Blogger BookBean Favorites

depositphotos_55772445-the-magic-book-book-with-magical-stories-magic-book1Below is a composition of the favorite books and drink pairings of my fellow blogger friends. This special Mini Book Bean is very personal and interesting. I hope you will all love the diversity and intrigue of the different books. Not to mention there are a few lovely things to try a sip of.

Here are my Fellow Blogger’s Favorites:

“Memoirs of a Geisha”
MemoirsOfAGeishaby Arthur Golden.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

It is a beautifully written book of literary fiction, very poignant. Golden did quite a bit of research about Japan and Geishas, and the story takes us through the life of a poor Japanese girl who becomes highly successful at her profession. It also give an excellent look at the culture of Japan pre WWII, and a glimpse of the war.

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Why I love this book:
Having lived in Japan for several years, I enjoyed this tremendously, and wish he would have written another book.

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Book Bean: Hazelnut Coffee Creme 
I make Hazlenut Creme coffee fairly weak, then flavor it with Cafe D’Vita Cappucino Mix and and some whole milk or Half & Half. Very decadent!

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Submitted by Don Maker atdonmaker.com
Freelance writer and editor

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“Odd Thomas”

by Dean Koontz
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

“The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.”
But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn. Maybe he has a gift, maybe it’s a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd’s otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo’s sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it’s different.

Why I love this book:
Dean Koontz is a phenomenal writer and I love everything he writes, but Odd Thomas stands above all others. The story is passionately alluring and really draws you into the characters and world of Odd. A vivid, exciting, and interesting story; with wit an d humor that has you laughing out loud! What’s not to love.

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Book Bean:
 Butterscotch Americano
2 strong espresso shots, hot water, extra cream/ half n half, and a shot or two of butterscotch syrup.

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Submitted
by
M.J. Gale at The Phantom Rem
(A unique and original collection of thrilling spine tingling short-stories)

 

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“Don Quixote”


by Miguel de Cervantes

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Widely regarded as the world’s first modern novel, and one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the famous picaresque adventures of the noble knight-errant Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain.

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Why I love this book:

For it timeless depiction of the human condition

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1348075953_49210ccf92Book Bean:
Café con leche

a Spanish white coffee beverage. It is somewhat more similar to the Italian caffè latte than to the French café au lait. A latte, however, is made with espresso

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Submitted by Antonio at antonioyrocinante.com

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“The Good Soldier”



by Ford Madox Ford, 1915

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

I’ve read it numerous times, and expect to read again.

The narrator, John Dowell, describes his life with his wife, Florence. They’re Americans, relegated to staying in Europe due to Florence’s heart condition, preventing her from making the ocean crossing home. At a spa in Germany they befriend the British Captain Edward Ashburnham and his wife, Leonora, Edward’s there to tend to his own heart ailment. Dowell’s narrative moves back and forth in time, revealing slices of the interrelationships of the two couples, following his understanding of what came to be a horrific combination of desire, deceit, misunderstanding and passion involving not only those four, but other men and women, destroying not only the two marriages, but the lives of everyone involved.

Why I love this book:
More than a tale of personal intrigue, the book is an ingenious problem — perhaps the ultimate exemplar — of “the unreliable narrator,” because we have only Dowell’s representation of complex human motives and relationships, and even at the end of the book, with all the outcomes made clear, we can’t know if what lay within the hearts and minds of everyone involved was as he depicts it. There is tremendous energy and horrific drama that ruins people, but we have only Dowell’s point of view from which to try to understand it. 

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In addition, it has one of the greatest first lines in all literature:
“This is the saddest story I have ever heard.”

espresso-one

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Book Bean: Espresso
If I could actually keep my eyes on my book and not on the scene, I’ll have an espresso at Florian’s in Piazza San Marco, per favore.

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Submitted by Brad at blaknissan
This blog is for travelers and would-be travelers, fans of reading, writing and literature, and anyone with a questing spirit.

 

“Leo the Late Bloomer”


by Robert Kraus.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com *
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Leo is a young tiger who can’t keep up with the other animals who are learning to read, write, draw, eat neatly and speak. Under the watchful eye of his parents, in due time, Leo makes the grade and his first words are “I made it.”
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Why I love this book:
I like the book because like Leo it took me a long time to find myself and the result was a book I wrote – my bio in kid form “Buddy Bloom Wildflower.”

My book is dedicated to another favorite author and teacher – Leo Buscaglia, he wrote some best selling books about Love and you can watch him lecture on You Tube.

18-1418876510-greenteaa **

Book Bean:Rocket Fuel.
AKA Green Tea!

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Submitted by Jerry Snider at Theartofbecomingawildflower

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“Half Blood Blues”



by Esi Edugyan

Rated 3.8 on amazon.com


Shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize.
Half-Blood Blues is the story of a group of black musicians trying to record a jazz album in the middle of WWII. The story plays out in Nazi controlled Berlin and in occupied Paris. The band members are a motley group and the book follows their fears, hopes and tribulations during the war.
Fifty years after the war, two of the surviving band members, Sid and Chip, get together for a cinematic tribute to their most famous musician of the group. The screening of the film hints at a mystery surrounding his arrest and his suspected death. Sid and Chip set out on a journey across the Polish landscape to a surprising climax full of hope and compassion.
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Why I love this book:
I absolutely loved the feel of jazz all through the book. There is pathos and the characters are deeply emotional as all art and artists are supposed to be.
Half Blood Blues touched my soul, in a mess of wild joyous music that survived the personal misery and the fear that the war brought to the protagonists.
Half Blood Blues is my favorite book because of the varied characters, a rich vocabulary, plenty of history and a touch of mystery. The imagery and the frequently idiosyncratic language is very beautiful and an entire range of emotions are explored through the characters. The book has a very artistic and an intense feeling to it.
I also liked the use of an unreliable narrator which adds to a sense of intrigue.
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Book Bean: Aam Panna
A tangy summer cooler made from the pulp of green mango.
Season the cooked mango pulp with sugar, rock salt and cumin powder. Add chilled water and top with crushed mint and ice.

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Submitted by Writinlive at Read Write Live
Self Expression equals Happiness”

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“Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban”


by J K Rowling

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held the infamous prisoner Sirius Black. Convicted of killing 13 people with a single curse, and said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter’s defeat of You-Know-Who was Black’s downfall as well. And the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, “He’s at Hogwarts . . . he’s at Hogwarts.”

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Why I love this book:

*SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN*

Do you ever read a really good book and just think “wow, this author must not be human because no human could’ve thought up this masterpiece”? Well, surprise surprise, I think that way with all of the Harry Potter books. J.K. Rowling can’t be human… so she must be a witch… IT ALL MAKES SENSE!

When I read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I have to say, that is hands down my favorite Harry Potter book and here’s why: Remus Lupin’s background story.

I know there is SO much that goes on in the other books that can top anything that occurs in this book but for some reason, Lupin’s background story will forever stick with me as the best thing I’ve ever read.

Now, don’t get mad at me but I watched all of the movies before I read the books… I know, I know WHAT WAS I THINKING? Because of this idiot move, I saw how the movies kind of just brushed over the Shrieking Shack and what it was. I didn’t think ANYTHING of it. But then I read the book and saw that the Shrieking Shack wasn’t actually haunted, that villagers just thought it was but in fact it was because of Lupin occupying it during his transformations into a werewolf. *Explosion noise* MIND BLOWN! Now this might not be as interesting to anyone else but I find it so fascinating and the fact that the movies just brushed over the Shrieking Shack and didn’t even hear Lupin’s story astonishes me.
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Top-5-Moscato-Inspired-Rhymes-2Book Bean: Barefoot Moscato
So if you haven’t read Prisoner of Azkaban, why don’t you grab a nice glass of my favorite drink, Barefoot Moscato, and enjoy it. I assure you, there are some twists in there that’s going to have your mind exploding like mine!

Submitted by Carolyn at Mugglesforharrypotter
H
ead over to her site for lots of great insight to all things Harry Potter!

Since I commandeered the Sunday spot for this awesome collaboration
I’ll sneak in a Sunday Funny here:

'Oooh. By Emily Bronte. A very controversial book...Cruelty! Passion! Death! Risky territory for a woman author in the 1800s.'

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Feedback on Favorites

I am planning to do a special article this Saturday that is based on the favorites of the Cafe Book Bean community. Please message or email me and tell me about your favorite book; brief synopsis, why its your favorite, what you love about it etc. Also tell me about a beverage you love, something that comforts you or that you enjoy while reading. I love hearing about new books and interesting drinks, and I think this will he a fun collaboration. Please message or email me your entry if you are interested! Message me here or email me cafebookbean

I would especially like to here from these loyal friends:

Piratepatty

Darlene

kimberlywenzler

Jon

equinoxio21

Cara Sue Achterberg

Martin

Robin A. Mück

Don Maker

penneyvanderbilt

leenasbooks

Sheismelrose

 

Saga Saturday I

I am a major sucker for a good long saga. Some of my favorite books
are considered to be as such.

Definition of saga

  1. 1:  a story of heroic deeds
  2. 2:  a long and often complicated story
    (http://beta.merriam-webster. com/)

For the first of weekly installments, here are my favorite saga’s (to date.)

(click any photo or title for more info.)


Gone With The Wind
I’m sure everyone has heard of gone with the wind. Whether you have seen it or not, have you read it? It is an awesome book! I recommend that if you like the movie and/or love saga’s that you read this book by Margaret Mitchell. It’s a novel that takes place during the civil war. The characters are ones that you cannot help but fall in love with. Gone With The Wind is truly an epic book.
Gone With The Wind Rated: 4.8 on amazon.com

 
frothy-cup-of-espresso-coffee-with-cinnamon-topped-with-sprinkled-chocolate-on-old-wooden-background_142922332
Book
Bean: Scarlet Tea
White tea (or coffee) with frothed milk, 2 sugars,
and sprinkled with cinnamon.  

 

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Far and Away

I cannot say enough about this book by Sonja Massie, I loved it so very much. It was the first book that I ever read ‘after’ I saw the movie. The movie it was based on is one of my all time favorites. The book is much deeper and more detailed. It is a great story about overcoming pride and on discovering oneself. It carries a theme about painting your own journey, which I really love. There is of course a love story, and it is a good one. It seems to be a bit under appreciated, as you will see if you follow my links, maybe I’m over biased…
Far and Away Rated: 4.3 on amazon.com
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Book Bean:
Old Fashioned Irish Coffee

Of course you can substitute the whiskey as I do with non-alcoholic rum flavoring (buy it where you get your vanilla.)

 



East of Eden
This novel takes place in Salinas Valley. Steinbeck does not disappoint with his beautifully descriptive narrative. Some people may not like his long winded picturesque intro’s, but I for one, love them. He brings you on location so you hear the wind in the trees, see each shapely cloud, and taste the very air he writes of. Who knows if it wasn’t for all of the wonderful descriptiveness, it might not even be a saga 😉
East of Eden Rated: 4.6 on amazon.com


images (1)Book Bean:
Green Tea Latte

Just substitute the espresso in your normal latte machine/bialetti with condensed green tea leaves, it’s so good. If you don’t have one then well, I’m sorry.

 


The Thorn Birds

I may sound like a broken record now but this is such a marvelous novel. It’s hard to pick a favorite among so many fantastic books, but this one almost makes me want to. Colleen McCullough tells a beautiful story, that follows the life of a girl, through the eyes of a handsome young priest. It takes place in Australia, and has it’s share of scandal, pain, and yes love. It may sound corny, but it is a delightful novel that I will love forever.
The Thorn Birds Rated: 4.3 on amazon.com

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Book Bean:
Ginger Peach Tea
Hot or iced, tea infused with dry peaches and ginger. If you don’t have it just add dry peaches and a dab of ginger to your infuser and use whatever tea you have.

And there are so many more I still have yet to read, and so many that I can’t wait to read.

What is your favorite saga?

Join me each Saturday for more great Saga’s!

Fun Fact: The mythical “Thornbird” searches for thorn trees from the day it is hatched. When it finds the perfect thorn, it impales itself, and sings the most beautiful song ever heard as it dies.

Great Coffee Table Books

I love coffee table books. I love the opportunity to skim through something interesting and beautiful. You get to learn something in a short period of time, while being visually charmed.

Here are a few of my favorite coffee table books.
Click on any picture or title for more information.
Art: Over 2500 Works From Cave to Contemporary
This book is so incredible, it is filled with so many masterpieces. I love that I can sit and enjoy incredible art work in a wide array of styles and eras in such a small package. As a bonus the cover photo is by Gustav Klimt, my favorite artist.

 

National Geographic:
Stunning Photographs
&
Destinations of a Lifetime
Both of these books are fantastic. Stunning Photography speaks for itself, it is stunning.
I love the variety and depth each photo brings. Destinations of a Lifetime is such a great book for me because I love to travel, but cannot at this stage in my life. So, it is a great book to have around to connect you with the other worlds around us.

Humans of New York
This is such a great and interesting book. It is full of character, charm, and craziness. I love learning a little bit more about all of us humans and our many many differences. This book really captures the culture of New York.

 

Henna Sourcebook: Over 1,000 Traditional Designs
and Modern Interpretations

This book is exquisite. The designs are so intricate and I love the deep rich colors and texture. Henna is so pretty and I love that this book brings together a variety of traditional and modern craft. Very visually pleasing and informative as well.
The World Atlas of Coffee &
The Art and Craft of Coffee
I couldn’t do a coffee table bit without including these two.
They are both awesome and packed full with tons of information. I really enjoyed all the great pictures as well. World Atlas focuses more on the many different cultures of coffee. Art and Craft has a bit more of a contemporary modern coffee house vibe.
Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry
This is one of my all time personal favorites. This book is so beautiful and inspiring. It shares with us the story and works of Akiane. Akiane is a child art protege, with an amazing gift and insight. Seeing all her amazing art work and reading her poetry is truly enchanting.

Now these are just a few great books I like, but the number  goes far and wide. What books you show off may differ greatly and that is wonderful. The great thing about coffee table books is that they mirror our personal interests and style. They are an opportunity to show what intrigues and delights us.

For Any Coffee Table Choice
Mexican-Spiced-Mocha-0108Book Bean: Spiced Mocha to warm up with
Home brewed coffee of choice, drizzle in chocolate, add cream,
then sprinkle with clove & cinnamon powder. If you are brave substitute
clove with an itty bitty dash of Cayenne powder.
Fun Fact: The best selling coffee table book of all time is Madonna’s “Sex,” but it is out of print.

New interests, seasons, and hobbies can all bring out a variety of table toppers. At the moment I have Domino: The Book of Decorating and  Anna Maria’s Needlework Notebook, because right now I am really into home design and needle and stitch work. Both books are beautiful and informative. I love to change it up!

So, share with me. What’s on your table?