Roxanna Badin of the Los Angeles Review of Books, writes Rowling Keeps It Real: On "The Casual Vacancy." is the most interesting review I have read for The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. Her description of the myth of J.K. Rowling is worth the reading alone. She writes:
"Rowling’s real life story is neither as romantic nor as tragic as has been portrayed in the media, but that’s not the point. The myth tells us something important, if off-putting, about ourselves: we want the creative process of the down-at-heel single mother to be a fecund miracle, in the same way we want all rags-to-riches stories to involve a firm but romantic pulling-up of bootstraps."
Dear book club hosts,
Here is a perfect recipe for a quick and delicious dessert for book club from Food and Wine July 2000.I have been making this ever since.
Molten Chocolate Cakes
Ingredients: Makes 4 6-oz cakes
1 stick of (4oz) unsalted butter
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup of sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Butter and lightly flour 6-oz ramekins. Tap out the excess flour. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet.
2. In a double boiler, over simmering water, melt the butter with the chocolate. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the egg yolks, sugar and salt at high speed until thickened and pale.
3. Whisk the chocolate until smooth. Quickly fold it into the egg mixture along with the flour. Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins and bake for 12 minutes, or until the sides of the cakes are firm but the centers are soft. Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for 1 minute, then cover each with an inverted dessert plate. Carefully turn each one over, let stand for 10 seconds and then unsold. Serve immediately
I topped with whipped cream and berries. Yum!!!
Make ahead: the batter can be refrigerated for several hours; bring to room temperature before baking.
Wine: Chocolate is intense and bitter for many sweet wines, but not port. Try this dessert with a Ruby Porto, such as the nonvintage Sanderman Founder's Reserve or the no vintage Fonseca Bin No. 27.
A Chocolate "Accident"
Perhaps no other recipe in recent history has caught on as fast as barely baked, just-out -of-the-oven individual-sized chocolate cakes, which under the slightest pressure from a fork, releases a flow of melted chocolate. Credit for their invention goes to Jean-Georges Vongerichten, chef and co-owner of restaurants around the world, including New York's Jean Georges and Vong.
How did it happen? In 1987, Pierre Schutz, now the chef at Vong in Manhattan spent time working with Marc Meneau in France and brought back a recipe for an underbaked chocolate cake. Vongerichten recalls, "We started playing with it at Lafayette, where we both worked." At first, the chefs baked the cakes in tiny paper cups; they were moist but not runny because they were so small. "Three months after we started making them, a customer requested them for a party." Vongerichten says, "That's when we first made larger ones and discovered that the insides ran--everyone loved them."
Jennifer K Blog writes that she was drawn to The Light Between Oceans because of the moral dilemma at the book's core. Read her blog post for the book. Also, check out her favorite books read in 2012.
Kelly's [Former] France Blog reviews The Light Between Oceans. She writes, "This is one of my favorite books of the year. Hands down." One of her favorite lines from the book is found on page 71:
"There are times when the ocean is not the ocean-not blue, not even water, but some violent explosion of energy and danger: ferocity on a scale only gods can summon. It hurls itself at the island, sending spray right over the top of the lighthouse, biting pieces off the cliff. And the sound is a roaring of a beast whose anger knows no limits. Those are the nights the light is needed most."
La Bibliofille had the same issues I had of not giving away too many details when trying to review this book. She found it interesting to read about life on a remote island. I agree, one of the best things about the book is how well the author is able to put you on Janus Rock! Read more from Alice McNamara's blog.
I was an early Stephen King fan but I hadn't read anything by him since The Stand. This 700 page novel's title and cover captured my attention and I am so glad it did. I am loving every surprise along the way. I found this video below at http://112263book.com/. In the video Stephen King talks about how he began this novel in 1973 and why he stopped writing then and why he is glad he waited to write 11/22/63 until now.
Just finished The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman and I highly recommend it. I enjoyed it so much I picked it for Book Club Extraordinaire's January Read. I can't wait to hear what everyone thinks!
For starters, read Turn the Pages blog's review of the novel.
Reviews for Rules of Civility
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2011 writes "An elegant, pithy performance by a first-time novelist who couldn’t seem more familiar with his characters or territory."
The New York Times Book Review by Liesl Schillinger writes "With this snappy period piece, Towles resurrects the cinematic black-and-white Manhattan of the golden age of screwball comedy, gal-pal camaraderie and romantic mischief (think of "Stage Door," "Made for Each Other," "My Man Godfrey" and even Fay Wray in "King Kong")."
The Guardian's Viv Groskop writes "Anyway it's New Year's Eve 1937 and Katey Kontent is heading to a Greenwich Village hotspot – quite literally the Hotspot – with her room-mate Eve. So far, so Sex and the City 1930s-style. We know there are going to be cocktails, flirting and a lot of kicking up of high heels: "We started the evening with a plan of stretching three dollars as far as it would go.""
NPR Books' Heller McAlpin writes "It is also about maintaining integrity and the capacity for wonder in the face of insidious monetary sway, and Thoreau's exhortions to "find our pole star and to follow it unwaveringly.""
Book Club Extraordinaire Nov/Dec book pick is The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt. Characters abound in this book so I will begin my list so I can keep track of who's who.
Tom Wellswood- age 13 dark gold hair; looked younger than he was; large dark eyes, soft mouth
Julian Cain - age 15; neither tall nor short, slightly built with a sharp face and a sallow complexion.
Phillip Warren- does Indian rope trick and disappears; hay haired, shaggy and filthy; living in the basement of the museum; in the Russian crypt. The shrine of an old dead saint, where the bones used to be on a stone bed.
Dorothy- oldest daughter
Hedda- age 5, vegetarian; little demon; clever; cannot keep still
Florian- age 3; bashful
Robin- age 1
Major Cain- Julian's father; Special Keeper of Precious Metals at the South Kensington Museum
Humphrey Wellswood- Olive's husband, Tom, Dorothy, Phyllis, Hedda, Robin,Florian's father, tall, thin man, with a fox-red beard, neatly trimmed, pale blue eyes and a dark brown velvet jacket; works at the Bank of England and was an active member of the Fabian Society.He tells tales to his family of secret naughtiness amongst the bank clerks.
Olive Wellswood- Tom, Dorothy, Phyllis, Hedda, Florian's mother; vegetarian; author of magical tales; bold, pleasant face, high coloured, eager, firm-mouthed, with wide-set huge dark eyes, like the poopy centres, around 35; moves a little to freely, impuslsivel, fine flesh, fine ankles; authority on British Fairy Lore
Violet Grimwith, Olive's sister, short dark-haired woman in a loose mulberry-coloured dress, vegetarian
Ada - Wellswood's cook
Cathy- young servant
From Reading Group Choices find conversation starters for book clubs. Here is one for The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway: "What effect does the constant confrontation of war and occupation have on each narrator? Does suffering, violence and loss ever become normalized for them? What is it like to live in this kind of anarchy—especially when symbols of peace and power have been extinguished (the eternal flame from WWII, the Kosovo Olympic stadium now used as a burial ground)? And what does it mean to have the color, beauty, and vibrancy of music and flowers (left behind for the cellist) introduced?"
CaribousMom- reading a good book with a furchild by her side, writes a good review on The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway. She writes: "The Siege of Sarajevo began April 5, 1992 and lasted almost four years. Approximately 10,000 people were killed, and 56,000 wounded – most were civilians. Embedded in these numbers are thousands of personal stories. One of those stories includes Vedran Smailovic, a musician who witnessed 22 of his friends and neighbors killed by a mortar shell while they were waiting to buy bread in May 1992." Read more..
If you haven't checked out Goodreads website, now is a good time. Goodreads readers give The Cellist of Sarajevo a 3.95 out of 5 stars with 3,974 raters. One reader writes: "The Cellist of Sarajevo made me cry."
BookBrowse gave The Cellist of Sarajevo a Favorite Book badge.Since 2000, BookBrowse has reached out to its readers to vote on their favorite books of the year. After this rigorous voting process, the BookBrowse Favorite Book Award winners are selected. Click the link and see if you agree.
BookBrowse writes "This brilliant novel with universal resonance tells the story of three people trying to survive in a city rife with the extreme fear of desperate times, and of the sorrowing cellist who plays undaunted in their midst..."
I'm an expert amateur or maybe an amateur expert.