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PawsforThought's reading in 2019, part 2

This is a continuation of the topic PawsforThought's reading in 2019.

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Edited: Aug 13, 8:03am Top

Hi all.

I joined LT, erhm, some years ago, and have been a bit on-and-off both with my reading and with my presence on the site in the past few years. 2019 started out as slowly as previous years but at the end of spring I really got into a reading groove and have been averaging 3-4 books a week since June. I doubt I'll continue with that kind of speed now that I'm back at work after summer and the busiest time of year is upon me. But at least I'm reading, and I'm really excited.

I always try to fit my books into one of the TIOLI challenges, and even when my reading isn't going quite so well I at least check in and see what challenges are posted. The TIOLI is one of my favourite things about LT.

One of my New Year's resolutions for 2019 was to read more poetry and I've been doing my best to keep that up. I've always been interested in poetry, but it's not been something I've taken the time to really read, so I'm trying to do something about that. I don't have any set goals for specific authors, number of authors or anything like that, just more poetry, and considering that I was reading next to none before this year, it's not been that difficult a resolution to keep. Of the poets I've selected so far, I've tried to read as much as I can get hold of - collected works wherever possible and the next best thing where not. I haven't liked everything I've read but I've discovered some real gems, and I'm really happy I chose to do this. I'm definitely keeping it up.

I'm hoping the rest of the year will see my reading groove continue, even if it's not at the same speed as the summer's provided.

Edited: Aug 18, 9:54am Top

Books read in 2019:

#1: Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones (1986. 346 pages)
#2: Lord Peter Views the Body - Dorothy L. Sayers (1928. 207 pages)
#3: Scoop - Evelyn Waugh (1938. 248 pages)
#4: The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club - Dorothy L. Sayers (1928. 287 pages)
#5: Mrs McGinty's Dead - Agatha Christie (1952. 241 pages)
#6: Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (1811. 490 pages)
#7: Strong Poison - Dorothy L. Sayers (1930. 224 pages)
#8: The Man in the Brown Suit - Agatha Christie (1924. 277 pages)
#9: The Mysterious Mr. Quin - Agatha Christie (1930. 286 pages)
#10: American Gods - Neil Gaiman (2001. 530 pages)
#11: Småtrollen och den stora översvämningen (The Moomins and the Great Flood) - Tove Jansson (1945. 56 pages)
#12: Katitzi - Katarina Taikon (1969. 151 pages)
#13: Kometen kommer (Comet in Moominland) - Tove Jansson (1968. 157 pages)
#14: Josefin (Josephine) - Maria Gripe (1961. 132 pages)
#15: An Elephant in the Garden - Michael Morpurgo (2010. 212 pages)
#16: Hugo och Josefin (Hugo and Josephine) - Maria Gripe (1962. 158 pages)
#17: Toro! Toro! - Michael Morpurgo (2001. 107 pages)
#18: Hugo - Maria Gripe (1966. 127 pages)
#19: Trolltider - Maria Gripe (1985. 29 pages)
#20: Trollkarlens hatt (Finn Family Moomintroll) - Tove Jansson (1948. 153 pages)
#21: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips - Michael Morpurgo (2005. 188 pages)
#22: Flamingo Boy - Michael Morpurgo (2018. 216 pages)
#23: Listen to the Moon - Michael Morpurgo (2014. 320 pages)
#24: Muminpappans memoarer (The Exploits of Moominpappa) - Tove Jansson (1950. 166 pages)
#25: Ture Sventon i London - Åke Holmberg (1950. 110 pages)
#26: Shadow - Michael Morpurgo (2010. 191 pages)
#27: Billy the Kid - Michael Morpurgo (2000. 72 pages)
#28: The Butterfly Lion - Michael Morpurgo (1996. 110 pages)
#29: Five on a Treasure Island - Enid Blyton (1942. 121 pages)
#30: A Young Doctor's Notebook - Mikhail Bulgakov (1920s.166 pages)
#31: We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson (1962. 176 pages)
#32: Crooked House - Agatha Christie (1949. 256 pages)
#33: Cool! - Michael Morpurgo (2002. 109 pages)
#34: The Return of Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle (1905. 400 pages)
#35: A Dog's Heart - Mikhail Bulgakov (1925. 176 pages)
#36: Kaspar: Prince of Cats - Michael Morpurgo (2008. 203 pages)
#37: Maisie Dobbs - Jacqueline Winspear (2005. 309 pages)
#38: Ture Sventon i Paris - Åke Holmberg (1953. 109 pages)
#39: The Labours of Hercules - Agatha Christie (1947. 287 pages)
#40: Five Red Herrings - Dorothy L. Sayers (1931. 384 pages)
#41: His Last Bow: Some Reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle (1917. 256 pages)
#42: Ture Sventon i Stockholm - Åke Holmberg (1954. 105 pages)
#43: The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson (1959. 224 pages)
#44: Ture Sventon och Isabella - Åke Holmberg (1955. 127 pages)
#45: The Fatal Eggs - Mikhail Bulgakov (1925. 85 pages)
#46: Black Coffee - Agatha Christie & Charles Osborne (1930/1998. 189 pages)
#47: Pappa Pellerin's Daughter - Maria Gripe (1963. 188 pages)
#48: The Valley of Fear - Arthur Conan Doyle (1915. 224 pages)
#49: The Woman in Black - Susan Hill (1983. 140 pages.)
#50: A Man Lay Dead - Ngaio Marsh (1934. 188 pages)

Edited: Aug 18, 9:54am Top

The year's reading in covers.

August onwards.

Edited: Aug 13, 8:00am Top

Poetry read in 2019:

#1: Edith Södergran: Dikter (Poems); Septemberlyran (The September Lyre); Rosenaltaret (The Rose Alter); Framtidens skugga (The Shadow of the Future); Landet som icke är (The Land That Is Not)
#2: Edna St. Vincent Millay: Renascence: and Other Poems, A Few Figs from Thistles: Poems and Four Sonnets; Second April; The Harp-Weaver, and Other Poems
#3: Sten Selander: Avsked: efterlämnade dikter (Farewell: Poems Left Behind)
#4: Gustaf Fröding: Guitarr och dragharmonika: mixtum pictum på vers; Nya dikter; Stänk och flikar; Nytt och gammalt; Gralstänk
#5: T. S. Eliot: Prufrock - 1917; Poems - 1920; The Waste Land; The Hollow Men; Ash-Wednesday; Ariel Poems; Unfinished Poems; Minor Poems; Choruses from 'The Rock' - 1934; Four Quartets; Occasional Verses

Edited: Aug 13, 8:08am Top

And that's all for now.

Aug 13, 9:07am Top

The Woman in Black - Susan Hill

Arhur Kipps, a young lawyer in London, is given an assignment to travel up north to a small town in an unwelcoming and marshy landscape, to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow - client of his firm - and to look over her paperworks to see if there is anything of importance there. Everyone in town goes pale and queit when me mentions why he's there, and it doesn't take long before Arthus starts seeing a strange, gaunt woman in old-fashioned all-black clothes. A woman no one else sees.

Meh. I had fairly high hopes for this book (on the cover of the edition I read was a blurb from The Guardian calling it "the most talked-about horror novel in modern times") but it's quite a dud. Very little actually happens, and the little action that does appear is too little, too dull and too late to have any effect on the reader. I want a ghost/horror novel to at least slightly scare me but I was just bored reading this. Not to mention that despite this being a very short novel (my edition was only 140 pages), I'd want about a third of it cut because it's unnecessary. There's a whole half-page of Arthus Kipps listing all the toys in a child's bedroom. Jeez.

Aug 14, 9:17am Top

Happy new thread!

Aug 14, 2:38pm Top

>7 drneutron: Thank you!

Aug 14, 5:12pm Top

Happy new thread, Paws!

I started reading the Dutch translation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? today.

Aug 14, 5:42pm Top

>9 FAMeulstee: Thank you!

I started on Androids... a couple of days ago but have only read a few chapters. I'm reading other books simultaneously which prolongs everything, and I since the world the book is set in is so different, it takes some time to really get into it. I like it wel enough so far though.

Aug 15, 7:14pm Top

Happy new thread Paws. Your reading numbers have gone way up since June!

I disliked The Woman in White, sorry that The Woman in Black didn't turn out much better.

Aug 16, 2:02am Top

>11 EllaTim: Thanks Ella. Yeah, my numbers are up a lot, but a lot of it is due to my reading a lot of children's books. Still, way better than before. They will go down again now that I'm back at work and can't spend most of my days reading.

I've never read any Wilkie Collins - sorry to hear you didn't like The Woman in White. I have it on my TBR list and will read it someday - hopefully I'll like it better than you did.

Aug 17, 9:22am Top

Over at Karen's thread, I mentioned that some of the best known (and best-loved) cookies/biscuits that are made and eaten in Sweden are made with ammonium bicarbonate/salt of hartshorn and several people asked me for recipes so here we go.

First up is drömmar ("dreams"). Back in the early half of the 20th century, it was not considered proper to serve not just two or three types of cookes/bicuites and cakes if you had people over for coffee. You were supposed to offer seven. Yes, seven. (My grandmother and her friends kept this up until their death, so I grew up eating A LOT of sweet things when we visited.) Drömmar is one of the most commonly found cookies/biscuits on this seven-type spread. This recipes comes from the absolutely classic recipe book called Sju sorters kakor - meaning "Seven types of cookies/biscuits and cakes". It's the most sold cookbook in Swedish history and is really good (yes, I have a copy).

Makes ca 35 (remember that Swedish cookies/biscuits are WAY SMALLER than American ones. Like smaller that half the size. One of these should be about the same size as the circle your thumb and index finger make when you make an "okay" sign")

50 g butter
150 cl caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar (if you don't have vanilla sugar, about half the amount of vanilla pods should work; I can't say how this would work with vanilla extract, since the extra liquid might change the texture)
50 cl rapeseed oil (or similar, unflavoured oil)
0.5 tsp salt of hartshorn
20 cl plain flour (ca 120 gram)

Turn the oven on at 150˚C.
Stir butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the oil a little at a time while stirring. Mix the salt of hartshorn with a small amount of flour and add to the butter mixture. Add the rest of the flour and work it in.
Roll the dough into small balls and place on an oven tray covered with baking paper/silicone mat.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes. Let cool on the oven tray.

They should be crumble/flaky.

Second goody up is a Christmas classic that it tasty all year, but is the reason why I (and many, many other Swedes) get a little glassy-eyed at the smell of ammonia in the kitchen - because it means there are havrekex (oat crackers) being made. These are a must at Christmas, and while I enjoy them just as they are with a little bit of butter, they're also fantastic with a thin slice of cheese and a tiny dollop of marmelad on top. Be aware that they are VERY breakable. Don't ever try to butter them while holding them in you hand. It's just be crumbs left.
There are a million differernt recipes for this, and the one I'm sharing isn't our family one (because it's secret) but it's similar. We don't have wheat flour in ours.

Makes ca 60

1 kg rolled oats
45 cl caster sugar
500 g butter (at room temperature)
1 litre milk
110 cl
Blanda i efter 12 timmar
110 cl plain flour
50 g salt of hartshorn

Mix oats, sugar and butter. Add the milk and mix together. Leave to soak for 12 hours (yes, 12) at room temperature.
Add the flour mixed with salt of hartshorn.
Knead into a dough and roll out on a pastry board covered with a little bit of flour. Roll until the dough is ca 2-3 millimetres thick. Then roll with a notched rolling pin. Take out rounds ca 10 cm in diameter.
Place on an oven tray. Don't put grease on the tray, but you can use baking paper.
Bake for ca 8-10 minutes at 200˚C. If some of them start to get a little brown on the edges they should be done. They should NOT be brown all over, but a little edge-browning is okay.
Let cool. When they're cool enough to touch without burning your fingers, place them vertically in a box or similar - WITHOUT LID - and allow them to try out. If they're allowed to get moist they'll go bad. Dry ones keep for at least several months.


Edited: Aug 17, 9:47am Top

Paws - this is fantastic! Thank you. I'm inspired to try both recipes after I buy some hartshorn and vanilla sugar. Caster sugar I can make. Everything else I have.

Aug 17, 10:31am Top

>14 karenmarie: No problem. Hope the baking goes well. Let me know if you want any more Swedish recipes, I'll see what I can do.

Aug 18, 10:00am Top

A Man Lay Dead - Ngaio Marsh

The first of the Inspector Alleyn mysteries. Primarily through the perspective of Nigel Bathgate, we learn about a country house party and the dreadful death of one of the party members. The local police call for the help of Scotland Yard and the crime is investigate by the great Chief Inspector-Detective Roderick Alleyn.

This was a good one, and I'll definitely read more of Marsh's Alleyn stories going forward. You don't really get a grip of Alleyn as a characters but I suppose that'll change as the series goes along. The way the crime was committed was a tiny bit unbelievable, but that's not unusual for this genre.

Aug 19, 2:49am Top

I've discovered the Internet Archive. Obviously, I already knew it existed and some of what it did, but I didn't realise jsut how much stuff they had available, and most importantly - that you can borrow books to read! They have so many, many books digitized and not just super-old or special interest books (which is what I thought) but tons of books I genuinely want to read. They have nearly every Ngaio marsh book, all the Agatha Christie's I can't get at the library, lost of Dorothy Sayers and Margery Allingham (whom I've been wanting to try reading but can't get hold of IRL) and even Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher books! I'm giddy with excitement.
Of course, I don't like reading on a screen as much as I do a physical page, and I haven't yet tried out any of the Ipad apps so have only been reading on my laptop (which is decidedly NOT ideal), but it works if it's something you want to read and can't get otherwise.

Aug 19, 9:05pm Top

Hmm, gotta check out Internet Archives!

Yesterday, 2:18am Top

>18 drneutron: I highly recommend it. There's obviously gaps, as there's bound to be when something is done completely on a voluntary basis, and not every scan is great, but that's understandable considering that it's often a scan of a 30+ year old mass-market paperback. I'm just excited that I get to read books I'd have a hard time getting hold of otherwise - for free!
It works just like a "regular" library in that only one person at a time can borrow a book and if it's lent out you go on the waiting list.
The only thing I'm not jazzed about is that it feels a bit messy (at least when you're used to LT).

Yesterday, 2:35am Top

Happy new thread, Paws.

>17 PawsforThought: Sounds like just the thing for some of those hard to find books. Cannot replace paper though and the experience of reading it provides.

Yesterday, 3:29am Top

>20 PaulCranswick: Yeah, it's great for the thigns that my little local library system just can keep on the shelves.

And nothing can replace paper books. I'm not really a reader of ebooks, but with things like this, when I can't actually get hold of a book any other way - it's good. It's actually making it more likely that I'll end up buying paper copies of those books - I'd never buy them "unread" but if I read them and like them, I'll buy them.

Yesterday, 3:59am Top

>21 PawsforThought: Yes, they are pretty much my thoughts too, Paws.

Yesterday, 7:06am Top

>17 PawsforThought: Nice! I've heard of it, but never tried borrowing a book from it.

But try one of the iPad apps, it really is a much better experience reading. Which one depends on what kind of file the E-books are. I've never tried the Internet Archive, but I do read Gutenberg books, usually with the iBooks app, that comes with the iPad. Those are ePub files.

Yesterday, 8:55am Top

>23 EllaTim: Yeah, I'm going to look into the Ipad apps one of these days. I think there's an app specifically for IA, even. I think they do PDF downloads, but I've just been reading them right on the homepage for now.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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