Sunday, July 31, 2016

Book Plan Update - July 2016

Continuing in 2016 to make inroads on the books I own (un-read) and not buy too many new ones. Progress to date:
  1. January: books removed from list: 7,  books added: 2; net result -5
  2. February: books removed from list: 4, books added: 0; net result -4 (total YTD: -9)
  3. March: books removed from list: 8, books added:8; net result 0 (total YTD: -9)
  4. April: books removed from list: 6, books added: 0; net result -6 (total YTD: -15)
  5. May: books removed from list: 6, books added: 4; net result -2 (total YTD: -17)
  6. June: books removed from list: 3, books added: 0; net result -3 (total YTD: -20)
In July:
  • I read 4 books from my list (We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas; Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal, An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman, A Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer)
  • I re-read eight books we already own (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling, Have his Carcase by Dorothy L Sayers, The Harper Hall Trilogy; Dragonflight, Dragonquest and The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey) 
  • I read one book owned by someone else in the house (Cinder by Marissa Meyer)
  • I bought one second-hand book from AbeBooks, which was recommended by a friend at a dinner party
  • I bought one second-hand book from the charity table at Sainsbury's, two second-hand books from charity shops and four new books in the giant Waterstones in Piccadilly.
July's tally is therefore...
books read: 13
books removed from list: 4,  books added: 8 ; net result +4
[Goal (no more than 1 book added to the list for every two books removed)  not achieved this month.]

Here's the updated list of Books to Read in 2016.  There were 55 books at the beginning of January, and now there are 39 - of those, only 4 are left from before 2015. [Books with an asterisk]. 
  1. Kate Atkinson, A God in Ruins (Waterstones Kingston, January 2016)
  2. Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone (AbeBooks, March 2016)
  3. Susan Barker, The Incantations (charity shop, July 2016)
  4. Philip Baruth, The Brothers Boswell (Waterstones Canterbury bargain bin, July 2015)
  5. Rachel Caine, Ink and Bone (Waterstones Piccadilly, July 2016)
  6. Orson Scott Card, Speaker for the Dead (AbeBooks, October 2015)
  7. Wilkie Collins, The Haunted Hotel (birthday present, November 2015)
  8. Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White (Waterstones Kingston, Boxing Day 2015)
  9. Arthur Conan Doyle, Adventure of Sherlock Holmes (World of Books, October 2015)
  10. Jean-Paul Didierlaurente, The Reader on the 6.27 (Waterstones Piccadilly, March 2016)
  11. Anthony Doerr, About Grace (Waterstones Piccadilly, July 2016)
  12. Carol Ann Duffy, Faery Tales (charity shop, July 2016)
  13. Elena Ferrante, My Brilliant Friend (Waterstones Piccadilly, March 2016)
  14. Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl  (charity shop, May 2016)
  15. 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...) *
  16. 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...) *
  17. Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South (2014)*
  18. Kate Grenville, The Lieutenant (charity shop, December 2015)
  19. Frances Hardinge, A Face Like Glass (Mother's Day present, March 2016)
  20. Melissa Harrison, At Hawthorn Time (Waterstones Piccadilly, March 2016)
  21. Antonia Hodgkin, The Devil in the Marshalsea (charity shop, May 2016)
  22. Andrew Michael Hurley, The Loney (Waterstones Piccadilly, March 2016)
  23. Jennifer Johnston, Two Moons (charity table at Sainsbury's, July 2016)
  24. Maria McCain, The Wilding (charity shop, December 2015)
  25. Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (charity table, Wetland Centre, May 2015)
  26. Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men (charity shop, December 2015)
  27. John McGregor, This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You (Waterstones Piccadilly, July 2016)
  28. Darragh McKeon, All That is Solid Melts into Air (Waterstones Kingston, May 2016)
  29. Philipp Meyer, American Rust (charity shop, December 2015)
  30. Alice Munro, Runaway (Waterstones Piccadilly, March 2016)
  31. Flannery O'Connor, Complete Stories (charity shop, December 2015)
  32. Elizabeth Redfern, The Music of the Spheres  (charity shop, December 2015)
  33. Ransom Riggs, Hollow City (Waterstones Piccadilly, July 2016)
  34. Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram (Abe Books, July 2016)
  35. Sunjeev Sahota, The Year of the Runaways  (Mother's Day present, March 2016)
  36. Jane Smiley, Some Luck (Waterstones Reading, October 2015)
  37. Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Barnes & Noble (in MD), Summer 2013 - a re-read, as I read it when a teen) *
  38. Emily St John Mandel, Station Eleven (Waterstones Kingston, May 2016)
  39. Rose Tremain, Tresspass (charity shop, December 2015)

Book 67: A Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer

I'm not as huge a fan of Heyer's mysteries as I am of her historical fiction, but they are still very entertaining in an Agatha Christie sort of way. 

Dinner, 31/7/16: Spinach and Ricotta Enchiladas (Thomasina Miers)

These were nice, though the recipe included raisins in the filling, which we all agreed (not just Sarah, who doesn't like raisins) that they didn't really add anything. If I want to boost the texture of the filling next time, I'll add more pine nuts and maybe some chopped spring onion or something. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Dinner, 30/716: Squash and Cauliflower Curry (Woman & Home magazine)

This is a Thai red curry, and was very nice, though I think I'd use another tablespoon of curry paste as it wasn't that spicy, and would have held up to more spice, given the sweetness of the potato; I used sweet potatoes instead of squash, because I had them in the house and they needed using. We had a note from a previous time cooking this that we wanted less squash and more cauliflower, so I bought a really big cauliflower and only used three small sweet potatoes, which ratio worked very well. 

Book 66: Dragonquest by Anne McCaffrey

Haven't read this one in years - I remember vaguely not liking it as much as Dragonflight; I can see why this might have been the case for a teenager - it's got a lot more politics in it. But I still enjoyed it and am moving on to the third in this little trilogy of Pern books, The White Dragon. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Books in

Went up to town with Olivia today - we never can resist popping into the Large Waterstones in Piccadilly - I did only buy four books, though, which I thought was pretty restrained of me. Two (above) are by authors I've read and enjoyed books by, two (below) are Young Adult titles, one the second in a series I've read the first of, the other is an unknown, but looked promising.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dinner, 28/7/16: Filled Pasta, Garlic Bread

Something quick and easy, as I didn't feel like thinking about cooking.

Book 65: Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

I've read this several times (not as many as the Harper Hall series) but fancied it again. Who knows, I may read through most of the cannon (we have quite a few) - though perhaps not all of them - there are loads!

Books in

A couple of finds in a charity shop, during a trip out today with Olivia. Haven't bought many books recently, though tomorrow features (among other things) a visit to the BFW (Big Friendly Waterstones) in Piccadilly, so I'm sure there will be a few more!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Books 62-64: Harper Hall Trilogy, Anne McCaffrey

After several days of failing to be interested in any book I was contemplating (think my brain is just really tired from work and glad to be on summer holiday!) I decided to pick these up again - old favourites. Read most of the three of them in one day (a little left of Drums - might finish it tonight or early tomorrow) and think I will move on to Dragonflight/Dragonquest/White Dragon next. Seems to be what I'm in the mood for!

Dinner, 27/7/16: Sausages, New Potatoes, Corn on the Cob

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dinner, 26/7/16: Potato, Spinach and Taleggio tart (Good Food magazine)

Made this with a different cheese (no Taleggio in the supermarket I went to), and it was nice, but it's better with Taleggio, as the cheese I chose had quite a mild flavour, which didn't really show up in the tart. This one uses a bread dough rather than a pastry , so it's quite filling and also takes a bit longer to make (not such an issue in the summer). 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Dinner, 25/7/16: Feta and Olive Stuffed Courgettes (unknown supermarket magazine)

Another one we've had before a number of times; the filling doesn't look very attractive, but it's extremely tasty, with feta, olives, sundried tomatoes, capers, lemon. Mmm.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Dinner, 24/7/16: Thai Griddled Beef Salad (Lindsey Bareham, Evening Standard)

I've cooked this recipe (modified a bit) for years - this time was one of the best, I think. I had some nice rib-eye steak, which worked really well. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Dinner, 23/7/16: Cold chicken with potatoes and anchovies (Hugh F-W for Good Food)

We've had this before - it's really really yummy. And as we're having a heat wave, salads are the order of the day - expect another one tomorrow!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Dinner, 22/7/16: Sweet Potato Frittata with Jalapenos and Dill (Good Food Magazine)

Alex and I liked this but Geoff and Sarah, not so much (Geoff thought it was too sweet, Sarah thought it had mushrooms in it, and was too spicy). I didn't even try it on Olivia (she was out) as it had eggs, mushrooms and peppers. I have other frittata recipes, so I guess we'll use those instead (but not when Olivia is home for dinner). 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Book 61: An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman

Can't decide quite about this one. Aspects of it I liked very much; other bits, not so much. It wasn't really what I expected, but that's not necessarily a problem. It wasn't a dark and mysterious ghost story in the same way as some, so if you're looking for that, this probably isn't it. Then again, there were some interesting things going on both with the ghosts and the family. As I said, I can't really decide.

Dinner, 20/7/16: Pasta with Prosciutto and Artichokes

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Dinner, 19/7/16: Greek Chicken Salad

This is a sort of standard summer salad in our house - chicken breast, lettuce and whatever else we fancy - usually feta cheese, olives, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, artichokes. Maybe some other stuff depending on what's around.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Dinner, 18/7/16: Bacon Sandwiches, Corn on the Cob

Sometimes you just need bacon sandwiches for dinner. Especially when it's summery and hot.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Book 60: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

This was one of Sarah's, which she picked up and read recently. Someone else mentioned it in another context, so I thought I'd give it a go - it's a futuristic cyborgian reimaging of the Cinderella story, and it's cute. I enjoyed it. Part of a series; we've ordered the next one from the library.

Dinner, 17/7/16: Sea bream, carrots, new potatoes

Took advantage of Sarah and Olivia both not being around for dinner to have some nice fish - neither of the girls is crazy about fish, so it seems a shame to spend a lot of money on it when they are here. They'll eat salmon, and they'll eat fish if I insist, but it's so expensive it hardly seems worth insisting. In the end, Olivia was home, but she had some potatoes and carrots and then ate her leftovers from lunch.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

16/7/16: Cauliflower and Pecorino Fritters (delicious.magazine)

We had these before and really enjoyed them; I decided it was time to have them again. We liked them just as much this time, which is always a relief (I hate when you cook something you really liked before and it doesn't quite live up to it the second time...)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Book 59: We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

I enjoyed this, but not as much as I'd expected to based on the blurb and reviews; I did find it quite slow in places. It didn't grab me the way some things I've read recently did. It wasn't bad, just not quite what I expected.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Dinner, 14/7/16: Pea Pakora Pockets (Good Food Magazine)

Little baked pea pakoras (basically, mashed potato, curry paste and peas) in pitas with lettuce, onion and a yogurty herb sauce. Very nice.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Dinner, 13/7/16: Springtime Spaghetti and Meatballs (Good Food magazine)

Nice light meatballs (pork mince) with a light sauce and peas. Yummy and easy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dinner, 12/7/16: Potato and Pesto Pizza (Good Food magazine) (Sarah cooking)

Another in the endless variations on pizza and tarts, which are among our favourite things to consume. This one uses ciabatta bread dough mix, which gave a really nice, light crust.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Book 58: Far far away, Tom McNeal

This is a dark little fairy-tale-esque story which I thoroughly enjoyed. I do wish Tom McNeal would write another book for grownups, as I enjoyed (with a side order of mild depression & sadness) his two adult novels (To Be Sung Underwater and Goodnight, Nebraska), but this is a darn good YA read.

Dinner, 11/7/16: Chicken with Orzo (delicious. magazine) (Alex cooking)

The chicken is oven cooked with lemon and garlic, then orzo and herbs are added to the cooking juices and served with the chicken. Not bad for a 13YO.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Book 57: Have His Carcase, Dorothy L Sayers

The next in the Peter Wimsey series, and the second featuring Harriet Vane. Not far off my absolute favourite now (Gaudy Night), though there's still a couple to go before then...

Dinner, 10/7/16: Chili Prawn and Chicken Stir Fry (Itsu cookbook)

First recipe from a new cookbook - lots of noodle recipes, as well as some other fun stuff. Yum.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Book in

One of our local supermarkets has a used book table near the checkouts, where a local charity keeps a donation pot and a selection of books. I always have a quick look when I'm there, though there's usually nothing I want to read (once, though, I did find a book I'd read before, which, when I opened it, had my name on the flyleaf. That was strange. Especially since I don't usually put my name in books unless I'm lending them to someone.)  Anyway, saw this today, and I really like Jennifer Johnston, so that was an excellent find.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Dinner, 8/7/16: Sausages, chips, green beans, cauliflower leaves

Sausages from our excellent local butcher, Bevan's of Kingston.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Book 56: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (re-read)

Finished re-reading the series. Glad I did, as there's lots of stuff which is different and more detailed than the films. Just wish there were more of them!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Dinner, 6/7/16: Chicken and Cauliflower Curry (Sainsburys website) (Geoff cooking)

Very nice - quite spicy, but in a good way. 

Book in

After a nice conversation about books at dinner with some friends last Friday, I ordered this book, which was highly recommended by a friend who was there and who has read and liked a lot of things I have. It's long, but apparently very readable. One for the reading list!

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Dinner, 5/7/16: Ten Minute Tortellini (Good Food Magazine) (Sarah cooking)

Another quick one. Using pre-filled pasta can make a lot of quick dishes. 

Monday, July 04, 2016

Dinner, 4/7/16: Goat Cheese and New Potato Tart (Good Food Magazine) (Alex cooking)

Another simple weeknight supper, perfect for one of the kids to make, as I don't really get home in time on Mondays, after tutoring, to make dinner in time for the girls to get to Guides.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Dinner, 3/7/16: Tacos/Taco Salad

There are always some broken shells no matter how they package them.  But that's ok - you can always make taco salad!

Friday, July 01, 2016

Dinner, 1/7/16: Penne with sausage, fennel & garlic (Sainsbury's magazine)

June Round Up


  • 30th: cooking break
  • 29th: cooking break
  • 28th: cooking break
  • 27th: cooking break
  • 26th: dinner out with friends
  • 25th: Pesto, parma ham & prosciutto pizza
  • 24th: Teriyaki Meatballs with rice & greens
  • 23rd: Everyone fend for yourself
  • 22nd: One Pan Spicy Rice
  • 21st: Mexican Bake (Alex cooking)
  • 20th: Green Pesto Tagliatelle (Olivia cooking)
  • 19th: Toad in the Hole, Asparagus
  • 18th: Vegan Hotpot
  • 17th: Pizza!
  • 16th: Everyone fend for yourself
  • 15th: Greek Island Salad
  • 14th: Pasta with Sweet Potato, Potato & Pancetta
  • 13th: Bang Bang Chicken
  • 12th: Lasagne, Salad
  • 11th: Shnitzels, potatoes, asparagus
  • 10th:Artichoke, Olive & Lemon Pasta (Sarah cooking, K out)
  • 9th: everyone fend for yourself
  • 8th: Spaghetti Bolognese (Geoff cooking)
  • 7th: Cold chicken, salad, potatoes
  • 6th: Ham Soup with Pasta & Veg
  • 5th: Roast chicken, potatoes, cabbage (K out)
  • 4th: Tamara's Ratatouille
  • 3rd: Ham, Potatoes, Carrots
  • 2nd:Broccoli and Cheddar Soup, Cornbread
  • 1st: Pasta Bake