The Reading Forecast

*hangs head*

I failed badly last week. It was strange that I didn’t read even though I had the desire to. I just mostly felt out of sorts, went out with my friends and coloured. Because colouring solves all problems or pushes them under the rug to be dealt with at a later date. Here’s what I did manage to read:

  1. Mad Miss Mimic – Sarah Henstra
    I enjoyed this a lot.
  2. Little Kunoichi, the Ninja Girl – Sanae Ishida
    So cute.
  3. Lost in Translation – Ella Frances Sanders
  4. The Princess and the Pony – Kate Beaton

Though I didn’t finish too many books last week (only one really as the other three don’t really count), I did read more of the thicker ones. I’m currently reading:

  1.   The Dhulyn and Parno Novels: Vol. 1 by Violette Malan
    I’m 234 pages in. There are two novels in this one and I’m going to take a break after reading the first one.
  2. The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
    I’m 230 pages in. Success! The narrative’s picking up and now that I know who the players are (mostly) I’m even enjoying the book.
  3. The Wolf Wilder – Katherine Rundell
    I haven’t read anything other than the first chapter but I did love the first chapter.
  4. Bitter Greens – Kate Forsyth
    The little bit I read did intrigue me so we’ll see.
  5. Book Scavenger – Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
    Ah. I don’t know. It’s very slow and young. Perhaps I need to give it another try.

To read in the following week:

I’ll have to put everything aside and read the latest Kate Daniels because the library has given me 2 weeks only so I will do that. But other than that, I have no plans to start any other book. I’m going to read the ones I’m currently reading and hopefully finish one or two.

Kabocha Muffin Recipe

I am lucky to live in Vancouver with its amalgamation of cultures–the diversity is truly reflected in the food available in the city. This past Wednesday, my friends Teng and Yash accompanied me to a foodie adventure around the city. We went to a Japanese cafe, a dessert place in Chinatown, had tacos in Gastown and finished the day off with soft serve ice cream from a Korean place. The Japanese place, Basho Cafe, was delightful. The cookies were delicious and the service was amazing. If you’re in Vancouver or visiting Vancouver, I recommend that you check it out. A pic of my order:

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I had the tiny kabocha muffin there and immediately fell in love with its deliciousness. So I decided to try to recreate it at home with the help of this recipe. I reworked the recipe to reflect the measurements more common in North America. The muffins turned out great though my mom and I used Dixie squash instead of Kabocha. With the Dixie, you just need to cook it in the microwave until it’s all soft and then just blend it to create a soft covering. As the skin of the Dixie squash is soft, peeling it is not necessary. Here’s the recipe:

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups Kabocha*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup**
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 vanilla extract

Method

  1. Microwave the Kabocha (or whatever substitute) you are using until it is soft. Strain to remove the seeds and put it aside.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in one bowl.
  3. Combine milk and corn syrup in another bowl.
  4. In yet another bowl, whisk butter that has been allowed to come to room temperature. As you whisk, add sugar. Continue whisking until the mixture is soft and creamy.
  5. Beat the eggs and add it to the butter/sugar mixture, stirring as you do.
  6. Add the Kabocha and the vanilla extract to the mixture. Continue stirring.
  7. Add the dry ingredients and the milk, alternating as you do. Continue stirring.
  8. Don’t stir too vigorously. Just enough to ensure that all ingredients are mixed together.
  9. Grease muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until the colour shown in the picture above.
  10. This recipe made 16 medium-sized muffins.

*The recipe calls for 200g Kabocha and so I decided to just go with 2 cups. It wasn’t the wrong decision but if you have measuring instruments, you may decide to be more accurate.

**The corn syrup was a substitute for rum.

In the Spec-Fic Genre…

It is no great secret that I love fantasy. Though I try to read a variety of genres I almost invariably return to fantasy for escape, for cathartic purposes, for fun. Here are some titles I am looking forward to reading over the next couple of months. They have all been released or will be released before the end of the year.

The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

Paris. Magicians. And fallen angels. I’m in. The book’s out today.

Sorcerer to the Crown – Zen Cho

Fairies, magic, a POC protagonist, and a powerful woman. Yep. I want. Out September 1st.

Black Wolves – Kate Elliott

The first in a trilogy. It’s Kate. Auto-read. Out November 3rd.

The Fifth Season – N. K. Jemisin

Jemisin always brings something new to the genre and I look forward to seeing what offers this time around. This one was released on August 4th.

Our Lady of the Ice – Cassandra Rose Clarke

I’ve loved enough of Clarke’s work till now that I’ll check out her books regardless of the premise. Out October 27th.

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

I have been meaning to read this ever since I heard that it was being published. People have been hyping it up and I have reason to believe that the hype is very much deserved.

The Reading Forecast

Ah, another week has passed and for once I read ALL the books I said I was going to. I’m really proud of this achievement, hah. And then some. But here is a list:

  1. School – Jen Currin
  2. Black Spring – Alison Croggon
  3. The Prophet – Khalil Gibran
  4. Josephine – Patricia Hruby Powell
  5. Tyger Tyger – Kersten Hamilton
  6. Gronk vol 1 – Katie Cook
  7. The Gigantic Beard that was Evil – Stephen Collins
  8. The Night is Darkening Around Me – Emily Bronte (this was most excellent for whoever wanted to know)
  9. Bat Girl vol. 1 – Cameron Stewart

Currently reading:

I haven’t been feeling much like reading this past two days so I’ve started multiple books to get a feel for them. So here are the books. Prepare to be surprised (or not):

  1. The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
    Yep, still reading it. It will appear on this list until I’m finished with it because I’m determined that I will finish it before December 31st.
  2. The Dhulyn and Parno Novels: Vol. 1 – Violette Malan
    About ten pages in. This contains the first two novels in this series. So far it’s typical fantasy fare that I love.
  3. The Wolf Wilder – Katherine Rundell
    The first chapter was explosive and I’m reading to kick some horrible soldier butt. Ugh.
  4. Mad Miss Mimic – Sarah Henstra
    So I really liked the first chapter of this one too. I think I’ll like Miss Mimic, mad or not.
  5. Book Scavenger – Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
    I’m about 20 pages into this one and I don’t know. I have to read a lot more to get a feel for it.
  6. Bitter Greens – Kate Forsyth
    The book is a beast but I think it contains the stories of three different women. People tell me that the book is splendid and the writing certainly is. I hope for the best.

To read in the following week:

All the ones mentioned above? Ha. Maybe not finish them but make good headway into many of them. Okay, I do wish to finish Wolf Wilder, Scavenger and Mimic. Also maybe In the Forests of the Night by Kersten Hamilton.

Wishlist

What books would you buy if you had a lot of money or rather money left over for recreative purposes? I used to buy books that I’d read once and forget but now that I’m older I am a lot more selective as I have a very limited fund (essentially zero at the moment but I’m hoping that changes eventually). I’ve realized that I like using the library and want to get all my YA cravings satisfied there. Once I made that decision (unless of course I absolutely loved a YA/MG book, then I’m purchasing it), I made another decision. To work on increasing my collection of books by POC authors. Obviously I’m not limited by this and when I find a particular book I want, I get it or (more likely) yearn for it.

I’ve found that I don’t mind saving up to buy a particular edition and I will almost always buy a more expensive and better made book over something that is cheap and is made cheaply. Books are more than the words  and well, we’ve had that discussion many times before. Here are some books I’m definitely wishing for:

  1. Manabeshima Island Japan: One Island, Two Months, One Minicar, Sixty Crabs, Eighty Bites and Fifty Shots of Shochu by Florent Chavoute
    I have his Tokyo On Foot and it is so incredibly beautiful. The sample pages assure me that the quality of this one is going to be just as great.
  2. Otogizoshi: The Fairy Tale Book of Dazai Osamu by Osamu Dazai (Author), Joel Cohn (Introduction), Ralph F. McCarthy (Translator)
    I don’t think this needs a reason but just in case it does, I’ve been wanting to read Osamu Dazai for a long while and none of my libraries carry this title.
  3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
    Particularly this edition.
  4. Paper by Bahiyyih Nakhjavani
    This edition looks so beautifully odd.
  5. The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry
    I’ll get it someday! The pages are so beautifully red-edged.

Any of these on your wishlist? Any recommendations for pretty books? Send them my way.

Of Surprise Babies and Life

I’ve been conspicuously absent these days barring the reading forecast posts, haven’t I? I’ve been expending a lot of effort keeping The Book Wars working smoothly and that leaves little room in my brain for The Book Wurrm. Which is not to say that I have completely given up on this blog because I do post reviews of books that fall outside the purview of children’s literature here. It’s just that I haven’t read much of those books recently. Hence, the silence. I do think that I’m going to do some food posts here; possibly of my adventures in the kitchen and maybe some posts that are more personal in nature. This is not to say that I won’t write posts about books because books are very personal for me. Ha.

My sister-in-law (bhabhi is the term I will use) had a baby almost two weeks ago. She had no idea she was pregnant so basically she found out she was pregnant and gave birth all on the same day. We were all gobsmacked and in fact we still might be. Life just sort of tilted out of its axis and well, yeah. The baby is still in the hospital due to some complications so prayers are welcome. Insha Allah, he’ll be fine.

I need to get back into writing. I have all these ideas for different stories floating around in my head but I am determined to finish The Glory of the Dead before I commit to a different novel. I’m also job-hunting, a thankless venture that corrodes all my self-esteem. I’m also querying agents for The Road of the Lost but well, that’s not going very well. Daniel Jose Older wrote an article on the struggle of POC authors to get representation and I’m finding that all his points are valid. But still, all I can do is persevere.

That’s about it really. I hope you all are well and good.

The Reading Forecast

It’s a new week and time to air the reading forecast but first, the books that were read last week:

  1. Court of Fives – Kate Elliott (5 stars!)
  2. The New Adventures of Salim the Sailor by Salim Bachi. (bleh)
  3. The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems – Pablo Neruda
  4. The Wicked + The Divine: The Faust Act – Kieron Gillen
  5. The Wicked + The Divine: Fandemonium – Kieron Gillen
  6. Dreamstrider – Lindsay Smith
  7. Adventure Time vol 3: Seeing Red – Kate Leth
  8. Adventure Time: vol 1: Sugary Shorts – Paul Pope
  9. Every Breath You Take – Chris Marie Green

Currently Reading:

  1. School – Jen Currin
    Poetry collection. I should be done with this today. I am enjoying it so far.
  2. The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton
    Ye God, it’s taking me forever to read this though admittedly I haven’t been actively reading it. I’m on page 147 so success has been made. I just hope the pace picks up soon or else I’ll be taking years to read the book.

To Read in the Coming Week:

  1. Black Springs – Alison Croggon
    Retelling of Wuthering Heights which I haven’t read. But I loved Croggon’s Pellinor trilogy so I’m hoping I love this one too. My friends seem to have enjoyed this one immensely.
  2. The Prophet – Khalil Gibran
    My mom really liked this one and I actually gave it to her as a mother’s day gift. This one shouldn’t take me too long to get through.
  3. Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
    An MG I should be able to read easily enough. We’ll see.
  4. Tyger Tyger – Kersten Hamilton
    This will be a reread but I want to finish this series so I reckon I will give this one a try if I have time.