Sunday, July 05, 2015

Book In...

Brand new books outside Waterstones in Canterbury yesterday. Most of them are things I wouldn't want to read, though one I'd read was in there as well (Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan). Rescued this chap, though.  And then went inside and didn't buy ANY OTHER BOOKS.  I think it's the least money I've ever spent in a bookshop. Ever.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

A Day in Canterbury

A day out in Canterbury looking at the University of Kent, and then browsing around town. Spent time at the Canterbury Heritage Museum, as the Cathedral was closed for ordinations. Most of the photos are from the museum (including what appears to be a pottery Dalek). What appears to be a stone phallus was on campus  - from the front, the statue looks like otherwise, but this is an interesting angle...

Friday, July 03, 2015

Dinner, 3/7/15: Pierogi in broth

With Geoff flying back from Italy and Sarah planning to babysit and Alex and me going to watch Olivia's play, we needed a quick, adjustable meal. Luckily, I had bought some pierogi in the supermarket earlier in the week...

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Dinner, 1/7/15: Scrambled Eggs, Toast, Bacon

It's hot. And it was only Alex and me for dinner.

Book 63: Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs

Another in the Tempe Brennan series (forensic anthropologist). Some of these are better than others, but they are always fairly entertaining. This one, I felt, was a good basic story, but bogged down a bit in the middle with all the military acronyms and details of how the departments worked. Not entirely sure I believe Tempe's daughter as a character, but I don't really read these for realism, so I'm not that bothered.

June round up


  • 30th: Everyone out in different directions
  • 29th: Greek Salad with Chicken
  • 28th: Bought pizzas (as out for lunch at Guide BBQ)
  • 27th: Chicken Curry (Geoff for G/O/A)
  • 26th: Plaice, Peas, Potatoes (Geoff for G/A)
  • 25th: Everyone find your own
  • 24th: Penne with Sausage, Fennel and Garlic
  • 23rd: Mexican Bean Soup
  • 22nd: Mushroom Omelettes (K/G/A)
  • 21st: Slow Cooked Minted Lamb with potatoes and peas
  • 20th: Pasta Bake (Olivia cooking, K/S/A away)
  • 19th: Sausages, potatoes, spinach
  • 18th: Everyone find your own
  • 17th: Olive & Chorizo Pasta
  • 16th: Cold roast pork, oven potatoes, asparagus
  • 15th: Warm salad of chicken, bacon and peas
  • 14th: Roast Pork, Roast Potatoes and Spring Greens
  • 13th: Courgettes stuffed with Orzo
  • 12th: Roasted Butternut Squash salad
  • 11th: Everyone find your own
  • 10th: Goats Cheese and New Potato Tart
  • 9th: Broccoli Pesto Pasta
  • 8th: Black Bean Burritos
  • 7th: Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Harissa with couscous and spinach
  • 6th: Pork mince with kimchi (Geoff cooking, Kate away)
  • 5th: Chicken curry (Geoff cooking, Kate away)
  • 4th: Everyone find your own
  • 3rd: Mexican Style Samon
  • 2nd: Pasta with Cherry Tomato Sauce
  • 1st: Bang Bang Chicken

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Book Plan Update - June

Back at the beginning of 2015, I  made a plan to try to read through books I owned, and not buy new books until I'd made a substantial reduction in the (unread) books I already had. Here's the scoop
  • In January I didn't gain any books, but also didn't remove many titles from my list as I read a lot of library books and had some re-reads. (2 titles removed, 0 added; net result -2)
  • In February, I made bigger inroads in my owned titles (7 titles removed, 1 added; net result -6)
  • In March, well, you win some, you lose some (4 titles removed, 10 titles added; net result +6)
  • In April, better, but not perfect (6 titles removed, 7 added; net result +1)
  • Not too bad in May, either (5 titles removed, 6 added; net result +1)

and in June? 
  • I managed to read 11 titles from my list (All Bones and Lies by Anne Fine, Bloody Bones by Laurell K Hamilton, Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman,  The House of Sight and Shadow by Nicholas Griffin, The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, The Whole Day Through by Patrick Gale, The Twin by Gerhand Bakker, Kingfishers Catch Fire by Rumer Godden, Damsel Under Stress by Shanna Swendson, The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly) 
  • I removed one book from my list after trying a bit of it and not really getting into it (The Door by Magda Szabo)
  • I bought 1 book from a charity shop (an emergency purchase when I was caught somewhere with a spare hour and no book - but I read it right away so it didn't even get added to the list!)
  • I bought two books from Waterstones online - an "emergency" purchase after I realised that what I thought was the second book in a series was actually the third, and I needed to get ahold of the second... (The other book being required to hit the free-shipping-over-£10)
  • I read 1 and a bit  library books this month (a bit of Dark Aemilia by Sally O'Reilly, all of Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson)
  • I re-read one book we own (Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor) to remind myself of it before reading the sequel.

June's tally is therefore...
books read: 13
titles removed: 11,  titles added: 3; net result -8

Here's the updated list of Books to Read in 2015.  There are now 48 books on the list, with 6 months to go -  8 books per month if I don't read anything else or buy anything else (which isn't going to happen, let's face it).
  1. Isabel Allende, City of Beasts (charity shop, March 2015)
  2. Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin (charity shop, March 2015)
  3. Charlotte Betts, The Apothecary's Daughter (Waterstones, March 2015)
  4. Jessie Burton, The Miniaturist (Mother's Day 2015)
  5. Michael Collins, The Resurrectionists
  6. Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone (this one would be a re-read)
  7. Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles
  8. Jim Crace, Harvest
  9. Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides (Waterstones, March 2015)
  10. Barbara Ewing, Circus of Ghosts  (charity shop, April 2015)
  11. Jim Fergus, One Thousand White Women (Summer 2013)
  12. Fannie Flagg, Can't Wait to get to Heaven (Feb 2015, charity shop)
  13. Ford Maddox Ford, Parade's End (Nov 2012 - birthday present - bought after the BBC adaptation - but I knew I wouldn't read it straight away as I wanted to let time pass from the adaptation.  Enough time has probably passed now...)
  14. E M Forster, Howards End (late 2014)
  15. Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Christmas 2014)
  16. Miles Franklin, My Brilliant Career
  17. Patrick Gale, Tree Surgery for Beginners (charity shop, April 2015)
  18. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (would be a re-read, bought shortly after his death - spring 2014 - as I was reminded how much I enjoyed it and I didn't seem to own a copy - think my old one fell apart, probably...)
  19. Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South
  20. Graham Greene, Brighton Rock
  21. Jane Haddam, Glass Houses
  22. Alice Hoffman, The Museum of Extraordinary Things (Waterstones online, June 2015)
  23. Anjali Joseph, Sarasawati Park
  24. Marina Lewycka, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (charity shop, April 2015)
  25. W Somerset Maugham, The Magician
  26. Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (charity table, Wetland Centre, May 2015)
  27. John McGregor, If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (charity shop, April 2015 - will be a re-read as have read it in (apparently) October 2004 for a book group)
  28. Tom McNeal, Goodnight, Nebraska (AbeBooks, March 2015)
  29. Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran
  30. Patrick Ness, The Crane Wife (charity shop, April 2015)
  31. Kate O'Brien, The Land of Spices
  32. Tracy Rees, Amy Snow (WH Smith, May 2015)
  33. Kathy Reichs, Spider Bones
  34. Kathy Reichs, Virals (charity shop, March 2015)
  35. Anuradha Roy, An Atlas of Impossible Longing (Winter 2013, bought in a cheap shop in Oxford)
  36. Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Watcher in the Shadows (Christmas 2014)
  37. Simon Sebag Montefiore, One Night in Winter (Waterstones Piccadilly, not sure of date)
  38. Mark Slouka, The Visible World
  39. Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Summer 2013 - a re-read, as I read it when a teen)
  40. Shanna Swendson,  Don't Hex with Texas (Abe Books, May 2015)
  41. Amy Tan, The Valley of Amazement
  42. Andrew Taylor, The Anatomy of Ghosts (passed on from Geoff, April 2015)
  43. Laini Taylor, Days of Blood and Starlight (Waterstones online, June 2015)
  44. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (Waterstones, March 2015)
  45. Rosie Thomas, The Illusionists (WH Smith, May 2015)
  46. Rose Tremaine, Merivel (Birthdy, 2014)
  47. Barry Unsworth, The Ruby in her Navel 
  48. December, Elizabeth Winthrop

Monday, June 29, 2015

Book 62: Kingfishers Catch Fire by Rumer Godden

Another of Godden's India books. Like the other I've read (Black Narcissus) this is poignantly drawn; a portrait of someone touching and endearing and at the same time, desperately, worryingly naive and headed for disaster. These books are beautifully written, and while a bit old fashioned, not in a bad way. 

Dinner, 29/6/15: Greek Salad with Chicken

I was going to cook something else tonight, but decided it was too hot to want hot food, so I grabbed some lettuce, feta and olives from my local (Middle Eastern) grocers and threw in some tomatoes and cucumber from the fridge, along with a couple of cooked chicken breasts. Hey presto: summer dinner. And lots for lunch tomorrow, too.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Book 61: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

This was great - kind of a fairy tale for grownups. I picked this up in the charity shop to read when I got caught out without a book and was really glad I did as I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dinner, 24/6/15: Penne with Sausage, Fennel and Garlic

One we've had before, which is very tasty and quick for a post-work, pre-activities supper. This time instead of the creme fraiche I used up a combination of small amounts of creamy things we had in the fridge - a little creme fraiche, a little sour cream and half a pot of mascarpone... Worked fine!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dinner, 23/6/15: Mexican Bean Soup


We all really liked this - doesn't show to best effect, but with the garnishes of avocado, lightly pickled onions, sour cream and tortilla chips, it was very nice. The bird is what's at the bottom of the bowl - he doesn't get a look-in very often as he's usually covered in soup!

Stranger in the Garden


Here's one we don't get often in the garden - a green woodpecker. The other kind comes to the feeder a lot, but the green ones like to feed on the ground, and though they can often be seen leaving the fields behind our house when you are walking back there, they don't come in the garden so much. They like the short grass (they love to eat ants) and Geoff mowed today, so perhaps that's why this fella came along...

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dinner, 22/6/15: Cheddar and Mushroom Omelette, Green Beans

Books In


A couple of "emergency" purchases...  The left hand book I picked up today in a charity shop because I ran some errands between work and getting my hair cut and I still had about 45 minutes to kill - and no book!  Can't have a leisurely coffee with no book... I actually bought 3 books in the charity shop - one for Geoff (a PG Wodehouse) and one which was a shelf copy of a book I've read (from the library ages ago) but have been wanting to own a copy of (The Passion of Artemesia by Susan Vreeland) - so it was a bumper day for that shop. Those two don't count on my list, though, as they aren't going on my TBR shelf. Neither is the Connolly, really, as I started it right away and will carry on with it until it's finished (which shouldn't take long - it seems very readable).

The two on the right I ordered online because I thought I had the second book in the Laini Taylor trilogy at home. In fact, I even re-read the first one in preparation for reading the second. I picked it up to look at it while re-reading the first and realised that what I thought was the second was actually the THIRD - oops!  So I needed to pick up the second, pronto. The Alice Hoffman is a book from my buy list which I got because Waterstones does free UK shipping if you spend at least £10...