The Bookshelf

I came across this article this evening that rang very true.

When Etienne and I started dating after we had been friends for a long long long time (since primary school) he had to pass a couple of tests. I wasn’t going to open up my heart to just any guy in a hurry, I had just had it trampled on in a rather public and spectacular way, so I was reluctant to say the least.

There was the kiss test – which he passed with flying colours. The food test, the conversation test, the music test (a big one!) and lastly, the book test.

It’s like this you see, I could have married someone that doesn’t love music, but I could not ever marry someone that didn’t love books as much as I do. So I made him read some of the books that had moved me the most at that point in my life. I can’t remember all of them and I took myself very seriously back then, but amongst them were The Bridge Across Forever (Richard Bach) and The Celestine Prophecy (had a good giggle at that one). Granted, a lot of them were tough going for a sweet guy like Etienne, but he read every single one of them and then some.

In turn he introduced me to writers that I have fallen in love with since and opened up genres to me that I never would have bothered with otherwise.

I’m such a lucky girl.

What was the one thing you would not compromise in a relationship?

Linklove and the end of Quasimodo

I find lovely things on the web and via twitter every single day that I find I need to “keep” somewhere, so I’ll tag them as “linklove” from now on.  This way I get to “keep” those lovely links and still get to share them.  That’s a big win in my book!

My Reader is also jampacked with awesome blogs, ranging from food to design to parenting to personal blogs and I find it easier to manage my on-line reading that way.  It’s like opening the fridge to see if there’s anything to eat in there and there’s ALWAYS something to nibble on, any time, day or night.

First up is an article Tanya posted on her blog today about manners.  I’ve actually been thinking about this a lot recently as Daniel has suddenly gone into Brat Mode.  He has become all punchy and rough and downright disrespectful.  We have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior, but you also don’t want to spend your waking hours fighting with your child, especially when he doesn’t have any front teeth*.

Staying on the topic of real-life stuff and manners, Emily posted this great list of books to read on her blog and I’m definitely going to work my way through them, especially Bringing up Bebe.

Then, an article I found via @glutenfreegirl on twitter about how amazing Julia Child’s (from Julie and Julia fame) marriage was.  I hope to think that our marriage will be like that when we grow up old.  I also have a sudden desire to own one of her cookbooks.  If my trusty and crusty 1973 Kook en Geniet still works so well, just imagine what I could do with her books!

On the topic of cooking/baking, Etienne made a banana loaf last night out of the abovementioned Kook en Geniet, something I’m famous for screwing up.  He added some choc chips we had left over in the fridge from the girls’ birthday earlier in the year and it was delicious!

Know what made me want to stomp my feet? I pass him pouring flour halfway into a cup measure and dumping it in a bowl so I ask if those are cups of flour he is measuring.  Yes, he says looking at me like I’m mad.  He’s been pouring flour like this forever and I, that follow that bloody recipe to the last bloody letter, can’t get it right. I do maintain that it’s because the bananas he uses are completely overripe, that’s why his “recipe” works.  If you want to try this recipe, go right ahead, don’t say I didn’t warn you, but even my MIL swears by it.

Banana Loaf (translated from The Afrikaans and adapted for lazy cooks like me)

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4-6 very ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanill essence
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and add vanilla.
  3. Add eggs, one by one, mixing well after every egg.
  4. Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl, stir with a whisk and add.
  5. Press bananas into mush with a fork and add, mixing well.
  6. Pour mixture into a loaftin and bake in over for about 1 hour, until knife comes out clean.

(Apparently the flavor improves if you let it stand for a couple of days, but it generally doesn’t last more than a couple of hours in our house)

*Daniel finally managed to rid us of the dreaded Quasimodo Tooth last night and conveniently so right at bedtime.  He gleefully told me in intricate detail how he managed to get the tooth out.  His sisters found it hilarious. Needless to say, bedtime was extremely delayed.

For the Love of Kindle

A very kind and generous person (whom I shall not mention by name purely because I refuse to share her) gave me a Kindle Fire as a gift recently.

We are by no means a technologically challenged household, but there is not a tablet in sight at Casa Roux, purely because we have some other pressing financial commitments (bond, food, clothes, childcare) and we just haven’t been able to pinch off the money.  So you can only imagine how completely beside myself I was when I received this gift!

What I didn’t realize was how it would change my life.

For starters I no longer have to hold a book on cold nights.  I simply stand the kindle on its side against Etienne’s arm (he lies reading on his stomach) and only a finger has venture out from under the cover to flip the page.

It’s small and light and I can take it with me wherever I go, so I’m never bored.  Fair enough, it is vying for space in my large bag with my phone and crochet bag, but hey.

I feel a lot better about killing trees.  Yes, I know that I’m reading on an electronic device and someone somewhere will be able to prove that it’s actually worse for the environment, but still.

I have consumed shlurped up read more in the last few months than I have in years.  I have read cookbooks and sci-fi and vampire books and those dreaded 50 shades of whatever and Nora Roberts and Michael Robotham’s Suspect and most recently John Greene’s The Fault in our Stars. (Spoiler alert: it should come with a box of tissues or a roll of toilet paper, what an awesome book!)

It’s generally speaking a lot cheaper than buying hardcover books.

I do however find some things harder now that I’m reading on a kindle.

I find it harder to memorise book and author names if it’s not someone I’ve read before.

I miss being able to quickly refer to something on the back of the book about the promised storyline.  The outside of a book is a little like getting to know a new person.  You flirt with and remember the cover and the picture and if you come across the book at a later stage your memory is easily jogged.

I miss giving someone a book to read that doesn’t have a kindle (such as my Dad).  I can’t just be sitting at a dinner party chatting about a book and walk to the bookshelf and pull it off and hand it over.  (this might actually be a good thing, it might force people to buy the book online for less?)

I worry about the future of writers and how being a writer will be redefined in many ways.  How will you be noticed in the throng of on-line voices?

I worry about our neighborhood bookshops.  Not too much, remember the trees, but people that love books work there.  Where would those people go?

I wonder about how it will change bookclubs.  There’s something ritualistic about dragging a box of books with you to book club once a month and scratching around, looking for something that catches your eye.  How will it work in future?  Will women huddle around their kindles/iPads in their own lounges in future? Isn’t that a bit lonely?

Will we still have book clubs, or will it all be an online affair?  I despair for all the wine that won’t be drunk.  (not that I’ve belonged to a book club in a while as things are just too hectic, but plenty of my friends do)

How do you read books?  If you read on a device, how did it change your relationship with books?  Should we still be calling them books?