APPLE & GRAPEFRUIT and MASALA CHAI

DSC_0002My last visit to London was a productive one. Not only for some interesting visits and shopping of books. But for these two new teas to taste.

I arrived at Camden town early in the morning. Only a few of the shops and stalls were open at this time and even less visitors.

At Camden Lock, I found this small stall TEA SHIRT (http://tea-shirt.co.uk) with a small selection of teas that you could smell before deciding.

I decided for a Tea Fusion: Apple & Grapefruit and a Tea Classic: Masala Chai. On the back of the bags, you will find the information about ingredients, type of tea and preparation.

The first one, Apple & Grapefruit is the first tea that I taste that requires as much time as 10 to 12 minutes in hot water (100º C.) The ingredients are apple pieces, rose hip peel, hibiscus, lemongrass, orange peel, orange triangles, natural aroma, strawberry pieces.

The smell is spicy and bitter. Aromas of fresh grass and pine. The taste is something different, more light, but still a strong saviour. The colour is lilac.
It is my favourite one for weekend breakfast when I have time to have a couple of cup before starting the day.

The second one, Masala chai, is a black tea. The ingredients are black tea, cinnamon pieces, ginger pieces, cardamom seeds, cardamom pods, vanilla pieces, flavouring.

I didn’t follow the instruction written on the pack because it includes milk, and I don’t like it, but for me, it is perfect with honey. The smell is spicy and itches a little when smelling it. The flavour is robust and tasty. The colour is black with a brown background.
This is a good tea to start early the mornings during week days.

CHANGING MY MIND, Occasional essays by Zadie Smith

imagesMy second book by this author, and fortunately, this time, a success for me (I don’t want to speak about the first one.) The book is divided into five parts: reading, being, seeing, feeling and remembering.

The author makes a profound analysis of books, films, other writers, family memories, experiences, etc.

Besides being a writer Zadie Smith is, of course, a reader and her reflections make me think about some things that I never read before such as:

“White readers often believe they are colour-blind.” And maybe she is right, but I still think that I am a colour-blind reader, usually are the personality of the characters of the book that make me feel more or less close to them. I am never “reading them” with colours or races, and even when I have not read a lot of black writers, I have read a lot of different continents with different colours and races, and never thought of them as something else, I read them as described by the author. But, just in case, I will be more aware to my next read of a not-white author.

“Nowadays I know the true reason I read is to feel less alone, to make a connection with a consciousness other than my own.”  I would add other few reasons for me reading, but this one is quite good for me.

“Other peoples’s words are the bridge you use to cross from where you were to wherever you’re going.”

I don’t a reader of poetry, but I liked the thinks that Smith found in Wallace’s poems:

“… as his attention to that singular point in our lives when we realize we are closer to our end than our beginning.”

“… the inexorability of time made all human effort faintly ludicrous.”

“It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out.”

Zadie Smith was born in London, England, on October 25, 1975. At age 21, Smdownloadith submitted some 80 pages of what would become White Teeth to an agent, and the book was published in a few years later to rave reviews, winning numerous awards, including the Whitbread First Novel Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her third novel, On Beauty, was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and won the 2006 Orange Prize for fiction.

 

The night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

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The story is the kind of story that readers can always enjoy when books are an important part of their lives.

The centre plot is about a Library, a mobile one where the main character finds every reading that she had done in her life. Not only books or magazines, but her Diaries, and something so weird as the cereal boxes of her breakfasts. There, she finds her whole history as a reader, a history that has grown up every time that she finds the Bookmobile in one of her night walks through the city.

The illustrations are no the best, but the story is more than enough to enjoy this graphic novel.

I won’t say that I share the idea of the end of the story as the best, but I can perfectly understand the point of the author if she was trying to show the reader how far love for books can arrive.

Audrey Niffenegger (Biography copied from her Web site)

I began making prints in 1978 under the tutelage of William 31c2MhoQZEL._UX250_Wimmer. I trained as a visual artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and received my MFA from Northwestern University’s Department of Art Theory and Practice in 1991. I have exhibited my artist’s books, prints, paintings, drawings and comics at Printworks Gallery in Chicago since 1987. In 2013, a major mid-career retrospective of my prints, paintings and artist’s bookworks opened at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.

My first books were printed and bound by hand in editions of ten. Two of these have since been commercially published by Harry N. Abrams: The Adventuress and The Three Incestuous Sisters.

In 1997 I had an idea for a book about a time traveler and his wife. I originally imagined making it as a graphic novel, but eventually realized that it is very difficult to represent sudden time shifts with still images. I began to work on the project as a novel, and published The Time Traveler’s Wife in 2003 with the independent publisher MacAdam/Cage. It was an international best seller, and has been made into a movie.

In 1994 a group of book artists, papermakers and designers came together to found a new book arts center, the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts. I was part of this group and taught book arts for many years as an Associate Professor in Columbia College’s MFA program in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts. Until May, 2015 I was a Professor on the faculty of the Columbia College Creative Writing Department. I’ve also taught for the Newberry Library, Penland School of Craft, Haystack, the University of Illinois at Chicago and other institutions of higher learning. I am currently on hiatus from teaching in order to get my own work done.

My second novel, Her Fearful Symmetry, was published in 2009 by Scribner (USA), Jonathan Cape (UK) and many other fine publishers around the world.

In 2008 I made a serialized graphic novel for the London Guardian, The Night Bookmobile, which was published in book form in September, 2010. In 2013, the illustrated novella, Raven Girl, was published in conjunction with the Royal Opera House Ballet production of Raven Girl, which was choreographed by Wayne McGregor. Raven Girl will return to the main stage at Covent Garden in October 2015.

Currently, I am working on a sequel to The Time Traveler’s Wife. The working title is The Other Husband. I am also continuing to work on The Chinchilla Girl in Exile and artwork for an exhibition at Printworks Gallery in September 2016.

THE WORLD OF SAMUEL PEPYS

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A selection of his famous diary that show us how life real was in the XVII Century. In this book, the passages are collected together by subject.

Pepys was not trying, of course, to share his experiences of daily life with us, and sometimes his diaries are a little annoying, but what there are to discover about every day is fascinating. Some data are interesting, other surprising, and thanks to him; I know now more about the great fire (1666), the last outbreak of the pest in England (1665), or what people usually did with their spare time.

Some of these interesting data:

“…books were normally sold unbound and were later given leather covers of the purchaser’s choice.  (Cloth covers did not come in until the 1820s.)”

“… we find a shepherd and his little boy reading, far from any houses or sight of people, the Bible to him”.  The general idea that I had about people in the XVII Century is that most of them were illiterate, but of course if a shepherd was reading to his son, that idea is quite wrong.

“Pepys was fond of oysters which, were a popular food rather than a luxury.”

“St Valentine’s Day. A common convention was that both men a women chose as their Valentine the first persona they saw on St Valentine’s day.”   “… the femela Valentines claimed expensive presents.”  It is good to know that presents for Valentine’s Day is not a El Corte Inglés or John Lewis invention.

“Pepys never records being accosted by beggars…..  Does he take them for granted like the smells.”

Besides these, there are a lot of more interesting data, and this is only a small part of his Diaries.

Samuel Pepys was born on 23 February 1633 near Fleet Street in London,download (1) the son of a tailor. He was educated at St Paul’s School in London and Cambridge University. After graduating, Pepys was employed as secretary to Edward Montagu, a distant relative who was a councillor of state during the Cromwellian protectorate and later served Charles II. In 1655, Pepys married 15-year-old Elizabeth Marchant de Saint-Michel, daughter of a Huguenot exile. In 1658, he underwent a dangerous operation for the removal of a bladder stone. Every year on the anniversary of the operation, he celebrated his recovery.

Pepys began his diary on 1 January 1660. It is written in a form of shorthand, with names in longhand. It ranges from private remarks, including revelations of infidelity – to detailed observations of events in 17th century England – such as the plague of 1665, the Great Fire of London and Charles II’s coronation – and some of the key figures of the era, including Sir Christopher Wren and Sir Isaac Newton. Fear of losing his eyesight prompted Pepys to stop writing the diary in 1669. He never actually went blind.

In June 1660, Pepys was appointed clerk of the acts to the navy board, a key post in one of the most important of all government departments, the royal dockyards. In 1673, he became secretary to the Admiralty and in the same year a member of parliament for a Norfolk constituency, later representing Harwich. He was responsible for some important naval reforms which helped lay the foundations for a professional naval service. He was also a member of the Royal Society, serving as its president from 1684-1686.

In 1679, Pepys was forced to resign from the Admiralty and was imprisoned on a charge of selling naval secrets to the French, but the charge was subsequently dropped. In 1685, Charles II died and was succeeded by his brother who became James II, who Pepys served as loyally as he had Charles. After the overthrow of James in 1688, Pepys’s career effectively came to an end. He was again arrested in 1690, under suspicion of Jacobite sympathies, but was released.

Pepys died in Clapham on the outskirts of London on 26 May 1703.

Film Versus Book THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY by James Thurber

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I felt in love with the film (directed by and starring Ben Stiller) before I knew that it was based on a book.

The film is entirely different from the kind of films that the actor has accustomed us. It was a pleasant surprise. The story grabs you from the beginning. You want to be part of that story. It is a story of overcoming, of dreams achieved and happy endings, but not quite perfect, and that’s also good.

Walter Mitty , an employee at Life magazine, spends day after monotonous day developing photos for the publication. To escape the tedium, Walter inhabits a world of exciting daydreams in which he is the undeniable hero. Walter fancies a fellow employee named Cheryl and would love to date her, but he feels unworthy. However, he gets a chance to have a real adventure when Life’s new owners are about to close the magazine and he starts a mission to obtain the perfect photo for the final print issue.

The story is excellent, the actors, the setting, and the soundtrack. Thanks to this film I found José González. He writes lyrics that touch you, combined with the perfect music.

When I was looking for the book, I was looking for the story in the movie, but the book is something completely different.

The book it is readable, but if it were not for the film, it would never have left any mark on me. It is a short stories book. One of the stories is the one that gives the title to the book and the film. A dreamer with a great ability to live a happier life. All kinds of adventures happen inside his head, and he is fully able to feel that it is real. The truth is that some of the other stories are much better than that, and are not at all related to dreamers. The probledownloadm with the book, and I hate to say this, is that it is a book written by a man and directed only to men. The main characters are always nice men, perhaps dreamers, but rights, and the women are always stupid, with bad mood and no real value for their peers.

Even in the only story that I liked a little more, The Macbeth Murder Mystery, is a man who has to explain to a silly woman how wonderful Shakespeare is.

I recommend the movie willingly, but not the book.

James Thurber was an American author and cartoonist best known for his contributio
ns to The New Yorker magazine. He was on The New Yorker staff from 1927 to 1933 and remained a consistent contribution thereafter. His cartoons became some of the most popular in America. By 1952, Thurber had to give up drawing because his failing eyesight had developed into full blindness.

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery

anneThis is one of those books that I read more than once. The edition is a horrible cheap Penguin paperback, but for 50 p. what I can ask for. And, at that moment, I need absolutely to have the book and read it again, this time in English.

It is one of those books that cheer you up with each page. The red-hair girl makes me laugh easily with her ideas and her passion for life. The beginning of the books it is a continuo remind of her poor upbringing until she has the luck to arrive at Cuthbert’s house. Matthew and Marilla, a brother and sister, who never married and have Anne even although she is not a boy.

But, the truth is that she lights their house and make them feel alive. She always looks around with wonder and positive expectations and make us readers be part of that particular view of the world.

For this kind of sentences I love Anne:

“I’ve made up my mind to enjoy this drive. It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”

“Miss Marilla Cuthbert is a very kind lady who has taken me to bring up properly. She is doing her best, but it is very discouraging work.”

Lucy Maud Montgomery OBE(November 30, 1874– April 24, 1942), publicly known as MotgmomeryL. M. Montgomery, was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning in 1908 with Anne of Green Gables. The book was an immediate success. The central character, Anne, an orphaned girl, made Montgomery famous in her lifetime and gave her an international following. The first novel was followed by a series of sequels with Anne as the central character. Montgomery went on to publish 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays. Most of the novels were set in Prince Edward Island , and locations within Canada’s smallest province became literary landmarks and popular tourist sites—namely Green Gables farm, the genesis of Prince Edward Island National Park. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935. (There were no Canadian orders, decorations or medals for civilians until the 1970s.)

Montgomery’s work, diaries and letters have been read and studied by scholars and readers worldwide.

FORTY DAYS AT KAMAS by Preston Fleming

In a near future, a Unionist Par10794235ty is ruling the US. They have changed the rules in the Country completely. Everyone is a suspect of betrayal, mostly culture, and wealthy people.

Paul Wagner was going to leave the country with his family when he was arrested, and send to a labor camp in Utah.

He will hardly survive in there the five years sentence, but at least, he can feel good knowing that his wife and daughters are saved in the UK with their Grandparents.

The plot of this story is an extensive use one, but the point of view is different. Fascism or communism, it doesn’t matter. Any dictatorial government ends up treating its citizens as meat.

Power always find it way, and it reasons.

But, survival and friendship grew up in the more difficult situations, and in this story, you can be witnesses of the worst and the best of humankind.

One of the most interesting things in this book is the introduction to each chapter: a quote of some of those Dictators that we had and still have in this world. The perfect way to understand better the chapter and to be prepared.

PrestonPreston Fleming Fleming was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He left home at age fourteen to accept a scholarship at a New England boarding school and went on to a liberal arts college in the Midwest. After earning an MBA, he managed a non-profit organization in New York before joining the U.S. Foreign Service and serving in U.S. Embassies around the Middle East for nearly a decade. Later he studied at an Ivy League law school and since then pursued a career in law and business. He has written four novels.