Readin’, Readin’, Readin’….

It’s been slightly tough for me to find a book that I absolutely adore lately – one that I hate to put down for a break (and to do life things). There was a great read in David Grann’s The Devil and Sherlock Holmes (post to come), but then I was faffing about trying to read some Halloween-ish writing. I had enjoyed the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe earlier in the summer, so picked up a huge collection of his work and read some of those. However, I didn’t seem to find any that were half as a good as the short stories I had read earlier and I wasn’t ready to plough through his verbose writing. So – took that book back to the library.

Now, I am trying my first real ghost story – “The Woman in Black” by Susan Hill. I have not read her fiction before, but have really enjoyed her non-fiction writing so I have hopes. I am just not very sure how much courage I have with the scary stuff though. It can’t be too over-the-top though as this book has been made into a play in London, so perhaps it’s more spine-tingling than anything.

Been messing about choosing a classic to read, but I think I am going to start another Elizabeth Gaskell (except this one is not as well-known as Cranford): Mary Barton. I do enjoy Gaskell’s writing so fingers crossed for a good read in this title.

Finished up an earlier Anne Tyler (“Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant”) which was a good read but I have absolutely nothing to comment about it. It’s a solid read, but a bit forgettable (to me). Sorry – I know that Tyler has legions of fans out there, and she is a good writer. It’s just this one didn’t really provoke any serious thoughts of any kind.

And then – trumpet volley indicated here – it’s getting closer to the Friends of the Library booksale event (at the end of October), and I have been clearing some old titles off the shelves to make some room for whatever I happen to come across there. (You know – in case I find a book I want…)

TV-wise, we are now thoroughly addicted to the ITV-TV production of “Doc Martin” about a cantankerous physician who moves from London to a small village in Cornwall due to his fear of blood. (He was a surgeon before.) Just a solidly good drama with interesting and believable characters set in a very picturesque Cornish village where there is never a cold rainy winter day. It does rain, a bit, but  only on warm days as the producers are very serious about portraying this village as an Edenic bliss so it’s rather nice to watch and pretend that it doesn’t really get very cold, damp and rainy in England during the winter. 🙂

Oh, and cooked up a batch of red velvet cup cakes (courtesy of Duncan Hines), and I do admit: they taste great but oh my god – a face only a mother could love. Why did they not come out like the pictures on the box when I did *exactly* (sort of) what was asked of me as cook?

Notice how in the box pic, the icing is all thick and fluffy. (Not in real life.) Notice how in the box pic, there are no big gaping holes in the tops of the cakes (where I was instructed to jam the icing bag in). Not in real life.  Notice how the cakes are quite white on the top with the icing in the box. (Not in real life especially after one day and they get red and all streaky somewhat appropriate for Halloween, one thinks).

Possible reasons (and this is just me thinking aloud here)… :

  • I *might* have forgotten to adjust the temp on the oven since we found out it was 25 degrees off by using an oven thermometer the other day…
  • I *may* have overstirred the icing just a tad (a little too enthusiastic but it looked very pretty in the bowl so I just kept stirring…)
  • I may have been just a* bit* impatient and not waited for the cup cakes to cool down enough from the over and thus melt their icing coats…

Conclusion:  Just another excuse to cook up another batch, methinks.

I am going to weigh 500 lbs by the time I get this baking thing sorted out. I suffer for my soup. 🙂

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