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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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?

Mochas and Musketeers

tumblr_npiufvXZkL1tz1jmlo1_1280Flamboyant heroes, adventure, riveting duels, and of course romance.

Alexandre Dumas
and his swashbuckling  Musketeers have fascinated for ages!
To honor Dumas on his birthday today
July 24th 1855, I wanted to share his many works featuring the most beloved comrades The Musketeers.

Here are the D’Artagnan Romances:

 The Three Musketeers
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 a historical fiction full of memorable adventure and characters.

Rated: 4.5 on amazon.com Trucos-para-preparar-un-café-5-estrellas-en-casa

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.

Twenty Years Later
Two decades have passed since the musketeers triumphed over Cardinal Richelieu and Milady. Time has weakened their resolve, and dispersed their loyalties. However, treason and stratagem still cry out for justice: civil war endangers the throne of France, while in England Cromwell threatens to send Charles I to the scaffold. Dumas brings his immortal quartet out of retirement to cross swords with time, the malevolence of men, and the forces of history. But their greatest test is a titanic struggle with the son of Milady, who wears the face of Evil.

Rated: 4.5 on amazon.com 

chocolat-chaud-ouverture

Book 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!

Ten Years Later: The Vicomte de Brabelonne
In the English translations the 268 chapters of this large volume are usually subdivided into three, but sometimes four or even five individual books. In three-volume English editions, the three volumes are titled “The Vicomte de Bragelonne”, “Louise de la Valliere”, and “The Man in the Iron Mask.” Each of these volumes is roughly the length of the original
The Three Musketeers.

Here they are in Three Volumes:

The Vicomte de Bragelonne
It is May 1660 and the fate of nations is at stake. Mazarin plots, Louis XIV is in love, and Raoul de Bragelonne, son of Athos, is intent on serving France and winning the heart of Louise de la Valliere. D’Artagnan, meanwhile, is perplexed by a mysterious stranger, and soon he learns that his old comrades already have great projects in hand. Athos seeks the restoration of Charles II, while Aramis, with Porthos in tow, has a secret plan involving a masked prisoner and the fortification of the island of Belle-Ile.

4091536-late-coffee-with-chocolate-latte-coffee-with-white-chocolate-Stock-PhotoRated: 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean:
 Cafè latte au Chocolat
Espresso with steamed milk and drizzled with
chocolate on top.


The Musketeers are now in their late 50’s.
They are still vital characters but they are no longer young men looking for any excuse to duel with the Cardinal’s Guard. From this point on, there is a lot less sword play and campaigning (Sorry Swashbuckler fans.)

The focus of the story now shifts to the intrigues of Louis XIV court.

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Lousise de la Valliere
Devoted in large part to romantic events at the court of France’s King Louis XIV. It is filled with behind-the-scenes intrigue, the novel brings the aging Musketeers and d’Artagnan out of retirement to face an impending crisis within the royal court of France.

Chocolat-chaudRated: 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Chocolat chaud
Otherwise known as good old Hot Cocoa 🙂
The Man in The Iron Mask
Some thirty-five years on, the bonds of comradeship are under strain as they end up on different sides in a power struggle that may undermine the young Louis XIV and change the face of the French monarchy. In the fast-paced narrative style that was his trademark, Dumas pitches us straight into the action. What is the secret shared by Aramis and Madame de Chevreuse? Why does the Queen Mother fear its revelation? Who is the mysterious prisoner in the Bastille?

Rated: 4.3 on amazon.comcafe_au_lait

Book Bean: Cafè au Lait
A coffee with hot milk added (In comparison to the Itallian caff
è 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.

Fun Fact: Two further sequels to the D’Artagnan books — the novels The Son of Porthos (1883) and D’Artagnan Kingmaker (1900) — were written and published after Dumas’s death. D’Artagnan does not appear in the first novel, which, although written by Paul Mahalin, was published under the pen name “Alexandre Dumas” and is still sold as such. The second novel was supposedly based on one of Dumas’ plays (wikipedia)

Have you read any or all of these novels? 
Please share your thoughts.