Timeless Summer-Time Tales

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Well it’s August… already, summer is hot beautiful and on it’s last leg. I put together a list of classic literature, all are perfect picks for summer days. I know which one I’m going to start on next!
What will you chose?

No one can capture a warm summer afternoon like Steinbeck

East of Eden
by John Steinbeck
A work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence. Adapted for the 1955 film directed by Elia Kazan introducing James Dean. East of Eden has remained vitally present in American culture for over half a century.
This book is a perfect read for a long summer camp-out
Rated 4.7 amazon.com

The Merchant of Venice
by William Shakespeare

After his ships and money are lost at sea, Antonio, a prominent Venetian merchant, cannot repay a loan to Shylock, the Jewish moneylender. Antonio must rely on an unexpected source, Shakespeare’s first great heroine, to save his skin, quite literally, in this tale of love, law, mercy, and revenge. Shylock, originally conceived as a bloodthirsty villain, has been later understood to be a far more sympathetic character, who challenges cultural stereotypes while reminding audiences to look beyond the barrier of ethnocentricity.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain
A much loved and classic work of American literature. It is the story of Tom, a rambunctious young lad who lives with his Aunt Polly. Tom is a boy who doesn’t much like going to school and throughout the book does everything he can to get out of it. Near the beginning of the novel Tom exhibits his keen wit by convincing some boys to paint his Aunt Polly’s fence that he has been punished with having to do for skipping school.
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com
AND…
Huckleberry Finn

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“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is considered by many to be the greatest of all American novels. This sequel to Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” is a first person narrative told by its title character. The novel picks up where “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” leaves off. Huck Finn who is now wealthy with the discovery of treasure at the end of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” finds himself in great danger from his abusive drunkard father who wishes to cash in on Huck’s fortune.
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

hibiscus

Book Bean: Heavenly Huckleberry Hibiscus
In a saucepan bring 4-5 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/2 cup of dried hibiscus flowers, turn off the heat and steep for for 30 minutes. Strain, add sweetener of choice (I prefer agave) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve: Fill glasses with ice. Fill half of the glass with iced tea. Add Huckleberries. Top with lemonade. Serve chilled.

chocolatChocolat: A Novel
by Joanne Harris
New York Times bestselling novel Chocolat entranced readers with its mix of hedonism, whimsy, and, of course, chocolate. In tiny Lansquenet, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc. Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Her uncanny perception of its buyer’s private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them.
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com
or go for the whole trilogy:
The Girl With No Shadow
and
Peaches for Monsieur le Curé

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The Great Gatsby
by Fitzgerald
First published in 1925, this quintessential novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the mysteriously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.
Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

5166-iXOB-LThe Secret Life of Bees

by Sue Monk Kidd
Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sister, Lily is introduced to their
mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. Set in South Carolina in 1964, This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Bee’s Knees Tea
A Prohibition Era cocktail made with Gin, fresh lemon juice, andhoney. It is served shaken and chilled, often with a lemon twist. Replace Gin with Green tea (or just add) and you have a nice refreshing drink for a warm evening.

alchemist

The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho

A fable about un-dauntingly following one’s dream, listening to one’s heart, and reading life’s omens features dialogue between a boy and an unnamed being. inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its simplicity and wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of treasure buried in the Pyramids.Rated 4.9 on amazon.com

Atonement: A Novel
by Ian McEwan
atonementA symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose. In each of his novels McEwan has brilliantly drawn his reader into the intimate lives and situations of his characters. But never before has he worked with so large a canvas: In Atonement he takes the reader from a manor house in England in 1935 to the retreat from Dunkirk in 1941; from the London’s World War II military hospitals to a reunion of the Tallis clan in 1999.
Rated 3.9 on amazon.com

Mosquitoland
by David Arnold

I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, Mosquitoland is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

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Love in the Time of Cholera
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs–yet he reserves his heart for Fermina.

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Iced Horchata Latte
ice-2571490_960_720.jpgHeat water, sugar, and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until sugar is dissolved, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes. Allow mixture to cool for 10 minutes. Pour ice into a large pitcher and fill with ice, pour in 4-6 0z of brewed coffee or 2-4 espresso shots, add in rice milk. Stir sugar water into rice milk.

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To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
A Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep South—and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred
One of the best-loved stories of all time, it has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

What are your summer time classic recommendations?

 

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Star Wars Fan Book Guide

131005-F-NZ143-040In a Galaxy not so far away Jedi fans of all varieties are celebrating Star Wars day.
So of course I’ve decided to come out of hiding and do a special Star Wars themed Mini Bean. This is for all those Science Fiction lovers of Galaxy Warfare and Stellar Adventures!  It just so happens that I have quite a cache of these books in my to-read list at the moment, so that works out nicely.

Star Wars worthy books and stellar sips, May the 4th be with you:

Foundation
by Isaac Asimov
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future–to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

There are 2 preludes to this series:
Prelude to Foundation and Forward to Foundation

rebel boostBook Bean: Rebel Booster
Brewed strong tea of choice (I prefer white tea) and red bull (can do sugar free red bull with 1 serving of grenadine) with a tish of grenadine (optional for the sweet tooth.) Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
AKA “Blade Runner”
by Philip K. Dick
Although I admit I was not a fan of the movie I have still always wanted to read this classic novel.
Driven into hiding, unauthorized androids live among human beings, undetected. Rick Deckard, an officially sanctioned bounty hunter, is commissioned to find rogue androids and “retire” them. But when cornered, androids fight back, with lethal force.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

moonmochaBook Bean: Moon Mocha
Steamed or heated milk of choice (good with coconut milk), espresso shot, white chocolate syrup to taste (or can temper white chocolate chips and add to hot milk first, if syrup is unavailable, or use powder), top with whip cream (optional) and finish with a tsp of vanilla extract powder.

Battlefield Earth
by L. Ron Hubbard
From the ashes of humanity rises a young hero, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler. Setting off on an initial quest to discover a hidden evil, Jonnie unlocks the mystery of humanity’s demise and unearths a crucial weakness in their oppressors.

Rated 4.6 on audible.com

Best of 2016 Science Fiction Audiobook
A very long book (1k pages depending on the version) so opting for the Audiobook may not be such a bad idea. 

jedi-juice.jpgBook Bean: Jedi Juice
1 cup pineapple, 1 large beetroot, 1 green apple, 1 cucumber, ½ lemon, and 1-inch fresh ginger. For those without a juicer use fresh and/or 100% juice alternatives with squeezed lemon and zest of ginger. This combination of juices is full of energy, super healthy, and tastes great too!

Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
A world at stake – A quest for the ultimate prize – Are you ready?
This cult classic is all the rave right now because of the new movie. I haven’t seen the movie, so feel free to weigh in on which one is better. No spoilers though! I have it on good authority that the audible books is quite good on this one as well. If you haven’t read this yet and are a fan of the Genre, it is a classic and a must read.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

chewbaccachino

Book Bean: Chaibaccaccino
Frothy steamed milk, strong brewed coffee or espresso shot, with cinnamon (to taste,) sugar
(to taste,) a dash of clove and nutmeg stirred in, and lavishly topped with cocoa.

This is the story of a book called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

-not an Earth book, never published on Earth, and, until the terrible catastrophe occurred, never seen or even heard of by any Earthman.

Nevertheless, a wholly remarkable book!

Another classic by Douglas Adams
Read the original or go for the
all-in-one trilogy.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Also nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by The Great American Read

yodas-tea-e1525496072156.jpgBook Bean: Yoda’s Tea
Brewed Green tea (or matcha if preferred) with muddled mint leaves and honey to taste, garnish with lime (optional.) Good hot or cold it is.

We Are Legion
(We Are Bob)
by Dennis E. Taylor
Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it’s a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street.
Also another great audiobook choice as it was named Audible’s Best Sci-Fi Book of 2016

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

images-e1525496694837.jpgBook Bean: The Dark Side Decaf 
Espresso roast coffee pulled or brewed  with a dash of cocoa powder (in the brew), pinch of salt and 2 tsp of sugar (optional and/or to taste.) Try sipping on this while nibbling some chocolate, Dark and Delectable!

Ender’s Game
by Orson Scott Card
Once again, Earth is under attack. An alien species is poised for a final assault. The survival of humanity depends on a military genius who can defeat the aliens. But who?
Ender Wiggin. Brilliant. Ruthless. Cunning. A tactical and strategic master. And a child.

Of course I couldn’t leave out my favorite; this book is short and sweet, but amazing!

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Ender’s Game is an affecting novel.”―New York Times Book Review

full throttle


Book Bean: T
he Force Full Throttle
Medium roast coffee, with added espresso shot, a pinch of salt, 1-2 tsp of sugar, and 1-2 tbls of half n half (or to taste.)


I’ll end with a few books that are officially Star Wars.

D1nhxfncvcS._SL250_FMpng_Star Wars: Old Republic Trilogy 
Read by Marc Thompson
Written by varied authors
A trilogy basedon a popular video game; the best rated Trilogy out there (and the audible books are raved about!)

Revan
by Drew Karpyshyn
There’s something out there: a juggernaut of evil bearing down to crush the Republic – unless one lone Jedi, shunned and reviled, can stop it.
Rated 4.1 on audible.com
Deceived
by Paul S. Kemp
The Old Republic ramps up the action and brings listeners “face-to-face” for the first time with a Sith warrior to rival the most sinister of the Order’s Dark Lords: Darth Malgus, the mysterious, masked Sith
Rated 4.1 on audible.com

and Fatal Alliance
by Sean Williams
Number-one New York Times best-selling author Sean Williams brings the world of the game to life in his latest novel, Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance.
Rated 4.1 on audible.com

Darth Plagueis
by James Luceno
At long last, the Star Wars story of the mysterious Sith Lord Darth Plagueis and his apprentice, Darth Sidious, is revealed!
“Did you ever hear the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise? It’s a Sith legend. Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith, so powerful and so wise that he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life. He had such a knowledge of the dark side that he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying.”
—Supreme Chancellor Palpatine,
Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Arguably the best star wars book written, but please weigh in!

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Latte au Leia:
Choice brewed coffee with cinnamon, steamed milk (if you don’t have a way to steam then heat and froth as best you can,) a tiny bit of caramel sauce stirred in, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. R.I.P Princess

379b9c7b7e9d5516362aed3512de5f14Well that’s it Star Wars fans, I hope you found it enjoyable and/or enlightening. Please share your relative favorites!

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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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?