Good Enough to Eat

So I think I might be becoming vegetarian.

Or at least a two night a week, maybe lunches too, vegetarian.

I just read the most amazing book.

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And don’t tell me you can’t read a cookbook. You can. Especially this one. Each recipe is introduced by the author, with some helpful do’s and don’ts and some ideas about when to eat it and what to substitute in for ingredients that may not be seasonal. What I love most about these recipes is that they don’t seem to be vegetarian. They just all don’t have meat in them. And they don’t all have a hundred ingredients per recipe, nor do they include weird and rare ingredients that you would have to trek to the Himalayas for. It’s just easy food; easy on the eye, easy on the waist, and easy on the environment (Yes, that is an Oxford comma, I like them).

I’ve only actually made one recipe out of the book so far

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Vegetable filled soda bread. But I’ve made two of them. The first (and smaller piece) is exactly how the book says to do it; spelt flour, carrots, and what not. The second is my Mrs Cropley version because I ran out of carrots and pumpkin seeds. So it’s a carrot, sweet potato and sunflower seed version. Still awesome.

I’m planning of cooking most of next week’s meals out of this thing. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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#readharder

The plan was to read a book every day of January. I didn’t quite get there. Hence why a plan is called a plan. I did end up reading twenty books, which I feel pretty chuffed about.

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These are the books I read for January. I still haven’t put them into the categories for the #readharder challenge I do at work because I just wanted to read for fun. A lot of the time last year I felt I was just reading to tick a box and I kept reading things I didn’t like because they fit in a spot that was hard to fill. It meant I didn’t feel like I was actually reading for me. So I started this year just reading things that I didn’t get to, or things that I bought over the holiday break, or were given to me as Christmas presents. Of course, the list is always in the back of my mind, I just don’t want to be a slave to it.

The problem I have found with this approach, though, is that if a book is not particularly memorable I may forget what it was about and, therefore, which category it might fit into. I think what I will do is categorise at the end of the month. So they will still be somewhere in my brain, but I don’t need to worry as I go.

I’ve already started my reading for February too. As I’ve returned to work I think a book a day, even twenty in the month is going to be a little ambitious, so I’m thinking I’ll set the goal at ten. For February this is still a push, but for the other months it will be quite achievable. Reading this month so far has consisted of:

both finished on the same day, yesterday.

I re-read Frankenstein because I had to. It has it’s own category on the reading challenge, number 50. I think it’s because it’s like 200 years since it was first published or something like that. I didn’t love it the first time I read it (for school) and it certainly hasn’t grown on me in the interim. I used it as my going to bed book because the print is so tiny and the plot just drags on. Put me to sleep every time. I must say the ending of this novel is probably the most anti-climactic I have ever read. I get it’s supposed to be moralistic and all, but

go into the northern Arctic and think about what you’ve done you naughty monster

just doesn’t really cut it.

I also finished Grace Beside Me by Sue McPherson this month too. I wanted to read it because it has been turned into a TV show for the NITV network. It was a different kind of novel. The way it is narrated is odd, but also oddly works. And there is this really good idea in it about “sit a while”. So when you have a problem, go into nature and connect with it and mull over what you need to do. And after you will see what to do and feel better. I love this idea of “sit a while”. I know I get too caught up in the stress and worry of life and to just let it mull and know that everything will be ok is such good advice. The other concept I love out of this book is that described in the title “grace beside me”, and that is the calm you get from connecting with the natural world around you and the peace you feel when you come to terms with your problems. Both are used like mantras in this novel and I am totally going to adopt them as well.

Banned Books

I’ve made the decision to stop buying books for a bit. I can hear your sharp intake of breath right now. You’re thinking

But you love buying books. You have a book depository wish list that is ten deep. What about all those awesome books that are about to be published?!

And believe me, I hear you. I pretty much buy a book every time I go out. And that’s kind of my problem. While my wish list is ten books long, so is my physical to be read pile. And they’ve been piling up since Christmas.

I’ve got the new Maria V Snyder and a new Traci Harding. Plus Sebastian Bach’s memoir (the rock one, not the classical one). Plus I’m only like a hundred sites into 1001 Historical sites you should see before you die, I haven’t even ventured out of the Americas yet.

So I’m sticking to this self imposed ban until I do some reading. Or maybe just until the new Patrick Ness is out next week.

26. A book with multiple authors

I’m actually skipping writing about a book I read before this one firstly because this is an awesome book, and secondly because I don’t know what to write about Anthony Bourdain yet.

So this is another book about books. It’s kind of my favourite genre.

I just love reading about what other people think of books. Though not reviews, per se. I like knowing what they think about books or what it made them feel or what makes it great. I don’t want to know plot. If you can convince me it’s a good book without really talking about plot then I might read it and I don’t want any spoilers.

This book sees a whole bunch of Australian authors who mostly write for children and teens talk about books that affected them most. I didn’t read it with post its beside me this time but I should have.

It is completely fascinating to see how books imapct on people and then to consider how they may have impacted on you. I don’t know if I could pick just one book to say affected me most, and some of the authors don’t just choose one.

Jane Eyre or Northanger Abbey are my go to books for a re read but that’s mostly because I like the story. Nothing jumps to mind in terms of having a profound effect on the trajectory of my life. I do wish I had every Teen Power Inc ever written but alas I borrowed them from the library. 

I’m going to have to give it some more thought and get back to you.

29. A favourite book from your past

 I can’t remember why I picked up this book originally, or how many of the four books I have actually read

   
But I’ve chosen the following

 
As a favourite book from my past, not so much for the novel itself, but rather for the time that I read it.

Now, A Wizard of Earthsea is your pretty basic fantasy novel that deals with good and evil and how they balance in the self. It’s got a pretty good demon metaphor that at the end makes you go “oh, that’s deep”, but other than that there’s not much to write home about.

In year 9 my English was given this book to read. We had an enthusiastic new (young) teacher so along with all the normal things you do with novel study – character analysis, themes, literary techniques – we also did some of the most fun activities that I can still remember and think fondly of today.

One of the things about the novel is that, like many fantasy stories, the protagonist goes on a journey. He sails around a bunch of islands fleeing this demon. So as part of our study our teacher asked us to create a travel guide for the world of the novel. It was perhaps one of the most fun activities I have ever done. My friend and I partnered up and we raided the local travel agents for old brochures to cut out pictures from . We embellished on the descriptions of some of the settings and made up five day itineraries for potential travellers. Like I said, it was so much fun. It’s those activities, rather than the novel itself, that make me think back fondly about this text.

I recently found my workbook from this class, obviously I had loved it so much that I kept my book for more than a decade. Flipping through it reminded me of so many good times with my friends in this class (even being forced to watch Schindler’s List) and of the amazing teacher I had (who pretty much chose my career path for me).

When I re read the book I felt like a lot of plot was missing which makes me think that perhaps I did read some of the others as well. Or perhaps it’s just easier for me to read now that I’m twenty eight and not fourteen.

It’s not my favourite book from my childhood, nor is it even a favourite book that I have read this year, but it reminds me of such a happy and creative and formative time in my life that it fulfills this category perfectly.
Coming up on my next blog: It’s practically Christmas.

29. A favourite book from your past

 I can’t remember why I picked up this book originally, or how many of the four books I have actually read

   
But I’ve chosen the following

 
As a favourite book from my past, not so much for the novel itself, but rather for the time that I read it.

Now, A Wizard of Earthsea is your pretty basic fantasy novel that deals with good and evil and how they balance in the self. It’s got a pretty good demon metaphor that at the end makes you go “oh, that’s deep”, but other than that there’s not much to write home about.

In year 9 my English was given this book to read. We had an enthusiastic new (young) teacher so along with all the normal things you do with novel study – character analysis, themes, literary techniques – we also did some of the most fun activities that I can still remember and think fondly of today.

One of the things about the novel is that, like many fantasy stories, the protagonist goes on a journey. He sails around a bunch of islands fleeing this demon. So as part of our study our teacher asked us to create a travel guide for the world of the novel. It was perhaps one of the most fun activities I have ever done. My friend and I partnered up and we raided the local travel agents for old brochures to cut out pictures from . We embellished on the descriptions of some of the settings and made up five day itineraries for potential travellers. Like I said, it was so much fun. It’s those activities, rather than the novel itself, that make me think back fondly about this text.

I recently found my workbook from this class, obviously I had loved it so much that I kept my book for more than a decade. Flipping through it reminded me of so many good times with my friends in this class (even being forced to watch Schindler’s List) and of the amazing teacher I had (who pretty much chose my career path for me).

When I re read the book I felt like a lot of plot was missing which makes me think that perhaps I did read some of the others as well. Or perhaps it’s just easier for me to read now that I’m twenty eight and not fourteen.

It’s not my favourite book from my childhood, nor is it even a favourite book that I have read this year, but it reminds me of such a happy and creative and formative time in my life that it fulfills this category perfectly.
Coming up on my next blog: It’s practically Christmas.

47. A Fantasy Book

This is probably my favourite genre. And certainly if the novel is aimed at a teen audience I am bound to like it. Such is the case with Maria V Snyder’s novels.

  

This is a recent addition to her Study series, and while I had forgotten a lot that had happened I still loved this book.

YA Fantasy is my favourite because things usually work out alright in the end, even if it does take the mandatory three books to get there. There’s always a great love plot and a strong female lead.

This novel revisits some of my favourite characters, Yelena and Valek, and has them going on the same old adventures. I like the witty sidekicks and the intrigue but was disappointed by the loose tie ending. Snyder had said she only wrote this book because fans pestered her so much to do another story about the pair, but she has totally left it open for another in the series and if she doesn’t write it I will be totally devastated.

Honestly, go back to Poison Study and read them all (I probably will) you won’t regret it one bit.
Coming up on my next blog: I think I’ll have to admit defeat in the Read Harder challenge.

29. A favourite book from your past

 I can’t remember why I picked up this book originally, or how many of the four books I have actually read

   
But I’ve chosen the following

 
As a favourite book from my past, not so much for the novel itself, but rather for the time that I read it.

Now, A Wizard of Earthsea is your pretty basic fantasy novel that deals with good and evil and how they balance in the self. It’s got a pretty good demon metaphor that at the end makes you go “oh, that’s deep”, but other than that there’s not much to write home about.

In year 9 my English was given this book to read. We had an enthusiastic new (young) teacher so along with all the normal things you do with novel study – character analysis, themes, literary techniques – we also did some of the most fun activities that I can still remember and think fondly of today.

One of the things about the novel is that, like many fantasy stories, the protagonist goes on a journey. He sails around a bunch of islands fleeing this demon. So as part of our study our teacher asked us to create a travel guide for the world of the novel. It was perhaps one of the most fun activities I have ever done. My friend and I partnered up and we raided the local travel agents for old brochures to cut out pictures from . We embellished on the descriptions of some of the settings and made up five day itineraries for potential travellers. Like I said, it was so much fun. It’s those activities, rather than the novel itself, that make me think back fondly about this text.

I recently found my workbook from this class, obviously I had loved it so much that I kept my book for more than a decade. Flipping through it reminded me of so many good times with my friends in this class (even being forced to watch Schindler’s List) and of the amazing teacher I had (who pretty much chose my career path for me).

When I re read the book I felt like a lot of plot was missing which makes me think that perhaps I did read some of the others as well. Or perhaps it’s just easier for me to read now that I’m twenty eight and not fourteen.

It’s not my favourite book from my childhood, nor is it even a favourite book that I have read this year, but it reminds me of such a happy and creative and formative time in my life that it fulfills this category perfectly.
Coming up on my next blog: It’s practically Christmas.

Fifty so Fine

Books 2015
1. How to traumatise your children.

2. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.

3. Thinking about it only makes it worse… by David Mitchell.

4. Sleeping Like A Baby by Pinky McKay

5. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P.D. James

6. Empire State by Jason Shiga

7. Masters of doom

8. Harry potter

9. FitzOsbournes 

10. This House of Grief by Helen Garner

11. Baby Dracula

12. Baby Jabberwocky

13. Slinky Malinky

14. Baby Days by Alison Lester

15. Faking It by Gabrielle Tozer

16. Stuffocation

17. Storm by Tim Minchin

18. King Lear by Shakespeare

19. Raging Heat by Richard Castle

20. The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell

21. The Life of a Stupid Man by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

22. The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

23. How we weep and laugh at the same thing by Michel de Montaigne

24. Veronica Mars: Mr Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas

25. I don’t like koala by 

26. The Greatest Gatsby by Tohby Riddle

27. Trust Me, I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer

28. Pandora Jones: Reckoning by Barry Jonsberg

29. The Heir by Keira Cass

30. Anxiety as an Ally

31. The Heir by Keira Cass

32. The Guest Cat

31. Unwanted by Amanda Holohan

32. Saga Volume One

33. Saga Volume Two

34. The life changing art of tidying by Marie Kondo

35. Y: The Last Man Volume One

36. Winter girls by Laurie Halse Anderson

37. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

38. Saga Volume Three

39. Saga Volume Four

40. Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery

41. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

42. The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore

43. To Hold the Bridge by Garth Nix

44. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

45. House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones 

46. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

47. Stardust by Neil Gaiman

48. Emma by Alexander McCall-Smith

49. Saga Volume Five

50. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin
Haven’t quite finished he challenge though.
Coming up on my next blog: The annual Christmas trek to the city.

2. A Classic Romance

  
I didn’t even know this book was coming out! I just happened to be in a library when it arrived for cataloging and when I saw the words

Regency romance

I knew I had to read it.

I was going to read Gone With the Wind for this category, but seeing as we are less than two months away from the end of the year I didn’t really like my chances. I could also have used this book for the still unfilled colour and character title categories but it fits much better here.

It seems every blog post I. Telling you how great Garth Nix is, and this one is to be no different. He is just such an amazing author and every time he puts pen to paper he comes up with story gold. At the back of the novel he says this novel came out of a story he had written many years ago and put aside. I’m so glad he picked it back up again and tweaked it because it is just perfect. Well, maybe not perfect. I would have liked it longer, or as part of a series (I know this is scandalous for me as I am always bemoaning the fact that authors can’t seem to write stand alone novels anymore and always have to write trilogies, but I wish Nix would), because I love Truthful and just want to keep reading about her and her world.

This novel is exactly what it claims to be.

  
If Jane Austen was a fantasy author his could have been written by her.

It has all the best parts of Regency romance novels –

  • Young adventurous debutant ✔️
  • Mysterious but handsome gentleman ✔️
  • Hatred (or at least dislike) at first sight ✔️
  • Lots of mix ups and misunderstandings ✔️

All with the added benefit of magic. Simply perfect.
Coming up on my next blog: I’ve exhausted my supply of Garth Nix. On to other authors.