The Unexpected Vacation of George Thring

A canoe on the banks of the River ThamesBooks are always nice and easy to write about. The books don’t complain, and the related posts help me addressing the typical small talk party situation:

[Someone] So, ummm, what do you read?
[Me] Oh, I read all sorts of books. I like epic fantasy and enjoy contemporary Japanese authors, among other things.
[Someone] Oh, how interesting. Give me an example!
[Me] Oh sure, it’s called…. Ummmm…. by… hmmmm.

So, here’s one of my recently read books:

The Unexpected Vacation of George Thring, by Alastair Puddick.

I found it delightful. At first it feels like yet another instalment of the awkward-person-stumbles-awkwardly-through-life novels and it is, but in a different kind of awkwardness. Very enjoyable and highly recommended.

Lost In Translation

DSCF6039I love my Larousse Gastronomique. Seriously, I do. I don’t think it obsoletes all other books about food or cooking, but if you had only one, it would have to be the Larousse Gastronomique without the shadow of a doubt.

One serious problem though: my French just barely reaches survival levels, and is not fit for reading this excellent source of information in its original language. I own an English version, thus. However, in many cases, I look for a French dish, and I know it by its French name, but the English edition’s index is arranged in alphabetical order of the translated names.

A multi-lingual translation cross-reference is missing, mapping a dish or ingredient’s native language name to the translated name. German Bratwurst would appear under B, and Vietnamese Phó would show under P, and Tarte Flambée would show under T, maybe with a second listing under F for Flammkuchen. All entries would resolve to the translated name used in this book, such as Noodle Soup for Phó, and of course the related page number.

It seems so simple and essential, I can’t believe they haven’t done it. Maybe they will now. 


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I Used to Think…

crocus I used to think nurses were women,
I used to think police were men,
I used to think poets were boring,
Until I became one of them.

The BBC quoted this poem in their Mastercrafts program on stained glass, and the poem is now cited in a new stained glass featuring in a school in Peckham, south London.

I was intrigued and consulted with a popular Internet search engine, and thus discovered a poet called Benjamin Zephaniah. What a great guy! Well worded, non-boring, non-traditionalist, inventive, fresh. I also like Wot a Pair.

Read it for yourself, and read it aloud. It’s right here.


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The Time Traveller’s Wife

71-Aquilea - 01 Courtesy of Quantas Airways, I have now seen the movie to Audrey Niffenegger‘s brilliant novel The Time Traveller’s Wife. I have read the book and loved it. I didn’t expect much from the movie, for I was very doubtful how and if they can possibly do the book justice (as I voiced earlier).

I guess I just wanted to kill time on a 24 hour journey, but I am glad I tuned into this movie.

I still have a lump in my throat. The movie is just as lovely and just as sad as the book. Read it, and watch it.

Funny that Audrey Niffenegger doesn’t want to see it. "Once I signed away the rights I had just had to let go," Niffenegger told The Associated Press. I presume this means she assumes they won’t do the book justice, and screw-up the movie in a way that she doesn’t want to be associated with it – or what else can the reason for distancing in advance be?

If a huge big fat screw-up is indeed what she expected, I think she should not have sold the rights. She took the money though.

Go on, Audrey. Watch the movie. It’s OK. (But better avoid the TV series, if they really make one.)


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