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Jane in NC

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Everything posted by Jane in NC

  1. How timely is this? The BBC Radio 4 program In Our Time focuses on Middlemarch today! You can listen via the website or download the program.
  2. I finished this section last night but am hesitant to post given the wacky turn the "clubs" have taken. Thanks again to Kathy for herding the Middlemarchers.
  3. I suspect that a new, closed club is probably the best option but ultimately I think the decision is in your hands, Amira. Just another grateful meerkat
  4. Maybe we should become the essential readers? Safe travels!
  5. The Lit Hub posts are now part of the Essential Oils group. So our posts may be somewhere...
  6. I just refreshed the page on my laptop and noticed that as well!! What a hoot! To stay on (ahem) topic: olive, sunflower, walnut or sesame?
  7. The influence of inheritance--or lack thereof--certainly comes to play in Book 5. Casaubon's motives were selfish but I am not sure that it was his intention to create rumors concerning Dorothea and Will or if he was more focused on creating an insurance policy guaranteeing that his work would be finished by his wife. He certainly had a narcissistic view of his own self importance. But did he intend to deprive his wife of happiness? One can't help but feel that some revelation is being foreshadowed. (While it is never mentioned, I wonder if that "Polish blood" implies that Will is further corrupted by Catholic or Jewish blood.) Fred, Fred, Fred. I have so little patience with this guy. Mary might be better off with Mr. Farebrother--even if he comes with a pack of women in tow. And then there is Mr. Raffles! What nefarious schemes follow? Lydgate strikes me as naive in some ways. Yes, he is a good medical man but his initial insistence on buying furniture, silverplate, etc. on credit to please Rosamond is perhaps not unusual given our own culture where easy credit leads to bad financial decisions. That relationship is one that has me scratching my head. Initially we saw Lydgate as a man more focused on research than sociability. It strikes me that he may have been better off with a wife who could help him advance his social position, i.e. a wife who would move the local widows to donate to the new hospital. Is there any depth to Rosamond?
  8. Thanks. My husband downloaded several.
  9. In American popular cinema--and probably in much of Western literature--there seems to be the dichotomy of good and evil and the need to present everyone in terms of being a good guy or not. One of the appeals that Eastern European literature has for me is recognition that Things Are Not so Simple. One from bad regime to another we go and yet there can be such joy in embracing a moment as slim as a gossamer thread. I don't know if heroism always involves overt acts. I am reminded of the amazing narrator that Wiesław Myśliwski created who reminds us "Just keep shelling the beans." For some, basic survival without harm to others is all that can be done. Willful ignorance may be the one of the greatest modern sins. I know too many who don't want to think about things that they view as "unpleasant". They have their moments of moral outrage by reacting to something seen on Facebook but otherwise let's not discuss the children of Syria or that corporation down the road that is dumping chemicals illegally into our water supply. Let me take this opportunity to thank Fast Weed Puller for turning me on to Notes on a Foreign Country. Very worthwhile reading that helps one shift ones cultural lens.
  10. Some excellent reporting was acknowledged, but I figured the Hubbers might be more interested in books: Fiction: Less by Andrew Sean Greer Drama: Cost of Living by Martyna Majok History: The Gulf, the Making of an American Sea by Jack Davis Biography: Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser Poetry: Half Light by Frank Bidart General Nonfiction: Locking Up Our Own, Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Foreman Jr. Comments from anyone who has read the books? I highly recommend the article in GQ that won the feature prize, A Most American Terrorist, The Making of Dylann Roof by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah. I cried when I read that article last summer.
  11. Smoked paprika definitely adds a sense of umami. One of the reasons that people add bits of bacon to a mixture is for smokiness. Smoked paprika contributes to a pleasant smoky taste without the salt and preservatives of bacon. But concerning heat...I have three forms of paprika in my spice cupboard: sweet, hot and smoked. Our smoked paprika is not a "hot" spice but apparently there are versions that are smoked and hot. More here. Another fan of the shallot! We had hakurei turnips (the little Japanese ones) last night. I like to slice the roots, sauté them in olive oil with garlic and shallots. About the time they are soft, I add the coursely chopped turnip greens. Ah...latte and chocolate. For those who were unaware, Shukriyya and I met last summer in Golden Gate Park where she provided chai and chocolate. Seeing your lovely post here inspired me to write a snail mail letter to my elderly aunt and uncle who live at Lake Tahoe. Thank you friend.
  12. May I suggest a fabulous morning read, The Ingenious Cyclewear Victorian Women Invented to Navigate Social Mores. "Fluted or vertical frilled trowsers", anyone?
  13. Beth at Budget Bytes has gone all into "meal prep" these days, i.e. making five "grab and go" lunches or breakfasts at a time. A search through the archives will lead to lots of different things though. Some of our favorites: Vegetable Tamale Pie (note: I have never made this with the canned enchilada sauce; instead I use a can of diced tomatoes with jalapeno) Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal (I add pecans and raisins) I love Budget Bytes Coconut Rice! It is fine on its own but it makes the best fried rice (I add shrimp, fresh ginger and garlic, whatever veg is on hand) My son is a fan of meatloaf. One of his favorite's is Budget Bytes Thai Turkey Meatloaf (which I make with either jasmine or brown rice). He did one of his long distance car trips with this meatloaf in the cooler, reporting that it was excellent "road food". I don't make the glaze though... One of the Budget Bytes "tricks" is the use of smoked paprika for flavor. Kareni, I know that you have tried to reduce salt intake. Smoked paprika adds loads of flavor without salt. I am a huge fan, especially on roasted veg.
  14. Hugs to you, VC. I know these have been challenging times...
  15. Yeah, I'm known for my cozy reading choices. Snort. If you ever find the fortitude, I recommend Purge. A very difficult book but OhMyWord. And oh how I love Miffy....
  16. Nope. I think Casaubon is a first class prig. And now for a few words about the political episodes (which admittedly are a bit of a slog). The font of all knowledge, i.e. Wikipedia, led me to some statistics concerning the Reform Act of 1832, namely that the electorate grew by roughly 60% with the passage of the Act, from about 500,000 men to 800,000 men (obviously no suffrage for women at this time). At the same time there were similar Acts in Ireland and Scotland. The latter was significant as the electorate grew from 5000 to 65,000!! Holy Pete! Not only did the Act increase the number of eligible voters, it also eliminated some cronyism that allowed a few wealthy men to have a seat in Parliament based on a district with few voters. So whatever Brooke's failings, I'll cheer for anyone calling for reform. About those three love problems...I had scratched Dorothea and Casaubon from the list since I'm not sure that theirs is a relationship that involves any love. Perhaps initially from Dorothea but I am not quite sure Casaubon is capable. He only sees what he can take from having a wife--does he ever reciprocate? He thinks it is an honor for Dorothea to serve him, to carry on his intended work. I love the opening paragraph of Chapter 35: More than you probably care to know: vultures are highly intelligent and indeed have their rites. One is to scare away those moving too close to their claimed carrion by vomiting. And I can report that vulture vomit is probably the most disgusting thing that I have ever smelled. But back to the quote....how appropriate to describe the funeral procession of greedy relatives in this manner!
  17. Stacia, I see that the recipe you linked comes from Budget Bytes. I first found the site when I was looking for ideas for my son--good recipes, clear instructions, interesting flavors. I have since become a huge fan myself. There are a number of good to great recipes there. I highly recommend a walk through Budget Byte when looking for something new that won't be overly complicated. I'm caught up in Middlemarch and need to post more in those threads. Has anyone read anything by Stephen O'Shea before? I am reading The Alps: A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond which is quite the exhilarating entertainment as he drives along the hairpin turns of the mountains. There are many references to the Shelleys and other Romantics who traveled to the Alps back in the day. A fun escape...
  18. I can't "like" your post though so perhaps you are still a moderator?
  19. Another "middle class woman aged 18-24 with a postgraduate education". Where did those decades go?
  20. Thanks for the head up, Jenn. Elizabeth George novels are excellent airplane books--except when a certain annoying character becomes a distraction.
  21. Fred, Fred, Fred. I have no patience with the selfish young imbecile. Nor with the selfish old imbecile, Casaubon. Can either be redeemed? What I found to be intriguing in this section was the will, the various relatives anticipating their handouts, the promises made then withdrawn and finally the death of Featherstone with his hand in his money box. It has always seemed to me that people should be able to do with their money as they see fit. But apparently the hangers-on still hang on in modern culture--maybe not at the bedside but certainly hovering virtually to receive money that they believe is theirs by genetic attachment. More blatant in Middlemarch, perhaps. That is an interesting point you raise, Kathy, on all of the young people in this novel for "grown ups". We certainly are witnessing changes to Dorothea--but what about her sister? She has for the most part faded from the main story line. At the moment, I'm rooting for Will and Mr. Brooke but then they seem to be questioning the status quo--at least if I understand the political nuance correctly. Thanks Kathy for posing some interesting questions. I am musing...
  22. Yes, I fell in love with Muriel Spark this year. How is your dad? And Polk County is gorgeous!
  23. There is a new construction project going on two doors down. The incessant pounding/shrill sawing was really getting to me so I escaped to Sicily with Inspector Montalbano. I found that I could download audio versions of the books and so I listened to three of them over the past week, week and a half. Wearing ear buds mitigated the noise. I also read The Door by Magda Szabó (translated from the Hungarian) which Pam had sent me ages ago. It was my pleasure to mail it to Penguin who recently admired her writing. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning is another of those really short volumes that I should probably not list but it did inspire me to cull the stack of dusties into something slightly more manageable (well maybe). And then there was Sofi Oksanen. Eliana and I read Purge a couple of years ago, an atypical book for both of us with the level of violence towards women but one of those books that seems necessary to those of us who keep vigil. Her second novel that was translated into English, When the Doves Disappeared, has been on my to read list. I am glad I did. Set in Estonia during the Nazi occupation and twenty years later during the Soviet, this is a book about survival and the challenges of maintaining one's principles when the basics of life are lacking. It was not as heart wrenching as Purge (for which I am grateful) but this novel gave me pause. I think it is very easy for us to assume how we would act in dire situations but I wonder... Eliana, I think you can handle this one. Not a book for people who need happy endings... Let me offer a quote from the Swedish Death Cleaning book: I did not part with any Maugham but I did send a box today to one of my son's childhood friends, a young woman starting her life in another place. It felt great to pass some cherished items along.
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