Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book Meme

I got this via Facebook.

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or of which you have read an excerpt and underline movies you have seen.  Tag other book nerds.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma -Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Image: "Reading III" by nietuzinka

Monday, November 29, 2010

When you get right down to it, what we all need is a place to go .... A place where we can escape the noise of our lives and just relax.

Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata

Image: "Gone Swimming" by dramanrc

Flavor Trends

I previously posted that I try to have a feature salad for each summer (and a soup for winter) for those times when I need to bring a plate to a barbecue or whatever.

It doesn't need to be a "fancy" recipe as such, just something a bit different. I had this one perfectly planned out - it would be a Chicken and Mango Salad with a Thai-style dressing - I even made it again a couple of weeks ago to confirm it was what I wanted. It was! Divinely delicious, healthy, reasonably priced, easy to make - tick, tick and tick :-)

And then I picked up a recipe magazine and noticed a very similar one was being featured. Obviously my original plan got canned on the spot - oh I will make it again, just not as a 'feature'.

So that means I have spent the last day or so trawling through recipe books looking for flavor ides - I am tossing a few ideas around but nothing definite so far.

What i have noticed (again) is our trends with foods and flavors - my books from the seventies relied on some weird combinations of food (think banana, cucumber and carrot or a celery and olive salad (no other ingredients or even dressing for that one) - and lots of canned goods rather than fresh alternatives. Sauces were heavy and plentiful. There was often a "lovely" circle of tomatoes or olives around the edge. Nonetheless, these recipes can easily be updated and tweaked - both in ingredients and presentation.

The aspic ones can not. I have eaten these - I even enjoyed some but then I was under 10 and didn't appreciate what I was doing. Now I somehow fear that by mentioning these joys - consider "Creamed Fish in Aspic" or "Jellied Tomato and Spiced Ham" - it will somehow inspire someone somewhere to reintroduce the "under glass" look. Don't. Please stop now. This cannot be made "nice" - no way, never, na ah. Run from the idea, forget you ever even heard it, change the subject! Just say no!

And if the chefs insist on foisting this on a new, unsuspecting generation, then it is up to us to steer these naive consumers away from the travesty that is aspic.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


"...but it is my right to have a baby..."

No, it isn't. It is an honor, a privilege, a blessing, a ... well many things. Most of all it is a responsibility.

And call me judgmental if you want but the woman was close to 40, a long term drug-user/abuser with no long term partner and no financial security. Maybe if having a baby would be the trigger to settle down she could settle down first and THEN think about bringing another life into this world.

Just as puppies aren't just for Christmas, babies are for a lifetime - and the first 18 years are pretty hands on. They may not need all the latest gadgets or to follow all the trends but they do need love and stability, protection and nurturing, teaching and discipline. They take a phenomenal amount of time and an equal amount of money.

Yes it is all worth it (or at least parents tell me so - I can't have kids myself but I do get to share the joy of others) but it is a huge responsibility and a very long way to being your "right".

Image: "baby" by GenevieveAlbert

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Matter of Perspective

Everywhere is walking distance if only you have the time.

Steven Wright

Image: "Shredded Wheat" by traxor1990

Where is the Real Food?

Cloned animals - cows specifically have been declared as safe to eat in the UK. Now I say up front that this has been going on in South America and parts of Asia (?) for ages so it is perhaps less of a novelty and more of an inevitability than anything else.

Nonetheless I am struggling with it. Not the notion of cloning per se - lets face it, much (read "most") of our grains and vegetables come from cloned seed (think GMO) - but for ethical reasons. And I admit I have only had 24 hours to think about this so while my opinion is fixed, my reasons are yet to be concreted.

I understand that the meat and milk from cloned animals can be proved to be ok for human consumption, or at least not detrimental. And I understand that the future of food security for nations, and the planet, is dodgy to say the least and cloning of food products is possibly our only solution to maintaining our present diets. I understand that farmers have bred animals for centuries for characteristics that are beneficial to their market and that cloning can be seen as a speeding up of this process. I understand that a cloned animal can have an equal quality of life as that of a "naturally bred" animal.

What I don't understand is why we NEED cloned animals.

Our diets have changed significantly in the last fifty years, not always for the best but lets leave that argument for another day. Our portion sizes have increased significantly. Our expectations of all food all year round, and always priced cheaply seems to have become the norm.

As a result we have needed to resort to increased processed food, GMOs, fake meat and the like. "And the like" now includes cloned animals.

When will we start focusing on seasonal produce, farmed ethically and sustainable, and priced fairly? When will start focusing on REAL food, with real nutrients, with little to no processing?

Image: "Cows in the morning" by mrak9

For further info do a Google search or check out the BBC

Oh What A Year

Of all the years I have lived through, this has not been a favorite - maybe the break from blogging was a hint lol. Actually, to be fair to myself, I haven't taken a break form blogging - not one day .... I just have written them in my head instead of on the computer lol.

Anyway, there have been some highlights and sunshine in amongst the clouds so I have decided to start blogging here again. Yes I know I have said that before but second time lucky lol

Image: "2010" by Balakov