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Week on the web

weekontheweb

Here are my finds for this week…

What have you found on the web lately?

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Movie: The adventures of Tintin

The adventures of Tintin

If you know and love Tintin you might be a bit disappointed about the storyline and the spin they gave the characters. They have combined three stories and made it into one (The crab with the golden claw, The secret of the Unicorn & Red Rackham’s treasure). They added a villain that is not in the books. They left out Professor Calculus. They gave almost everyone a ridiculously bulbous nose – the rest got the pointy kind. They made Tintin gave up and Haddock bring him to his senses again (unheard of). Nevertheless, this is an entertaining movie with great animations and brilliant voices.

I loved the opening scene at the flea market that already showed the pleasant atmosphere and pretty design of everything. But don’t let the cozy look deceive you! There also is a lot of action: swordfights, ship battles, a breath taking car chase and a treasure to be found. What else can you ask for? This is a great family flick.

The adventures of Tintin on imdb

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Weekend Cooking: A soup from the Carnation Café

I am by no means a Disney fan, but for various reasons I always listen to the Capturing Magic Podcast which is part of the Capturing Magic.me site. The other day they were discussing Disney related pins from Pinterest and one of the panelists mentioned this great recipe she found there for a Loaded Baked Potato soup served at the Carnation Café.

I had to check it out and wanted to share the link to the recipe with you, because it looks and sounds really delicious. Obviously everybody who has ever tasted it feels like they have gone to heaven. I haven’t tried it yet, but will make it this weekend (without the bacon, that is).

So, if you now have a craving for a hearty soup, have a look at the recipe for Loaded Baked Potato Soup at the Disney Parks Blog,

***

On another note: If you have a cookbook to give away, you might consider signing up for the non-fiction giveaway blog hop that I am organizing. It will take place on the last weekend of April.

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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A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome by Alberto Angela

Cover A day in the life of ancient Rome by Alberto Angela 

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

We accompany the author during his day wandering around ancient Rome, sightseeing, admiring, explaining things.

Language I read the book in: German (Ein Tag im alten Rom)

Did I like it? Yes

For people who: like Ancient Rom and history made come to life by describing daily occurrences.


My thoughts: 

If you are interested in ancient Rome this book is a must read.

Alberto Angela takes us on a guided tour around Rome at the time of Trajan. We start in the very early morning in the house of a rich man, move on to shops, insulae, taverns, tempels, the baths, banquets and the Colosseum. We explore every aspect of daily ancient Roman life, breakfast, cooking, shopping, eating out, religion, entertainment, childbirth, teaching, dying….

Everything is presented in a very digestible way, explained properly with the appropriate background and shown from all sides (e.g. slavery or gladiators).

Where possible we are told about archaeological discoveries that back up the fictional stories (for example a fight between two gladiators that was documented on a mosaic, so detailed that even the names of the fighters were recorded).

There are only a few illustrations, no models, photos or other visual helpers to conjure Rome, but that is not necessary. Every chapter was so interesting and entertaining that I finished this book in no time. The German subtitle of this book is “Common, mysterious and astonishing facts”, and it completely lives up to that. Highly recommended.

Mr. Angela has one more book on the subject of ancient Rome out and one coming out in June that I will have to track down now.


Product info and buy link :

Title A day in the life of ancient Rome
Author Alberto Angelo
Publisher Europa Editions
ISBN 9781933372716
I got this book from the library
Buy link Buy A day in the life of ancient Rome

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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My reading list for April and March recap

readinglist

I didn’t realize it was such a busy month until I started writing this post. In March I

Also I

 

This month I am planning to

  • go ahead with the new Non-fiction giveaway blog hop that will take place the last weekend in April. You can sign up for it here.
  • read a biography of Sulla by Jörg Fündling

How was YOUR reading month?

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The Non-Fiction Giveaway Blog Hop

The Non-Fiction Giveaway Blog Hop

When I joined Birgit’s This isn’t fiction reading challenge I didn’t know that I would be going through quite a number of non-fiction books this year. I signed up for five books and already almost reached this goal and it is not even April! I know from her recent series about non-fiction that there are quite a few other non-fiction readers out there (after all somebody must buy all those tons of non-fiction books coming out every year). So, how about a non-fiction giveaway blog hop? A lot of those books are never re-read, why let them sit on the shelf and catch dust?

Join the Non-fiction giveaway blog hop and give those books to a good home where they will serve their purpose all over again! Alternatively give away a new book that you loved and want to share with other readers!

The rules:

The giveaway runs from April 26 to 29, 2013.

Everybody stipulates their own rules. One country or international, it is up to you.

The giveaway must be a non-fiction book, it can be a cook book, a craft book, a biography, it can be about whatever topic you want, as long as the content is not fictional.

Winners should be drawn within 5 days of giveaway closing and made public on your blog.

Sign up:

Please use the form below to sign up and make sure you add whether your giveaway is international or what country/continent it is limited to. Sign up closes on April 20. You will receive a reminder about the hop a few days before its start. Please, do not sign up if you do not intend to have your giveaway post up on the morning of April 26.

There is no obligation to write a sign-up post on your blog, but I would be eternally grateful if you did anyway to spread the word about this hop.

Join the Non-Fiction Giveaway Blog Hop and give a non-fiction book a new home!

"You know, everybody’s ignorant, just on different subjects."

~Will Rogers 

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Movie: Sherlock Holmes and the Baskerville Curse (1983–cartoon)

Sherlock Holmes and the Baskerville curse

I got this version to watch together with my kids. Apart from the rather frightful appearance of the dog at some points it is perfectly suitable for the whole family and rather fun to watch.

The quality of the animation, sound and general appearance is a little outdated, but this does not lessen the enjoyment. The plot is very true to the original story even though some scenes seemed a bit cut short to me. The length is only 75 minutes, so I suppose they had to leave out some dialogue. Quite acceptable, considering that in some other versions that I watched the dialogue goes on endlessly about inconsequentialities. In spite of these cuts a few things were explained that were not mentioned in other movies, like for example how Holmes tracked Stapleton’s past and found out about his marriage. My boys followed it easily and It was perfect and spooky/cosy entertainment.

I watched it dubbed in German, so can’t comment on the original voices, but Holmes’ voice is Peter O’Toole which should give a bit of additional flair to the whole experience.

Side note: I read one very unfavourable user comment about this cartoon on imdb, but that reviewer claims that the Basil Rathbone version is “excellent” – which says it all.

Sherlock Holmes and the Baskerville Curse on imdb.

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Crafty Tuesday–crochet scarf

crafty_tuesday

Exactly two years ago, in March 2011, I started crocheting a stole. You can see the progress of it here – that was at a time when I was still optimistic I would EVER finish that thing. However, it was not meant to be, and about a year later I unravelled the little I had. One of my problems was that it started out small and got wider and wider and every row took longer and longer until I saw no end of it – and started something else: a pet project of mine, a scarf.

Everybody knows I love DROPS. I found this great pattern for a crochet scarf at their website and started crocheting. Meanwhile the scarf has reached the impressive length of 20 cm. The photo of the scarf looks much darker than the yarn, but it starts out rather dark (inside of skein) and gets lighter (and more purple). Fun to work with. It is called “Bauerngarten” (Farmer’s garden) and is from the shop 100 Farbspiele.

Crochet scarf "Farmer's Garden"

It is really easy to make and I am determined to finish it this year (I can hear some of you laugh out loud now). Cross your fingers!

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

 

This post is part of

Join us for Needlework Tuesday which is hosted by Heather from Books and Quilts.

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The new look is different, but I am totally happy with it. With all that snow and dreadful neverending winter I needed something spring-y and uplifting! And it reflects my current revitalized scrapbooking obsession. 

You like? 

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Blog overhaul

Just in time for Bloggiesta, even though I didn’t participate, I need to give my blog an overhaul ONCE MORE. Sorry to all the people who think I am insane and emotionally immature, but this theme does not work the way I want. Feature images don’t show and the line breaks still give me headaches. I seem to have been extremely unlucky with my recent themes. So this time I will be going with a theme by Automattic, which should work perfectly – I hope.

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Weekend cooking: Cooking from above–Baking

On my quest for new recipes I stumbled upon a book called “Cooking from above – Baking” by Marianne Magnier- Moreno (Original title: Mon Cours de Cuisine – Ma Pâtisserie).

baking_above

It is an absolutely beautiful baking book for visual people. The concept is that every recipe is accompanied by photographs of all the steps taken from above. Very helpful if you are not sure what the result of the various steps should look like. But whereas in most cookbooks the images of in between steps serve just an educational purpose and are often done in a rather uninspired way, here the aesthetic appeal is just as extraordinary as the culinary one.

baking1

Every piece of equipment is beautiful, vintage knifes, enamel spatulas, the stoves are just the size they need to be to fit the pot, it is just a pleasure to look at those images depicting the gathered ingredients (always neatly lined up) up to the finished product.

baking2

Apart from the visual pleasure you get a lot of delicious recipes. As it is a pâtisserie book it is not only about baking (the English title is a bit misleading). It covers desserts creams, sweet sauces, various cakes – from simple to sophisticated –, small pastry (among them maccarons and madeleines) and fruit cakes.

I recommend this to everybody who loves to browse through cook books and admire the beautiful food pictures, as well as to pâtisserie lovers. 


Product info and buy link :  

Title Cooking from above – baking
Author Marianne Magnier-Moreno
Publisher Hamlyn
ISBN 0600619982
I got this book from the library
Buy link Buy Cooking from above – Baking on Amazon as a used book

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

This post is part of

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

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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Book beginnings on Friday

Boog beginnings on Friday

fortunes_favourites

My beginning today is from “Fortune’s Favourites” by Colleen McCullough. It’s the third book in the Masters of Rome series.

Though the steward held his five-flamed lamp high enough to illuminate the two recumbent figures in the bed, he knew its light had not the power to waken Pompey.

I am surprised that Pompey is the first person we read about at the beginning, but we will see where this goes.

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

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The Grass Crown by Colleen McCullough

Cover The Grass Crown by Colleen McCullough 

In a nutshell:

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? YES

For people who: like ancient history, historical fiction, ancient Rome, political scheming, power struggles, warfare


My thoughts: 

It took me almost a year from buying this book to finishing it, exactly as I predicted in May 2012. But this is in no way a reflection on the quality of it. If you are watching my Goodreads feed then you might have noticed that reading sped up considerably a couple of weeks ago, the point when I managed to get this book as an e-book. Usually I prefer paper to e-book, but in this case reading the e-book is so much better. Carrying 900 pages around is no fun – at all.

It is impossible to talk about the plot of this novel as so many people’s lives are explored and so many things happen that, once you reach the end of this book, you are just stunned!

To mention a few of the occurrences: the book covers the efforts of Marcus Livius Drusus to enfranchise the Italian allies, the subsequent so-called Social War, the start of the war against Mithridates, the rise of Sulla and his march on Rome, the fall of Gaius Marius, his seventh consulship and the short reign of terror the follows it. And by covering I mean  covering in detail. Even though sometimes a lot of time elapses between events, everything  is told and explained carefully, what caused it, who was on whose side, what were the consequences. Once more the amount of research that went into this book just astounded me.

After you read this book you think you know all those Romans. You might not completely understand them, as their mindset is a different one, but to a certain extent you can follow their reasoning and realize why they could not have acted differently – except for Marius at the end, but then, he was as mad as a hatter.

The book ends with Gaius Marius’ death, and I am already looking forward to the sequel. A lot of the people playing a major part in the first two books are dead now, but new ones are coming up on the horizon, Pompey (whose father Pompey Strabo here dies from an illness instead of from lightning, which I found a bit strange), Gaius Julius Caesar (who received a most unwelcome appointment at the end of this book ), Cicero – and of course, Sulla has yet to fight his Pontic war and return to Rome. Exciting times are lying ahead of us!


Product info and buy link :

Title The Grass Crown
Author Colleen McCullough
Publisher Arrow Books
ISBN 9780099462491
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy The Grass Crown
More info Masters of Rome series
Still more info Gaius Marius and Sulla

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.

Tea & Books Reading Challenge Button

This post is part of the Tea & Books Reading Challenge which is hosted by The Book Garden.

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Book beginnings on Friday

Boog beginnings on Friday

Cover Our tragic universe by Scarlett Thomas

My book beginning today is from the novel “Our tragic universe” by Scarlett Thomas.

I was reading about how to survive the end of the universe when I got a text message from my friend Libby, Her text said “Can you be at the Embankment in fifteen minutes? Big disaster.” It was a cold Sunday in early February, and I’d spent most of it curled up in bed in the damp and disintegrating terraced cottage in Dartmouth.

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

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Ancient Rome on five denarii a day by Philip Matyszak

Cover Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day by Phili Matyszak

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

A time-traveler’s guide to sightseeing, shopping, and survival in the city of the Caesars.

Language I read the book in: German

Did I like it? It was quite entertaining.

For people who: would like to know a bit about ancient Rome without going into detail; would like to read an entertaining guide instead of a history book.


My thoughts: 

 

This is a fun little guide. Written like a contemporary travel guide it covers areas like hot to get to Rome, being a guest in a Roman household, where to find entertainment, where to shop etc. Pretty nice and enjoyable.

Interspersed are illustrations and little tidbits and trivia that add an extra touch. Want to know where certain modern words come from? About the state of Roman rented flats? You can learn a quite a lot about ancient Rome here. However, don’t expect too much depth! This book only lightly scratches the surface of what is to know, so if you want in depth knowledge you have to look elsewhere.

Two things that bothered me is that I was not sure in what time period I was visiting the city. From what is being said I assume it must be after Commodus (I think he is the last emperor that was mentioned), that would leave us at some point after 192 AD. I would have liked to know in what time I am travelling.

Also I did not particularly like the fact that often something was explained with a “and this will still be so 2000 years later” added at the end. This dulled the “contemporary” experience as it became clear that we are not in that period anymore. Of course, I am very much aware of that fact, but in a truly “fake” contemporary guide there should not be hints at what is going to happen in the future.

All in all, however, an enjoyable short read. If you are not already hooked on Ancient Rome, it might prompt you to read more about it.

You can find a small sample of the book in my Weekend Cooking post from last weekend where I talked about a delicious ancient Roman recipe that I found in this guide.


Product info and buy link :

 

Title Ancient Rome on five denarii a day
Author Philip Matyszak
Publisher Thames & Hudson Ltd.
ISBN 9780500051474
I got this book from the library
Buy link Buy Ancient Rome on five denarii a day

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: Let the right one in

lettherightonein_movie

After reading the book I had to watch the movie. They say it is fantastic, a masterpiece, the best vampire movie ever and what not. My expectation were high.

The cast is good, the girl who plays Eli is perfect, she has this look about her that makes her 200 year long existence totally believable. The boy who plays Oskar I am not so sure about. Actually, the boy who played Micke (at least I assume that he is Micke) would have been better suited as far as looks are concerned. Chubbier, not as cute.

If I had not read the book beforehand I don’t think I would have enjoyed the film. I want things explained and this film didn’t explain anything. It left some characters out and got rid of a few storylines in order to concentrate on the relationship between Eli and Oskar, which was a bit disappointing. A lot of questions were left unanswered and I didn’t like it. How did Eli become a vampire? How did Hakan come to be her helper?

In the book we experience the story from a lot of point of views, but here we don’t get any. The long process of Virgina reaching the point where she wants to die. The way Lacke found Eli. Why are Conny (i.e. Johnny) and his brother so pissed off at Oskar that they want to kill him? All these things are not explained properly. The bullies are what bothered me most. They are depicted bad, but not THAT bad. In the book I hated them from the start, in the movie they are mean, but not to the point where you are looking forward to their punishment. In the book it is made perfectly clear why they want to kill Oskar, here they go from hiding his trousers to killing him without any reasoning behind it. The scene comes unexpected and we have no time to get into the mood where we want them to get their just deserts.

The movie is worth watching, but I strongly recommend you read the book beforehand.

Let the right one in on imdb.  

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Weekend cooking Ancient Roman style

Last week I read “Ancient Rome of five denarii a day” by Philip Matyszak, a book about ancient Rome, disguised as a contemporary travel guide. As a travel guide should it also covers the local culinary specialties. Today I would like to share one recipe from Apicius. It shows quite clearly that the Romans’ idea of a good meal and ours differ quite a bit.

Dormouse

Image via Wikipedia Commons

Glires (dormice)

Ingredients:

  • Lean pork
  • offal of dormice (if you have no dormice, a hamster or field mouse will do). Keep the dormice, you will need it in a bit.
  • ground black pepper
  • assorted nuts
  • a few leaves of laser (if you have no laser, arugula will do). You can find more on laser here.
  • a bit of liquamen (or garum). More on that here.

Crush everything in a mortar and stuff the dormice with the mixture. Cook in broth or roast in the oven (make sure the ears don’t get burnt).

Definitely different from what we would consider a delicious meal.

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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August is a wicked month by Edna O’Brien

Cover August is a wicked month by Edna O'Brien
Vacationing in France can be dangerous and sobering.  

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

With her ex-husband and her son away on a camping trip, Ellen travels to the Côte d’Azur for a bit of adventure, preferably the sexual kind.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes, but I didn’t think much of the heroine


My thoughts: 

I liked this book and how it was written but I didn’t like the heroine. Edna O’Brien conjures the image of a sexually frustrated woman who, after an affair that faded out into nothingness, decides to revitalize her (sex-) life with a trip to the South of France. Her ex-husband is away on a camping trip with her son, so she is free to go.

I loved the atmosphere, I could feel the woman’s frustration, her eager desire to find someone, I could feel for her and yet I found her not very appealing.

She goes abroad without telling anyone where she was going, something I can’t understand at all. When you have children there is always something that can happen and then what do you do when people can’t find you? I found this highly irresponsible.

Even though she is not wealthy she goes to the Côte d’Azur of all places. From the start she has to watch how much she is spending, but then, due to unforeseen circumstances, she stays longer than she intended and at the end is astonished about the hotel bill and the countless cups of tea appearing on it. Well, hotels cost money, a vacationer should be aware of it.

She goes with basically anyone who she hopes will give her a a good time, and as a result she finds her adventures disappointing and lacklustre. She can consider herself lucky that she got away without being raped or dead, as it happens. When she arrives at home another tragedy awaits her.

I absolutely love Edna O’Brien’s writing style and I enjoyed this short novel even more than I enjoyed her short stories. If it hadn’t been for the final blow I would have been perfectly ok with it – what she got until then is just what you are getting when you are not careful –, but the end was just too much for me and left me depressed. However, if you want a great read and don’t insist on a happy-go-lucky ending, pick up this one.


Product info and buy link :
Title August is a wicked month
Author Edna O’Brien
Publisher Open Road Publishing
ISBN 9781453247327
I got this book from the publisher via Netgalley
Buy link Buy August is a wicked month as e-book

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