Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ralph the Heir by Anthony Trollope, l love this book

I posted about the first sentences of this book in March and here is my review of the book, now that I finished reading it.

I love this book. Trollope creates realistic people and not just perfect heroes and purely dastardly villains. There are two Ralphs in this novel, Ralph Not the Heir is the illegitimate son of Squire Gregory. He lives with his father who wants to leave his estate to him, but the law requires a legitimate heir. Thus, Ralph the Heir, the Squire’s nephew, will inherit the estate and title. This man has flaws and yet is charming and has a tender heart. His spend thrift ways cause him to be in dire need of money and to propose to Polly, the daughter of a well to do tradesman. This marriage idea shocks everyone who hears of it. Polly is simply not in his social class since he is a gentleman. Trollope explores here the idea of marrying for love, or to improve social standing or save an estate from ruin by marrying money. Polly is a heroine as she absolutely refuses to marry the heir. She feels she would not be comfortable as the lady of the estate and she knows her dear papa would never fit in there. In another story line, Sir Thomas Underwood has two daughters and a niece of marriageable age, so romance is in the air, plus he is called to stand for a seat in Parliament. Electioneering then in 1870s England turned out to be quite corrupt, which comforted me as I look at the current elections in the USA and our own political fighting. I am reviewing the copy I bought, which is the Folio Society edition, printed in London in 1996 with a foreword by John Letts. The book is a hardcover with a robin's egg blue cover and slipcase and includes numerous black and white drawings by Shirley Bellwood which added a lot to my pleasure as I read the book.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

My Christmas gift huge planter

This is my first spring enjoying my new planter. It is loaded with vegetables and strawberries, just the new plants. We did a lot of planting on Saturday April 16. Doesn't the cilantro in the front look happy? All the plants like their new home.
Above is our oldest son building the planter from the kit he bought me. He is nailing in metal grids to prevent gophers from tunneling in and we laid weed mat under the whole planter to prevent weeds.

Above is the box it came in from Greene's Fence Company, three tiered cedar planter. I could NOT have assembled this myself. I have no talent in that direction, ha ha.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wordless Wednesday, CHARD

Yummy. Delicious Swiss Chard. Cook in a few tablespoons olive oil and some garlic for about 10 minutes. I cut out the stems and cook them first for a few extra minutes, then add the rest of the leaves.
I am linking to Wordless Wednesday
Remember friends, this is Swiss Chard.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Early birthday celebration

Four of my dear friends treated me to an early birthday lunch on April 8, and the restaurant offered me my choice of a free dessert. I chose chocolate mousse (see above, with lighted candle) which we all shared. Delicious.
Can you tell we are happy? One of my friends is moving away though.
Above is Terry in action capturing our mirth. I will add a photo with me in soon, when she sends me one. I didn't take any photos of me, ha ha.
Above is the delicious three bean with lamb soup I usually get when I am at this restaurant, which features food of Afghanistan and the silk road.
We usually eat outside on the patio which is enclosed with high walls, secretive and has large palms and other plants. That day the patio was closed due to a bit of showers, but I did get a photo of it.
I hope each person reading this is having a happy day, or will smile at these photos if you are having a difficult day.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Book beginnings, The Sound and the Furry by Spencer Quinn

"One thing's for sure," the lawyer said, handing Bernie our check, "you earned every cent." Bernie tucked the check in -oh, no-the chest pocket of his Hawaiian shirt, just about his nicest Hawaiian shirt, with the hula dancers and the trombones, but that wasn't the point. The point was we'd had chest pocket problems in the past, more than once. And possibly more than twice, but I wouldn't know, since I don't count past two."
Guess whose thoughts these are? Chet, who is an extra smart dog and side kick to his human private eye partner, Bernie.
These sentences quoted above begin the sixth Bernie and Chet mystery, "The Sound and the Furry." In it they battle a biker gang, shadowy black ops figures, and Igo the ever hungry bayou alligator.
I am linking to Rose City Reader
I am also linking to Bibliophile By the Sea
Ooops, this post appeared today April 10, but I meant for it to appear
April 15, on a Friday. And the date of the post says April 15. Anyway, I guess it is no big deal that the dates differ. For those of us in the USA April 15 is the day taxes are due!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Book beginnings, Linnea in Monet's Garden

"Just think - I've been in a famous artist's garden! And I've been in Paris!"
These are the first 2 sentences from this gorgeous children's book.
I am joining in on Book beginnings where we share the first sentence or two from a book.
"Linnea in Monet's Garden" is written for the 4 to 10 year old set, and all ages can enjoy it. The author is Christina Bjork and the artist is Lena Anderson. This colorful edition is the one I recommend and was published in 2012 as the 25th anniversary edition by Sourcebooks / Jabberwocky.
A girl of about 8 travels to France with her friend Mr. Bloom to have the adventure of seeing the gardens at Giverny, created by Claude Monet.
The colors in this book sing right off the page and it is a real spirit lifter.
I purchased this book to read to an older lady who has dementia. I am a volunteer visitor at an assisted living and memory care home, and she smiles when I read.
I am linking to Rose City Reader

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Wordless Wednesday and Three Pretty Cards

Three cards from two sweet pen pals of mine. Yes, we exchange cards written on paper via mail. Old school. The Bike and Mother with Babies cards are from Diane at Diane Wants to Write and the Easter card is from Jennifer at Sparrow Tree Journal
I am linking with Wordless Wednesday
Starting Over and Becky mentioned that paper cards can be expensive and Becky suggested Dollar Store. I have found pretty cards at rummage sales at churches for 10 cents each, and Trader Joe's has nice cards that are all 99 cents. In pharmacies and other stores that sell cards look for the 99 cent Hallmark cards. I do often buy fancy cards because they offer something special like art work or encouraging or funny quotes.
Oh, today on Amazon I discovered packs of 20 postcards for six dollars (yes, 30 cents each) so look out world, I will order some today.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Book beginnings, Vendetta by Michael Dibdin

I am participating in Book beginnings where we list the first sentence or two from a book we are reading. I am reading Vendetta by Michael Dibdin, the second Aurelio Zen police novel.
"Aurelio Zen lounged on the sofa like a listless god, bringing the dead back to life. With a flick of his finger he made them rise again."
Zen is a police detective who works in Rome, and he could be a cousin to the wonderful fictional detectives Brunetti who is a detective in Venice and Montalbano who works in Sicily. Those two detectives star in two series I also enjoy. Zen has a difficult time at work, especially after his promotion. The man who wanted the promotion is out to get him. Meanwhile a dangerous man picks the lock on Zen's apartment and leaves him threats there, while Zen's mother with dementia is alone in the apartment. Zen just wants to do his job and catch criminals, not always easy in Rome. Half way through Vendetta Zen is sent to Sardinia to investigate a related crime there.
I am linking to Rose City Reader
Since Dibdin is a writer new to me this year I am also linking to New to me authors