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22
Aug

The Way of All Flesh

 

 

Introduction:

  1. This book is Samuel Butler’s autobiographical account
  2. of a harsh upbringing and troubled adulthood of a
  3. Victorian clerical family’s domestic life.
  4. It is the story of the near-destruction of a young man
  5. …by the stupidity of his parents.
  6. We read of the influence of
  7. …religion in 4 generations of English society.
  8. Ernest Pontifex: youth, adolescent, middle-age
  9. He grows older while his faith evolves with him.

 

Theme:  Anglicanism

  1. According to Butler….
  2. Anglicanism is arrogant.
  3. Its demands are  exemplified by
  4. Mr Pontifex (grandfather) and Theobold and Christina (partents of Ernest).
  5. The son Ernest will symbolize a break
  6. ….and a more rational approach to religion.
  7. Ernest’s view of religion has a positive outlook that encourages optimism.
  8. Ernest is the opposite of his father….Theobald.
  9. Ernest finds pleasure in counseling people
  10. …to embrace pleasure and reject suffering.

 

Strong point:  characterization

  1. The book feels dated….
  2. but it did hold my attention, at least in the beginning.
  3. We are introduced to the main characters.
  4. Ch 15 – very good b/c the characterization of Theoblad mainly by
  5. describing his tone when speaking (stern, irritable.
  6. with hand on door of sick parishioner’s room…
  7. he makes off as fast as he can). He lacks minister’s bedside manner.
  8. Ch 16 – very good b/c the characterisation of Christina
  9. …not as spiritually minded as expected of a pastor’s wife, but very socially ambitious!
  10. Ch 18 narrator:  Edward Overton  is second godfather to Ernest.
  11. He is a childhood friend of Theobald, the father.
  12. Alethea, Theo’s sister, is the godmother.
  13. Edward Overton and Alethea Pontifix are in love
  14. ….but never marry.
  15. Alethea  was the flower of the flock of the family Pontifex.
  16. She is a shining example of a ‘fairy godmother’ to Ernest.
  17. She made his life bearable.

 

Weak point: example ch 19

  1. Butler breaks the narrative about ‘people’ with an
  2. entire chapter on philosophical issues: be virtuous, tendency of happiness,
  3. kindness and selfishness of parents towards children and
  4. the mental stature as the main or mean part of man. (ch 20)
  5. It is a bit too much.

 

Weak point:   unbalanced

  1. Butler dwells on childhood and adolescent years
  2. chapters 1-24 (20%) – childhood
  3. chapters 27 – 44 (20%) adolescent
  4. Cambridge was over in a flash! ch 45-50!  (9%)
  5. I’m more interested in Ernest’s adult life.
  6. This starts in chapter 50. “… the turning point in his life had come.”
  7. Ernest is ordained as an Anglican clergyman.
  8. The number of chapters focusing on
  9. …childhood and schoolboy years could have been  shorter.

Strong point:  irony (ch 64)

  1. Ernest rejoices over the disgrace that has befallen him.
  2. He found a blessing in an unspeakable misfortune.
  3. His imprisonment has set him free!

Strong point: dramatic irony

  1. The loss of Ernest’s legacy which his grandfather left him
  2. …will not leave him financially destitute.
  3. There is a surprise waiting for Ernst that
  4. …he is unaware of
  5. But the readers are  in-the-know!

 

Conclusion:

  1. Butler divides the story in 86 short chapters.
  2. This does keep the action moving and I kept reading.
  3. But each chapter was a ‘short thrust’ 
  4. ….instead of a long worked out scene.
  5. Butler  overwhelms the read with  all these chapters.
  6. This made a difficult book but even more difficult!
  7. But structure is not the reason I had difficulty with this book.
  8. Religious issues  and a waterfall of ecclesiastical allusions
  9. ….failed to interest me.
  10. I did #NotGiveUp
  11. Luckily the he last 33 chapters were the best chapters.
  12. Butler had truly saved the best for last.
  13. This book may not resonate with all readers
  14. but do try to get through the first 50 chapters.
  15. You will be rewarded for you perseverance!
  16. This book deserves its place on Modern Library’s Top 100 novel list!

 

Moments of sharp criticism by author:

  1. Ch 28: Butler warns schoolmasters (Dr. Skinner)
  2. that a little heavy-eyed boy might in the future be your chronicler.
  3. “…if I’m not careful, he will one day tell the world what manner of a man I was.’
  4. That is exactly what Sameul Butler has done!
  5. Ch 29: He hated Papa and did not like Mamma.
  6. He did not like Sunday. Catechism was awful.
  7. This book was understandably published posthumously!

 

20
Aug

Une femme à Berlin

 

Marta Hillers:

  1. German Journalist Marta Hillers was born on 26th May, 1911 in Krefeld, Germany.
  2. She died on 16th Jun 2001 Basel, Switzerland aged 90.
  3. She is most remembered for A Woman in Berlin.
  4. Marta  studied at the Sorbonne.
  5. She traveled throughout Europe and Russia.
  6. Hillers was fluent in French and Russian.
  7. She was in the position of a ‘mediator’ in some situations during the war.
  8. She is in Berlin during the occupation by the Red Army.
  9. This book is a summation of her notes 20 April – 22 June 1945.

 

Conclusion:

  1. Any recollection of a war experience is impressive.
  2. Hillers  gives a an account of daily life in Berlin
  3. during the Soviet occupation.
  4. The most remarkable aspect of the book is Hillers’ point of view.
  5. She details the mass rape by the occupying forces
  6. …and how women choose a Soviet officer as protector.
  7. That was their best option in a bad situation.
  8. There were so many women who underwent treatment in Berlin
  9. after the Russians left……the doctors called it ‘rapports forcés’.
  10. Weak point: The writing feels restrained.
  11. There were very few descriptions of traumatic emotions.
  12. Hillers told us just about as much as she felt comfortable with.
  13. There are many people in this book based on
  14. friends, neighbors and work/study associates of Hillers.
  15. She took care to  conceal names
  16. combine aspects of  two people to build a new ‘person’…
  17. described her attic apartment as having  2 rooms in order to…
  18. conceal the description of the…
  19. larger living quarters she really had.
  20. She did not want the place to be recognized.
  21. Hillers controlled her emotions.
  22. “Je n’ai pas besoin de parler en
  23. peux cacher mes connaissances du russe….” (pg 326)
  24. On the last pages the author sums up her feelings:
  25. “From now on…nothing will easily shake or weaken me.” (pg 386)
  26. Désormais, plus rien ne parvient à m’ebranler aussi facilement.

 

  • The part of the book that
  • …impressed me the most was on page 283-284.
  • A young Russian officer asks Marta Hiller:
  • “Has anyone ever hurt you?
  • Est-ce qu’on vous  a fait du mal?”
  • She responds:
  • “Oui, monsieur, enfin vous comprenez.
  • C’est la guerre.
  • We will no longer speak of it
  • N’en parlons plus.”

 

Last thoughts:

  1. This is a book about the ‘raw side’ of life during WW II Berlin.
  2. I think that has played an important part in the  many 5 star reviews.
  3. The book sweeps the reader into a war torn Berlin from a female POV.
  4. There are better books written about war.
  5. I would recommend Vasily Grossman’s
  6. A Writer at War : a Soviet Journalist with the Red Army, 1941-1945
  7. Grossman does not sugarcoat the Red Army’s actions…
  8. and adds his poignant and at times critical commentary
  9. …he had as war correspondent.

Trivia: 

  1. The book was first published in English in 1954 in the United States
  2. …was published anonymously.
  3. When it was published in Germany in 1959, the author was
  4. accused of “besmirching the honor of German women.
  5. Hillers refused to have another edition published in her lifetime.
  6. The  book was published posthumously in Germany in 2003
  7. ….again anonymously.
  8. It met wide critical acclaim and was on the bestseller list for weeks.
  9. A controversy broke out when a literary editor revealed the author as Hillers.

 

17
Aug

Sons and Lovers

 

1. Explain the title. In what way is it suitable to the story?
a. Sons and Lovers   refers to a mother’s grasp on her sons.
b. She selects them as ‘lovers’… the eldest, William and then Paul.

 

2. Where does the primary action take place?
a. Bestwood: English coal-mining town in Nottinghamshire.
b. The Bottoms: neighborhood in which the Morel family lives
c. Willey Farm: home of Paul Morel’s first lover (Miriam).

 

3. How does the story get started?
a. Home in The Bottoms, Morel’s marriage, birth of children,
b. Parents fall out of love.
c. The young wife was silent, her manner had changed.
d. Something in her proud honorable soul had crystallized out hard as rock. (ch 1)

 

4. Who are the main characters?
a. Mrs Morel (mother)
b. Paul (son) – young man and budding artist

 

5. Does the story contain a single effect or impression for the reader?
I was intrigued by Lawrence’s use of opposites:
a. Mrs. Morel – Mr. Morel:
b. His nature was purely sensuous – she strove to make him moral.
c. Mrs. Morel – Mrs. Leivers:
d. Mother cared about Paul’s achievement – neighbor cared about his art.
e. William – Lily:
f. He is well-read, intelligent and she understands nothing but love-making and chatter.
g. Mrs. Morel – Miriam:
h. With Miriam he gained insight, his vision went deeper.
i. From mother he drew life-warmth, the strength to produce. (ch 7)

 

6. What is the conflict that  confronts the leading character(s)?
a. external – Paul vows to protect his mother forever.
b. internal – Paul can’t find love soulmate love (Miriam), physical affair (Clare).
c. Neither of them can get past his obsessive love he has for his mother.

 

7. How is the conflict resolved?
a. The emotional battle was not resolved.
b…not even by the death of his mother.
c. This is a major turning point in his autobiographical novel.

 

8. Does this story create any special mood?
a. Setting: descriptions of the
b. beautiful countryside found in rural England’s coal country;
c. the flora and fauna in their detail and his descriptions of
d. family life, the simplicity of cooking, eating, and socializing.
e. Dialogue: attitudes toward love and marriage are reflected in the dialogue.
f. Local color is expressed by the regional dialect.
g. Mr. Morel’s manner of speech reveals limited education.
h. His speech contains colloquial grammar peppered with rural slang.

 

9. Is there a quote that impressed you?
Pre-WWI book by English authors always touch on the difference
between classes in the country.
D.H. Lawrence summed it up perfectly:
a. The difference between people isn’t in their class, but in themselves.
b. Only from the middle class one gets ideas
c. from the common people — life itself, warmth. (ch 10)

 

Conclusion:

  1. The third published novel of D. H. Lawrence.
  2. It is considered his earliest masterpiece.
  3. D.H. Lawrence describes the values of  tightly knit mining community.
  4. It tells the story of Paul Morel…
  5. ….his failed loves and his close relationship with his mother.
  6. The book was regarded by some as obscene at the time of publication.
  7. It now stands as an English classic.
  8. ..one of the Modern Library’s Top Novels of the 20th C.
  9. I read the book and listened to the audio book (16 hr 31 min)
  10. The voices breathe life into the book!
  11. #MustRead

 

16
Aug

Lavender Sapphire Collins

 

  • This cocktail is similar to the all-time gin classicTom Collins.
  • Dry gin, lemon juice, sugar and  tonic (or soda water)
  • It is essentially a lemonade spiked
  • with a healthy dose of the juniper spirit.
  • But the lavender makes this drink sparkle
  • and Bombay Sapphire Dry Gin…
  • the  botanicals  in the gin are nicely balanced and
  • soft enough to allow the lavender to peak through the mix.
  • My first challenge was making the syrup.

 

Rich Simple Lavender Syrup:   –> read this then forget it!

  1. Ingredients:
  2. Cold Water (1 part )
  3. Granulated Sugar (2 parts)
  4. Saucepan over medium-high heat, bring cold water and sugar to a boil.
  5. Turn the heat to low and stir constantly until the sugar dissolves completely ( 3 to 5 min)
  6. After boiling…
  7. I added 2-3 TB of fresh lavender and let this sit approximately 20 to 30 minutes to infuse.
  8. Using a wire mesh strainer, strain out the flavoring before using or storing.
  9. Let the syrup cool to room temperature
  10. …then pour into a tightly sealed, clean glass jar.
  11. Store in the refrigerator.

 

Lavender Sapphire Collins

  • 3 TB  (45 ml)  Bombay Sapphire Dry Gin
  • 2 TB lemon juice ( I just used juice of 1 lemon…)
  • 1 TB lavender syrup ( ..this was a disaster!)
  • USE elderberry syrup instead
  • ….or other store bought simple syrup.
  • 1/3 c tonic ( I used 1/2 of small bottle)
  • Pour ingredients into a long drink glass filled with ice.
  • Garnish:  a lemon wheel

 

Conclusion:

  1. Sparkling, refreshing…slightly bitter, bright.
  2. It is cocktail you can linger over.
  3.  A gin tonic lover might flirt with this drink
  4. …as a summer alternative.
  5. This is an excellent choice for a drink with brunch.
  6. It is less ‘shock and awe’  than a  Bloody Mary.
  7. This recipe was created by Bombay Sapphire.  (view website)
  8. It  really is a lovely gin for the cocktail.

 

Last thoughts:

  • I will NEVER  make my own syrup again.
  • The kitchen was a mess, sticky fingers and
  • …you have to be very careful not to ‘over simmer’ this concoction!
  • Never again!
  • I invested in a very good French elderberry liqueur St-Germain.
  • …and will use it where ever the cocktail calls for ‘simple syrup’.

15
Aug

The Two Towers

Introduction:

  • The Hobbit in February  – READ
  • The Fellowship of the Ring in March – April – READ
  • The Two Towers in May – June …oops August – READ
  • The Return of the King in July – August (...a race against the clock!)

 

14 August :  finally finished  The Two Towers

I need a lot of ‘nudging’ from Brona’s Books  to keep on schedule

  1. I pushed, pushed and pushed  myself today to finish the book.
  2. The storyline still feels simple filled with references to fog, sun, dark forests.
  3. It seems the mist is always a version of…
  4. …moves slowy, lay thick on the world, rise and curl, like ragged shadows.
  5. If I skim the parts of treebeards, ents, hobbits,
  6. …elves and orcs  trampsing through
  7. ..the countryside and just read the plot
  8. ….the book could be read in a few hours.
  9. Yet it is the nature and the adventure of following
  10. …the characters on a map of Gondor, Rohan, Edoras, Isengard etc
  11. that excites and delights the Tolkien fans.
  12. I am not one of them.

  1. This book just felt like hard work.
  2. I had to figure out who was Sauron,
  3. remember that the Nazgûl, Sauron’s deadliest servants are also called
  4. Ringwaiths, Ringwraiths, Ring-wraiths,
  5. Black Riders, Dark Riders, the Nine Riders, or simply the Nine
  6. …and constantly looking out for eagles who were
  7. Tolkien’s deus ex machina to save some heroes!
  8. Just when I thought I was understanding the book
  9. …along comes palantír of Minas Ithil, one of the seven seeing stones.
  10. I told Brona this  review was going to be a rant…
  11. …and she was ok with that!

 

Very…last thoughts:
I am reading all the books Tolkien
but I am not a fan of this genre.
Therefore my score for each book will be average 3 stars.
Of course there are others that give Tolkien 5 stars…and I’m
sure J.R.R. Tolkien deserves it!

After a marathon reading day….13 and 14 August..
We lose Boromir (and his horn), laugh with Treebeards and ents
Gandalf breaks the staff of Saruman the White, an Istar (wizard)
and end this gruesome day with a battle through
cobwebbed tunnels and the vicious spider Shelob!
Brona, I did my best….and have just one more book to read!

  1. I am fulfilling my commitment to #HLOTRreadalong2017
  2. and will be glad when I have reached the end of
  3. The Return of the King!
  4. Ah, yes…. at times I am laying by the wayside and cannot get up!
  5. Good news, when I look up I see the stars!
  6. Because….

  1. I did it for you, Brona!

 

 

13
Aug

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail

  • Bermuda…home of the…
  • Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail

History:

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club began “under a calabash tree” in 1844, founded by British army officers and Bermudian sailing enthusiasts. The “royal” was added to the name in 1846, after Prince Albert became a patron of the private club. In the 1940s, Trader Vic popularized its namesake cocktail.

  1. The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is a mixture that has a good tropical flavor.
  2. This recipe takes a few minutes to make, and serves one.

N@ncy’s Bar:

 

  4 basic ingredients:    Rum- lime juice – Falernum – Cointreau

  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) rum (1/4 c)
  • 2 tablespoon (= juice of 1 lime) fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp  Cointreau  (2 dashes)
  • 2 teaspoons Falernum
  • Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice
  • Shake, strain into chilled cocktail glass with lime wedge

  1. My drink does not have the amber hue you see in this photo.
  2. That is the difference between using ‘Barbados Rum’
  3. …and what I  had in the cupboard… clear ‘Bacardi Rum’.


What is Falernum?

  • Falernum can be hard to find, but it’s not impossible.
  • It is a a ginger- and lime-flavored syrup
  • defined flavor of cloves, ginger and almonds
  • …commonly used in the Caribbean/ West Indies.
  • Falernum is worth acquiring because it’s a popular ingredient in many tropical drinks.

 

Conclusion:

  1. Tangy, lime juice is the dominant taste…and
  2. …more refreshing than a tropical sea breeze!
  3. If I make it again I would use a better quality  rum....
  4. …for instance Barbancourt.
  5. It has a taste like butterscotch and is worth the investment!

  1. With this cocktail in hand…you can hear hear the wind in the rigging
  2. …and the rush of water past the hull!
  3. Now, let’s go sailing….and win that regatta!

 

 

 

 

12
Aug

Bobby Kennedy: The Making of Liberal a Icon

 

Conclusion:

  1. Most of what Larry Tye tells us has been written before.
  2. Tye does an excellent job of taking the reader thru
  3. Bobby’s life and his political career in particular.
  4. Larry Tye includes new information gleaned from
  5. …RFK’s private archive that was opened in 2014.
  6. I just put the audio book on….and listened all day!
  7. Fascinating!

 

Last thoughts:

  1.  Larry Tye gives the reader a
  2. front row seat during at the back room drama of RFK years!
  3. Bobby was not an intellectual as his brother JFK.
  4. Bobby knew how to USE intellectuals!
  5. #MustRead or #MustListen
  6. Trivia: RFK’s favorite beer was Heinekin
  7. Trivia: RFK’s favorite cocktails were Daiquiri or Old Fashioned
  8. Trivia: RFK’s last child was born after his death.
  9. The baby girl was named Rory….the Irish version of Robert.

 

My notes:

NEW: RFK never forgave Edward R. Morrow in toppling Joseph McCarthy

NEW: According to RFK..McCartyism is Americanism…with its sleeves rolled up.

NEW: Joe McCarthy – RFK connection: I have never read about this time in RFK’s life. My knowledge of RFK began with 1960 and his brother’s presidental champaign. JM reminded RFK of his father. RFK’s loyalty to McCarthy grew out of the devotion to his father.  RFK and McCarthy had  many characteristics in common:
— able to be thoughtful to friends yet cruel to others
— able sensitive and yet insensitive
not able to anticipate the results of what he was doing

NEW: RFK took it upon himself to root out corruption in the Teamsters Union. But Tye explains that there was a thin line between fervour and fanaticism.
RFK vs Jimmy Hoffa was an explosive combination.
I did not know of how deep the toxic ongoing animosity  between these two men was.

NEW: 1 in 4 Americans were catholics in 1960…
yet Roman Catholicism was still a stigma in the 1960 presidential election.
In 2008 things had changed Obama’s race and not religion was the issue.

NEW: RFK turned down the offer of Attorney General in his brother’s cabinet, but after long deliberation, soul-searching and a talk with the patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy…RFK’s fate was decided.

NEW: Senators had the votes to defeat RFK’s appointment. LBJ was furious…this would be an embarrassment for the new Vice-President.
LBJ had to prove he could get the votes needed for JFK’s cabinet…even though LBJ LOATHED Bobby!

NEW:  RFK led the greatest investigative attack on organised crime ever seen in the USA. I have always thought…this put RFK AND JFK on a maffia ‘hit-list’.
RFK upset Joe Bonnano famiy in NY, the Patriarca crime family in Rhode Island, DeCavalcante crime family in NJ and worst of all….Sam Giancana of the maffia in Chicago. It is rumoured that Jimmy Hoffa had once said: “Somebody should bump this guy off (RFK).”
Yet in the book The Devil’s Chessboard (D. Talbot) an explosive, headline-making portrait of Allen Dulles, the man who transformed the CIA into the most powerful—and secretive—colossus in Washington, there was the suggestion that Dulles used his CIA contacts and was involved in the assassination of JFK…en perhaps RFK !
Will we ever know the truth?

NEW: During RFK’s three years as attorney general his office prosecuted 2 congressmen, 3 state supreme court justices, 5 mayors, 2 chiefs of police and 3 sheriffs …and ALL democrats!
RFK and JFK made many enemies!

NEW: Frank Sinatra….investigation was never triggered by RFK.  Why? There were too many links to the Kennedy family, political machine and JFK (…Frank often facilitated the supply of ‘women’ to visit JFK).

NEW:  The seeds for the Cuban Missal Crisis were planted two Octobers earlier (1959). Eisenhouwer quietly agreed to back Castro’s home-grown opposition. CIA drew op a plan in March 1960 to train and equip a paramilitary force of Cuban exiles. Castro’s welcoming of the Russian help in 1962 did not come out of the blue…it was a response to American agression. My memories about those ‘ 13 days’ in October 1962 are vivid. The political back round went way above my 11 year old head. Yet I sensed the tension that my parents radiated every time they listened to the news!

NEW:  WHAT THE… Kennedy had microphones planted in the cabinet room and taped the conversations with his ministers. No one had a clue that they were being taped! JFK was able to turn on the bugs with the help of a hidden button. JFK could turn it on or off…at his pleasure!  These recordings were JFK’s and RFK’s non-shareables.

The public found out about these tapes in 1973…and it took another 24 years to have the last of the Cuban Missal Crisis tapes to be released!

10
Aug

I, Claudius

 

Introduction:

  1. The elderly Roman emperor Claudius writes his memoirs.
  2. He tells of the history of the Roman empire through his own period of rule.
  3. It chronicles the reigns of  emperors
  4. Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and finally Claudius.
  5. It begins as Augustus is emperor and his scheming wife Livia.
  6. She will stop at nothing to make her son
  7. …from a previous marriage Tiberius the next emperor.

  1. This is a long period of intrigue, deaths by poison and double-crosses.
  2. History is witnessed by Claudius.
  3. He limps and stammers which  cause everyone to think him simple-minded.
  4. But Claudius in fact possesses a very keen intellect.
  5. Claudius accentuates his deficiencies.
  6. That way he will not be seen as a threat in the murderous world.
  7. He has a greater chance of survival.
  8. He is determined to see justice be done and Rome returned to a Republic.

Claudius:

Conclusion:

  1. I, Claudius….I was addicted to this series in the 1970’s!
  2. Do you remember the snake slithering across the mosaic of Claudius’ face?
  3. For old times sake…I wanted to read the classic by Robert Graves.
  4. Strong point: Graves mixes history with irresistible  juicy details
  5. …that gives this book a ‘soap-opera’ feel.
  6. The reader gets wrapped up in the live of these historical figures.
  7. Ch 9: Graves includes a discussion about the ethics of writing history
  8. with Claudius, Livy and Pollio.
  9. Strong point: Claudius tells the reader that Livy “…makes the people of Ancient Rome
  10. behave and talk as if they were alive now.
  11. That is what Robert Graves has done in his best-seller I, Claudius.
  12. I could not stop reading even after the book was ended.
  13. The marriages of Claudius and his 2 wives
  14. Messalina and Agrippina the Younger (his niece)
  15. …were fascinating! (reading in Wikipedia)

Last thoughts:

  1. If you watched the TV series (1976) the book offered no surprises.
  2. Still I needed Wikipedia to keep me informed ‘who’s who’
  3. …during the reading! (so many births, marriages, adoptions etc)
  4. I don’t why is  book is included on the
  5. Modern Library  TOP 100 novels of 20th C list.
  6. It was good
  7. but not to be compared with Faulkner, Joyce or Conrad!
8
Aug

Bellini

 

  1. This is the simplest and most elegant summer cocktail!
  2. No messy bar….
  3. just  1 part puree fresh peach to
  4. 2 parts sparkling wine.
  5. I used Martini Prosecco.
  6. For a quick ‘mocktail’  just replace wine with sparkling cider.
  7. 1 peach puree = 70-80 ml
  8. and I just….filled up the glass 1 small bottle (200 ml) prosecco.
  9. Some recipes call for the Bellini include a bit of Grand Mariner or
  10. …raspberry liqueur (like Chambord)…but that is optional.
  11. Garnish:  peach wedge and a sprig of fresh rosemary

History:

  1. The Bellini was invented sometime between 1934 and 1948
  2. ….by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy.
  3. He named the drink the Bellini because its unique pink color
  4. reminded him of the toga of a saint in a
  5. ….painting by 15th-century Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini.
  6. Unfortunately my Bellini was not pink…..but still tasted heavenly
  7. If you do not want to pay 15 euro’s  ($17,–)….
  8. + 15% service charge at Harry’s bar in Venice…
  9. just make them at home!
  10. This is one of the favorite cocktails of
  11. Ernest Hemingway, Sinclair Lewis, Orson Wells and Roger Moore.
  12. It is said Cipriani invented the Bellini to help his pal Hemingway
  13. cut back on…his martinis!
  14. Hemingway at Harry’s Bar (1949-1950)
  15. Hemingway became more or less a regular at the bar
  16. …while writing  Across the River and Into the Trees.

  1. It’s summer…..peaches are on sale!
  2. Enjoy this delightful cocktail….before the Fall and Winter set in!
  3. #LiveLifeToTheFullest

Last thoughts:

  1. Daiquiri was Cuban seduction and powerful.
  2. Bloody Mary was like a plunge into a cold ocean…..shock and awe.
  3. Brandy Crusta was like a dark mahogany wall-paneled den full of books
  4. ….it warms the cockles of your heart.
  5. But the Bellini….
  6. those fresh peaches are mother nature’s way of saying
  7. …. you deserve a treat!

BELLINI idaho-peaches

 

 

7
Aug

The African Queen

 

 

1. Explain the title. In what way is it suitable to the story?
a. Name of gin-swilling Charlie Allnutt’s steamboat that ferries supplies to villages in Africa.

2. Where does the primary action take place?
a. September 1914 in German East Africa

3. How does the story get started? What is the initial incident?
a. German troops burn down Rev Sam Sayer’s mission and he dies.
b. His sister Rose Sayer leaves by the only available transport:
c. the dilapidated river steamboat ‘African Queen’ of grumpy Charlie Allnutt
d. Rose is determined to do her bit for the British war effort.
e. She suggests that Charlie construct their
f. own torpedo and launch it with the converted steamboat.

4. Who are the main characters?
a. Charlie: free-spirited libertine; drunk; loner.
b. Rose: well-educated, snobbish; head-strong; bossy; devout tea-teetotaller

5.What is the conflict that  confronts the leading character(s)?
a. external – adventure: attempt to outfox WWI  Forces and sink the warship Louisa
b. internal – romance: Rose and Charlie confront their feelings  for each other

6. How is the conflict resolved?
No spoilers

7. Does this story create any special mood?
a. Setting: the lush jungle green landscape which surrounds the Rose and Charlie  is the novel’s most iconic image. Charlie and Rose pulling the celebrated “African Queen” through the twisted, overwhelming jungle vines of the Ulanga River.

b. Action: I was mesmerized by Forester’s telling of the perilous descent through the raging rapids, swirling colors of the water,  green and at times black, ripples of current warning of a hidden obstacle in the water. The rising action leading to the ultimate climax shooting a torpedo from a rickety old boat aimed at the Louisa was riveting….even though I knew what was going to happen!

8. How do the main characters change?
a. Charlie free-spirited libertine, drunk and a loner…not avid for responsibility (ch 2).
b. Change: Simplistic
c. Charlie had a fierce recklessness and a flame of fanatical patriotism. (ch 13)

d. Rose: well-educated, snobbish, head-strong, bossy, devout tea-teetotaller.
e. She would not allow herself to show weakness.
f. She shut her mouth like a trap into its usual hardline. (ch 2)
g. Change: Complex, psychological
h. Rose comes to terms with her Victorian religious rigidity.
i. She had sinned, lain with a man and enjoyed it.
j. Rose and Charlie were man and wife even if the did not conform to rites and regulations.
k. Her bowed figure in the starlight […] there was no trace of the iron-nerved woman now.
l. In the weeping figure who asked God for forgiveness of her neglect. (ch 13)

 

Conclusion:

  1. This book was made into a movie in 1951.
  2. It was my mother’s all-time favorite.
  3. We watched it  together a zillion times.
  4. I know the story  by heart!
  5. Now I thought it would be interesting to read the book.
  6. Just for old times sake….
  7. Strong point: is the combination of two narratives:
  8. Romance:  how this odd couple finally fall in love.
  9. Adventure: journey down the unpredictable river to sink a German warship
  10. Strong point: the book was able to spark my imagination.
  11. Mud, stench of decaying marshes, clouds of blood hungry insects,
  12. the whining of  mosquitoes…I could go on and on.
  13. Ulanga River with raging rapids , swamps and leeches!
  14. I dreaded reading about the scores of leeches  clinging to Allnutt’s  skin.
  15. The images in the movie still make me shiver.
  16. But in the book the scene took no more than 3 paragraphs on one page!
  17. I gave a sigh of relief.
  18. Strong point: Forester reveals how much
  19. Rose’s Victorian religious upbringing influenced her life.
  20. I didn’t notice this at all in Hepburn’s role in the movie.
  21. This book surpassed all my expectations.
  22. The book was just as good as the movie!
  23. I enjoyed it  more than a few Pulitzer and Nobel prize winners!

Last thoughts:

  1. If you have not read this book…put it on your TBR list!
  2. If you have not seen the movie….don’t delay, it is truly a classic!
  3. The African Queen is rollocking good
  4. …adventure story of tackling insurmountable odds.
  5. #MustRead
  6. #MustSee
  7. #MustListen6 hr  24 minutes  narrated by Michael Kitchen.