Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Winter Reading List


While none of these books scream "wintertime," there is something about the subjects of all of these reads that do, in fact, scream "wintertime." They all deal with the nebulous characteristics of time travel, re-life and/or choices. Something about winter gives us hope. Perhaps it's the short days, perhaps still it is the darkness and death all around us. As humans we tend to forget that we die or worse yet think we can cheat death. Memento Mori! All of these books, at least tough on the subject of everlasting life on earth and how that can be it's very own imprisonment. 

The Midnight Library is a fascinating book where the heroine try to kill herself but instead is put on each path she could have chosen. It is amazing and so well thought out that when it ends, you wish it hadn't. Matt Haig is an accomplished author and not one of his tomes have I completed and then found a waste of time. Never! He is a talent and this book will not disappoint.

Addie LaRue is another book where everlasting life on Earth takes precedence. Sadly, it is done by an unwitting and naive young girl who simply wants to avoid marrying a man with whom she is not in love. The thing is, is that when you bargain with the devil, hell is what you'll have. Such a great read! Like The Midnight Library, I couldn't put it down.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is a book that was so profound to me that I read it several times and suggested it to just about everyone. It is captivating as we see the struggle of good and evil, crossroads of choice, moral flexibility and a story wherein you sympathize with both the protagonist and antagonist at some point. During this time of Covid, I should revisit it again as the topics seem poignant as our lives have been turned upside down.


Once Upon A Kitchen was an accidental treasure! I was looking for an oracle deck for my sister for Christma and came upon this little diamond! The photos are superb and the recipes are super with little stories and film histories accompanying them. I'll have to do a post about the things I have tried from this beautiful book. This is a crossover gift that doubles as a cookbook but also a fun read! And Leslie Bilderbeck is an amazing chef with an outstanding curriculum vitae! It is so worth the splurge.


How to Eat a Peach is an amazing book that was suggested to me by the same friend that suggest Harry August and what a dream cookbook. I love a menu and this book is a cookbook of menus! Fully planned menus that are calculated with panache and sophistication and the photos and food styling are unmatched. And everything is planned by season. Plus, the cover is fuzzy - like a peach!

If you have a book lover or a chef that still needs Christmas gift, Amazon has two day shipping and I bet you have a Barnes and Noble nearby.

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Gentleman in Moscow

I haven't posted about a book in a while. In fact, it's been years. But this was such a great read that I cannot pass it by. I want to share it with the world! It is "A Gentleman in Moscow" by Amor Towles. My friend Joan told me about it. It was a selection for her book club (which I have inserted myself into). At first I was reluctant to read it (fearful it was a dramatic novel) but I am so glad I did. It is one of my Top 10 favorite books!

Below is the trailer for the brilliant novel "A Gentleman in Moscow." This little film is equally magnificent!

from Delphine Burrus on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

My friend Meaghan shared with me this extraordinary Thanksgiving feast.

It must've been a great party!

I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

What are you thankful for?


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Bone Season

I'm and avid reader and always have been.
My friends and family are the same. In fact, some of my closest friends are my book club ladies. Some of the best books I have read (*future post about my faves) are because of these spectacular women. And my sister has often clued me in on the best novels (I never would've have read the Potter series if it wasn't for her).
But every once in a while I choose a book for myself that is "knock your socks off" magnificent.
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon is one such book. In fact, it is actually a series of books and the second one, The Mime Order, will debut on January 27th 2015 here in the States. (Sqeee)!
It has been compared to the Potter Series though this is not Young Adult. It has also been compared to The Hunger Games series. But it is neither; The Bone Season has it's own special darkness and it's own satisfying hope that the other two series simply do not possess. Read it. You won't be sorry.



Monday, February 10, 2014

Adrien Broom - Surprise!

I have seen a few things. Not tons of stuff, mind you - a few things - more than the average Joe...well, Josephine in my case, I suppose.

I've been to a few other countries. I speak (albeit marginally) another language, I can cook world cuisine and I married a Mediterranean man. At this point, I feel like I've been surprised, titillated, hypnotized, mesmerized, wowed, and awed as much as I can be. It's disconcerting to walk into middle age thinking this.

I went to art school knowing full well that I need - no, thirst for - stimulation; that's just me. As, I've grown older, I find that it is harder for me to feel viscerally stimulated. And then there was today...

Today, I searched #somethingnew. And what came up was a world of color by Adrien Broom. She is a Connecticut artist whose imagination matches that of Erin Morgenstern in The Night Circus. Her creativity and vision is captivating at the least.

She has started "The Color Project" which I found on My Modern Metropolis. Her art is nothing short of genius. As I look at my Art History background, I remember studying artistic movements. We are in a new movement currently but which lacks a name. In a world where Dystopic novels are translated to the screen and where electronics have taken the place of relationships, it is comforting to see that imagination and expressiveness still win out. Enjoy this part of her series but please follow the links above so you can see more of Adrien's fascinating virtuosity.

You also know how much I love Vimeo. So here is a film that chronicles a behind the scenes look at this artist and her art.

Behind the Scenes of Orange from Adrien Broom on Vimeo.
Sunday, January 5, 2014

"The Salt" - There's Talk

I love to give a shout out to my local peeps. I've loved this San Francisco trio - "There's Talk" - for a little while and I am so happy they are growing. I saw them at Bottom of the Hill back in November and I was hooked. I visit their website from time to time and since they are now releasing their first EP - "Tiny Strands" - I thought I'd give a look see! And voila - A simply stunning video of "The Salt," on the front page of Vimeo.

They are a folk/electronic band, fully listenable by anyone at anytime. They are fronted by Olivia Lee whose vocals carry you to other lands much like your favorite book - both angelic and haunting. Her range is amazing and the bands lyrics are ethereal and prophetic.

This beautiful art piece supports the fact that often times we don't know we are incomplete until we meet a complementary counter-piece. I could bathe in the sound of this for days - the visual makes the lyricism all the more sumptuous.


THERE'S TALK : THE SALT from marta m. m. dymek on Vimeo.
Sunday, October 20, 2013

Geek Love

My friend Amy is my own private Book Critic. Because of her I have read some of the best books ever. Some of them include: The Monster of Florence and The Lacuna just to name a couple. But the best so far is hands down "Geek Love" by Katherine Dunn.

If the world is a carnival, then we are all side show pass-arounds. After all, when each of us arrived on the scene, naked and covered in blood and goo, we were unique specimens. But soon after our births, a member of The Cult of Normalcy gave us a pamphlet and offered us the opportunity to blend in with the rest of society. Most of us accepted the offer. Loneliness is a scary thing, after all. So here we are trying to live our lives like everyone else, constantly checking the mirror to make sure we look like everyone else, and taking some time out of our day to laugh and gawk at those who have failed miserably at our collective endeavor. If what we see in the mirror doesn't reflect the rest of society, we do things to fix ourselves. It's exhausting work, trying to be like everyone else, but it's worth it because we're not alone and that make us happy, right?

I love Geek Love for reminding me that I'm a freak. I am the only person who popped out of my mother's womb in upstate New York.  There is no one else in this world that has my brain, my heart, and my soul.

I'll finish with a great quote from the book:

There are those whose own vulgar normality is so apparent and stultifying that they strive to escape it. They affect flamboyant behavior and claim originality according to the fashionable eccentricities of their time. They claim brains or talent or indifference to mores in desperate attempts to deny their own mediocrity...

Then there are those who feel their own strangeness and are terrified by it. They struggle toward normalcy. They suffer to exactly that degree that they are unable to appear normal to others, or to convince themselves that their aberration does not exist. These are true freaks, who appear, almost always, conventional and dull
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Inspired: Have You Met the Devil?

Have you met the Devil?

I have.

5 Day Work Weeks
An Overdraw
Poor Communication

Please. Add to this list.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bitterballen with Chanterelles - A Dutch Treat

I found this recipe ages ago on Design*Sponge. I made them one night as a nod to my own Dutch heritage and everybody swooned. I made them last Thanksgiving and now I am making them again this year. The styling at Design*Sponge is so spectacular I used their pics here. If you've never been to visit that sensational site, you'd love it. I recommend visiting for some input from Yvette Van Boven who invented the twist on this Dutch favorite. Also, Yvette is a sensational cookbook author and food stylist. I have her book Home Made
and it is sensational.

Bitterballen with Chanterelle Mushrooms
The Bitterballen Ingredients
Step by Step

Real Dutch Bitterballen with Chanterelles
1 onion
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons plus 1 handful of flour
1/2 cup (75ml) White Port
2 cups mushroom broth (500ml)
salt, pepper, nutmeg
3 cups chanterelle mushrooms (250 grams)
1 handful of parsley
2-3 eggs
1 handful of fine breadcrumbs
Day 1:
Make the filling:
Fry 1 Onion (chopped) in a wide pan with the butter.  Once the butter has melted add one tablespoon of flour.  Stir and let cook a bit.  Add the White Port and mushroom broth.  Salt and pepper to taste and add some nutmeg.  Add the chanterelles and parsley, and cook this until a thick roux forms.  Let this mixture chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Day 2:
Set up your assembly line:  Set aside three bowls, and a tray lined with parchment paper.  In one bowl place a handful of flour, in one bowl 2-3 eggs, lightly beaten, and in the last bowl, your breadcrumbs.
Divide the mixture in half and roll into two logs.  Cut each log into equal parts, about the size of a large grape.  Roll each ball in flour, then dip in the egg, and then roll in the breadcrumbs.  Repeating the last two steps will help to form a thick, firm crust.
Heat your oil to 350F degrees (180C degrees).  Fry the bitterballen in small batches.
Serve immediately with creamy mustard (made with one part sour cream, one part mustard) and beer!
Friday, September 21, 2012

The Book

*If you haven't entered the giveaway you can click here and scroll down to enter. So far, there are no entries. Bummer.


If you haven't read a little of my novel, you can click on the page to the right, "A Raucous in Rome," and read a little bit of heart and soul.

That's all there is today. I am really wanting to giveaway the jewelry I brought back from Turkey for one lucky reader and I's love some feedback about the book.

I hope you are all Healthy and Happy!
Saturday, July 28, 2012

I Don't Know What to Say

I really don't and anyone that knows me, knows that that rarely happens. My dad's speech at our wedding began with, "We all called her Chatty Cathy!"

By this time Turkey has enraptured me. So I'll leave you with some pretty pictures (you know how I love the pretty) and a little film.





Monday, May 7, 2012


I saw a ridiculously awesome film last night that I gotta talk about. It's called "Drive" and stars Ryan Gosling as the driver.

"Drive" is a  2011 film adaptation after a novel of the same title by James Sallis. It has been sometime that a film has touched me in such a way and for so many reasons. For instance, the cast is impeccable. Carey mulligan plays the love interest of the driver. She was ideal for the role for her natural sweetness alone in addition to her well done American accent and being able to make a secondary character shine even without overdone dialogue. She keeps her sweetness even with the backdrop of a gritty, dark LA as the set.

Albert Brooks as Bernie Rose is a villainous but likable character. He is the sort of character you know has done sordid things but you desperately want to be a good guy. He isn't though.

And, Ron Perlman as Nino, a scum bag to beat all of them, is as always a joy to see in this film for the sheer hatred of his character alone.

And of course, Ryan Gosling. He ties the film together - the glue - if you will. I have never been one of these ladies that gushes over Hollywood men. Certainly, I have my favorites but never have I checked fan sites or spoken incessantly about actors. I simply don't care. It isn't that I haven't been impressed in the past either. I just like to keep a bit of decorum about the whole Hollywood leading man thing. But Gosling, in this film, is quietly magnanimous. His natural strength and lack of arrogance amongst his pretending made me realize what the hullaballoo is all about. Sure he's attractive, but to look at him he is no more attractive than my own husband. But this is not about attractiveness, his appeal is that which separates an actor from an artist. He has the quintessential je ne sais quoi that has had my mind reeling about this film. I hate saying that because again, I'd like to maintain some dignity. His performance was just amazing. Before the film, I thought he was ok. After the film I think he is a truly sumptuous performer. He plays that hero that I looked up to as a child. I found myself wanting to be him and be with him all at once. Remarkable does not describe his performance well enough.

Drive is "Pretty in Pink" meets "True Romance" and that is all the appeal it needs for me. But as icing completes the cake the sound track threads the thing together. I just really can't say enough about this extraordinary film. Kudo's to Nicolas Winding Refn for such excellent direction.

See this film but be warned there is violence. It is, after all a crime film...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Vimeo Film Awards

Do you guys visit Vimeo? I, myself am a member. Infact I'm not sure I could live without it! I have featured several Vimeo movies from various film makers here and one on La Bottine too. It's voting week for the Vimeo Festival and Awards. Please be sure to go over there and check the films out if not just to support these independent and talented filmmakers but also to choose your fave!

Here is an example of what you'll find...

This film is by Everynone and you can see more of their films here!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Poor Henri!

Im not in the mood to write something today. Lame, I know. But it just goes like that sometimes. It's not even that I'm lazy, it's that I busy with other junk.

Salvador Dali and friend.

So...I love this kitty. He's so sad. He simply can't stand this hot weather... And he makes me giggle...May I introduce, Henri: Paw de Deux!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Beet Cake - Not Just a Pretty Treat

The soft breeze of Spring. A sweater but only in the evening. No bad bugs - yet. The sweet smells of citrus blossom and Lilac. The first al fresco dining. A cup of tea and a good friend in the kitchen. And fresh new beets...


The song on this video by Tiger in a Jar is an ethereal tune called "Babe" by Evenings from the album North Dorm EP an Extended Play that leaves you wanting more. Just like this little video. It really touches on the sensuality of cooking...the feel of flour in your hands, the sound of eggs cracking on the bowl. No wonder I love's more than the mere taste of the art!
Thursday, March 29, 2012

Old Movies

Every Sunday, the hubby and I spend about the entire day watching old movies. The black and whites...usually set during war time through the following two decades. But sometimes we catch shorts from as early as 1926 and as late as 1970.

Our latest adventures in old time films have been Going My Way, Hotel, I Was a Male War Bride, My Sister Eileen and Sweet November.

Going My Way has the best soundtrack and Bing Crosby who won an Oscar for best actor. The film itself won 7 oscars in 1944 and was nominated for 10! Some of the music includes Carmen, Ave Maria, Tura Lura Lura and Swinging on a Star - perhaps one of my all time favorite songs right up there with Down By the Old Mill Stream.






This is a video from the film "Going My Way" of the boys choir singing "Swinging On A Star."All of the films we see can be caught on Turner Classic Movies.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Winter Day

Compost Head

I'm feeling a bit dark today as I'm sure you can see. You must have a sense of humor for these. If you don't, forget it, don't watch them.

"Vincent!" Tim Burton's short film - 1982

"The Tale of How" by The Black Heart Gang. I chose this for it's Boschian qualities. It's also as though Gorey, Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman collided. Also, it's a visual feast. You must listen closely to really get it though. 

A good one By Edward Gorey - "The Beastly Baby!" (This baby is Stewie before there ever was a Stewie) Warning, quite irreverent. Any decent person shouldn't think this is funny, but I do!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Great Reads and Reels

I know I've said this before, but when I become a real blogger I plan on having a page just for books and movies.

I know I'm a purist. A book? You may query...Yes! Those wee films between pages and pages that one holds in one's hands and is entertained by their own imagination...such developments! I know there are those of you who love your kindle or your nook and I, too am an advocate, but just as a supplemental not to erase or replace the written page.

As for "reels", there are movies, films and motion pictures. The category of movie would include titles such as "Elf," or "Party Girl." This is no hierarchy, I'll have you know. Just because "Sophie's Choice" is a  film does not inherently make it better than say "Avatar" or "Star Trek" or oh hail! "Star Wars: which are motion pictures. And let's not forget the cross overs.

There are some films which are also motion pictures, "The Matrix" (film 1 in the franchise - ONLY and emphatically).  And there are motion pictures which are movies, "Beowulf" for instance which is a cartoon, but a CGI cartoon based on an epic hero. Understand?

I get it. Not all of you will agree with me. But I must say now that even if you don't agree, it is still very likely that I am right. I have a guest blogger that will come on with some frequency to debate with me or against me, though we are usually in agreement...For instance, "Adventureland," what a waste of two hours! I want my money back. And "The Box," Really? Why are Hollywood execs allowed to so flagrantly produce a movie when they are so clearly on crack? Again I want my money back!! The guset blogger will be a colleague. His name, let's just keep it short, you can call him Mike! For film purposes and criticisms, You can call me Ike!

Today's post is about books turned films. And since I have seen the films yet, I have nothing to say about them. But The book beginning with the first is "The Hunger Games!"

It's the film poster...Read the book first!