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This week’s edition of Weekly Geeks is just what I was waiting for…

focus on one of the most useful tools for a bibliophile: Bookmarks

I have been contemplating a post about my adventurous bookmark for a while now. It’s really an amazing story!

We went on holiday to the fabulous Unesco World Heritage Site Cappadocia in Turkey. In Göreme’s bookshop 1001 Books we bought Barbara Nadel’s Dance with Death: a mystery that’s situated in the area.

With it, we got a free bookmark. Mr Gnoe used that a lot! It brought back happy memories of our hiking holiday :) But a few months after we got back home it suddenly disappeared :( We looked everywhere, took apart our whole house, flicked through all the books we had recently read, looked under cupboards, but no: it really was completely lost.

And then… after 2 weeks the weather was great so we decided to have a drink in the park after work. I parked my bicycle at the gate — what the *** was that? I saw some familiar colours in the grass! Yes, it definitely was our own bookmark from Turkey :-o No idea how it got there! Thus ended the trip of our Cappadocian marker. And its life because it was in no state to be used anymore :( So it was recycled to be reincarnated. LOL

After that I made Mr Gnoe a personal bookmark with pictures of our holiday. And what do you know? He lost it.. : Again.

Well, better look at the bright side of things: such a good excuse to go back for another vacation in Cappadocia! To get another bookmarker that’s as fond of travelling as we are :)

The rest of my bookmark collection can be seen (and read about) on flickr.

Book cover Dance with DeathI would really REALLY appreciate it if anyone could get me a free / cheap / Bookcrossing copy of Barbara Nadel‘s mystery Dance with Death. Preferably paperback. Why? Because I plan to go to Turkey again and I would really love to release this book somewhere in Göreme National Park… The murder victim in the book is found in one of the caves in the area, you see! And because Cappadocia is a Unesco World Heritage Site I can count the release for the Bookcrossing 2009 History Challenge. That would be so cool!

Unfortunately (well, sort of..) I came across Dance with Death on a Boekgrrls book swap meeting but because of my surprised & enthusiastic reaction, it attracted several interested readers. No way I could secretly steal this whodunnit away just to let it go again in a foreign country. That wouldn’t have been fair to the grrls, would it?!

Some of you may know that I like challenges. I also like baking and — this is getting better and better: my favourite chocolate is white. So… what great luck to run into the Cupcake Hero 2.0 contest of the holiday season for which white chocolate is the required ingredient! Although I’m a rookie I can’t resist an attempt to become the holiday hero :)

So I’ve been thinking about matcha cupcakes but because of the winter season I decided on a recipe containing orange and whisky: golden cupcakes (based on a raisin cake without raisins ;) … in Dutch such a cake is called a turban btw :)

This weekend I finally had an excuse to bake: my cousin and his wife were coming over on Sunday to play mahjong. And here’s the result!

Golden cupcake

The topping is orange-whisky glazing with white chocolate and orange peel sprinkling. (Orange peel, that makes me think of the Variér Peel armchair that we’re awaiting!) Our visitors liked their treat very much and especially appreciated the contrast between the soft cake and its crunchy top.

Recipe for approx. 15 golden cupcakes
Ingredients

  • 1 organic orange
  • 250 g butter, room temperature
  • 500 g granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 250 g self-raising flour
  • 100 g dried apricots, in small pieces
  • 25 ml whisky
  • 100 g white chocolate, in pieces

Preparation

  • Pre-heat oven at 175 °C.
  • Clean the orange and zest half of it. Cut rest of the peel in small strips or sprinkling.
  • Mix butter and 250 g sugar.
  • Add the eggs one by one.
  • Stir in self-raising flour and a pinch of salt.
  • Blend in orange zest and apricot.
  • Pour the mixture in the (silicon) cupcake moulds.
  • Bake in oven for about 40 minutes.

Topping(s)

  • Juice the orange.
  • Heat remaining 250 g sugar in a saucepan (with thick base), on low heat and without stirring.
  • As soon as the sugar starts melting (before turning to caramel), take saucepan of heater and stir in orange juice and whisky.
  • Pour this mixture over the cupcakes when they are still warm.

Finishing

  • Let the cupcakes cool down.
  • Microwave chocolate for 2 minutes on 600 Watt. After 1 minute: stir every 15 seconds.
  • Pour chocolate over cooled cupcakes.
  • Sprinkle with orange peel.

Suggested improvements

  • Soak the dried apricots in the orange juice-whisky mixture before use.
  • Pour some orange juice and whisky onto the cupcakes, before getting the glazing on. The cakes will get a bit soggy that way but that’s okay!
  • Don’t be too stingy with the orange peel.

These adjustments will get you a better balance between sweet, sour, bitter and the whisky ‘bite’.

Golden cupcakes

BAFAB book: La petite fille de Monsieur Linh

Books I’ve read this year… (2008)
Een plaats voor wilde bessen (Jagodnye mesta / Wild Berries), Jevgeni Jevtoesjenko (ring)
The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing (challenge book) reading along with online experiment!
De jacht op het verloren schaap (Hitsuji o meguru bōken / A Wild Sheep Chase), Haruki Murakami
Obasan, Joy Kogawa
Isaac Israels in het ziekenhuis, Merel van den Nieuwenhof
Meneer Pip (Mister Pip), Lloyd Jones (ring)
Let Them Call It Jazz, Jean Rhys
Het kleine meisje van meneer Linh (La petite fille de monsieur Linh), Philippe Claudel
The Teahouse Fire, Ellis Avery
De liefde tussen mens en kat, W.F. Hermans
Na de aardbeving (Kami no kodomotachi wa mina odoru / After the Quake), Haruki Murakami (re-reading)
Ik heet Karmozijn (Benim adim kirmizi / My name is red), Orhan Pamuk
Met de kat naar bed (Travels with my cat), Mike Resnick
Jennie, Paul Gallico
Anna Boom, Judith Koelemeijer
Possession, A.S. Byatt (challenge book)
The gathering, Anne Enright
The amazing adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (challenge book)
Het vergeten seizoen, Peter Delpeut
Kermis van koophandel: de Amsterdamse wereldtentoonstelling van 1883, Ileen Montijn (non-fiction)
I haven’t dreamed of flying for a while, Taichi Yamada
The truth about food, Jill Fullerton-Smith (non-fiction)
Pnin, Vladimir Nabokov (challenge book)
New York Trilogy, Paul Auster (challenge book)
Migraine voor Dummies (non-fiction)
The bone vault, Linda Fairstein
In Patagonië, Bruce Chatwin (challenge book)
De thuiskomst, Anna Enquist
Dagboek van een poes, Remco Campert
On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan

I sent one of this year’s favourites to my dear friend Loes for BAFAB week = Buy A Friend A Book. It’s Phillippe Claudel’s Het kleine meisje van meneer Linh (La petite fille de monsieur Linh), shown in the picture above. If you haven’t read it yet, you need to — now!

Personal challenges for 2008
ETA: prolonged into 2009, 2010
Read 12 books of 13 of the longlist of the Dutch election for Best Foreign Book that were already on my wishlist:

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
✔ The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon
Possession by A.S. Byatt
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
✔ New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
The Sea, the sea by Iris Murdoch
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
✔ Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Chosen by Chaim Potok

With 6 books read in 2008 I’m right on track :)

I also had my own Bookcrossing museum challenge: I visiting 6 exhibits in 2008/2009 and releasing appropriate books. Those exhibitions were not random but followed a lecture course I took. I posted about them in Gnoe’s Museumlog (sorry, it’s in Dutch).

Special rings and challenges I participated in this year…
Special rings & rays
De Aziatische boekendoos

Challenges
The SIY (Set It Yourself) Challenge, 3rd edition. Ibis3 made us a nice challenge page on which you can see that I completed my mission in time!
The SIY (Set It Yourself) Challenge, 6th edition. The challenge page will tell you that I succeeded again!

Bookcrossing Four Seasons Release Challenge with a total of 14 books:

  • 3 books in spring
  • 3 books in summer
  • 2 books in autumn
  • 6 books in winter

Last but not least…

Find my releases on Gnoe’s Bookcrossing Releases map!

I really have to get away from this computer and do some serious reading! I had planned to join the The Golden Notebook Readalong Project that started yesterday, but I haven’t finished my current book yet (Hitsuji o meguru bōken, or: A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami). I don’t seem to get as much reading done as I used to these days :(

The Golden Notebook (by Doris Lessing, of course) was an important feminist book in its day, and I guess that’s how it came on my wishlist ‘to be read someday’. But I haven’t really felt like it up until now (and I still don’t to be honest). I’m afraid it will be difficult or boring… So I made it part of my personal 2008-2009 reading challenge. In the ‘readalong project’ seven female writers will read The Golden Notebook for the first time and blog about it. People like me can have their say on the forum. (Oops, that will get me behind the computer again ;) Well, I should at least try to read this golden oldie from a writer that won last year’s Nobel Prize in Literature!

I am very grateful to Deepswamp from Sweden who made my challenge possible by sending me a bookcrossing copy of The Golden Notebook.

postcard from Japan! JP-47073 by Gnoe's Postcrossing.

Florida Sunset US-277467 by Gnoe's Postcrossing.
A dream come true: my second Postcrossing postcard came from Japan! I didn’t even know I could receive another one until some more of the cards I’ve sent are registered. I sent a ‘thank you’ to Japan in return. And it’s going well because I have also received a Florida Sunset from the US. All my cards can be found on a special Flickr page for Gnoe’s Postcrossing!

Today I received my first postcard! Some kind of reward for finishing my grant request (in time ;) or consolation for some bad news I got (no, that had nothing to do with my job, LOL).

Anyway, I was very glad to find it in my mailbox! Now I have to wait until the cards I sent have been registered… Postcrossing is an exercise in patience!

I heard about Postcrossing on the Dutch Bookcrossing forum a long time ago, but hadn’t taken much notice. Then she told me about it last weekend when we had our final Twin Peaks marathon… Very enthusiastically! And from today I am officially a Postcrossing member :) This week I will send a postcard to another postcrosser in Finland. She likes to receive cards of buildings :) Well, I like historic stuff, so hopefully this a good one to send.

De Winkel<br />             van Sinkel in 1890 by you.

The building on the card still exists. It used to be a department store called Winkel van Sinkel and now it’s a grand café and night club under the same name. Each September it also houses the yearly Dutch Film Festival. Wikipedia will show you how the building with its caryatids looks today.

The picture on the postcard is from 1890 by a unknown photographer. It is viewed from our public library. I will try to make a picture from exactly the same spot, because I am really charmed by the idea of rephotography as is done by Mark Klett and people from the Tyrrell Today Flickr pool that make new pictures that look like the images from the Tyrrell Collection of the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. See this great post and you’ll probably be as amazed as I am :) (Seb Chan of the Powerhouse Museum digital media and museums blog gave an inspiring talk on the Museum Congres in Groningen as well!) And all this is getting crazier by the minute: did you know there even is a Twin Peaks rephotography project? :)

M03m mentioned that The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of a top list of 100 books. I’ll take up the challenge reprinting the list in my blog so that those people who’ve read only 6 can be tracked down and forced to read our favourites!
Title page of Cloud Atlas signed by author

The rules that I followed…

  1. Look at the list and bold those you have read.
  2. Italicise those you intend to read.
  3. Underline the books you LOVE.
  4. Reprint this list in your own blog.

1 Pride and Prejudice
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee >> part of 2008′s personal challenge!
6 The Bible >> most of it anyway, when I was a kid
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott >> I did read her book Eight Cousins and that was enough…
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller >> it’s on the bookshelf so I’ll probably read it someday
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger >> I’ve started and stopped but plan to try it again someday
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger >> loved it!
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens >> I saw the tv-series… does that count? ;)
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck >> also part of 2008-2009′s personal challenge!
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens >> because of it’s role in John Irving’s The Ciderhouse Rules
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden >> waiting patiently on my bookshelf…
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown >> wouldn’t recommend it though!
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez >> a long, long time ago
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan >> one of my alltime favourites!
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel >> didn’t expect much of it but was possitively surprised!
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov I especially recommend the audiobook read by Jeremy Irons…
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’ Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell >> of course: Mitchell is one of my favourite authors!
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro >> part of my personal 2008-2009 challenge
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert (but saw the movie)
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks >> great book but to say I loved it would be inappropriate…
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams >> several times!
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

That sums up to a total of 37 that I’ve read. Phew, nobody will force their favourite books upon me! But… would that be such a crime?

Today I decided to try WordPress for my lifelog instead of Livejournal. This free WP edition has more features and it is easier to use. Yes, I’m Dutch so I am cheap ;) But of course I will consider paying for additional options that I need.

  1. I want to find out if I can plan posts in advance.
  2. I have to figure out if there are Mac-clients that I can use instead of webbased blogging (preferably the same one for Mac as well as pc).
  3. Erm… I forgot ;) O yes, how uploading pictures works.

I haven’t been able to find the answers to these questions yet so if anyone can help out by replying I would be very grateful!

PS Please bear with me while I am tidying up my imported posts!

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