Category Archives: Thoughts and other Miscellany

Chocolate

Now corrected – chocolate BARS not chocolate bras…

Totally off-topic today.

Is it any surprise that I like chocolate? It fills the gap between cups of tea very nicely. Some of my favourite chocolates, all of which aren’t made in the UK and therefore either have to be bought at ridiculous import prices or bought overseas and saved up, are:

Ritter Sport, especially the dark chocolate and marzipan one. It is totally impossible not to eat the entire 16 squares at once.

Mint Slice biscuits, made by Arnott’s in Australia. These, believe it or not, are greatly improved in taste, texture and longevity (at least, duration of time they can be in my house before I eat them) by keeping them in the freezer.

Violet Crumble and Cherry Ripe chocolate bars, again Australian. These are The Musician’s and The Book Accumulator’s favourite Aussie chocolate bars respectively so always seemed like a huge treat. And they’re so yummy.

Golden Rough (again, Australian) – this is a pretty cheap 6/7cm disc of milk chocolate with coconut mixed through it. So good.

Oh, and Choco Leibniz and Ohne Gleichen biscuits from Germany as well.

The common factor for most of these is dark chocolate. Do we just like dark chocolate less in the UK?

What are your favourite chocolates?

Book admin – and books I had forgotten

Obviously, what you do on the first morning you’re feeling better after a cold, is to sit and go through your LibraryThing and Goodreads histories, cross-referencing to blog reviews and spreadsheets.

Obviously.

Anyway in the process I discovered a load of books I had totally forgotten I had read. By this I don’t just mean I didn’t remember what I thought of the book, but that if you’d asked me, I would have said that I’d never read it. Even looking at my records, I don’t remember reading the book, despite having given them good marks! They include (links to reviews!):

The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory – 8/10

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards – 7/10

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin – 8/10

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips – 7/10

Does this happen to anyone else?

(buying a book you have forgotten that you own is totally normal and acceptable, right?)

Top Ten Tuesday – New Series

TTT

Because Booking Through Thursday often doesn’t post until too late in the day for me (thanks to time differences), I have decided that on Thursdays I’ll either answer a Booking Through Thursday question or a Top Ten Tuesday question (the latter are run on The Broke and The Bookish blog), although I might let myself stop at 5 rather than going all the way to a list of 10! This week’s:

October 21: Top New Series I Want To Start (New..let’s say within the last year or two)

Well. What new series do I want to start?

I can definitely think of some series that I have started in the past and would love to complete or re-read. Anne of Green Gables, the Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone “A is for Alibi” series, Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series… in fact:

1. Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series. I’ve only read the first one (Crocodile on the Sandbank) so that definitely nearly counts as a new series.

Crocodile on the Sandbank

2. Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I’ve heard so much good stuff about them, how can I resist?

3. Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall series (is it a stretch, at two published and one more intended, to call it a series?). I’ve had The Musician’s copy of Wolf Hall for at least 2 if not 3 years now. No excuse that I haven’t read it.

wolf hall

4. Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher series. I love the TV series, when I get a minute to watch it; I suspect I’d get through the books faster.

phryne

and finally, though perhaps not quite within the next 2 years,

5. The Little Golden Books series – I had some of these as a child and have no doubt I’ll be reading a lot with baby RWT eventually!

Some recent DNFs

I’ve struggled with some books recently and a recognition that I have too many of them means I am abandoning them pretty quickly. I thought I’d make a note here of them.

Torn by Casey Hill. I really enjoyed Taboo, but something in the writing here just irritated me too much.

The Silversmith’s Wife by Sophia Tobin. This was a review copy that had been loitering in my house for a very long time, and when I finally cracked it open on the commute this week, I found the incredibly short chapters which constantly switched perspective and time (before and after a death) too much.

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson. Iris raves about Jansson, as do many others, but I’ve struggled with her before and again the slow, simple writing irritated me. I imagine she writes extremely well for children.

I’ve been depositing them at the Oval Tube bookswap shelf, which looks like it does a roaring trade (certainly in terms of people taking books from it). While I don’t permit myself to take books (I’ve got more than enough at home) it’s a very convenient place to drop them off! Plus I always get an enthusiastic thank you from the station staff, especially if I’m dropping off multiple books.

(pictures are affiliate links, if you really want to check the books out on Amazon…)

Sunday Salon – Sniffles

TSS

Atchoo! It’s been sneeze-central here at Maison RWT as I came down with my first bad cold of the year. Unfortunately, my normal method of “dose up on everything that might be helpful and proceed as normal” was stymied by the fact that pretty much every cold med I would normally take is not permitted during pregnancy. So I had to tough it out the traditional way. Which was less fun. I spent yesterday sleeping and watching BBC shows on iPlayer until 2pm, then made it as far as the sofa for a lot of episodes of Friends, then back to bed. It was an exciting day.

Today I feel MUCH better and have got as far as tea, the study, and actual thought again.

Quick recap of reviews that went up this week:

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, an introspective, very personal account of grief

How It All Began by Penelope Lively, a study of inter-connected lives thrown into turmoil by a mugging.

My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff, the experience of being a 20-something working in the literary industry in New York.

Coming up this week:

The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan (which has moved house with me at least twice)

and anything else I get around to reviewing today!

Question

WHY has no one made a film of Code Name Verity? WHY?

Film industry, you are being remiss. Get to it.

New York everywhere!

Ever notice how things seem to theme themselves?

I went to New York, and bought quite a lot of books. And while I was there, I read a fair chunk of Colum McCann’s Let The Great World Spin, which despite assorted other faults, is extremely evocative of the city.

Then I came back and discovered that the Physicist had found a new TV series and SAVED it to watch with me! (this never happens) Or at least he did a reasonable job of pretending he’d not watched it before. And it’s set – in New York (and is rather good and highly entertaining). It’s called Forever and stars Ioan Gruffudd, for whom I have much sympathy for having a more-difficult-to-spell name than my own, and whom we have loved in both Fantastic Four and Amazing Grace. Let it not be said this is a mono-dimensional household in our viewing.

I digress. Forever is set in mid-town New York. So of course I sat there shouting “I was there!” all evening. The Physicist did his best to tolerate this as a sweet foible of mine rather than as something really annoying.

Then I read Joan Didion’s A Year of Magical Thinking and followed it up with My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff. The latter not only references the author of the former, but both have lots of references to mid-town New York. I particularly loved My Salinger Year for its references to ludicrously expensive Park Avenue lunches and the Waldorf Astoria and the subway station at Lexington and 51st (which I used a number of times when I was there).

Now I’m deliberately hunting for more New York themed books, I probably won’t find any. My latest read, How It All Began by Penelope Lively, is set in assorted places including bits of north London which might as well be in New York for how little I know them.

Any other geographical themes you can think of (with related reading and viewing, please) I might enjoy?

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