Formidable Classics

classic-novels-on-shelves2  I love Classic literature and adore many genres within the classics. Once I started reading them I was hooked, and have forever been changed as a reader. I have read many classic books and so I’ve developed  much in skill and maturity. As I broaden my scope, reading more and more amazing books from the greats, I find myself looking at a few that I keep putting off. The books that I find either a bit daunting, or time consuming, or just find myself hesitating on aimlessly. I need to address these books that challenge me from my shelf.

Here are a few Challenging Classics calling to me in anticipation:

War and Peace
This is the book of books to read for any person interested in classic literature. It is a well known challenge, and one I think I am up for. It’s a book that although I may find challenging or time consuming, I do actually think that I will really enjoy. I think I just need to commit to reading it, and get to it. Oh and did I mention it is a whopping 1296 pages, no small feat. Hopefully a worthwhile one.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: Russian Tea
Within Russia, tea usually includes lemon, and sugar or jam. Tea sachets are widely popular, but when a teapot is used it is very common to make a strong brew, then pour some into a cup and top it with hot or boiling water, adding milk and sugar afterwards.

Utopia
A utopia is a community or society possessing highly desirable or near perfect qualities. The word was coined by Sir Thomas More in Greek for this 1516 book Utopia (in Latin), describing a fictional island society in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt to create an ideal society, and imagined societies portrayed in fiction. I don’t know if this classic book is a challenging one or not, but I do know I’ve been meaning to read it for a very long time.
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

cafe-de-olla-in-a-mugBook Bean: Café de olla
Traditionally brewed in large quantities over a wood fire in a heavy earthenware Mexican cooking pot called an “Olla”. Place 4 cups water, 2/3 cup dk brn sugar, 1tsp molasses, and 2 cinnamon sticks (and aniseed optional) in a saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil, and stir thoroughly to dissolve sugars. When the mixture reaches boiling, stir in 2/3 cup drk rst coffee (med. grind) remove from heat, cover, and steep for 5 minutes. Strain into stone cups, and enjoy with cinnamon sticks. 


Moby Dick
It’s a whale of a book! Or so I hear 😀 This book does not really speak to me, as far as content I feel compelled to read. However, it is so well known as a literary masterpiece that I feel I must one day challenge myself and read it. It’s a novel by Herman Melville, in which Ishmael narrates the monomaniacal quest of Ahab, captain of the whaler Pequod, for revenge on the albino sperm whale Moby Dick

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com
unnamedBook Bean: Seafoam Tea
In a blender blend; 1/2 can coconut milk (cold) till frothy. Add in 2 cups of white tea (cold) and re-blend. Last add a pinch of finely ground lavender leaves (and/or mint, is a nice option)  and 1 cup of cool whip (or ice-cream.)

 

The Scarlet Letter
I have always wanted to read this book, but for one reason or another I just never do. I hope that one day I will, but it’s not looking promising. I always start reading it, but then I set it down and don’t pick it up again. It’s bothersome really. I don’t know if in the end I will like, love, or hate this book, but I do know that I will be glad I read it!

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com


White-Hot-Chocolate-with-Cocoa-Cream
Book Bean:
Sinful Cinnamon Dulce
Temper white chocolate in a mug. Steam and Froth milk of choice (I like rice for this recipe) and pour over chocolate. Top with a small zip of whip and sprinkle with cinnamon. Stir and enjoy.

 

These are the formidable classics on my shelf, what are yours?

If you don’t read the classics, what challenging books have been haunting you?

Saga Saturday IV

RebeccaI am currently reading this novel and thoroughly enjoying it.
Oddly enough I had forgotten that I already read it, when I began it. It was a bit odd because I kept feeling a sense of déjà vu, but it took me about 5 chapters to realize I had read it. I can’t quite decide how I feel about that…
On one hand I do read a lot of books, and it must have been a very long time ago, but I can’t help feeling a bit ashamed that I have read a book, and forgotten it so completely. I guess it was bound to happen eventually, after reading so much. At least now I get to read it again and experience it for a second time, I’ll look at the bright side.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

The unnamed narrator, a naïve young woman in her early 20s, becomes acquainted with a wealthy Englishman, Maximilian (Maxim) de Winter, a widower aged 42. After a fortnight of courtship, she agrees to marry him and, after the wedding and honeymoon, accompanies him to his mansion in Cornwall, the beautiful West Country estate Manderley.

The second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she started a new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. In every corner and room of the isolated gray stone mansion were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten.
An eerie past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house’s current occupants.
Sinyard_Rebecca_Danvers-e1361723009755A ghostly aura silhouettes her heart, as the second Mrs. de Winter walks in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor. She lives cautiously, yet compelled to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim’s first wife; the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea”

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Book Bean:
Pale Moon
Earl grey tea steeped dense or pulled, white chocolate swirl, steamed/frothed milk, sprinkled with nutmeg.

 

Have you read Rebecca, or any other such hauntingly mysterious books?

Fantasy Friday

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I am a big fan of Fantasy Fiction but I am also very particular and picky about which books and series I choose to read, and eventually which books I like.


Here are the top 2 Fantasy Fiction books on my TBR:

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Outlander
 
by Diana Gabaldon 

I have nearly started this series SO many times, and I keep kicking myself for still not having started it. I have wanted to read it for so long, and have extremely high hopes for it, I just hope that I will love it as much as I anticipate.

 

 


Outlander
 is a New York Times bestseller, and has earned the praise of critics and captured the hearts of millions of fans. The story introduces two great characters, Claire Beauchamp Randall and Jamie Fraser, in a spellbinding novel of passion and history that combines exhilarating adventure with a love story for the ages.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

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G
raceling 
by Kristin Cashore

This book was recommended to me by a fellow blogger, and once I checked it out, it quickly made it to my list of books to read.
Another best seller and award winner.

 

 

 

Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable yet strong Katsa, a smart, beautiful teenager who lives in a world where selected people are given a Grace, a special talent that can be anything from dancing to swimming. Katsa’s is killing. She is forced to use her extreme skills as his thug. Along the way, Katsa must learn to decipher the true nature of her Grace.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Have you read either of these books,
what did you think?
No spoilers please 😉

 

St. Patty’s Day Tribute

tumblr_static_57zvalm9sswsosk0ccc4ww0ksEvery year on March 17, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart all over the world observe St.Patrick’s Day. It began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland and has now become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods, and other culture rich delights. Why not celebrate with literature as well.

Here is my mini literary tribute to this special day:

St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography
by Philip Freeman
Ireland’s patron saint has long been shrouded in legend, but the true story of St. Patrick is far more inspiring than the myths. In St. Patrick of Ireland, Philip Freeman brings the historic Patrick and his world vividly to life. Born late in the fourth century to an aristocratic British family, Patrick’s life was changed forever when he was abducted and taken to Ireland just before his sixteenth birthday. He spent six grueling years there as a slave.

pistachio_mint_milkshake_2Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

Book Bean:
Shamrock Steamer

Add 1/2 pack of pistachio pudding powder and 2 cups hot/steamed milk to blender and blend, add espresso if desired (can also be served cold.) Garnish with crushed pistachio and mint. 


Oscar Wildeoscar-wilde
Born October 16th 1864 he was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet. He became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890’s. He is remembered for his epigrams, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his plays. He is also as well known for his imprisonment for homosexuality after engaging in an affair with the marquess of Quensberry’s son. He spent his last three years in impoverished exile and died of Cerebral Meningitis on 30 November 1900.

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”

The Picture of Dorian Gray 
by Oscar Wilde
Dorian Gray is a young man whose physical appearance is handsome and innocent. An aspiring artist paints a beautiful portrait of Dorian. Dorian wishes that he always look like his youthful appearance in the portrait. The wish comes true. Dorian remains the same; youthful and charming, but the portrait begins to transform itself into the image of his soul. Dorian lives a hedonistic the leads him to commit atrocities.

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Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean:
Wilde Grey Latte

Earl Grey tea steeped dense or pulled in espresso machine, vanilla extract/flavor, steamed milk, topped with a little froth and lavender garnish. 

 

The Irish Americans: A History
by Jay P. Dolan
Four dominant themes in Irish-American history emerge from this new study by Dolan (The American Catholic Experience: A History from Colonial Times to the Present), professor emeritus of history at the University of Notre Dame. These four are politics, religion, labor and nationalism. Beginning in 1729, when a decline in the linen trade and a poor harvest sparked a rush to America, Dolan traces the exodus to the beckoning colonies.
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Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Irish Coffee
Hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar, stirred, and topped with thick cream.
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Tsundoku..?

Cafe Book Bean

I think it’s a real thing…
tsundoku (1)

Any goodBibliophiledoes this, right..?

Well I do, I cannot walk into a bookstore and leave empty handed. I think I did once, and I was distracted all day by the pit in my stomach. It’s a problem, I know, but not one I’m keen to fix. There are worst things right, then a serious addiction to literature? I suppose it would be less of an inconvenience if I didn’t live in such a quaint little house…
It would also help if I could part with books, but alas, I cannot. Another problem I know. I just can. not. get. rid. of. books! I feel an emotional attachment to them, and maybe that is unhealthy, but I don’t see it changing any time soon. Is there a support group for Bookaholics? I try to imagine it. I see is a bunch of book…

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TBR Tuesday Wishlist

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It’s Tuesday and I would like to share
a few more books I wish
to add to my TBR list.

 

 

 

Here is a snapshot of my tbr wishlist:

The Life We Bury
 by Allen Eskens
Admit-tingly not something I
would normally be attracted to.
However after reading the synopsis
I find myself overly intrigued,
and had to add it to my list. 

College student Joe Talbert has the modest task of interviewing a stranger and writing a brief biography of the person.
Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran.
He is also a convicted murderer and rapist, with only a few months to live.DSC_4937_2

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Apple Au Lait
Hot apple cider mixed with steamed milk.

 

The Name of the Rose:  by Umberto Eco
Including the Author’s Postscript
The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. This was Italian author Umberto Eco’s debut novel, written in 1980. I am drawn to this historical murder mystery, filled with intellectual mystery.

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Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean:
 Crimson Mocha
Melted dark chocolate, espresso, splash of grenadine,
a dash of cinnamon, and steamed milk. Topped off
with whip, a maraschino cherry, and
sprinkled with cinnamon. 

 

Babi Yar:
A Document in the Form of a Novel

 by Anatoli Kuznetsov
I could not of course leave out something relating to WWII. Due to my fascination with the war, I am forever finding books of this nature to add to my list.
A.Anatoli’s classic novel of a Jewish boy living under oppression at the hands of the Nazi’s in 1940’s Ukraine. Censored by the Soviets ,
“Bari Yar” is a true story in the tradition of Solzenietzyn.f4dca56d8ae99dffe4b7b4cc56ddf193

Rated 4.9 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Black Gold
Espresso shot pulled over a tsp of raw honey