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The Corfu trilogy

SUMMARY: The Corfu Trilogy consists of the popular classic My Family and Other Animals and its delightful sequels, Birds, Beasts and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods . All three books are set on the enchanted island of Corfu in the 1930s, and tell the story of the eccentric English family who moved there. For Gerald, the budding zoologist, Corfu was a natural paradise, teeming with strange birds and beasts that he could collect, watch and care for. But life was not without its problems – his family often objected to his animal-collecting activities, especially when the beasts wound up in the villa or – even worse – the fridge. With hilarious yet endearing portraits of his family and their many unusual hangers-on, The Corfu Trilogy also captures the beginnings of the author’s lifelong love of animals. Recounted with immense humour and charm, this wonderful account of Corfu’s natural history reveals a rare, magical childhood.

Corduroy Mansions

SUMMARY: A delightful new setting—London—a delightful new cast of characters, and one incredibly clever dog. Corduroy Mansions is the affectionate nickname given to a genteel, crumbling mansion block in London’s vibrant Pimlico neighborhood, and the home turf of a new cast of captivating, quirky, and altogether McCall-Smithian characters. There’s the middle-aged wine merchant William, who’s trying to convince his reluctant twenty-four-year-old son, Eddie, to leave the nest; and Marcia, the restaurant propriatrix who has her sights set on William. There’s also the (justifiably) much-loathed member of Parliament, Oedipus Snark; his mother, Berthea, who’s writing his biography and loathing every minute of him; and his long-suffering girlfriend, Barbara, a literary agent who would like to be his wife (but, then, she’d like to be almost anyone’s wife). There’s the vitamin evangelist, the psychoanalyst, the art student with a puzzling boyfriend, and the Pimlico terrier, Freddie de la Haye, who can fasten his own seat belt and is almost certainly the only avowed vegetarian canine in London. The comings and goings, the face-to-face and behind-the-back meetings and misses, the in and outs of neighborliness in all its unexpected variations—here is a new world for us to enter, filled with all the life, laughter, and humanity that we have come to expect from Alexander McCall Smith.

Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food

Product Description

Are you the innovative type, the cook who marches to a different drummer — used to expressing your creativity instead of just following recipes? Are you interested in the science behind what happens to food while it’s cooking? Do you want to learn what makes a recipe work so you can improvise and create your own unique dish?

More than just a cookbook, Cooking for Geeks applies your curiosity to discovery, inspiration, and invention in the kitchen. Why is medium-rare steak so popular? Why do we bake some things at 350 F/175 C and others at 375 F/190 C? And how quickly does a pizza cook if we overclock an oven to 1,000 F/540 C? Author and cooking geek Jeff Potter provides the answers and offers a unique take on recipes — from the sweet (a “mean” chocolate chip cookie) to the savory (duck confit sugo).

This book is an excellent and intriguing resource for anyone who wants to experiment with cooking, even if you don’t consider yourself a geek.

  • Initialize your kitchen and calibrate your tools
  • Learn about the important reactions in cooking, such as protein denaturation, Maillard reactions, and caramelization, and how they impact the foods we cook
  • Play with your food using hydrocolloids and sous vide cooking
  • Gain firsthand insights from interviews with researchers, food scientists, knife experts, chefs, writers, and more, including author Harold McGee, TV personality Adam Savage, chemist Hervé This, and xkcd

From Cooking for Geeks: Butternut Squash Soup

Purée in a food processor or with an immersion blender:
2 cups (660g) butternut squash, peeled, cubed, and roasted (about 1 medium squash)
2 cups (470g) chicken, turkey, or vegetable stock
1 small (130g) yellow onion, diced and sautéed
1/2 teaspoon (1g) salt (adjust to taste)

Notes

  • The weights are for the prepared ingredients and only rough suggestions. So, prepare each item individually. For example, for the squash, peel it, then coat it with olive oil, sprinkle it with salt, and roast it in the oven at a temperature around 400–425 F / 200–220 C until it begins to brown. When you go to purée the ingredients, hold back some of the squash and some of the stock, taste the purée, and see which you think it needs. Want it thicker? Add more squash. Thinner? Add more stock.
  • This soup by itself is very basic. Garnish with whatever else you have on hand that you think might go well, such as garlic croutons and bacon. Or top with a small dab of cream, some toasted walnuts, and dried cranberries to give it a feeling of Thanksgiving. How about a teaspoon of maple syrup, a few thin slices of beef, and some fresh oregano? Chives, sour cream, and cheddar cheese? Why not! Instead of purchasing items to follow a recipe exactly, try using leftover ingredients from other meals to complement the squash soup.
  • If you’re in a rush, you can “jump-start” the squash by microwaving it first. Peel and quarter the squash, using a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Then, cube it into 1–2” / 3–5 cm pieces, drop it into a glass baking pan that’s both oven and microwave safe, and nuke it for four to five minutes to partially heat the mass. Remove from microwave, coat the squash with olive oil and a light sprinkling of salt, and roast it in a preheated oven until done, about 20 to 30 minutes. If you’re not in a rush, you can skip the peeling step entirely: cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, add oil and salt, roast it for about an hour (until the flesh is soft), and use a spoon to scoop it out.

Pumpkin Cake

There are two broad types of cake batters: high- ratio cakes–those that have more sugar and water than flour (or by some definitions, just a lot of sugar)–and low-ratio cakes—which tend to have coarser crumbs. For high-ratio cakes, there should be more sugar than flour (by weight) and more eggs than fats (again, by weight), and the liquid mass (eggs, milk, water) should be heavier than the sugar.

Consider this pumpkin cake, which is a high-ratio cake (245g of pumpkin contains 220g of water–you can look these sorts of things up in the USDA National Nutrient Database, available online at http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/).

In a mixing bowl, measure out and then mix with an electric mixer to thoroughly combine:
1 cup (245g) pumpkin (canned, or roast and puree your own)
1 cup (200g) sugar
3/4 cup (160g) canola oil
2 large (120g) eggs
1 1/2 cups (180g) flour
1/4 cup (40g) raisins
2 teaspoons (5g) cinnamon
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (5g) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 teaspoon (2g) vanilla extract

Transfer to a greased cake pan or spring form and bake in an oven preheated to 350 F / 175 C until a toothpick comes out dry, about 20 minutes.

Notes

  • Try adding dried pears soaked in brandy. You can also hold back some of the raisins and sprinkle them on top.
  • One nice thing about high-ratio cakes is that they don’t have much gluten, so they won’t turn out like bread, even with excessive beating. With a total weight of 920 grams, of which only roughly 20 grams is gluten, there just isn’t enough gluten present in this cake to give it a bread-like texture. There’s also a fair amount of both sugar and fats to interfere with gluten development.

About the Author

Jeff Potter has done the cubicle thing, the startup thing, and the entrepreneur thing, and through it all maintained his sanity by cooking for friends. He studied computer science and visual art at Brown University.

Cooking for Friends

SUMMARY: “As a chef, I work at a thousand miles an hour, but when I’m at home, I want to slow down.” way from the high-octane energy of the professional kitchen, Gordon Ramsay makes meals at home that are more re-laxed, where cooking is fun and everyone gets involved in preparing food for family and friends. The way Gordon cooks here embodies his strongly held views: use in-season, fresh ingredients at their peak; support local producers and farmers’ markets whenever possible; and celebrate the food culture and its many influences. And while Gordon loves to celebrate traditional food, he proves that it doesn’t have to be boring, bland, or uninventive. Cooking for Friends is full of Gordon’s best-loved versions of classic dishes—try a slow-cooked dish like Honey Roast Ham or Corn-Fed Chicken Legs with Braised Peas and Onions, or invite people around for a Sunday lunch of Roast Rib-Eye with Caramelized Shallot and Red Wine Gravy. Cook the ultimate in comfort food, Shepherd’s Pie with Branston Pickle or Bakewell Tart, and get the kids involved in making Farfalle with Bacon, Peas, and Sage or Grilled Vegetable Lasagne. Cooking for Friends contains more than one hundred of Gordon’s favorite recipes that he loves to cook and eat with friends and family—uncomplicated recipes but all with Gordon’s remarkable feeling for flavor and his extraordinary technical know-how.

Cook Yourself Thin: Skinny Meals You Can Make in Minutes

EDITORIAL REVIEW: Lose weight without losing your mind! *Cook Yourself Thin* is a healthy, delicious way to drop a dress size without all the gimmicks. The ladies of “Cook Yourself Thin,” a new Lifetime reality show, offer 80 easy, accessible recipes in this companion cookbook that teaches readers how to cut calories without compromising taste. For some of us, losing weight has always been a struggle. The challenge: figuring out how to cook healthy, low-fat foods that won’t leave you hungry, bored, or running for a gallon of ice cream! *Cook Yourself Thin* shows how to cut calories, change diets, and improve health without sacrificing the foods we love. *Cook Yourself Thin* is not a fad diet. It gives skinny alternatives to your cravings. You can’t live without your chocolate cake or mac ‘n’ cheese? You don’t have to! (See Deep Dark Chocolate Cake, page 197.) There’s never enough time to cook? *Cook Yourself Thin* keeps it simple─with easy instructions and fun recipes you’ll want to make again and again. What are you waiting for? Cook Yourself Thin!

Contract With God

SUMMARY: The discovery of a fragment of an ancient map leads Anthony Fowler, priest, CIA operative and member of the Holy Alliance, into an expedition in search of one of the most powerful ancient treasures of all.Anthony Fowler pays a visit to a war criminal living under a pseudonym because of the terrible experiments he performed on Jewish children. Fowler offers him a deal – he will not reveal the man’s true identity in exchange for a huge candle covered in fine filigree gold. But it isn’t the gold Fowler is after – it is the metallic object preserved within the wax, a missing fragment of an ancient map. Soon Fowler is involved in an expedition to Jordan set up by a reclusive billionaire who has links to the highest levels of the Catholic Church. But there is a traitor in the group – and he’s patiently awaiting the moment to strike…

Continental Contract

The largest private gun squad in history follows Bolan to France, only to find the war has started without them, and 20 dead Frenchmen are mute testimony to the profinciency of the Executioner. . .

Containment

SUMMARY: As Earth’s ability to support human life diminishes, the Global Space Agency is formed with a single mandate: protect humanity from extinction by colonizing the solar system. Venus, being almost the same mass as Earth, is chosen over Mars as humanity’s first permanent steppingstone into the universe.Arik Ockley is part of the first generation to be born and raised off-Earth. After a puzzling accident, Arik wakes up to find that his wife is three months pregnant. Since the colony’s environmental systems cannot safely support any increases in population, Arik immediately resumes his work on AP, or artificial photosynthesis, in order to save the life of his unborn child.Arik’s new and frantic research uncovers startling truths about the planet, and about the distorted reality the founders of the colony have constructed for Arik’s entire generation. Everything Arik has ever known is called into question, and he must figure out the right path for himself, his wife, and his unborn daughter.

Conqueror

Conqueror (The second book in the Time’s Tapestry series) A novel by Stephen Baxter As the comet fills the sky over Britain and rumours of war coming from across the channel spread two young men accompany a lecherous bishop north to the ruins of the ancient Hadrian’s Wall to search for a man known only as ‘the last Roman’ and the mysterious prophecy he keeps – the prophecy of Isolde. It is a prophecy that tells of an invasion by a North man and an empire that will last thousands of years, an empire of the Aryans. Stephen Baxter’s new series is full of page-turning action, intriguing mystery and awe-inspiring scientific speculation. Full of evocative historical detail and characters who jump of the page this is history lived by people who’s future is not yet locked as our past.

The Confidence-Man and Billy Budd, Sailor

In The Confidence-Man, Melville’s unnerving and hallucinatory satire on the American dream, a slippery trickster and master of disguise comes to swindle his fellow passengers – who themselves may also be con-men – aboard a Mississippi steamboat.

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Confess, Fletch

Review

?Has all the zest, humor and spare lean prose of its forerunner: it has a beautifully complex plot which leaves you squirming at the final sentence and a set of slippery characters who never turn out to be just exactly what they seem. Confess, Fletch is as stimulent slipped into your nightcap that will have you up to dawn no matter what you think you have to do tomorrow.? –Joe Gores — Review

Product Description

Confess, Fletch

The flight from Rome had been pleasant enough, even if the business he was on wasn’t exactly. His Italian fianc?e’s father had been kidnapped and presumably murdered, and Fletch is on the trail of a stolen art collection that is her only patrimony. But when he arrives in his apartment to find a dead body, things start to get complicated.

Confess, Fletch

Inspector Flynn found him a little glib for someone who seemed to be the only likely suspect in a pretty clear case of homicide. He wasn’t exactly uncooperative, but it wasn’t like he was entirely forthcoming either. And Flynn wasn’t entirely convinced that the nineteenth-century Western artist Edgar Arthur Tharp really occupied most of Fletch’s thoughts.

Confess, Fletch

With the police on his tail and a few other things to do beside prove his own innocence, Fletch makes himself at home in Boston, renting a van, painting it black, and breaking into a private art gallery. That is when he’s not “entertaining” his future mother-in-law
and visiting with the good Inspector Flynn and his family.

The Complete Android Guide

Google’s Android operating system is amazing in the breadth of what it can do, and the many ways it can be implemented on smartphones. That also means that there may be many powerful features that you haven’t yet discovered, and a bit of confusion as to why your phone doesn’t look like the phones you see in other people’s hands.
That’s why The Complete Android Guide was created. It’s a comprehensive run-down of everything your phone can do, written from the perspective of the curious user. With screenshots, step-by-step instructions, and explanations of how everything fits together in plain English, new Android users will unlock their phone’s potential, and journeyman ‘droid fans will pick up some new tricks.
As Android changes and updates, so does this guide. The Complete Android Guide is updated as soon as possible after new Android versions arrive on phones and tablets, and major variations are covered, like Motorola’s Motoblur and HTC’s Sense UI. When new, cool apps come out, we include them in the extended features. You’ve got a 21st century phone, and a how-to guide should at least try to keep up.

Commuters: A Novel

SUMMARY: At seventy-eight, Winnie Easton has finally found love again with Jerry Trevis, a wealthy Chicago businessman who has moved to the small, upstate town of Hartfield, New York, to begin his life anew. But their decision to buy one of the town’s biggest houses ignites anger and skepticism—as children and grandchildren take drastic actions to secure their own futures and endangered inheritances. With so much riding on Jerry’s wealth, a decline in his physical health forces hard decisions on the family, renewing old loyalties while creating surprising alliances. A powerfully moving novel told from alternating perspectives, Commuters is an intensely human story of lives profoundly changed by the repercussions of one marriage, and by the complex intertwining of love, money, and family.

Coming out

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Olympia Crawford Rubinstein has a busy legal career, a solid marriage, and a way of managing her thriving family with grace, humor, and boundless energy. With twin daughters finishing high school, a son at Dartmouth, and a kindergartner from her second marriage, there seems to be no challenge to which Olympia cannot rise. Until one sunny day in May, when she opens an invitation for her daughters to attend the most exclusive coming-out ball in New York–and chaos erupts all around her. One twin’s excitement is balanced by the other’s outrage; her previous husband’s profound snobbism is in sharp contrast to her current husband’s flat refusal to attend.

For Olympia’s husband, Harry, whose parents survived the Holocaust, the idea of a blue-blood debutante ball is abhorrent. Her daughter Veronica, a natural-born rebel, agrees– while Veronica’s identical twin, Virginia, is already shopping for the perfect dress. Then there’s Olympia’s ex, an insufferable snob, who sees the ball as the perfect opportunity for a family feud. And amid all the hubbub, Olympia’s college-age son, Charlie, is facing a turning point in his life–and may need his mother more than ever. But despite it all, Olympia is determined to steer her family through the event until, just days before the cotillion, things begin to unravel with alarming speed.

From a son’s crisis to a daughter’s heartbreak, from a case of the chicken pox to a political debate raging in her household, Olympia is on the verge of surrender. And that is when, in a series of startling choices and changes of heart, family, friends, and even a blue-haired teenager all find a way to turn a night of calamity into an evening of magic. As old wounds are healed, barriers are shattered and new traditions are born, and a debutante ball becomes a catalyst for change, revelation, acceptance, and love.

In a novel that is by turns profound, poignant, moving, and warmly funny, Danielle Steel tells the story of an extraordinary family–finding new ways of letting go, stepping up, and coming out…in the ways that matter most.

From the Hardcover edition.
**Recensie(s)**

A moving and haunting book Daily Express
(source: Bol.com)

The Coming of the Dragon

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The Coming of the Dragon by Rebecca Barnhouse
Rebecca Barnhouse weaves Norse gods, blood feuds, and a terrifying dragon into this spectacular retelling of the end of the Old English poem *Beowulf.*
When he was a baby, Rune washed up onshore in a boat, along with a sword and a pendant bearing the runes that gave him his nickname. Some people thought he was a sacrifice to the gods and wanted to send him right back to the sea. Luckily for Rune, King Beowulf disagreed. He lifted the boy from the boat and gave him to Amma, a wisewoman living on a farm far removed from the king’s hall, to raise as she saw fit.
Sixteen years later, Rune spends his summers laboring on the farm. And at King Beowulf’s request, he comes to the hall each winter for weapons training. But somehow he never quite fits in. Many people still fear he will bring a curse on the kingdom. Then a terrible thing happens. On a lonely crag on a mountain that belongs to the giants, someone awakens a dragon. It is time for Rune to find the warrior inside himself and prove to the doubters once and for all that he is a true hero.