Portland Woodstock ‘08

A420AA7D-E419-4FE3-9476-3D96385B409AThis weekend was Portland’s 2018 book festival Wordstock. The event was held at the Portland Art Museum and featured over 100 authors. Their was books signings and readings for all ages all and numerous historic locations in the area. It was a great day for writers and readers alike.

I came home with lots of information and goodies.
I chose to go the exploratory route and pick just a few random new books.

My 2018 Wordstock spoils:

Arms From The Sea by Rich Shapero

A young sculptor from the State of Salt swallows a poison pill that transports him to a watery heaven, whose monstrous, seductive creator reveals to him what it might mean to redeem a desolate world.

A confusing and interesting read so far, but I haven’t given up on it.

A Doctor A Day by Bernard Mansheim
Under white coats, behind caring eyes, beneath sterile stethoscopes is the human within the doctor. The one that bears bad news, holds pain and mires in a stream of death and the dying. In this fictional story, Dr. James is in crisis as his practice is further burdened by a crushing lawsuit. Unmasking the psychological burden experienced by many practicing doctors this work portrays one physician’s unbearable experience as examined and articulated by a seasoned MD

My choice cafe drink of the week:

Book Bean: Eggnog Spice Latte
98014BCE-D8F0-4832-98A9-C058CCBD4DEBStart with 1-3 shots of espresso to taste (or for the ‘Au Lait’ version try 4-6 oz of strong black coffee, 1-2 oz eggnog, and 1oz milk) stir in a tiny pinch of cayenne and pinch of pumpkin spice. Pour in steamed eggnog mix: 1 part (2-4 oz depending on number of espresso shots) rich creamy eggnog and 1 part non-fat milk (or milk of choice.) Finish drink off with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Vampire Boy (Adventures of Alex Vambarey)
by Aric Cuching

I chose this book because, first off books have no age, and secondly it seem like a clever synopsis. We shall see.

It seems it has also won quite a few awards, so I’m hopeful that it will not disappoint 🙂


Which local book events do you look forward to?

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Savory Seasonal Suggestion

The leaves have almost all fallen and the colors keep changing all around us. The crisp cool breeze of Autumn will soon begin it’s transformation into a winter chill; this is the season for spices, warm hugs, and yummy pie slices.

So with rosy cheeks and cozy feet here are some falltastic books and treats.

(Click pictures and titles for more info.)


The Wretched of Muirwood
– Jeff Wheeler
This is the first book in a trilogy (of which I have not finished) I cannot speak for the series but as for this first installment, it does not disappoint. This is a great fall book. The likable characters and murky undertones are perfect to read on a rainy day. Being the first of three it leaves you wanting more so if you’re shut up on a stormy weekend or need a holiday bundle, this is the book for you.

The Wretched of Muirwood Rated: 4.4 on amazon.com

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Book Bean:
This book screams apple cider. If you read it you will be happy to have some within your reach.


Chicken Soup For The Soul

Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen

An oldy but a goody. There is something unbelievably cozy about sipping a warm drink reading Chicken Soup for The Soul. This book warms you from the inside out, it is full of classic uplifting stories that anyone can enjoy.

Chicken Soup for the Soul Rated: 4.6 on amazon.com

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B
ook Bean: Sip some creamy butternut squash soup in a mug to really get in the spirit. Or try some honey ginger tea for just the right zing.

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Harry Potter
– J.K. Rowling
The Harry Potter series is the perfect thing for fall. Start in October and you’ll have plenty of content to last you through. I personally was content after the first three but if you want more the series packs a wallop. Everything about the story is perfect for the season. Not only does it jive but it’s also the kind of book that you want to curl up with, escape from the world, and get lost in.

Harry Potter Rated: 4.6 on amazon.com

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Book Bean:
Pumpkin Latte or any other spiced latte
pairs oh so nicely.



The Turn of The Screw
– Henry James
This eerie tale is dark and brittle and not for the faint of heart. It’s a classic but it does not fail to lift the micro hairs ever so slightly at the base of your neck. If you frighten easily read aloud with a friend for a fun twist. Make s’mores and sit around a fire pit take turns reading it aloud and see who squirms.

The Turn of the Screw Rated: 4.6 on amazon.com

dsc_8551Book Bean: Hot Cocoa or Black Tea alongside your
s’more of course ; )



The Best of Poe
– Edgar Allan Poe
What could be better on a cold gloomy night than setting the candle ambiance for the romantic loom of short stories and poems by the great Poe. There is a dark and sexy quality to Poe’s work that matches the Autumn breeze beautifully. Sit out on your porch wrapped in wool and read his words as they whistle with the wind.

The Best of Poe Rated: 4.5 on amazon.com

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Book Bean:
Get some dark chocolate to nibble, and sip your favorite black coffee brew.

Fun Fact: 65% of adults read for pleasure.

Now light some candles, get those fluffy socks on, and grab something to cuddle. Tis the season for book nooks and reading hooks

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Amazon.com is the best place to get books fast and cheap
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With some yummy Mulled Cider!

 

Quick Getaway Reads

Last week I was given the opportunity to have a little adventure in Aruba.
So of course I was excited for the chance to do as much reading as possible.
imagesHowever, I suspected (and was right) that this would be less of a relaxation vacation and more of exploration adventure. I knew I needed to pick a few quick reads and at most one full sized novel.
This was the only way I would fit in any reading.

Here are my book picks for a quick tropical getaway:

Interpreter of Maladies
by Jhumpa Lahiri
This collection of short stories was brilliant, beautiful and the perfect companion for any quick getaway. The wonderful characters in Jhumpa Lahiri’s elegant and touching stories, seek love beyond the barriers of culture and generations. A moving and timeless experience.
*

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Island of the Blue Dolphin
by Scott O’Dell
I could not have picked a better book to be reading while sitting on the beach in the Caribbean. This is a fantastic read, that is super quick, and the perfect tropical island companion. It is a Newbery Medal-winning classic about the transformation of  quiet courage, loneliness, and terror into strength and serenity.
*

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

The Master and Margarita
by Mikhail Bulgakov
I don’t know what sparked my bringing this book along, it just felt right, and it was! This is a great vacation read for any destination. Bulgakov’s fantastical, funny, and devastating satire of Soviet life combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem, each brimming with historical, imaginary, frightful, and wonderful characters.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

So share your suggestions…

What are some great reading choices for that quick getaway?

Spooktastic Classics

This October I put together a little list of books I’d like to read to get me into the spirit of Hallows Eve. Here is my list, plus a few from past years. Any or all of these books make wonderful reading, but fair warning, some are not for the faint of heart.

Here is my mini list of spooky hair raising classics:

Frankenstein
by Mary Shelley
This is such a fantastic story, I encourage anyone who has not already read it to do so. The story’s background is also really interesting. It’s impressive enough the Shelley could right a book from the perspective of 2 separate males, but she also started this book on a complete whim. She was given the challenge by a peer to right a ghost story while vacationing, and out of that came this iconic masterpiece.

turn.jpgThe Turn of the Screw
by Henry James
I have to admit I barely made it through this book, though it is very well written and a wonderful classic. My reason was purely that I am a big chicken and it scared the daylights out of me. I read it aloud, which really added to it’s eeriness.

The Shining
by Stephen King
I of course had to have Stephen on this list.9781501175466_p0_v2_s550x406 I could decide which book so I chose purely based on the fact that The Shining was one of my first Stephen King experiences. Now for those really looking for a good scare go with “It” though I personally will never be brave enough.

Dracula
by Bram Stoker
This is a beautiful story and a classic that I feel is so under appreciated. Dracula represents everything the Victorians feared: the irrational, the pagan, the erotic and the foreign. If you love classic literature and/or gothic novels, I highly recommend you read this book!
*

The Legend of Sleepy Hallow
by Washington Irving
Washington Irving’s haunting, macabre stories will give wide-eyed readers delightful chills. This is a great story and such an awesome read for this time of year. It is especially great to read on particularly gloomy flog laden evenings.

Halloween is just a few days away…
What spooky book/s will you be curling up with?
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Autumn Spice & Books So Nice

Back to schoolAutumn is here! My favorite time of year. In Portland the weather is clear and sunny, the temperature comfortably drifts between a perfect 50-75 degrees, and the rains are held at bay for a few more weeks.

The air is filled with beautiful colors, savory aromas, and
the sound of boots crunching golden leaves.
Is there anything better?
Well yes, lets just add some fall-icious books to the equation shall we!

Here are a few harvest reads and warm drinks to ‘fall’ in love with 😉 :


A pocket Full of Rye

The Queen of Mystery and acknowledged mistress of suspense brings us this fall worthy mystery.

The bizarre death of a financial tycoon has Miss Marple investigating a very odd case of crime by rhyme.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Cocoa-Nut Mocha
An ordinary mocha gets a little nutty. Mix in 1/2 tsp of nutmeg to cocoa powder/syrup (etc.) and make mocha as usual. Top with whip, crushed hazelnuts, and a drizzle of Nutella.


The Cider House Rules

Set in rural Maine in the first half of this century, it tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch–saint and obstetrician, founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Cloud’s, ether addict and abortionist. It is also the story of Dr. Larch’s favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: Cider House Teapuccino
Tea of choice steeped dark in hot cider (in lieu of water.) While waiting for tea, steam, froth, or simmer milk. Combine frothy milk and tea, drizzles with honey and enjoy.



James and The Giant Peach

The story of a young boy on a magical adventure. After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

royal-rose-hot-toddy-saffron.jpgBook Bean: Harvest Peach Tea
Combine approx. 10 oz peach nectar, 5 oz orange juice, and 1/8 cup brown sugar in a large saucepan. Tie cinnamon and cloves in a small cheesecloth bag. Drop into saucepan. Steep, mug, and love!



Lark Rise to Candleford Trilogy

An immortal trilogy, containing “Lark Rise, Over To Candleford” and “Candleford Green”, a heartwarming portrayal of country life at the close of the 19th century. This story of three closely related Oxfordshire communities; a hamlet, the nearby village, and a small market town, is based on the author’s experiences during childhood and youth.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

vegan-pumpkin-hot-chocolate-editedBook Bean: Countryside Cocoa
Heat and simmer milk of choice, melt/ mix in cocoa powder and/or dark chocolate, and dark brown sugar to taste. Add mix to a blender and spoon in apprx. 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, a dash of pumpkin spice, a drop or two of orange extract. Top with cream and a sprinkle of spice.


The Wretched of Muirwood

In the ancient and mystical land of Muirwood, Lia has known only a life of servitude. Labeled a “wretched,” an outcast unwanted and unworthy of respect, Lia is forbidden to realize her dream to read or write. In the midst of a land torn by a treacherous war between a ruthless king and a rebel army, Lia finds herself on an ominous journey that will push her to wonder if her own hidden magic is enough to set things right.

enhanced-buzz-18848-1442882378-5 (1) - Edited.jpgRated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean
: Fall Sangria
I will defer this one to Mr. Flay, because I saw this recipe,
and it looks amazing!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/
fall-sangria.html


Tess of the d’Urbervilles

The daughter of a poor and dissipated villager, learns that she may be descended from the ancient family of d’Urbeville. In her search for respectability her fortunes fluctuate wildly, and the story assumes the proportions of a Greek tragedy. It explores Tess’s struggle against the social mores of the rural Victorian world which she inhabits and the hypocrisy of the age.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com
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Book Bean
: Spiced Steamer
Steam or simmer rice milk (almond is also nice) over low heat. Mix in agave syrup, vanilla bean, cinnamon, nutmeg, dash (very small) of cayenne, all to preferred taste. Pour in cup and sprinkle lightly with spices, garnish with cinnamon sticks, and let it warm your soul!

books-fall-writingWhat are some of  your falltastic reading go-to’s?

 

French Press Classics

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Its talk like a pirate day, what better way to celebrate then with a few swashbuckling mini beans.

These french classics have it all; heroes, adventure, duels, the high seas, and well even a bit of love. Their literary mastery are well admired. I have a soft spot for epic tales and romanticism, and I hold these three among favorites.

Here are my favorite French presses:

The Count of Monte Cristo

by Alexandre Dumas
Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration.

Dumas’ epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s.
Rated: 4.6 on amazon.com

p1000324.jpgBook Bean: Chocolat l’ancienne
Rich and decadent melted dark chocolate poured into cups, and served alongside it’s own separate dish of fresh whipped cream. So thick and creamy, I’ll have mine with Un café please!


Le
s Misérables
by Victor Hugo
Published in 1862 and considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. Within this dramatic story are themes that capture the intellect and the emotions: crime and punishment, the relentless persecution of Valjean by Javert, the desperation of Fantine, the amorality of the rogue Thénardier, and the universal desire to escape the prisons of our own minds.

A beautiful and haunting story that many can relate to and easily fall in love with. It is a richly complex emotional tale of good vs. evil and true redemption.
Rated: 4.7 on amazon.com

coffee


Book Bean
: Un café
A coffee, plain and simple, but not as we would have in the U.S. Order “Un Café” and you will get a small cup of plain strong espresso.


The Three Musketeers

by Alexandre Dumas
An adventurous tale of the young man d’Artagnan. Leaving home to travel to Paris, d’Artagnan wishes to join the Musketeers of the Guard. He is not one of the musketeers of the title but befriends Athos, Porthos and Aramis (inseparable friends who live by the motto “all for one, one for all.”) This motto which is first put forth by d’Artagnan, has become a most well known and loved signet.

This historical fiction is full of memorable characters and adventure, and laugh out loud wit and humor that had me completely entertained.
Rated: 4.4 on amazon.com

caffecoffea-comBook Bean: Cafè au Lait A coffee with hot milk added (In comparison to the Itallian caffè latte.) In the U.S. a café au lait is a drink of strong drip coffee or French pressed coffee, to which steamed milk is added.


Auguste Maquet
was a French author, best known as the chief collaborator of French novelist Alexandre Dumas, co-writing such works as
The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

Fun Fact: Les Misérables as a whole is one of the longest ever written, with approximately 1,500 pages in unabridged English-language editions, and 1,900 pages in French.

Do you have a favorite french classic, and/or a favorite french author?