Links to Some Things I’ve Been Enjoying
Last week I worked like a house afire. Over the weekend and so far this week: nothing. An odd sort of ailment has settled in, not the flu or cold, just one of those winter blah things magnified a hundred times, where one can barely sit upright, let alone compose anything that makes sense. The Februaries, I guess.
It’s a good time to snuggle in and do a lot of reading, letting the author do my thinking for me, which of course means not reading anything too demanding. It means watching programs on t.v. It means idiot-level knitting (washcloths made from left over cotton/linen blend), comfort food (anything with noodles), sufficient amounts of chocolate, and ibuprofen and vitamin C. Warmth and fuzzy socks. An occasional nip of brandy. As much sleep as can be had between bouts of weirdly vivid dreams.
When I’m like this, I shy away from essay writing, and you should be glad. But I can still share some of the things I’ve been enjoying or finding useful lately, at least in the form of links. This list is by no means definitive or exclusive, it’s what comes off the top of my head as I’m in front of the computer at this moment in time (the Amazon links are affiliate):
Mystery Authors–I read their series from beginning to end:
C. S. Harris: Her Sebastain St. Cyr series takes place in the Regency era, and is replete with the dashing hero, the feisty heroine, and nefarious plots to bring down the government or ruin a family’s fortune and reputation, all better-written than most of this sort. What Angels Fear is the first book in the series.
Katherine Hall Page: Her Faith Fairchild series practically defines the contemporary cozy mystery genre. The novels begin from about 1990 to the present, and take place in a fictional historic small town not far from Boston. Faith is the wife of a local minister, but not in the least sanctimonious. She is also a caterer, so there are recipes and often food-related plots. Start with The Body in the Belfry.
Tasha Alexander: Her Lady Emily series takes place in the 1880’s-90’s, and the heroine challenges nearly every convention of the Victorian era. Most of the stories are based in London, but a few take place abroad, beginning with And Only to Deceive.
The Passive Voice: a sort of digest/blog covering aspects of writing and publishing. The Passive Guy is a lawyer, but doesn’t get into legal advice on this blog. Instead, he simply presents excerpts from publishing-related news items, or poses questions, or provides differing points of views, sometimes with his own take on things. He posts quite frequently. This is a great resource for writing/publishing food for thought.
Advice to Writers: Jon Winokur puts up a writer “quote of the day,” usually quite brief, and nearly always hitting the mark for me. I find the selection of quotes to be more attitude-adjusting than inspiring, which suits me to a T.
iPod Games–which are available in free or cheap versions:
Words With Friends: everybody does it.
Scrabble: better than Words With Friends.
Bingo Rush: weirdly addictive.
Catapult King: hilarious graphics and sound effects.
My Fitness Pal: the most amazing calorie calculator I’ve ever seen or used–it’s got a huge database, AND you can enter your own recipes. Not only calculates calories, but carbs, protein, fat, water intake, and both strength and cardio exercise. I use the desktop version, but there is also an iPod app. I thought I was pretty good at keeping mealtime calories within reason, but got some real eye-opening results when I entered my recipes. Can’t say enough good about this one.
Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and his other volumes are now available for iPhone/Pod/Pad. It is one beautiful app, very smooth to use. I like to kick around through it almost as much as playing a game, just to read about food.
Beethoven Piano Sonatas: Wilhelm Kempff (1895-1991) interpreted Beethoven like no one else, bringing out the lyrical lines rather than just going all sturm und drang like most performers. I’ve been enjoying MP3 recordings of his Waldstein Sonata (No. 21 in C Major, Opus 53), and of the final Beethoven Sonata, No. 32 in C Minor, Opus 111, which I had the good fortune to hear Kempff himself perform in London in 1980. It was sublime.
Catch up with you next week