Sunday Salon: Holiday Reading

All of a sudden, I find myself inundated with reading. At first, I seemed to only have a couple of things going, but I realise now I am consuming at least four different things. I find myself less relaxed this holiday season than previous which is understandable with the new setting and responsibilities. My hobbies have suffered, especially reading and I’ve been piling on too much. I was sick last week and I have just returned from four days in Pembrokeshire, Wales for Christmas. Most of the day is already over which is how the winter works. I am glad the solstice is over and now the days can slowly get longer again.

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming is on the go, as is my rereading of Hamlet. The performance is on Tuesday which means I must dash through it. I started A Christmas Carol on the train to Wales, but I barely touched it then and not at all on my trip. I do not know if I should even try and finish it because the festive season is over. I am also listening to Book 3 of the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire mysteries Club Dead on audiobook.

Being in Wales reinvigorated my desire to travel especially in Britain, and I had the notion of going to Hay-on-Wye, Wales in the summer. I’ll have exams during the festival, but the book capital of the isles for a weekend sounds promising. Though, putting myself in a small town of thirty bookshops is also asking for trouble. I’ll definitely consider it even if it seems difficult to get to by public transport. Anyone been and any tips to offer?

The older I get the less time I get to read it seems. I finished most of the reading challenges that I joined, but I can no longer join as many as I would like. I will post another reading challenge update soon and assess/renew those that I can have. Reading is vital in my life, but so is looking for a job and a means to work to live.

This week and for the rest of what is left of today, I will read the aforementioned books. Possibly pick up Paris to the Moon for my reread; I’m heading off to France the 15th. If I do well, I may pick up Atonement at some point in the first days of new year or something light such as The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

Have a good last couple days of 2008. Happy New Year!

Literary Links:

Modern Library’s 100 Best Nonfiction.

20 Amazing and Essential Nonfiction Books.

Europeana is up.

Online reading is -surprise- not as good as print reading, but more studies are required about the effects of screen reading.

More free classic e-books.

A list of prize-winning books online.

This Week in Food: 15-21 December 2008

March 19th, 2012: This entry was an unfinished draft from December 2008. It is mostly complete so I decided to post it anyway just for my own records.

This week in food: fudge, chicken soup with tofu and mushroom, chicken, fishball and chinese vermicelli soup with mushrooms and celery,

Monday, December 15th, 2008

  • Breakfast: Cereal with yogurt
  • I made Fudge.
  • Lunch: Leftover rice and lemony chickpea stir fry
  • Snack/Early Dinner: Flatmate made noodles and stir fried beef with beans and zuchini
  • Dinner: Chicken soup with tofu and mushroom: I boiled and simmered two pieces of dark chicken meat in white pepper, salt, and ginger for about 25 minutes, added mushrooms, then green ions, and then silken tofu. I ate it with rice.

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with honey, raisins. Baked apple slices in the microwave with brown sugar and butter. Banana.
  • Lunch at Noodle Inn: Roasted Duck Ramee
  • Snack: blueberry cheesecake on Regent Street
  • Dinner: I made dinner by baking chicken (rinsed, dried, rubbed in olive oil, salt & pepper, in oven for 400’F for 30 then an additional 10 min at 350 until thigh temperature at 185) and making cauliflower and bean soup.

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

  • Breakfast: Leftovers
  • Lunch: Out
  • Dinner: Cafe Opium in Oxford

Thursday, December 18th 2008

  • Snack: Cookie and Cafe Latte from Starbucks
  • Dinner: Rice. Hardboiled egg. Golden

Friday, December 19th 2008

  • Snack:
  • Dinner: Soup with chicken boiled and simmered in ginger, white pepper, and salt, then I added Chinese vermicelli (brean thread), fishballs, mushrooms, celery and green onions

Mitered Mittens

Mitered Mittens

My first started and completed project in London, but I don’t think I’ll need them that much even though everyone has been saying this has been an unusually cold December. Then again, I am from Canada. I digress; these mittens are lovely and easy. I went down to 3.75mm thinking these would be too big. They are actually now on the smallish side for mittens, but since I have small hands to begin with, they are more or less the right size. They were knit two at a time with magic loop. The thumb gusset mod is essential to me because I also prefer a gusset. They match my Noro Striped Scarf. The combination makes it very warm for this mildish climate.

Project 270/365 - Mitts

Mitered Mittes, started October 23rd 2008, finished December 7th 2008 Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Mitered Mittens (May) by Elizabeth Zimmermann from Knitter’s Almanac Ravelry Pattern Page
Yarn: Noro Kureyon (50 grams / 110 yards) #159 – less than 2 skeins (I have about 25ish grams in total left)
Needles: #5/3.75mm 40″/100cm Hiya Hiya metal circular with magic loop
Modifications: Grace’s thumb gusset mod.
Tools/Notions: Yarn holders, markers.
Cost of Project: $15 for yarn.
Would I knit it again? Yes, but I probably would make it a shorter cuff and go back up to 6.0mm.

Project 234/365 - Mitered Noro Mittens

Sunday Salon: Cold Walks Lead to Books

This week, I finished book one of Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire series and I am about to start book two. I only really need to read it and book three and then I will write a review of the eight books so far. I think I’ve been on the same scene in Hamlet for two weeks, but I did buy JKR’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard last week at Hatchards. I’ve read the first story out of five. It can be easily read in one or two sittings, and I must find the time. I may do it right after this entry actually.

Today, I went for a long walk by the Thames, mostly on the south side from Southwark Bridge to Westminister (and then back to London Bridge). Underneath Waterloo Bridge, there are tables piled with used books by a few booksellers.

Books under Waterloo Bridge

I must admit that I have a severe addiction to buying books, especially used books. I can not resist them especially when I find books I’ve loved or books I really want to read:

Books from Sunday Thames Walk

I am aware that all of these books are by British authors and that two of them are war novels. Three novels for £10.25, not as cheap as back home, but I do really want to read Atonement and Birdsong. Though finding the time for them is another thing. I have accepted that I probably will not get a library card, and that is not a guarantee of getting to read the books I want to read. I am glad I bought these. I never regret book purchases even if it is a vicious addiction. These aren’t the last books I will buy either; I can feel that my book acquirement lust is insatiable. I really will need to ship all my things back when I move out of the country.

I was so cold after I stood for at least 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour browsing books under a bridge that I popped in Foyles afterwards to browse which did not help the addiction. I am glad I went out, but now I must look away from all those tables when I do that walk again.

This week, I will finish Beedle Bard, read more Hamlet, start A Christmas Carol, start a Penguin Ian Flemming anthology that has Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, and Moonraker. That’s enough, but I have own so many books now! I still have a lot to do for school even if classes are over. I am leaving for Wales a week from Tuesday, and I will be bringing a couple of the aforementioned and maybe one of the sad war novels. Nothing like a romantic war novel for Christmas/Boxing Day.

Have a festive week.

Literary Links:

Austenbook – Working off of Hamlet on Facebook, this is wonderful.

Daily Routines – A really interesting blog that features routines of writers, artists and other people of import.

If you have an iPhone, you should read books on it.

15 Dazzling Modern Library Designs.

Not exactly literary, but Wikipedia has a List of Misconceptions.

And some more free online book resources: Book Bot, Bibliomania, and Page by Page.

Blondies

Project 267/365 - Blondies

Lots of lovely dark brown sugar make this baked good. Chocolate chips made this extra gooey. The top skin was lovely. As usual, I cut a lot of sugar and some oil. I used a mix of margarine and sunflower and grapeseed oil because I did not have canola on hand at the time. They were chewy and sweet. Nice and decadent, but not as much as brownies, but the chocolate really adds a great touch. As I am not someone with a sweet tooth (funny since I bake so much), I would definitely cut the sugar down further.

Blondies
adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 1/3 cup of butter, margarine or oil (melted)
  • 3/4 cup of tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup of chocolate chips (optional or whatever chips you want to add)

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour an 8X8 pan. Whisk together the melted butter and sugar in a bowl.

2 Add the egg and vanilla extract and whisk.

3 Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, mix it all together. Add the butterscotch chips or other mix-ins.

4 Pour into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve.

Makes 9 blondies.