Monday, December 31, 2007

Wishing all who visit this blog a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year and may 2008 be a special year for you all.



2007 - My year in books

99 books read
85 fiction

54 female authors

45 male authors
18 crime fiction
14 non-fiction
7 translations
6 biographical
4 from Africa
2 graphic novels
1 short stories
0 classics

Really ghastly books: 2
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Maggie's Tree by Julie Walters

The ten books I read this year that I thought were particularly good:
Arthur & George by Julian Barnes (fict)
Restless by William Boyd (fict)
Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi (fict)
Mr Pip by Lloyd Jones (fict)
Helpless by Barbara Gowdy (fict)
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell (fict)
Animal's People by Indra Sinh (fict)
When a Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin (non-fict)
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (non-fict)
Stealing the Scream by Edward Dolnick (non-fict)

I have kept a little notebook which lists everything I've read over the past 11 years - more or less!
Just the title and author are listed, plus a rating number and from where the book came. Of course I now include a symbol to indicate whether I've written about the book on my blog. The system is pretty crude but acts as an aide memoire, and from it I gleaned the above figures. On average I read 104-110 books a year, this year is down, and I suspect that is a direct result of packing and moving house.
I also have a notebook in which I list any book I hear of, have recommended to me, or see reviewed, so that when in bookshops and libraries I can seek them out. This little Moleskine notebook is known in the family as "Mum's book of books" and I carry it in my handbag at all times. I have another blogger - Dovegreyreaderscribbles - to thank for the idea, and I can't imagine why I wasn't doing it years ago.
Next year I will make an effort to read some classics - I have four lined up and waiting! I will also try to read more books on science - my DD thinks I am weak in this area, and she is right.

Finally, I have a fellow blogger, Charlotte of Charlotte's Web, to thank for the idea of listing my reading for the year, she did it on her blog and I have shamelessly copied her!


Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, Ian Rankin, Lewis Grassic Gibbon,
Robert Louis Stevenson, John Buchan, Alexander McCall Smith, Sir Compton MacKenzie,
Alasdair Grey, Muriel Spark, Ali Smith, Irvine Welsh, Alistair MacLean, Christopher Brookmyre, Hugh MacDairmid, George MacKay Brown, Iain Banks, J M Barrie, Liz Lochhead, James Boswell, William Boyd, Dorothy Dunnett

What do they have in common? silly question really – they are all famous Scottish writers and poets.

For some mad reason the U.S. Library of Congress which has the distinction of being the biggest library in the world has decided that they are all “English” writers, and is now reclassifying all work by Scots.

700 years of Scottish literature will now be categorised under English literature. As the Library of Congress subject headings are used by libraries all over the world, this decision would be widely copied thus wiping out a distinct literary category.

As a former librarian I think that it is an outrage, and I think all Scots should protest by writing to Dr James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress. Dear reader, if you are an American of Scots ancestry, I urge you to protest to your Congressman/woman. Do not let the literature of a proud and ancient nation be subsumed in an act of ignorant cultural imperialism.


It's New Year's Eve, and I have to take a dessert for the buffet table at the party. I've made an old favourite, which looks great and tastes fabulous and takes no time at all to make. If you've never made a roulade before don't be nervous, as it is easy-peasy when you follow
the instructions.


5ml (1teaspn) each of cornflour, vanilla extract, white wine vinegar
15ml (1tablespn) cocoa powder
20ml (4teaspns) water
4 egg whites (large) at room temp.
225g caster sugar

icing sugar for dusting.

For the filling:

150g luxury dark chocolate spread
300ml whipping/double cream, whipped to give soft peaks
200g frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 150°C

Line a 33cmx23cm swiss roll tin with baking parchment

In a bowl mix together the cornflour, vanilla and vinegar.
In a separate bowl combine the cocoa powder and water.
Whisk egg whites to soft peaks and then whisk in the caster sugar a tablespoonful at a time together with a small amount of the cornflour mixture. Continue adding sugar and cornflour until the meringue mixture forms stiff peaks. Gently fold in the cocoa and water mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and spread evenly. Place in the preheated oven for 45-50mins until crisp on the outside but still soft inside.

Remove the meringue from the oven and cover loosely with foil for 15mins.

Turn onto a large sheet of greaseproof paper and carefully peel off the lining paper.

Leave until cold.

Spread the chocolate spread evenly over the meringue. Cover with a layer of the whipped cream and sprinkle the raspberries on top leaving a 2.5cm gap at the ends.
Carefully roll up the meringue- lengthwise – using the greaseproof paper to help you shape it as you roll.

Place in fridge to chill before transferring to serving dish and dredging with icing sugar mixed with a little cocoa powder. Decorate appropriately. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Serves 8 -10


Ted said...

An impressive reading year indeed! I enjoy reading all your r's and look forward to more in 2008. A happy reading year to you.

herschelian said...

Thanks for dropping in Ted, delighted to make your blogging acquaintance.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendation for People of The Book- I had not come across and have boght it for my sister- a perfect present.