Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happy Halloween!

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Have a fun and safe Halloween! It is a beautiful day here in Portland. My neighborhood is geared up and ready to celebrate. It looks like most houses have some kind of decorations up, more than usual. I think last year was so grim, people want to make up for it. We expect we will have a lot of trick-or-treaters!



Thursday, October 28, 2021

BUtterfield 8 by John O'Hara -- Book Beginnings

 


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Boo! It is almost Halloween! Are you ready for the trick-or-treaters? Are you reading anything particular for this Halloween week?

It's time for Book beginnings on Fridays! Whether you have a Halloween book or not, please share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading -- or just a book you want to highlight. 

My book has nothing to do with Halloween and is not a scary book. It isn't even a mystery. BUtterfield 8 is just one of those books that has been sitting on my TBR shelf for decades and I finally decided to read it. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING

On this Sunday morning in May, this girl who later was to be the cause of a sensation in New York, awoke much too early for her night before. 

-- BUtterfield 8 by John O'Hara. Yes, it is spelled with a capital B and U because BUtterfield 8 is an old fashioned telephone number. 

BUtterfield 8 was a bestseller when it was published in 1935. I can see why! It is till racy close to 90 years later. It's all sex and day drinking so far. 

YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

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THE FRIDAY 56

Another fun Friday event is The Friday 56. Share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your book, or 56% of the way through your e-book or audiobook, on this weekly event hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice.

MY FRIDAY 56

From BUtterfield 8:
It was useless to try to think of the names of speakeasies. His personal experience with speakeasies was slight, as he never drank; but he knew from going to them with Gloria that a place would be known familiarly as Jack’s or Giuseppe’s – and then when the proprietor gave you a card to the place (which you threw away the moment you were safe outside), it would be called Club Aristocrat or something of the sort.
Gloria is the girl who caused a sensation and who woke up to early after her late night. She is a firecracker!









Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Dead Bell by Reid Winslow - BOOK REVIEW


BOOK REVIEW

The Dead Bell by Reid Winslow (2021, Quid Mirum Press)

The Dead Bell drew me completely in from the get go. It has all the makings of an excellent murder mystery. Tom Edison is a cop in Lake County, Illinois, north of Chicago, called in to solve the murder of a society matron found dead in her back yard in the ritzy lakefront community of Lake Forest. Tom has the necessary accoutrements for hard boiled detective: an ex-wife, an estranged son, his own unresolved trauma, an alcoholic wild man for a sidekick, and an eye for the wrong woman.

With those ingredients, it’s just up to the author to bring them together correctly, and Reid Winslow does a masterful job. The Dead Bell is the best sort of mystery book, the kind that makes you forget you are reading a book and simply takes you along for the ride. Which is not to say that the book is all fast action and dialog. There is a lot of literary heft to it – backstory, descriptions, character development, an introspective protagonist, digression, side stories, and a complicated plot. But Reid Winslow’s writing flows so naturally you absorb all this without stumbling at transitions or having the writing itself get in the way of first-rate storytelling.

All in all, I am so impressed! The Dead Bell is so polished and the plot keeps the reader guessing all the way through. I’ve read plenty of mysteries published by big-name authors and publishers that aren’t nearly as good as this – not even close! Congratulations to Winslow on his accomplished debut and here’s to more books in the Tom Edison series.

NOTES

Less in the nature of "full disclosure" and more because I am excited about it, I'll mention that I've known Reid Winslow for a long time because we are both lawyers in Portland and worked together, briefly, many years ago. Many lawyers have a fantasy to write mystery novels, so I am excited for and proud of my friend for making it happen! 

I read an advanced copy of The Dead Bell and part of my review is blurbed on the back cover. If you order a copy (and I think you should -- it's a terrific read) you will also get a little souvenir of your being a Rose City Reader reader. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ






 




Thursday, October 21, 2021

Flavours of Greece by Rosemary Barron -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

It's raining and raining all week here in Portland! This sunny cookbook of Greek recipes is exactly what I need to lift the grey clouds.

What is your week looking like?

Please join us here on Book Beginnings on Fridays to share the opening sentence (or so) of the book you are reading. Or share a book you want to highlight. Leave the link to your Book Beginnings post in the linky box below. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING

It is impossible for me to think of Greece without thinking of the colours, sites, aromas, and, above all, the flavours of Greek cooking.

-- from the Foreword to Flavours of Greece by Rosemary Barron (2021, Grub Street).

Those who know Greece, even if only from a brief acquaintance, are aware that there is a vigorous culinary tradition in the country, with a distinct identity and character.

-- from the Introduction.

For modern Greeks olives and bread are the basic necessities of life, as they have been for centuries. The olive groves of modern Greece -- still, mysterious, and peaceful places -- date back to around 450 BC when olive oil was first recognized as a valuable export commodity and the land was given over to olive cultivation.

-- from part one, The Greek Kitchen, chapter one, Ingredients.

Rosemary Barron started a cooking school in Greece in the 1980s and has been championing Greek food ever since. This redo of her best selling cookbook, The Flavours of Greece, is a must-have for any lover of Greek food who wants to cook at home. 

The book is as lush and gorgeous as the dishes it promises. Barron starts with an inventory of a Greek pantry, including instructions on how to make such staples as yogurt and preserved lemons. She then moves through recipes from mezzes (appetizers) to desserts and miscellany. The recipes are as simple as a mezze of aromatic figs made by layering dried figs with bay leaves and cracked black pepper tightly in a jar for several days (intriguing!) to the more complicated, like Duckling Thessalia-Style, which involves roasting a duckling with lemons and pine nuts and things. None of the recipes are difficult and all look delicious! 

With over 250 national and regional recipes, dozens of color photos, fresh green and orange accent colors, and easy-to-follow instructions, Flavours of Greece will be your go-to Greek cookbook. 


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

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THE FRIDAY 56

Another fun Friday event is The Friday 56. Share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your book, or 56% of the way through your e-book or audiobook, on this weekly event hosted by Freda at Freda's Voice.

MY FRIDAY 56

From The Flavours of Greece:
These little pastries, filled with a creamy nutmeg-spiced spinach mixture, are perfect picnic food. You can make them with either pastry dough or with filo and they freeze beautifully (freeze before cooking). 
The recipe for spanakopita seems like a classic Greek recipe, and one a home cook can handle.  




Thursday, October 14, 2021

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot - BOOK BEGINNINGS

 


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

I'm continuing my celebration of Victober with another Victorian novel, The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. 

What are you reading this week? Please share the first sentence (or so) here on Book Beginnings on Fridays. Add the link to your post in the linky box below. 

MY BOOK BEGINNING

A wide plain, where the broadening Floss hurries on between its green banks to the sea, and the loving tide, rushing to meet it, checks its passage with an impetuous embrace.
-- The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot. This one has been on my TBR shelf for a long time. Published in 1860, it is the story of Maggie Tulliver, her family struggles, romantic loves, and adoration of her brother. It is Eliot's most autobiographical novel. 

I finished The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins last week and loved it. The Moonstone was on my Classics Club list, so I'm making progress. The Mill on the Floss is definitely a classic, but not onw on my personal list of 50 classics to read in five years, which is what the Classics Club is all about. Are you a Classics Club participant? Join in if it sounds like fun!



YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your post below and use the #bookbeginnings hashtag if you share on social media!

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THE FRIDAY 56

The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

MY FRIDAY 56

From The Mill on the Floss:
Tom was to arrive early in the afternoon, and there was another fluttering heart besides Maggie’s when it was late enough for the sound of the gig-wheels to be expected; for if Mrs. Tulliver had a strong feeling, it was fondness for her boy. At last the sound came—that quick light bowling of the gig-wheels—and in spite of the wind, which was blowing the clouds about, and was not likely to respect Mrs. Tulliver’s curls and cap-strings, she came outside the door, and even held her hand on Maggie’s offending head, forgetting all the griefs of the morning.



Thursday, October 7, 2021

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins -- BOOK BEGINNINGS

 


BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

Happy Victober! 

One of my favorite things about Instagram is Victober, the annual bookstagrammer tradition of reading Victorian literature in the month of October. I look forward to it all year. There is something so cozy about reading Victorian novels in the fall.

Do you participate in Victober? What books are you reading this year? I'm reading The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot, and maybe one other one if I get the time. 

I plan to share some of the opening sentences here on Book Beginnings on Fridays. Please share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading (or just want to highlight). Add the link to your Book Beginning post in the linky box below.

MY BOOK BEGINNING

I address these lines—written in India—to my relatives in England.

My object is to explain the motive which has induced me to refuse the right hand of friendship to my cousin, John Herncastle.
-- The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.

The Moonstone was published in 1868 and is considered the first (probably) detective story. It is the mystery of the theft of a yellow diamond the size of a plover egg. How big is a plover egg? I don't know. I don't even know how big a full grown plover is. But it's fun to say plover a lot.

YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add your link below. Please use the #booksbeginnigns hashtag if you post on social media.

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THE FRIDAY 56

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.

MY FRIDAY 56

From The Moonstone:
The Diamond takes us back to Mr. Franklin, who was the innocent means of bringing that unlucky jewel into the house.

Our nice boy didn’t forget us after he went abroad.
The Moonstone is an excellent book. It's a rollicking adventure with lots of funny bits and a pretty good mystery. I'm close to the end and still don't know who took the diamond. 

The Moonstone is one of the 50 books on my Classics Club list


Saturday, October 2, 2021

September Wrap Up -- My September Books


SEPTEMBER WRAP UP

I finally launched my own Zazzle store. Crazy, right? It’s not like my law practice gives me a lot of down time! But I need a creative outlet. I have a couple of product lines so far, but my favorite is a collection of gifts and stationery with images of old books from my own library. The mug in the picture above is an example. If you want to see more, find me on the Zazzle website at RoseCityEphemera. I’m excited about it!

When I wasn't playing with Zazzle, I managed to read ten books last month. They are listed below in the order I read them, not in the order they are stacked up in the picture.

MY SEPTEMBER BOOKS

The Choir by Joanna Trollope, cozy and wonderful. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity―and Why This Harms Everybody by Helen Pluckrose, which is not in the picture because I read the audiobook. This is an excellent book and a highlight of the month for me. Pluckrose is one of the three scholars, along with James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian, who submitted bogus "grievance studies" papers to peer reviewed journals and got many of them accepted and even published. It's worth looking up because the papers they got published are hilarious. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Uncommon Clay by Margaret Maron was a pretty decent mystery set in North Carolina. I read it with my ears so it isn't in the picture. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

An Alphabet for Gourmets by M. F. K. Fisher. This is a wonderful book of idiosyncratic food writing. It wandered off before I took the picture. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross, another highlight of the month. This one was lurking on my TBR shelf for a long time and I'm glad I finally read it. It is historical fiction at its best. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Noah’s Compass by Anne Tyler. I'm an Anne Tyler completist, but I found this one disappointingly pointless. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Mystery and Manners by Flannery O’Connor, occasional nonfiction. This was admittedly a little repetitive, but still excellent. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

A Changed Man by Francine Prose, slightly subversive, a little edgy, and I loved it. It's the second of her books I've read and she's becoming a favorite. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

Split Images by Elmore Leonard, which was typical Leonard but still good. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน1/2

Slightly Foxed, Vol. 70, the recent summer edition, which I count so I can keep track of which ones I read. ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒน

MY FAVORITE COVER OF THE MONTH













Friday, October 1, 2021

Between Two Kings: A Sequel to The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas

 

BOOK BEGINNINGS ON FRIDAYS

My apologies for not getting this week's Book Beginnings post up last evening. My computer was in computer hospital. Ugh! Fortunately, it was an easy repair -- it just needed a (way) bigger hard drive. Let's just say my phone had twice as much brain power as my two-year old lap top. What was I thinking?

So I am here now and ready to share opening sentences (or so) of the books we are reading this week -- or just the books we feel like highlighting. What book captured your fancy this first week October?

MY BOOK BEGINNING

From Between Two Kings:

Toward the middle of May in the year 1660, at nine o’clock in the morning, when the already hot sun was drying the dew on the ramparts of the Chรขteau de Bois, a little cavalcade, composed of three men and two junior pages, was returning into the city across the Loire bridge.
Dumas published Twenty Years After, his sequel to The Three Musketeers, in 1845. Between Two Kings, shown here, is the first volume of Twenty Years After.

This is the latest edition of a new translation of the Musketeer Cycle by Lawrence Ellsworth, out now from Pegasus Books. Ellsworth’s is the first translation from the French to English in over 100 years. If you thought the Musketeers were fun before, wait until you see how they swashbuckle now! 


YOUR BOOK BEGINNINGS

Please add the link to your Book Beginning post in the linky box below. If you share on social media, please use the #bookbeginnings hashtag.

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THE FRIDAY 56

Freda at Freda's Voice hosts another teaser event on Fridays. Participants share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of the book they are reading -- or from 56% of the way through the audiobook or ebook. Please visit Freda's Voice for details and to leave a link to your post.

MY FRIDAY 56

From Between Two Kings:
As he was passing out of the gate, leading his horse by the bridle, a soft voice called from the gloom of a shaded path, “Monsieur Raoul!”

The young man turned in surprise and saw a brown-haired young woman who was pressing a finger to her lips and holding out her other hand.




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