Two New Blogging Projects

Coinciding with the official move of my blogging activity from this blog  to my new one (http://themisathena.info/) — and to start into the new year — I have come up with two new blogging projects:

 

1. Diversity Bingo

This is in support of my Around the World reading project, which hasn’t quite seen the progress it should have had in 2020 (though fortunately it didn’t come to stall entirely, either).  I’m aiming at getting through the categories within the space of this year, though this isn’t set in stone … if it takes longer, it takes longer.  Here are the bingo card and the categories — fellow travelers welcome!  (My master update post can be found HERE.

 

2. An Alphabet of My Likes and Dislikes

The second project is something I saw in BeetleyPete‘s blog and liked so much that I decided I’ll have a go at it, too — not least because it may also serve as an introduction to those of you who haven’t been following me for a long time yet: an alphabet of (some of) my likes and dislikes.  (I hope Pete won’t be angry at me for stealing his idea … as you know, Pete, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!)  Similar to another moderately recent post of mine, I won’t be selecting any topics / likes and dislikes that you can easily glean from the contents of my blog anyway — such as the fact that I own am owned by two adorable 3 1/2 year old tomcats and that I love books, music, movies, tea, photography and traveling — but for each letter of the alphabet I’ll try to come up with something that defines me as a person in one way or another.

Pete completed his project on the basis of one post per day, and with likes and dislikes separately … I don’t think I’ll have quite the stamina to spread it out this much, so I’ll combine both likes and dislikes in a single post.  (I’ll try to do one a day, but it is possible that life is going to intervene and I won’t be able to stick entirely to that schedule.)

The project’s sole organizing principle is going to be the alphabetical order; “likes” and “dislikes” for the same letter of the alphabet are almost certainly not going to be connected (or if they are, it’s merely going to be a coincidence.)

The project’s master post can be found HERE.

 

Note: The posts belonging to these two new projects are only posted on my new blog ( http://themisathena.info/ ).  Similarly, like all master posts for my blogging projects, those for these two projects can be accessed from the link contained in the sidebar of my new blog.

FOLLOWER ALERT: Moving to a New Blog

As I mentioned in an earlier post,  WP’s massive move to enforce their block editor, which nobody seems to like and which I hate with a vengeance, made me decide to go “self-hosted” in order to be able to continue using the classic editor without having to remember to select it every time I’m creating or accessing a post (and even that selection switch is clearly a disfavored option on WP.com these days, so it’s bound to disappear entirely at some point).

I’ve been building the new blog in the past two months and am now ready to officially make the move there.  The address is:

http://themisathena.info/

The blog name — Lioness at Large — is going to remain the same, and It’s still a blog using the WP functionality, so you can continue following me using the WP Reader (or follow me by email, of course; just input your email address into the form at the top of the sidebar to the right).  And this present blog (https://themisathena.wordpress.com/) is not going to disappear; I’m going to keep it as my archive of my past blogging activity.

I’ve switched to a different template for the new blog, however, not only in order to keep the two blogs’ posts distinguishable, but also because the new template allows me more editing options than the one I’m using for this blog.  Then again, for purposes of recognizability I will continue to use — at least for the time being — this blog’s  header showing the Lioness at Large blog title, and also the lioness images on the front page.

To get things started, I’ve seeded the new blog with my posts relating to another reading (and lifestyle) game that my previous blogging community, BookLikes, has enjoyed playing in November and December for the past several years, and which we’ve continued to play this year in our new (private) home, The 24 Tasks of the Festive Season (or simply Festive Tasks, for short): my Master Update Post with links to all individual posts is HERE.

I have also imported most of my posts, pages, and project pages from this blog to the new one; many of these, however, still require some sprucing up, so please be patient if you should run into something that’s not quite working as it should be yet.

I very much hope I’ll be able to welcome most of you in my new blogging home — thank you again for your friendship in the past and present!  Here’s to many more great exchanges on books and other topics in the future.

Cheers,

Themis-Athena

The Mystery Blogger Award

 

I was nominated by arielaonthego for the Mystery Blogger Award — which came as a complete surprise; thank you so much, Ariela!

Rules
  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention Okoto Enigma, the creator of the award .
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • Answer 5 questions.
  • Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers.
  • Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice, including 1 weird or funny question.
  • Share the link to your best post.

 

Three Things About Me

… that you can’t already tell from the rest of this blog, I take it (such as the fact that I own am owned by two adorable 3 year old tomcats and that I love books, music, movies, tea, photography and traveling).

1. Strictly speaking part of this, too, is something you can tell from the rest of this blog, as many of my posts are imported and have an “original post: …” link at the bottom, but since it’s fairly key to where I am (literally) coming from and I’ve collected a number of new followers in the past couple of months (welcome, everybody!):

From 2013 until the summer of 2020, I used to belong to a book blogging community called BookLikes. What made the BL website (itself) unique was its format of combining a blogging community with a central “dahsboard” feed and an integrated book database, but the BL community was actually about a lot more — we played book-related games together and shared photos and posts on everything from cooking / baking / dining to gardening and other “off topic” (non-book) interests and views, etc.; all of which, over time, created a truly tight-knit community that was unlike anything I’ve ever seen anywhere else on the web. — I activated my WordPress blog (which in the past had chiefly been my backup for my BookLikes posts) when BL, through the site owners’ neglect, took a nosedive in July … since which time the BookLikes community has been a bit of a traveling circus on the lookout for a new permanent home. (We’ve found a venue for our signature fall book game, Halloween Bingo, and a venue where most of us have agreed to dip at least a toe in the water in order to keep the community together, but the BookLikes site with its unique format is still very much missed.)

That being said, the de-facto BL demise has inspired me to spruce up my WP blog and strike out in the blogging community, which I definitely consider a good thing. The one bit I didn’t realize when I made that decision was that WP has, in the interim, started to push their block editor, which I hate with a vengeance. So, I’ve decided to go “self-hosted” in order to be able to continue using the classic editor (without having to remember to select it every time I’m creating or accessing a post, that is — and even that is clearly a disfavored option on WP.com these days, so it’s bound to disappear entirely at some point). There’s nothing much on the new version of my blog, yet, but I wanted to have a chance to set it up in time before WP.com goes “block editor without the option” once and for all. I’ll officially share the link to my new blog as soon as I consider the transition (essentially) far enough along the way for it to make sense. For the time being, I’ll be double-posting in both places, so as not to have to rely on WP’s (less-than-perfect) import system — so if you’re using the WP Reader and are seeing two versions of my posts, you’re not seeing double … this one is down to me.

2. I’m a massive hoarder — Marie Kondo and I would never be friends. (In fact, I abhor her attitude to book ownership in particular.) Other than my books, music and DVD collections, I’m channeling my hoarding proclivities into a collection of mugs (not all of them with book-related themes) and a collection of refrigerator magnets (chiefly Shakespeare, travel, and cat-related), but if I had unlimited space, I’d doubtlessly fill it with other things as well.

3. My favorite color is red — which you don’t necessarily see in the clothes I wear (outside the odd red sweater or other, that is), but it’s impossible to miss the moment you enter my apartment: there are plenty of red “touches” to what passes for my version of interior decoration, my “daily use” china, cooking pots etc. are (mainly) red, etc.. Red also features somewhat more prominently in the new, self-hosted version of my blog; as it has done, in fact, in most of the websites that I’ve owned ever since I started dabbling with that sort of thing back in the early 2000s.

 

My Answers to Ariela’s Five Questions:

1. What is your favorite dessert?

Anything involving either fresh citrus fruit, fresh pineapples, or fresh strawberries.

Anything involving cherry or plum sauce (or compote, or stewed / baked / flambé cherries or plums — I like both cherries and plums better after they’ve been processed in some fashion than when they come straight off the tree, but once they’ve been processed, I like them a lot.)

And anything involving a combination of crème fraîche (or some similar base; e.g. double cream) and wine, port, or sherry.

 

2. What is your favorite book?

Oh help, I can’t even pin down my favorite dessert to a single option and you’re asking me that? Lol.

Favorite play: Shakespeare, Hamlet. Favorite 19th century classics: novels by Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë. Favorite Golden Age mysteries: Sherlock Holmes, as well as virtually anything by Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. Favorite Silver Age and contemporary mysteries: P.D. James, Ian Rankin, Michael Connelly. Favorite fantasy: Tolkien, Lord of the Rings and J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter. Other recent favorites include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Half of a Yellow Sun; Aminatta Forna: The Memory of Love; and Bernardine Evaristo: Girl, Woman, Other.

 

3. If you could have one super power, what would it be?

The ability to fly — even if that is a superpower only in humans.

 

4. Do you like to dance?

Yes, but you don’t want to watch me while I’m doing it!

 

5. Would you rather have a pet porcupine or a pet mushroom?

Hah. 😀 Assuming that “neither” is not an option, I guess I’d go for the porcupine — I’d probably eat the mushroom at some point anyway (if I wasn’t too scared it was poisonous), and you can’t communicate with a plant (at least not in the sense of getting an immediate response) … whereas you can with an animal. Besides, I once had a cat with a very decided noli me tangere (don’t touch me) attitude, so I could probably get used to a pet with that kind of attitude once again. And generally speaking … more power to any creature (other than humans) coming armed against predators. There’s a reason why I like wild cats (and hate trophy hunters) — and, for that matter, why roses are my favorite flowers.

 

My Best Post:

Hmmm, that’s a difficult one given that my blog is currently in double transition (from BookLikes to WordPress and within WP from .com to self-hosted). So I think I’m just going to share the links for a few very, very old “battle of the books” posts that have already made their way to the new version of my blog (even if the formatting is still slightly off — and incidentally, it’s pure coincidence that two of them involve works by Tolstoy):

Astrid Lindgren: Pippi Longstocking vs. Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
Mark Twain: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn vs. Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird
Isabella Beeton: Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management vs. Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace

 

My Nominees Are:

Anyone who sees this and feels they want to do it! (If you do, please drop a link in the comments section of this post.)

 

My Questions:
  1. What is your favorite season?
  2. Who is your hero / heroine in fiction (and why)?
  3. Would you rather be able to produce literature or music? (Assume that “both” is not an option.)
  4. If you had a time machine allowing you to travel to up to 3 different eras (past and future), what era(s) would you like to travel to?
  5. From a burning building, you have the option to rescue either a [cat / dog / supply your own favorite animal] or a priceless work of art, but not both. Which of the two do you rescue (and why)?

BookLikes (and Legimi), is this really all you’ve got?

The site is live and running again. No other features are planned in the nearest future. The performance will be looked into depending on the problems and the availability of resources. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Comment on BookLikes’ Facebook page, last night (July 13, 2020).

Sorry, but that just isn’t good enough.

Not any more.  Not by a long shot.

It’s not about “new” features.  It’s about fixing problems that have existed for years — in fact, ever since Legimi acquired BookLikes four years ago –, that have grown progressively worse over the course of time, and that have been brought to the attention of BL management time and again, always (as we all know) to no avail whatsoever.

A serious commitment to fix those problems would require immediate action: no ifs or buts.  Not “depending on the problems and the availability of resources.”  Not just “looking into” the performance of the site.

Not just a canned response that couldn’t possibly say “we really don’t care” any clearer if it had shouted as much in neon letters a foot high or higher.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After last night’s statement on behalf of BookLikes, I won’t create any content here anymore.  In fact, if that statement had been posted about 45 minutes or an hour earlier, I wouldn’t even have created the new post(s) I did still create last night.  I will instead continue to do what I already started doing when BL crashed for several days back in January of this year; namely, back up and salvage all that content of my BL account that isn’t already backed up elsewhere anyway (such as, fortunately, most of my blog posts, my library and most of my book-related data).

To those who want to stay in touch, as of now you can chiefly find me here:

WordPress: This is where I will continue posting my reviews and other blog posts.  In the past, my WP blog has been primarily — though not exclusively — my back up site for BookLikes posts, so it will take some tender love and care to be made truly presentable, but some projects are already under way; and other than salvaging my BL content, that will be my focus over the rest of the summer.

Librarything: Far and away the best online library system; you can really tell that the site was created by people who are librarians (and techies) first and foremost.  LT’s book database — and librarian / editing features — were superior to those of BookLikes by a magnitude of several galaxies even at the best of times: I’ve been willing to put up with the standard that BL had to offer for the sake of its blogging features and, most importantly of course, the BL community, but … no longer so.  There is no question that LT’s social / communication features are unwieldy and in need of a serious overhaul.  And no, I am not entirely comfortable with the fact that Amazon holds an indirect minority ownership interest in LT, which it very likely could increase to direct / sole or majority ownership at any time if it so chose.  But at least LT (unlike BookLikes) lets you export your book data — and I am not planning to post any reviews there –, so if it ever comes to that point, it will be easy enough to pull out.  And its social features are “learnable” and, like everything else, get easier to manage with increased use.

Goodreads: I left GR behind as my main book site back in 2013 and have no intention of reversing that decision.  However, I understand that not all of my friends from the BookLikes community feel comfortable creating a blog elsewhere or navigating Librarything, and at this point many have already made the move to the Outpost and / or (Mostly) Dead Writers Society groups on GR.  So to the extent that discussions and community activities are hosted there, I’ll participate.

Twitter: This is not an account I use to actively participate in any discussions, at least not outside the rare book-related convo or other; but I can be reached by PM there if necessary.  If you do have a blog or a Librarything or a Goodreads account, though, those are the paths of communication that I prefer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Buddy Reads
There are two buddy reads to which I had been looking forward here on BookLikes in the near future.

For Hannah Arendt’s The Origin of Totalitarianism, BT has already created a thread in the Outpost group. (@ Mark, I hope you’ve found us there!)  As she said in her first post, please join us — everybody is welcome!

As for the planned second French buddy read (and possible “buddy watch” of the TV adaptation of the Nicholas Le Floch novels), @ Tannat and @ Onnurtilraun, please let me know your preferred venue!  You can comment on this post — I’ll still be around for a while, so there is every chance I’ll see it — or reach me on any of the above-mentioned sites.  (Tannat, I know you’re on GR, LT and WP … not sure about Onnurtilraun, though?)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like so many others who have posted something similar in the past couple of days and weeks, it breaks my heart to be making this decision.  The BookLikes community is, without question or comparison, far and away the best book community I’ve ever belonged to.  The basic setup of BookLikes — a blogging community with an integrated book database — is, as such, unique in the online world.  But while I’ve always said that I’ll be here until the end, I feel the end has now indeed come — not because the community has given up on the site, but because its owners and administrators have.  Their statement on Facebook couldn’t possibly make that any clearer.  So:

 


(You didn’t really think I could do this without a cat meme, did you?)

 

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/2839878/booklikes-and-legimi-is-this-really-all-you-ve-got

The President’s Summer Reading List

Check out what President Obama is reading this summer.

President Barack Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia shop for books at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, President Obama shared his official summer reading list – a mix of fiction and non-fiction, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning surf memoir, a psychological thriller, and a science fiction novel. Check out the list:

President Obama's summer reading list

  • “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life” by William Finnegan
  • “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead
  • “H Is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald
  • “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins
  • “Seveneves” by Neal Stephenson

And in case you missed it, here’s what made the cut last year:

  • “All The Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
  • “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • “The Lowland” by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • “Washington: A Life” by Ron Chernow

 

Original post: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/08/12/presidents-summer-reading-list

The Secret Life of a Book Blogger (Blogger Tag)

 

Well, if these are all the secrets I’m being made to share here …

12:30 am 11 August 2016

I was tagged by Murder by Death – thank you very much! – for this Q&A brought to BL by Grey Warden.

 

How long have you been a blogger?

A blogger only since I moved to BookLikes in the fall of 2013 in the throes of the Goodreads censorship debacle.  I started reviewing on Amazon in 2000 or 2001 and moved to GR in 2008.  Would never have thought I’d take to blogging this much, but there it is, I do! 🙂  Which has a lot to do with the great community and great interaction on BookLikes, too, though.  Even on Amazon, I always said I wanted my reviews to be starting points for a discussion (and I moved away from there when the climate went positively poisonous).  The same was true on Goodreads, though admittedly the most fun I had there was in creating Listopia lists (some of them, of the decidedly goofy variety) and with the interaction in the lists’ comments section.  (Again, this was before things got a bit uptight with regard to “list rules” and similar stuff.)  BookLikes is by far the most congenial, open-minded and just overall nicest book community I’ve belonged to.

After Leafmarks lamentably took a dive earlier this year I also created a WordPress blog, which I’d never have done without the great experience I’ve made on BookLikes in the first place.  My experience on WordPress has so far been positive as well, but I haven’t been there long enough yet to say anything more, I’m afraid.

 

At what point do you think you’ll stop?

Err – when it stops being fun, I guess?

 

What’s the best thing?

Feedback / discussing great books, meeting so many wonderful people who love books as much as I do (plus who also share, between them, a fair amount of my other interests), and the terrifying and completely out of control explosion of my TBR pile.

Add to that, on BookLikes, the near-total absence of whiny and just generally badly behaving authors and other trolls, and the community’s joint response whenever such folks are actually stupid enough to show their faces here.

Also, I totally love the design powers we’ve been given with regard to our BookLikes blogs.  (Even if it typically takes me eons to successfully implement even the tiniest feature.)

 

What’s the worst thing?  What do you do to make it ok?

On BookLikes, nothing bad as far as the community goes; period.  In terms of site features, the longstanding and annoying disfunctionality of the reblog feature and the pitifully poor librarian features (also more recently, the site’s general hickups and lacking staff response). About all of which I tend to bitch and moan on occasion in the hope that someone somewhere will finally listen (so far however, alas, to no avail).

Pretty much everywhere else, the fact that interactions ultimately have a way of turning poisonous before you’ve even realized what’s going wrong; regardless whether you’ve run into a BBA or some other troll, or because the community just isn’t as tight-knit to begin with, or for whatever other reason.  My response to that typically is to walk away: certainly from a discussion that stops actually being one, but ultimately also from the site in question.  I neither have the time nor the inclination to expose myself to that kind of aggravation; though if it’s aggro from a BBA or someone (else) gaming the system, I’ll engage long enough to make it clear to everyone else what is going on, and I may very well also flag the discussion in question for site admin review.

On Goodreads and Amazon, what I also find totally unacceptable is the fact that reviews are being censored (and not even subtly, either).  If I can’t actually say what I think in a review, what’s the point of reviewing to begin with?  Definitely only one response to that sort of thing – walking away.

 

How long does it take you to create/find pictures to use?

Finding them is hardly ever the issue – either I already have saved them somewhere, or Google and someone else’s hopefully public, free-use collection obliges at short notice.  I tend to obsess over design issues, though – where exactly to place images, how large to make them, etc.  As a result, finalizing a post may easily take me twice the amount of time (compared to just typing it up) if I use a lot of images.  Also, I find that I use images on non-review posts a lot more than on reviews (on those, only if I decide that illustration greatly enhances the review).  For most non-review posts, though … just bring ’em on! 🙂

 

Who is your book crush?

I am polygamous (well, when it comes to book crushes – and anyway, isn’t that the point of reading widely?).  Remember Sundance? “I’m not picky. As long as she’s smart, pretty, and sweet, and gentle, and tender, and refined, and lovely, and carefree …”  Pretty much that – just read “he” instead of “she”; unless obviously we’re also defining “crush” as a heroine I can identify with, look up to, or otherwise consider a role model.  In that case it’s women, too.

Brains are important; I can’t stand characters who are TSTL.  As is honesty,  standing by who you are and what you live by, and a certain amount of openmindedness and generosity.  But basically, as I, err, Sundance said, I’m not picky …

 

What author would you like to have on your blog?

To interview myself?  William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Hillary Mantel, C.J. Sansom, and Salman Rushdie.

Also, Hodder (I think) recently had several of their authors interview each other – I’d love to be, or have been able host something like that … say between Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and P.D. James; or Jane Austen and Elizabeth Barrett Browning; or George Eliot and George Sand; or Christine de Pizan and Moderata Fonte; or William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, Ben Jonson, and Christopher Marlowe; or Hillary Mantel, C.J. Sansom, Michael Jecks, Iain Pears, Ellis Peters, and our own Samantha Wilcoxson; or Ian Rankin, Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, and Henning Mankell; or … or … 😀

 

What do you wear when you write your blog posts?

Ummm … whatever I’m wearing that particular day?  On weekends, most likely jeans or comfy slacks and either a T-shirt and a sweatshirt; on work days, something suitable for the office – approximately 3 days out of 5, some combination involving a no-iron cotton, silk or wool top and black dress pants.

 

How long does it take you to prepare?

I tend to make it up as I go along, so no structural drafting / preparation at all.  That said, if I decide I’m going to review a book (which I don’t always do), it’s often because there is something particular that has occurred to me while I was reading the book and that I want to comment on.  Only very rarely do I read a book specifically with the pre-existing idea of reviewing it in mind; though if I do, again, I’ll most likely already have thought about what I want to say at least in general terms before I even sit down to write my review.

 

How do you feel about the book blogger community/culture?

See answers to the first questions above! 🙂

 

What do you think one should do to get a successful blog?

Define “successful”?

Be courteous, honest, and appreciative of / responsive to the people who read your blog.  Keep things varied and diverse.  Say at least a little bit about the reasons why you like / dislike a given book, or care about a given topic, etc.  And most of all, in a community like BookLikes: Participate!!

And in that spirit: If you haven’t done this Q&A yet and you’ve made it all the way to the end of this post, consider yourself tagged! 🙂

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1449233/well-if-these-are-all-the-secrets-i-m-being-made-to-share-here

Judith Barrow: Today with Tony Riches

Owen: Book One of the Tudor Trilogy - Tony Riches Jasper: Book Two of The Tudor Trilogy - Tony Riches

judithbarrowblog.com/2016/07/13/today-with-tony-riches

Introducing the authors who will be appearing at the Tenby Book Fair (part of the Tenby Arts Festival) in Tenby, South Pembrokshire, Wales, on September 24, 2016 (the festival runs through October 1).  Rats, now I really wish I could travel this year …

Anyway, great interview!

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1444657/judith-barrow-today-with-tony-riches

Warrior Kings of England – The Story of the Plantagenet Dynasty [REBLOG]

Reblogged from: Carpe Librum

This course at Medieval Courses is 1/2 price until August 14th. I have signed up to take it and thought some of you might be interested as well. With payment ($49), you receive lifetime access to 24 modules with audio, quizzes, & additional reading recommendations. The author of the course is Toni Mount, who should sound somewhat familiar. She is also the author of last month’s More Historical than Fiction selection, Colour of Poison.

 

Source:
medievalcourses.com/overview/warrior-kings-england-mc04

Original post:
http://carpelibrum.booklikes.com/post/1444203/warrior-kings-of-england-the-story-of-the-plantagenet-dynasty

Merken

Merken

Summer Splurges (AKA: Be Good to Yourself)

The Colour of Poison: A Sebastian Foxley Medieval Mystery (Volume 1) - Toni MountWars of the Roses - Charles RossLast White Rose: The Secret Wars of the Tudors - Desmond SewardBlood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses - Sarah GristwoodMary Tudor: The First Queen - Linda Porter

Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen - Anna WhitelockThe Sugar Planter's Daughter - Sharon MaasThe Princes of Ireland - Edward RutherfurdThe Rebels of Ireland - Edward RutherfurdThe Chronicles of Narnia CD Box Set: The Chronicles of Narnia CD Box Set - C.S. Lewis, Kenneth Branagh

Largely inspired by Samantha Wilcoxson’s recommendations following up on my read of her books Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen and Faithful Traitor – as well as looking forward to book 3 of her Tudor Women trilogy – I’ve been on a minor shopping spree lately. Not all of these are Samantha’s recommendations, but that’s the way book browsing goes … one thing leads to another!

  • Toni Mount: The Colour of Poison – actually ordered already before my exchange with Samantha on which books she recommends in connection with her own novels, though another recommendation of hers, too; what a pity I probably won’t be receiving it before the end of its “book of the month” status in More Historical Than Fiction.
  • Charles Ross: The Wars of the Roses – though I’ve already got Trevor Royle’s book on the same subject, but it can’t hurt to get another one just for comparison’s sake;
  • Desmond Seward: The Last White Rose – since, after all, the Yorks didn’t just die out all at once together with Richard III at Bosworth in 1485;
  • Sarah Gristwood: Blood Sisters, The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses – since women played an important part during that period and it’s time we finally took note of them … and not just Margaret of Anjou, either (which is why Samantha’s books on Elizabeth of York and Margaret Pole are such a welcome read);
  • Linda Porter: Mary Tudor, The First Queen – since there’s more to Mary I than is hidden behind her epithet “Bloody Mary”;
  • Anna Whitelock: Mary Tudor, Princess, Bastard, Queen – ditto (and two books are always better than one, see above)

 … and while I was at it, I also did a bit of wish list cleanup, ordering:

  • Sharon Maas: The Sugar Planter’s Daughter (book 2 of her Winnie Cox trilogy; fresh from the publisher’s press);
  • Edward Rutherfurd: The Princes of Ireland and The Rebels of Ireland;
  • David Suchet: Poirot and Me (since my reviews of some of the Poirot dramatizations starring Suchet are up next for copying over to my WordPress blog)
  • … and then I also found a dirt cheap (used, but near new) offer of the Chronicles of Narnia audiobook set read by Derek Jacobi, Kenneth Branagh, Patrick Stewart, Michael York, Alex Jennings, Lynn Redgrave and Jeremy Northam – which I of course had to have as well.

 And look, the first lovely books already made it to their new home, too:

 

But anyway, I obviously also needed to make space on my wish list for all the other books I found when following up on Samantha’s recommendations:

  • Lisa Hilton: Queens Consort, England’s Medieval Queens (which I hope is going to live up to Helen Castor’s She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth I);
  • Dan Jones: The Hollow Crown (since I’ve already got his earlier book on the Plantagenets …);
  • Charles Ross: Richard III (by all accounts still the standard biography);
  • Chris Skidmore: Richard III (the most recent incarnation of Richard III biographies);
  • Amy Licence: Richard III, the Road to Leicester (I guess there goes my resolution not to give in to the publicity craze of the recent[ish] discovery of his bones);
  • Amy Licence: Elizabeth of York, Forgotten Tudor Queen (and really, I swear it was this book and the RIII bio by Charles Ross that led me to Licence’s book on RIII in the first place);
  • Alison Weir: Elizabeth of York, the First Tudor Queen (one of Samantha’s major “go-to” books for background information on Elizabeth; also, I own and rather like Weir’s bio of Eleanor of Aquitaine);
  • Hazel Pierce: Margaret Pole, 1473-1541, Loyalty, Lineage and Leadership (on which Samantha says she relied substantially in writing Faithful Traitor) and
  • Susan Higginbotham: Margaret Pole (brand new and due out in August 2016).

And then … well, there’s this absolutely gorgeous and super-nice tea and spice store in Frankfurt that my best friend and I discovered when I was living in Frankfurt way back in 2003.  Shelves crammed with goodies from all over the world and an amazing staff … even after I moved to Bonn, we just kept going there; and we still try to make it down there at least once or twice a year.  So last Saturday we decided another splurge was overdue, took to the road – and returned home late in the afternoon laden with delicacies.  This was my share of the bounty:

  • A small bag of Nanhu Da Shan Qinxin Oolong (the prize catch of last Saturday’s shopping trip; and yes, they do actually let you try all of their products in their store);
  • * A foursome of Kusmi tea blends (Kashmir tchai, ginger lemon green, and a double serving of spicy chocolate);
  • One of their homemade rice & spice mixes (in this instance, a blend of Indian basmati rice with currants, cashew nuts, coconut flakes, lemon pepper, cinnamon, sea salt, cardamom, ginger, and pieces of dried mango, apricot, papaya, and cranberries, going by the fanciful name Maharani Rice … one of my absolute favorites);
  • A bottle of Stokes Sweet Chilli Sauce (my kitchen just isn’t complete without this stuff, it goes on practically everything);
  • A bottle of Belberry Spicy Mango Ketchup (new to me, tried it in the store and instantly loved it);
  • A duo of Sal de Ibiza (green pepper and lemon, and ginger and lemon grass);
  • A lidded Chinese dragon tea mug that will go well with the two (differently-colored) mugs in the same style that I’ve already got
  • … and a collection of their very own recipes, all of which they also serve up (though obviously not all at the same time) for tasting purposes in their store.; this particular collection being recipes created by a charming lady from Sri Lanka named Rajitha who has been part of their team since practically forever.

 Alright, so I guess I did splurge.  In my defense, though, I’ll mention that I won’t be able to travel at all this year, nor actually take a whole lot of vacation time or other time off work, so I’m having to make to with what’s available by way of compensation … and is there any better compensation than books and food?

 

Original post:
http://themisathena.booklikes.com/post/1440585/summer-splurges-aka-be-good-to-yourself