Bloodchild and other stories by Octavia Butler

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What a great collection of stories this is!

I was at first surprised when there was an afterword after each story. Then as I read through each afterword, after each story, I wished that more short story collections including such afterwords.

“But I’m still glad to be able to talk a little about what I do put into my work, and what it means to me.”

In her afterword to The Evening and the Morning and the Night, a story which focuses on a disease, Butler describes her interest in biology and how she built this fictional disease from three genetic disorders, and even offers a reading list.

My favourite story is probably Speech Sounds, set in a world where a virus has taken away language, although it has affected people differently. A woman, Rye, can no longer read and write: “She had a houseful of books that she could neither read nor bring herself to use as fuel. And she had a memory that would not bring back to her much of what had read before.” She meets a man who cannot speak or comprehend spoken language:

“The illness had played with them, taking away, she suspected, what each valued most.”

While it was a rather satisfactory ending, of sorts, I think I wanted so much for this story to continue, for it to not be a short story, to know what will happen to Rye, to this world without language. Perhaps it moved me so because I cannot fathom the thought of not being able to read, to know that these symbols, these letters have meaning but to never be able to put them together. For all the horror books I’ve read this RIP season, this one might just be the one to really hit me hard, to hit me where it hurts.

(Later, I learnt that Octavia Butler was dyslexic. And maybe this short story stemmed from that?)

And it was a surprise to read about Butler’s humble beginnings, her early desire to be a writer, despite people like her aunt telling her that African-Americans couldn’t be writers.

“In all my thirteen years, I had never read a printed word that I knew to have been written by a Black person.”

I am so very glad that she persevered. That she kept writing, that she kept submitting, that she never gave up despite what others told her.

 

Bibliography

Series
Patternist series
Patternmaster (1976)
Mind of My Mind (1977)
Survivor (1978)
Wild Seed (1980)
Clay’s Ark (1984)
Seed to Harvest (2007, omnibus excluding Survivor)

Xenogenesis series
Dawn (1987)
Adulthood Rites (1988)
Imago (1989)
(Lilith’s Brood (2000), omnibus of the Xenogenesis trilogy)

Parable Series
Parable of the Sower (1993) (my review)
Parable of the Talents (1998)

Standalone novels
Kindred (1979) (my review)
Fledgling (2005)

Short stories
Bloodchild and Other Stories (1995); Second edition with additional stories (2006)
Unexpected Stories (2014, includes novellas “A Necessary Being” and “Childfinder”)
 

lavinia-portraitRIP1
I read this book for RIP IX

Library Loot (October 18 2014)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

 

These books were borrowed from two different libraries on Friday and Saturday. This other little library, a bit further from our house, has a Friday morning storytime session and more importantly, a playground right outside! And the train tracks are not too far so the kids can watch the trains from the playground. Its selection of books and puzzles is smaller, and so is the carpark. So we don’t really go that often. But it’s nice to mix up our routine once in a while.

I didn’t get anything from the library, as I had already downloaded quite a few e-books for the readathon! Plus Drood is still hanging around my house, it’s the thing that goes THUMP in the night.

The kids’ loot:

It’s Monday and I’m reading The Paying Guests

itsmonday“It’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

I usually write up these Monday posts on Sundays, but didn’t manage to yesterday. Too busy! So while the kids chatter to themselves upstairs (the sleeping in the same room has gone well aside from the first couple of nights! Hooray!), I’m trying to whack out a post!

Here’s what I was up to on Saturday – The Read-a-thon!

Sunday was about meeting up with a friend for lunch, doing a quick supermarket run, and cooking Monday’s dinner ahead of time – I made some soy-sauce marinated pork chops, to be eaten with the Korean sweet potato noodles japchae (here’s one recipe)

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Currently….

 

Reading:

 

payingguests

The Paying Guests – Sarah Waters

I started this in the last couple of hours that I was awake for during the readathon, but didn’t manage to pick it up again yet! Later tonight I hope!

drood

Drood – Dan Simmons

(Yes, still)

 

Watching:

 

The Good Wife Season 5. I love Diane and Eli! They are the reasons I watch this show!

Listening:

seesew

Lisa Hannigan – Sea Sew

An Irish singer who started out as a member of Damien Rice’s band

Eating:

 

IMG_3214.JPGMy breakfast this morning was a Hawaiian bun and a dorayaki filled with a black sesame paste, which we picked up at Mitsuwa (a Japanese supermarket) in San Jose yesterday. This dorayaki is a pancake folded over the paste and it’s so soft and eggy! Yum. (Apparently Mitsuwa has brought these dorayaki makers from Japan into the US before, check out this post for someone else’s pictures and details)

Drinking:

I had a milky black tea earlier, and just water for now. But later, some coffee!

Last week:

I read:
yearmeats

My Year of Meats – Ruth Ozeki
Just finished it last night, but wow.

 

 

broken
Broken (Women of the otherworld #6) – Kelley Armstrong
This series is a quick read which I sometimes use to break a reading rut or when I just need something not too heavy.

Strangers in Paradise #2 – Terry Moore
Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins
The Lady Astronaut of Mars – Mary Robinette Kowal

Read during the Read-a-thon

 

What are you reading this week?

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon: The End!

dewey

Wow! What a day! What a day! We made it!

This was my second read-a-thon and it was such fun. I think I enjoyed it more than my first, where I was, to be honest, rather overwhelmed by everything (readathoning with two littles?!??!). This time around was technically tougher, as the husband was out most of the morning and working from home the rest of the day, so it was up to me to do most of the parenting! Luckily the Read-a-thon magic worked! The kids played together now and then (there were still the usual fights over the same toy to sort out), and they both had naps!! I can’t believe it either!!!! We even went out for lunch, dropped by the library, and I cobbled together something for dinner! And still managed to read and drop by some blogs! Hurrah!

Here’s what I read:

ladyastronaut

 

The Lady Astronaut of Mars – Mary Robinette Kowal (an e-book novelette at just 19 pages)

strangersparadise2

 

Strangers in Paradise pocket book 2 – Terry Moore (comics print version – 344 pages)

annafrenchkissAnna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins (YA e-book – 372 pages)

payingguests

 

I also made it about 15% of the way through The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters before calling it a night!

End of Event Meme:

Which hour was most daunting for you?

I made it to Hour 18 or thereabouts, so I guess that?

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Anna and the French Kiss was fun. The Lady Astronaut of Mars, which was a SF novelette, provided a whole new world to venture into. Strangers in Paradise (the series) was at times funny and shocking. The combination of the three worked great for me.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

I thought it was great!

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

The hosts and cheerleaders were all fantastic!

How many books did you read?

3 – see above

What were the names of the books you read?

See above

Which book did you enjoy most?

The Paying Guests

Which did you enjoy least?

I enjoyed them all!

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I’ve got the date pencilled in!

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon Update Post

dewey

Please note: I’ll be updating this post for the rest of the day and not putting up any new posts!

Hour 18

It’s 1010 here in California and my neighbour’s party is finally winding down. I’m kind of amazed that I can still hear kids screaming next door! My own are thankfully sound asleep! I’ve been reading in bed, and a little earlier, took a reading break and watched The Good Wife! This will be my last update for the night. I had a great time! And managed to read more than I expected! So all in, it was a fantastic day. A huge thank you to everyone who hosted and planned and cheered!!

Currently reading: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Books finished: The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal; Strangers in Paradise book 2 by Terry Moore; Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

 Hour 15 (758pm)

After a dinner of tandoori chicken and a kale and chickpea curry with basmati rice (ok so the kids had penne with bolognese) and dessert of fruits (strawberries, grapes, persimmons), we chatted with my Mum in Singapore via Skype. Then the kids went to bed, the husband went back to work (poor thing) and I’m off to do a bit more reading before bed. My usual bedtime is 1030 so I’m not sure how much longer I’ll stay up past that! Hopefully I’ll get to put in one last update before bed.

 

Reading: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Books finished: The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal; Strangers in Paradise book 2 by Terry Moore; Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Eating: Finished dinner an hour ago so nothing until tomorrow!

Total chocolates consumed: 3!

Total caffeinated drinks: 1 tea, 1 espresso, 1/2 a Vietnamese iced coffee

 

 

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?

Strangers in Paradise book 2 by Terry Moore. It’s a series of comics

2. How many books have you read so far?
Just one. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. But I’m almost done with Strangers in Paradise.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. I’ve been saving it for the second half!

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

My whole day is full of interruptions since I’ve got two kids aged 3.5 and 17 months. My husband was out this morning and while he’s at home now he has been working! So I’ve been doing the bulk of the parenting. How do I deal with it? Worry less about the mess the kids are making! Try to squeeze in some reading whenever I can. And more importantly, get them to read too! They’re too young to read on their own so I’ve read maybe 15 books to them so far.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

No surprises yet I think. Just lots of fun!

Hour 10: 215 pm

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We went out for lunch at our usual Vietnamese restaurant. Pho with rare beef is my order. And the husband and I split a Vietnamese iced coffee. Refreshing! We all popped off to the library for a quick pickup of some books on hold, and grabbed a few more books for the kids.

Reading: Strangers in Paradise book 2 by Terry Moore

I’m really enjoying this series. It makes me laugh!

Just finished: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Hooray! I finished my first book! It was a fun easygoing read!

What the kids are up to: checking out the new library books and making their usual mess!

Hour 4:
It’s 841! The husband left about ten minutes ago to get his car serviced so won’t be back till lunchtime and I’ve got the kiddies with me.

Still reading: Anna and the French Kiss
Eating: nothing at the moment but I shared a persimmon with Wee Reader after his breakfast. See the photo below for my breakfast!
What the kids are up to: it’s Lego time in the loft and I’m just making sure they play together nicely!

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Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is finally here! I’ll be updating on my blog  throughout the Readathon, maybe every three to four hours or so, and on Instagram as well (I’m @olduvaireads on Instagram, how about you?)

Want to know what I’ll be reading? Here are the books in my stack! Alright! Let’s go!

 

Hour 0: Intro Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

The San Francisco Bay Area with my two little boys aged 3.5 and 17 months. I’ve been living here for about five years or so but am originally from Singapore!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests! It’s a long one and I’m not sure that I’ll even get to it today, but I love Sarah Waters’ books and it’s been a long time since I’ve read one!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I made a banana bundt cake yesterday (here’s a link to the recipe by Dorie Greenspan). It’s the first time I tried this recipe so I was so glad when it turned out exactly how I imagined it. Moist, light, more like a cake than banana bread! Hooray!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

As a kid I was fascinated with archaeology and wanted to be an archaeologist! So that’s why the nickname ‘olduvai’ came in. Yes, when the Internet came around, as in, the boops and beeps of the dial-up modems, I was about 17 and picked ‘olduvai’ as my username. It was kind of unique and so I’ve stuck with it all this time. My real name is Sharlene. How do you do!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I did my first readathon in April. This time, I’m going to just take it easy! Read a bit here and there and try to see what everyone else is up to.

My Readathon stack

dewey

Wow how did we get to another Readathon already?

This time though, I’ve signed up early and am getting my stack ready.

My goal for the readathon is to get one book read. And to visit some blogs and see what everyone is up to. I’m keeping my expectations low as I’ll be by myself with the littles for most of the morning.  I might try to do some picture- and board-book readathon-ing if they’ll let me. The 3-year-old would be happy to read with me, especially if he’s got his pile of Cars (as in yes, the Pixar movie) books and various other vehicles books. The 17-month-old likes certain books, like those with babies or cats, and some that have trains and airplanes. But he won’t sit still for long so it’s harder with him!

I have way too many books to read! But it’s just so much fun thinking up all those possibilities for my readathon stack.

ironring

The Iron Ring – Lloyd Alexander (kidlit)
Strangers in Paradise #2 – #6 – Terry Moore (Graphic novels)

Plus I’m still far far from the halfway point in Drood!

Some e-books

Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins (YA)
The Lady Astronaut of Mars – Mary Robinette Kowai (a novelette – SF)
The Dead in their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce #6) – Alan Bradley (Crime/mystery/YA)
My year of meats – Ruth Ozeki (fiction)
And GAAHHH! my hold on the library e-book of Sarah Waters’ Paying Guests just came in! Ok I don’t really know which one to read now….What would you read first?

Are you taking part in the readathon? What are you looking forward to most?

 

 

TLC Book Tours: The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

The Monogram Murders

 

I first knew of Hercule Poirot from David Suchet’s portrayal of the Belgian detective with that snappy mustache. I think it was my Mum who enjoyed watching this series, well, whatever the reason, I remember watching some episodes as a kid.

And here I should add that for many years I (silly me!) scoffed at Agatha Christie and other mystery writers and never went anywhere near the ‘Mystery’ sections in libraries or bookstores at all.

I have since learnt what a fool I’ve been! Today I read far more widely than I used to, thanks in part to all you wonderful book bloggers out there! And have been poking around quite a few mystery/crime/detective series, and not just liking but loving them! Among those I’ve enjoyed are Laurie R King’s Mary Russell and Kate Martinelli series, Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series, Colin Cotterill’s Dr Siri Paiboun series, Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series. In the past couple of years, I’ve even read Sherlock Holmes! This was largely due to the excellent BBC series. And that was a huge step for me, as my sister and I were given a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories when we were kids and that book was nothing more than a bookend to us!

But yes, Agatha Christie. She of the 66 detective novels, of which 33 star Hercule Poirot.

Of which I have perhaps read four? I hope to slowly increase that number, because they are a delight to read.

But this one, this latest Hercule Poirot mystery, is written by crime novelist Sophie Hannah, who, in an interview with The Telegraph, said that she decided to construct “the most intriguing possible mystery and bring it to Hercule Poirot”.

It must be HUGE shoes to fill, writing such a book. And Hannah has done a pretty good job at it. Here’s the plot summary:

 

Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered.  She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.

Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim…

 

From the young woman’s “I’m already dead, you see, or I shall be soon”, the mystery intrigues. And Hercule Poirot is on the case. A large part of the narrative is told from the point of view of a Scotland Yard policeman, Catchpool, who is intelligence but lacks confidence in himself. Poirot takes on the role of mentor here, encouraging Catchpool to figure things out but it is Catchpool, or at least something crucial he says, that leads to Poirot eventually solving the case. (Hannah found the name ‘Catchpool’ – as well as several other names she uses in the book – on a headstone in an old cemetery!)

And while I’m not as familiar with Poirot as others may be, but not long after finishing The Monogram Murders, I read Evil Under the Sun (Hercule Poirot #23), which I selected at random to get a better feel for Christie’s Poiroy, and it feels like Hannah has captured his mannerisms well. However, after reading Evil Under the Sun, Monogram Murders felt too lengthy,  so I checked Goodreads: At 352 pages (hardcover version), The Monogram Murders is longer than many of Christie’s books, which seem to have fewer than 300 pages. For instance, Evil Under the Sun is 220 pages long. What is with all these book lengths these days? The book felt like it went on too long here and there, especially after I read Evil Under the Sun which seemed more crisp and efficient.

Still the mystery was rather an enjoyable one, a tricky one that Christie herself might have thought of (please don’t yell at me for saying that, any Agatha Christie fans out there!). I’m still a rookie when it comes to this genre so I’m going to have to study up by reading more by Sophie Hannah and Agatha Christie – and whatever other crime/mystery/detective/thriller series/novels that you would recommend.

So recommend away!

 

Agatha ChristieAbout Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is the most widely published author of all time, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. She died in 1976.

Learn more about Agatha Christie through her official website.

Sophie Hannah

About Sophie Hannah 

Internationally bestselling author Sophie Hannah breathes new life into the incomparable detective. In this thrilling tale, Poirot plunges into a mystery set in 1920s London—a diabolically clever puzzle that will test his brilliant skills and baffle and delight longtime Christie fans and new generations of readers discovering him for the first time. Authorized by Christie’s family, and featuring the most iconic detective of all time, this instant Christie classic is sure to be celebrated by mystery lovers the world over.

I received this book from its publisher and TLC Book Tours

Check out the other stops on the tour:

Monday, September 15th: A Bookish Way of Life

Wednesday, September 17th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Thursday, September 18th: The Road to Here

Thursday, October 2nd: From the TBR Pile

Friday, October 3rd: My Bookshelf

Tuesday, October 7th: A Bookworm’s World

Wednesday, October 8th: Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, October 9th: BoundbyWords

Thursday, October 9th: Wordsmithonia

Friday, October 10th: Books in the Burbs

Wednesday, October 15th: Olduvai Reads

TBD: Sara’s Organized Chaos

It’s Monday and I’m tired!

itsmonday“It’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

 

We were rather ambitious and put the 17-month-old in the same room with the 3.5yo this weekend. He had previously been sleeping in the loft, so no door, no fourth wall, just curtains. And being the light sleeper that he is, sometimes the sound of my door opening or someone walking downstairs would wake him up. In other words, not the best place to sleep! So on the first night, it took ages for him to even consent to lying down in bed. New sleeping environment and all.  And he woke up a few times in the middle of the night, and we could hear his big brother sometimes going “shhh! Shhhh!” over the monitor. But from about 130am all was quiet. That lasted till about 545 when he started talking to himself, woke his brother and the two of them started “talking” to each other…. It would’ve been kind of cute, if I weren’t so tired! Luckily the second night seems to have gone better. I did hear him cry out once or twice in the middle of the night but he stopped and must have put himself back to sleep. And woke up when the garage door opened at about 630 when his dad left for the Bart station.

In other not so exciting news, my Mum flew back to Singapore on Friday. She arrived safely, late but safe, after two passengers and their bags had to be offloaded in Seoul, and she was already back at work yesterday (Monday Singapore time)! The house is so much quieter without her! And today will be my first day just by myself with the two kids after three months. Gulp!

Currently…

Reading:

drood

Drood – Dan Simmons
I’m hesitant. I’m at page 230 or so (out of 771!) and am wondering if I should continue. I’ve spent quite a bit of time on this book and it’s been interesting, if long winded. We have already learnt about this mysterious Drood and his past and so I’m wondering, isn’t that then the mystery solved somewhat? How can there be over 500 pages more of this!?!? I’m not afraid of chunksters, having read some others by Simmons himself, but this one, I don’t know… I don’t feel very vested in it at the moment.

strangersparadise1

Strangers in Paradise – Terry Moore

I’m enjoying it so far

Just borrowed:

annafrenchkiss

Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins

I’ve seen this on a few book blogs and it seems to be well liked, although not typically the kind of book I read. But I’m compiling some lighter reads for the readathon!

Eating:
a Hawaiian bun

Drinking:
Water. It’s going to be a warm day with a high of 31c/89f so I’m making sure I’m hydrated! I’ve already gulped down a big mug of black tea.

Watching:

I’m still doing the back and forth between The Walking Dead and Gilmore Girls. And just to mix it up even more, The Good Wife!

Listening:

Everything will be alright in the endWeezer

Looking forward to:
The Readathon this weekend! The husband has to bring his Mini in for service in the morning (I know, how inconsiderate right?! :P) so I doubt I’ll be able to read very much in the morning but hopefully after that??

Last week…

I read:

evilundersun
Evil under the sun (Hercule Poirot #23) – Agatha Christie
A fun read. Poirot is holidaying at a beach resort (!) when one of the guests is found strangled.

 

What are you reading this week?

TLC Book Tours: Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials

Aunty Lee's Deadly Specials

 

 

Aunty Lee, restaurant owner and busybody extraordinaire, is catering a lunch at a wealthy and prominent lawyer’s home in Singapore when two bodies are found – the lawyer and her ill son. Fingers point to Aunty Lee’s Ayam buah keluak, a dish made from the seeds of the Pangium edule, a plant which grows in mangrove swamps in Southeast Asia. If not processed properly, which requires being boiled, scrubbed, soaked for days, it could make someone ill – dizziness, coma, shortness of breath! Yikes.

 

Aunty Lee knows it has nothing to do with her food and that it is far more than what the police think. Plus this is all too much, in the way that it is affecting her livelihood, her passion. And that it might have something to do with the organ donor scandal that involves some rather prominent locals. So of course Aunty Lee, with her “kiasu, kaypoh, em zai see approach to food and all life”*  takes matters into her own hands and begins poking around with the help of her trusty sidekick, her domestic helper Nina. Commissioner Raja and Inspector Salim are not please, but then again, they’re not really surprised either.

For me, this series is not about the mystery, but its setting – Singapore. I have to admit that I was a bit bogged down by parts of the crime and the mystery, and wasn’t all that interested in figuring out whodunnit.

Because there are not very many books set in Singapore or written by Singaporeans that make their way to the US, I lapped this one up like a bowl full of sweet sticky orhnee, a popular dessert in Singapore, and one of my absolute favourite desserts ever, a pudding of sorts made with mashed yam/taro and coconut milk, sometimes with ginkgo nuts and mashed pumpkin added in.

Because sometimes there is a need to read about books set in a place you truly know well. Sure I’ve been in the US for five years now but I still feel like an outsider (as Sting once put it, “I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien”). To hear bits of Singlish, to read of characters like busybody Aunty Lee, to recognise places like Binjai Park and Bukit Timah Plaza, it means so much to me. It has been nearly a year since my last visit to Singapore. And Singapore being the fast-paced society that it is, every visit springs up something new (roads, buildings, skyscrapers, foodie trends), the disappearance of something old (sadly too common), and the realisation and understanding of the word ‘home’.

Aunty Lee’s cooking and love for food is a huge attraction. The mere mention of Nasi lemak, herbal chicken soup, pineapple tarts, bubur terigu, oh ku kueh, made me drool, made me miss Singapore and all its gastronomic delights.

 “Aunty Lee learned as much about people from watching them eat as from listening to them talk. It was not only a matter of what they ate but how they ate that revealed the most about them. This had less to do with table manners then their relationship with food. Because their relationship with the food that nourished them grounded their relationship with themselves and everyone else.”

Yu also includes some recipes, such as a chicken candlenut curry, as well as a guide to food spots in Singapore, for that complete experience.

Read Aunty Lee’s Deadly Delights for some Singaporean-style flavour, both in terms of the food and setting.

* kiasu = afraid of losing out
kaypoh = busybody
em zai see = not afraid of dying

Ovidia Yu is one of Singapore’s best-known and most acclaimed writers. She has had more than thirty plays produced and is also the author of a number of mysteries. She received a Fulbright Fellowship to the University of Iowa’s International Writers Program and has been a writing fellow at the National University of Singapore.

Ovidia Yu

Connect with her through Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

 

tlc logo

I received this book from its publisher and TLC Book Tours

Check out the other stops on the book tour

Tuesday, September 30th: No More Grumpy Bookseller

Wednesday, October 1st: I’d Rather Be At The Beach

Monday, October 6th: Kahakai Kitchen

Tuesday, October 7th: Bibliophilia, Please

Wednesday, October 8th: Book Dilettante

Thursday, October 9th: guiltless reading

Monday, October 13th: Olduvai Reads

Tuesday, October 14th: A Bookish Way of Life

Thursday, October 16th: Tutu’s Two Cents

Wednesday, October 22nd: My Bookshelf

Friday, October 24th: Jorie Loves a Story

Weekend Cooking: Hey pesto!

(A bit too cheesy you think?)

 

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Last Sunday my neighbour messages to ask if we’d like some vegetables from her friend’s garden. Some chard and basil. I was more interested in the chard as I’ve never cooked with it before – not something you find much of in Singapore so it wasn’t a familiar vegetable. (It ended up simply stirfried with garlic and olive oil if you’re wondering)

It was a rather large bunch of basil and I thought, pesto!

We haven’t had pesto for ages. Usually I buy it at stores and toss it into pasta for a quick meal. But most pestos – and pesto recipes – have nuts which is big no in our house since we discovered two years ago that Wee Reader is allergic to tree nuts and peanuts (he also used to be allergic to wheat and eggs but has more or less outgrown those). So we haven’t eaten pesto in ages!

Googling “nut -free pesto” resulted in this recipe from Two peas and their pod. A basil spinach pesto! More vegetables! Fantastic!

My lack of a food processor didn’t stop me from making this. I only have an immersion blender but it comes with a tiny food processor-like container. So I processed the spinach and basil in batches, then added the cheese, garlic and olive oil. And don’t forget the salt and pepper!

Now that I’ve had fresh nut-free basil, I’m definitely excited to make it again! But first, we’ve got to use up this batch.

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The next day I cooked some boneless chicken thighs, simply with salt and pepper and a bit of Zhoug spices. Then sautéed some chopped shallot and garlic, added the pesto and some chopped sundried tomatoes. Later I tossed in the cooked chicken (cut into bite sized cubes) and cooked fusili. Added a bit of extra herbs and there was dinner. Wee Reader enjoyed it so much he brought the leftovers to preschool the next day – and ate it all up! (I have to admit having been worried that he wouldn’t like ‘green’ pasta)

I’m guessing the pesto can be frozen but for now it’s sitting in my fridge waiting for the next pasta day.

Do you have any other non-traditional nut-free pesto ideas? I’m wondering about making it with cilantro instead of basil. And remember seeing a recipe for red pepper/tomato pesto.

 

 

 

 

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Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs