly. After writing five hundred odd pages and after developing the relationship between Oskar and Eli slowly and in depth, the author creates an end of one page That is unacceptable. It is cut off from the previous chapter, like a time lapse where some important things were forgotten to be told. I prefer stories to fade out slowly instead of coming to an unexpected halt.

Second I feel cheated. I battled my way through a lot of unsavoury scenes all the while hoping for Johnny and his mates to get their comeuppance and then when they finally do I don’t get to savour every detail, but have to read it in a witness report the length of a couple of paragraphs! Sorry, but this just does not do it! I was deprived of my satisfaction and I did not like that.

Other than that, this was a pleasure to read. Now I must get the short story “Let the old dreams die” to find out what happened next. I am glad the author wrote it because during reading I got this nagging thought that maybe Eli is just having Oskar around as the new caretaker, and I need to know that this is not so. 


Product info and buy link :

Title Let the right one in
Author John Ajvide Lindqvist
Publisher Quercus Publishing
ISBN 9781847248480
I got this book from we already had it lying around
Buy link Buy Let the right one in

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.

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New52 Foodie Project. Week 8.

Today’s recipe is from a German cookbook called “Der Küchenchef – Vegetarisch” (The chef – vegetarian) which I got for only a few Euros the other day.

Cover Der Küchenchef vegetarisch

I forgot to take pictures of my finished meal again, but there is a lovely photograph in the book that shows the Chili-Tofu Tortillas in a much better way than I could have done.

Chili-Tofu Tortillas image

Chili-Tofu-Tortillas

If you click on the card you will see a bigger version.

This post is part of

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

Credits for recipe card: Fonts: Jellyka Wonderland Wine, Typenoksidi. Papers: Ordinarily Secial by Kaye Winiecki, Week stamps: Weeds and Wildflowers.

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Crochet One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant

Cover Crochet One-skein Wonders by Judith Durant

Crochet one skein wonders is a great book for projects and ideas for experienced crocheters. Every project uses 100g yarn or less, so none of them is overwhelming or too time consuming.

The projects are sorted by yarn weight starting from thread to heavy weight with everything in between. If you feel like a quick project, just look in your stash what you have got at home and then look up a project for that type of yarn – very convenient. They range from scarves and cowls to doll clothes, baby caps or shoes, jewellery and bags to mittens and gloves. The style varies and I am sure everybody will find something they will like.

At the end there is a list of abbreviations commonly used in stitching instructions  as well as a symbol key in order to understand the charts. A guide to yarn weights and a glossary complete the book. The glossary consists of short instructions on how to crochet the various stitches and comes with a few illustrations.

All instructions are clear and easy to follow. As a bonus for non-American readers all measurements are given in cm as well as inches, which is a great help. I already went through my stash and chose a spiral mesh bag as my first project. I admit I am slow, but but will post my progress here on Crafty Tuesday.

All in all for crocheters this is a really nice book with lots of ideas to choose from, and they are all do-able with what we have at home already without additional expense. All of us have a leftover skein lying around somewhere. Let’s put it to good use!


Product info and buy link :

 

Title Crochet One-Skein Wonders
Author Judith Durant (editor)
Publisher Storey Publishing
ISBN 9781612120423
I got this book from Storey Punlishing via Netgalley
Buy link Buy Crochet one-skein wonders

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.

This isn't Fiction Reading Challenge Button

This post is part of the This isn’t Fiction Reading Challenge which is hosted by The Book Garden.

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Movie: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

hound3

This movie is strange. I have no idea how a script writer can „adapt“ a book in a way that makes the story completely illogical and totally haphazard. Assuming that the audience doesn’t know the book, they must leave the cinema (or sofa) baffled in regards to how Sherlock Holmes found the culprit or even what exactly happened.

The whole movie was a sequence of unrelated scenes that did not build upon each other in any way. One especially strange example is the séance that takes place in Stapleton’s house (one of those changes to the original story that made no sense at all) with Mrs. Mortimer trying to call the dead Sir Baskerville. The suspense is at its (modest) peak, when suddenly we hear howling outside and Beryl Stapleton calls out in fright. The séance is being interrupted and literally that very second everybody gets up and leaves for home.

There are other changes to the story that are completely unnecessary or even nonsensical. At the beginning we have the famous scene where Holmes displays his deduction skills to his buffoon sidekick Dr. Watson by describing Dr. Mortimer from examining at his walking stick. Country doctor, walks on foot, has a dog. When Holmes later asks Dr. Mortimer about the dog the doctor answers he used to have a dog but it is dead. What does this mean? Why is the dog dead? Could the production not afford a live dog? Why not say the dog is at home with Dr. Mortimer’s wife? Or was it a false clue that is supposed to make us think that maybe the dog marks are from the evil hound and Dr. Mortimer is the culprit?

Another especially intriguing change is the relationship between Stapleton and his sister. When Holmes hears that Sir Henry Baskerville is going to marry Beryl in two days (Sir Henry moves fast) he makes a peculiar face as if to say “Beryl is marrying Baskerville? How can that be? She is already married!”. Somehow the script writer must have changed his ideas about that plot point because as it turns out later Beryl in fact IS Stapleton’s sister and the funny look on Holmes face was never explained.

At the end there is a poisoning scene where Holmes saves Sir Henry’s life which also leaves a lot to be desired. The timing is all wrong (Stapleton handing a poisoned medicine to Sir Henry equals the time that Holmes takes to walk across the moor at night) and Holmes deducts that a murder is going to take place out of nothing, NOTHING.

This is a travesty of the original story and only serves as a entertaining piece for an evening when you want to laugh yourself silly over the inaccuracies, illogicality and ridiculousness of the story. Not suitable for Conan Doyle fans and sticklers (like me).

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In my mailbox

 

A few things today that I am really looking forward to:

I bought

  • Not a book, but I am excited about it. I bought the first season of Downton Abbey after seeing a little of the first episode. Everybody talks about it. I want to know what all the hype is about – late as usual.

From the library

 

Cover Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day by Phili MatyszakCover Our tragic universe by Scarlett ThomasDowntown Abbey

What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 

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Weekend cooking: Re-arranging cookbooks

I am taking a break from my NEW52 Foodie project to talk a little about my cookbooks. Until now I had my cookbooks all over the place. Some were in the kitchen (window sill, shelves), some were in the living room, some in the clutter-y spare room with books, DVDs and a messy desk study at the far end on the floor under tons of other books. Now that I want to discover new recipes this was no good anymore and I had to re-arrange them a bit. I collected all of them and put them on a table, sorted out the ones I didn’t need anymore (in fact it was only one book I set aside as it was chicken recipes only), sorted them loosely and put them on one big shelf in the living room.

My cookbooks

I know, the collection is not nearly as big as other participants’ but I still enjoy looking at the books all gathered in one place. And it makes browsing for new recipes so much easier. I discovered a few small books that I never even knew we had and already found new recipes to try.

There is nothing like re-arranging books to boost your creativity!
How are your cookbooks sorted? All in one place? Favourites in the kitchen, the rest banned to a secluded spot?

As for new recipes I made another meal I found through a Weekend Cooking fellow blogger. It is a absolutely delicious Slow Cooker Lentil Cauliflower Stew that I found on The Law Student’s Cookbook. Another family favourite from now on.

This post is part of

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

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Book beginnings on Friday

Boog beginnings on Friday

Cover Let the right one in by John Ajvide Lindqvist

I started “Let the right one in” by John Ajvide Lindqvist a few days ago and really like it. If you think this is a vampire story like Twilight, you couldn’t be more wrong. Here is its beginning.

“And what do you think this might be?”

Gunnar Holmberg, police commissioner from Vällingby, held up a little plastic bag of white powder.

What is YOUR book beginning today? To see more book beginnings go to Rose City Reader!

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Movie: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1988)

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Reasons I watched this movie: I like the story. It is part of my Baskerville movie marathon.

Jeremy Brett plays Sherlock Holmes in a number of stories. It’s a whole series with most of the episodes about an hour long and a few full movie length. One of them is The Hound of the Baskervilles.

This version sticks closer to the book in many areas (for example there is no loud and obnoxious Lyons, Dr. Mortimer is of a more suitable age etc.), but then again it gives away the culprit at the very beginning. Whereas in the Ian Richardson version you see him but don’t necessarily recognize him as Stapleton (I assume you have read the book and don’t mind that spoiler), here you see him clearly from the start. I find that odd. Where is the mystery? True we don’t know the motive of the murderer, but we know who he is! What sort of detective story is it when the audience knows who the killer is from the start? That might be ok for a Lieutenant Columbo, but not for a Sherlock Holmes.

As for Holmes: I think that Jeremy Brett might be the better Holmes as far as his character is described in the book. He plays Holmes as eccentric and moody, sometimes overly excited, sometimes quiet, sometimes full of action and then again not. But exactly that bipolar behaviour got on my nerves, I very much prefer Ian Richardson who plays the part a bit toned down.

The Hound of the Baskervilles on imdb

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DNF: Started early, took my dog by Kate Atkinson

Cover Started early, took my dog by Kate Atkinson

Elena recommended Kate Atkinson to me and I can see why she did. Kate Atkinson is a writer who conjures up an atmosphere with a few well chosen sentences and her stories are cleverly built. Unfortunately, I neither particularly enjoyed the way she writes, nor did I like the atmosphere.

Even though I got used to the elliptical writing style after a while I never got into it. I like it in a title (I wasn’t aware that the title of the book reflected the writing style THAT much), but not in a 400 page book. (Find the book’s beginnings here).

As for the story, I am a novice to Kate Atkinson and have not read the previous Jackson Brodie books. Maybe I should have started with the first book in order to understand better what was going on with him, but to me he seemed to be a whiner who mostly thought of and felt sorry about his previous relationships and who didn’t like himself very much. I probably could have lived with him, but the story is full of characters who all have so many problems and who are so full of self loathing that it was depressing.
A child spending some time with a corpse (this is my deduction, I didn’t get to the revelation of that particular thread), a dead child, a woman in a coma, a spinster who buys a child, an old demented woman, a number of old, and possible corrupt policemen, an adoption officer with a secret, the list is endless. Give me a break!

I am sure that somewhere towards the end all the various storylines – and there were many with time jumps back and forth continuously – came together in this cunning way where you go, "ah, now I see why this was said there and then, and what was the meaning of this and that 200 pages earlier" but I didn’t make it that far. When Jackson Brodie woke up next to a woman whose name he didn’t remember and had to sneak out of her house I was finished with the book. Sorry, but I do want to enjoy reading and not dread what might come next.

However, if you enjoy a real downer of a book, I recommend this one.

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New52 Foodie Project. Week 5

Today’s recipe is for a meal that is cheap, easy, quick and delicious. If you are someone who likes to scrape up the rest of the tomato sauce with a piece of white bread this is for you. John found the recipe for a Bread and Tomato Gratin in The Guardian online and I had to try it out at the next opportunity.

It is great for leftover, stale bread and if you have a jar of nice ready made tomato sauce (or frozen homemade one) this is the quickest meal ever.

Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures, but I didn’t have room for them anyway. However, on The Guardian you will see a picture that will make your mouth water.

Bread and Tomato Gratin

If you click on the card you will see a bigger version of it.

This post is part of

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

Credits for recipe card: Fonts: Jellyka Wonderland Wine, Typenoksidi. Papers: Hello Friend by wm2, Week stamps: Weeds and Wildflowers.

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The Literary Blog Hop Giveaway

Literary Giveaway Blog Hop

Welcome to the  Literary Blog Hop Giveaway!

I hope you are enjoying your stay at my blog and have a look around. If you would like to know about future giveaways and new posts in general please consider subscribing to my RSS feed or follow me on twitter. You can also add me on Google+, but I am not very active there. .

What am I giving away?

gargoyle

I am giving away a copy “The Gargoyle” by Andrew Davidson. I loved the book, and Marianne Engel is one of my favourite characters ever. I have blogged about The Gargoyle a few times already. You can compare its covers, read its beginning, read my review and see a few pictures of one of its locations which is not far from where I live. I will send the book to you via The Book Depository, so everybody who lives in a country that TBD ships to can enter.

Enter the giveaway

To enter the giveaway, please enter your details into this Google Form.

The giveaway is closed now. Random.org has picked Chantelle from Looking for the panacea as the winner. Congrats, Chantelle! 

The other participants

Don’t forget to hop on to all the other participating blogs and have fun! You will find a list on Leeswammes’ Blog. Thank you, Judith, for hosting this event again!

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Movie: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1983)

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Reasons I watched this movie: I love the story and decided to watch a series of Hound of the Baskervilles films.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is probably one of the most popular Sherlock Holmes stories and for a good reason. It is full of suspense, there is an eerie dog, an American heir, the British upper class, the moor, a smart detective and plenty of fog. What else can a mystery reader ask for?

Ian Richardson is a wonderful Sherlock Holmes, he is exactly how I imagine him, and I really like his sidekick Watson in this movie, too. He has a wonderful scene in the village pub when Watson is asked by Lestrade why he came here and answers that he is here “for the sailing”. Splendid!

The rest of the cast is equally brilliant. With Denholm Elliott as Dr. Mortimer (slightly too old, but who cares), Martin Shaw as Sir Henry Baskerville and Brian Blessed as Lyons you can’t go wrong. A lot of the plot was changed for this movie which is somewhat annoying (especially because some of the changes  make not much sense to me), but it is more dramatic and exciting as the book, so I suppose I can forgive the changes; they make for a cosy popcorn & movie night on the sofa.

Watch a scene (beware of the glowing dog!)

The Hound of the Baskervilles on imdb

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NEW52 Foodie Project. Week 4

So far my foodie project is going really well. I am enjoying trying out dishes and it is a great way to discover new favourites.

Last weekend I made Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta, a recipe I saw in a Weekend Cooking post on the Squirrel Head Manor blog and knew I had to make it, it looked so delicious!

It is very easy to make and if you eat baguette with it instead of the suggested rice, it is a quick und uncomplicated meal. Not that rice is a difficult side dish, but it is extra work and I try to avoid extra work whenever I can, :).

Alterations: As I have mentioned before in a comment to a previous post I often substitute the REAL thing for the feta made from cow milk because I prefer the less intense taste. Plus, as usual I am using frozen prawns.

If you click on the card you will see a bigger version.

Tomatoes with feta and shrims

This post is part of

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

Credits for recipe card: Fonts: Jellyka Wonderland Wine, Typenoksidi; Kit: Diptych by Paislee Press; Weekstamps: Weeds and Wildflowers

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My reading list for February and January recap

readinglist

In January I

This month I am planning to

  • oh, well, continue The Grass Crown which is so so excellent, but at the same time so heavy (weight wise) that I can’t take it anywhere or even read it in bed comfortably.
  • continue Started early, took my dog by Kate Atkinson
  • MAYBE continue to listen This is how you lose her by Junot Diaz – I realized audio books are not for me. I don’t enjoy being read to. At all.

How was YOUR reading month?