Behind Every Good Whisky Is A Trusty Distillery Cat

Behind Every Good Whisky Is A Trusty Distillery Cat : Parallels : NPR.

Cats-even more necessary than you thought! For alcohol, ambassador missions, and world records, go read yon article. And use it as another excuse to visit distilleries, visit Scotland, honor cats by drinking, or look up more cat pictures on the internet. Learn important facts like:

“On the central path between buildings at Glenturret [the oldest distillery], the scent of leaves and grass mixes with the smells of wood, smoke and caramel from the whisky-making process. Looming over it all is a proud bronze statue. It’s not the company founder, or a bottle of whisky. It’s a cat. The greatest distillery cat of them all.

Towser the Mouser is actually in the Guinness Book of World Records for catching mice. Estimated lifetime kills: 28,899.”

Hurrah for the cats!

Top Ten Most Underrated Childhood Books

This is a rendition of Top Ten Tuesday by the thebrokeandthebookish.wordpress.com. This week was top 10 underrated books in a genre, and I have chosen to do Childhood Books because frankly, there are too many wonderful books that no one else seems to have read and/or are out of print. So, if any of you have also enjoyed these works, please tell me!

Most Underrated Childhood Books

-Picture book section:

1. The Keris Emerald by Mary Parke Johnson
books_Keris

This is a fairy tale about a Russian lad who wants to gain the attention of a princess by giving her the greatest of all emeralds, hidden in the forest of the Keris fairies and guarded by a snow leopard…It’s gorgeous, and strange, and lovely.

2. The Princess on the Nut by Michelle Nikly and Jean Claverie
books_nut

This is the tale of the son of the princess on the pea and his search for a bride who isn’t so “perfect” or princessy as his mother. The pictures are gorgeous and give a lot of extra information, too!

3. The Magic Pumpkin by Lucille E. Sette and Phyllis L. Tildes
books_squiggs

One of my favorite Halloween books, The Magic Pumpkin is about old Mr. Squiggs, who loves Halloween because he gets to be even more unpleasant and dreadful, and it is sanctioned! I love the way this writing goes in threes: how he interacts with men, with women, with children, his jack-o-lanterns are dreadful, are hideous, are frightening! Only this year, the pumpkin has something to say about being so horrible.

4. All works by Barbara Helen Berger
Gwinna Animalia
This artist/writer creates such gorgeous, magical works that I cannot recommend them enough. My first was “Grandfather Twilight” and I think that’s the easiest one to find, though.
Grandfather-Twilight-petting-dog

5. This Is the Place for Me by Joanna Cole and William Van Horn
books_placeforme

This charming book is about a bear who’s fed up with his house and goes looking for a better place to live. I still think of this bear when I need some perspective or am thinking of making crazy, impulsive life-choices, and the images still make me smile in amusement, so what more could one want in a picture book?

(Extra): Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady by Selina Hastings and Juan Wijngaard
books_loathly

-Since it’s a well-known tale I felt this was more of an extra mention, but this work probably began my great love with all things Arthurian, the artwork is amazing, and it’s just one of the most vibrant treasures.

Chapter Books:

6. The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye
ordinary princess

Again, I cannot recommend it enough-a committee suggesting they hire a dragon to help wed their plain daughter, a princess who runs off rather than having it and finds living with animals in the wood a rather unpractical affair and so gets work with her non-anthropomorphized squirrel and crow…read it! I do every spring.

7. The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope
perilousgard2

And this is the book I read every fall. It’s set in England during Mary Tudor’s reign, with the stubborn, curious, and practical Kate sent into exile in a palace full of mysterious circumstances and tales of living elves…It’s a retelling and expansion of the Tam Lin tale and it’s brilliant.

8. The Gammage Cup: A Novel of the Minnipins by Carol Kendall and Erik Blegvad
TheGammageCup1

This world is delightfully filled with poetry, courage, and discovery.

9. A Royal Pain by Ellen Conford
a-royal-pain-img

This one is more real-world…almost. “A sixteen-year-old in Kansas, who discovers she is really a princess, is taken to a tiny European monarchy to assume her duties and marry a distasteful neighboring prince, and in the ensuing weeks tries to become such a “royal pain” that everyone will want to be rid of her.” It’s great fun, and a good read-aloud book.

10. My Angelica by Carol Lynch Williams
books_angelica

Angelica is an elementary student who dreams of becoming a great and famous romance writer! Unfortunately, her book is filled with sentimental tripe wrapped in hilariously absurd euphemisms. Her best friend is both a good poet who’s aware of this problem and utterly in love with her. It’s a ridiculously charming read. Why it didn’t catch on I do not know.

So! How about you guys? What are your favorite childhood books that other people’s lack of knowledge keeps you from talking about? Have you read any of these?

Heartless (The Parasol Protectorate Series 4)

Heartless (The Parasol Protectorate Series 4)
By: Gail Carriger
(http://gailcarriger.com)
Orbit Books 2011
A steampunk historical mystery review

Heartlessthumb

Alexia Tarabotti faces continued assassination attempts on her person with hilarious resignation. Not so when a deranged ghost reports a plot against the queen. Alexia’s investigations lead her headlong into the Kingair plot of the past, the secrets of other women, and oh, yes-her final month of pregnancy.

Firmly back in London, and in control of husband, home, and helping, Alexia’s indomitable spunk and efficiency return this series to the light-hearted antics of Soulless. Heartless allows Alexia to upend supernatural society, even while it delves more deeply into her supporting cast. Biffy, Lyle, and Lord Maccon all hold together and even out the tone of this work so that the deep undertones begun in Blameless continue to support the world and characters of this creamier, more refreshing novel, like a tart on firm, chocolate crust. With plenty of fun and significant revelations, Heartless is an enjoyable rush to a climactic, parasol-dropping crescendo that will have you searching for the last book in Gail Carriger’s series.

Top Ten Characters at my Lunch Table

This is a rendition of Top Ten Tuesday by the thebrokeandthebookish.wordpress.com. The returning-to-school themed prompt was literary characters you’d eat lunch with. I found this one a bit tricky, but here’s the result:

Top Ten Characters at my School Lunch Table:

1. Katherine from “Half Magic” by Edward Eager
-I would have loved talking books and Arthurian legends and dreaming away with this romantic 9-year-old.

2. Bitterblue from “Bitterblue” by Kristin Cashore
(Full review here: http://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/05/20/bitterblue/)
-The combination of thoughtful, inquisitive, and determined is my cup of tea.

3. Angela Montgomery from “Unspoken” by Sarah Rees Brennan
(Full review here: http://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/unspoken-the-lynburn-legacy/)
-Her description on the author’s site goes: “Beautiful, brilliant Angela has been Kami’s best friend since they were twelve. She hates almost everybody in the world and loves naptime. But Angela’s facade of indifference may not hold up when the world changes.” Snarking, naps, and intelligence is yes! Also, while I can’t quite see being at the same lunch table, I’d adore hanging out with her older brother Rusty and his combination of mellow, napping, and protective attacks.

4. Will from “The Subtle Knife” by Philip Pullman
-Exactly the friend you’d want when facing stressful situations or an adventure.

5. Millie Chant from “The Chrestomanci Chronicles” by Diana Wynne Jones
-Powerful, insightful, and adaptable, this is the lunch friend you actually stay in touch with through adulthood.

6. Tonino from “Magicians of Caprona” by Diana Wynne Jones
-Bookworms of the world with insight and loyalty, unite! Also, spells and cats.

7. Ella from “Ella Enchanted”
-Snark, adventure, language help, and excellent humor-always.

8. Seraphina from “Seraphina” by Rachel Hart
-I love this character’s thought-processes, courage, and story-telling ability.

9. Lucien Kiggs from “Seraphina” by Rachel Hart
-I feel he would be my ideal study partner and fellow investigator with his love of truth and learning.

10. Sophy from “The Grand Sophy” by Georgette Heyer
(Full review here: http://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/the-grand-sophy/)
-She would be the friend always leading you into trouble, but with such aplomb, logic, and awesomeness that you don’t care. Also, pet monkeys and things. Can you imagine her birthday party? It would be the absolute best!

Which characters would your school-self love to kibitz with? Or study or play hooky or recess games with? Let me know!

Colbert on Disney

i69bZwW.jpg JPEG Image, 450 × 455 pixels.

7 Deadly Sins (of Reading) Meme

Who can resist a sinful reading meme?

GREED – What is your most inexpensive book?
-At the moment I believe this would be “Thirteenth Night” by Alan Gordon, bought from a library sale for either a quarter or fifty cents. Shakespeare, and Jesters running the world, and murderous mystery, oh my!
thirteenth_night

It seems strange that it’s the cheapest instead of most expensive work, which I am not sure about in my collection, but what springs to mind is “The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends” edited by Roman Coghlan. It’s gorgeous and out-of-print and I felt guilty, although I’m sure it wasn’t that much bought second-hand….but it made me feel a lot greedier than buying things at library sales!
arthurian_legends


WRATH – What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

-Definitely Alison Weir. I find her such a good source-finder, and her writing does have a wonderfully engaging quality so she’s fun to read, but then she goes and twists all the evidence around so her books always find people guilty or innocent depending on the current trend, and sometimes she even SAYS in there that this was a common thing with no meaning, but then she proceeds to find meaning in it anyway, and I’m sure it influences a lot of people, including my mother, and it is Frustrating. *glares*

GLUTTONY – What book have you devoured over and over with no shame?
-I find this question rather bemusing as it has never occurred to me to have shame over rereading books…I get it over rewatching TV sometimes? I suppose the book I’ve probably read the most over the years is “The Ordinary Princess” by M.M. Kaye-it is my springtime book and one of the most delightful novellas ever, where the king’s advisers have committee meetings and the princess’s animal friends aren’t anthropomorphized at all. It’s also probably the one I’ve read to other people the most, so there’s that. And if that makes me a glutton, then so be it-NO SHAME! YOU SHOULD READ IT! In the springtime, at any rate…
ordinary princess

SLOTH – What book have you neglected reading due to laziness?
-This would be Otto von Bismarck’s autobiography in volumes which I started and found very amusing, but am too lazy to get back into. His iron fist allowed him to write too much without tiring his hand, apparently. Also Proust.


PRIDE – What book do you talk most about to sound like an intellectual reader?

-I really don’t think I do this outside of research papers. o.O I remember in high school I did it with having read “Ivanhoe” for fun and enjoyed it.

LUST – What attributes do you find attractive in male or female characters?
-Dark, curly/unruly hair of the longish variety and an accent, preferably Irish. Also, intense stares. Yeah. In males, specifically.


ENVY – What book would you most like to receive as a gift?

-WHY MUST I PICK? That’s just ridiculously hard. Which I suppose makes me very envious since I’d like people to just hand me a lot of books as gifts. I shall say that the rare, out-of-print Barbara Helen Berger books like “Animalia” and “When the Sun Rose” would be particularly special.
Animalia

So, how about all the guilty readers out there? What are your seven deadly sins?

Top Ten Books I Found Through Recs/Hype

This is a rendition of Top Ten Tuesday by the thebrokeandthebookish.wordpress.com. The prompt was books people keep telling you you must read, but I felt more comfortable listing works I’ve already read for that reason and liked rather than just passing on other recs or books you’ve probably heard the hype about already, anyhow. So, here goes:

Top Ten Books I Found Through Recs/Hype:

1. “Harry Potter” by J.K. Rowling
-My secret’s been that I actually put this down the first time I tried to read it and only picked them up again for the hype…only to get thoroughly into the fandom.

2. “The Other Boleyn Girl” by Philippa Gregory
-This was lent to me by my mother, who firmly believes that Anne did probably engage in incest with George in order to beget an heir.

3. “The Great, Good Thing” by Roderick Townley
-A friend gifted me this work and I loved its meta style.

4. “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman
-I’m actually not a fan of most of Gaiman’s works, and the synopsis for this book is not something I normally go for, but somehow I really like this one.

5. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams
-This one actually had to be recommended to me over years, simply because it’s so hard to explain and the title sounds boring to me, I think.

6. “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones
-One of my happiest author discoveries, I think this was actually thrust upon me by my little sister.

7. “Wee Free Men” by Terry Pratchet
-This is another big author whose works I largely don’t connect with, so I need recommendations to find the ones that I do really enjoy.

8. “Soulless” by Gail Carriger
(Full review here: http://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/soulless-the-parasol-protectorate-series-1/)
-This was another gift from a friend.

9. “Her Royal Spyness” by Rhys Bowen
(Full review here: http://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/her-royal-spyness/)
-A friend literally put this into my hands in a bookstore and I couldn’t put it down.

10. Georgette Heyer books
-This regency romance author I found because a close friend began a reading aloud marathon of them with me, and luckily she wrote enough for me to still be working through them. Examples are:
“The Grand Sophy”: (http://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/the-grand-sophy/)
“Black Sheep”: (http://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/regency-romances-best-bickering/)
Frederica,
and for mysteries-
“Behold, Here’s Poison”: (http://wheresmytower.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/behold-heres-poison/)

Well, I guess that rather doubled as my reading secrets blog. So, what are your favorite books discovered through insistent recommendations?

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 102 other followers