Saturday, June 25, 2016

Get medieval in the kitchen with new cookbook

Get medieval in the kitchen with new cookbook | TribLIVE
From exotic poultry dishes and smoking roasts to an abundance of seasonal fresh fruit, wine and cheeses, the period was no stranger to fine cuisine and extravagant feasts.
"Thyme and Place: Medieval Feasts and Recipes for the Modern Table” is a newly released cookbook that offers recipes inspired by traditional Medieval fare. The book, which includes 35 recipes ranging from Bacon Jam to Summer Harvest Wine, takes readers through a calendar of traditional medieval feasts, a history of each celebration and modernized recipes for dishes typically served for the occasion.

Laura Esquivel's new book Pierced by the Sun

Review of Laura Esquivel's new book Pierced by the Sun published by AmazonCrossing | Miami Herald
Laura Esquivel’s international bestseller Like Water for Chocolate delved into one woman’s spirited tale of love and family during the Mexican Revolution. Her latest novel tackles her country’s politics much more overtly. With its depiction of how one troubled woman must navigate a labyrinth of criminality and cronyism, Pierced by the Sun takes an uncensored look at her Mexico’s troubled present, in which corruption and crime have rocked Mexican society.

In this novel, we meet a policewoman named Lupita, who is falling apart after witnessing a murder. A local politician named Don Larreaga has had his throat cut in public in Mexico City, mere feet from where Lupita is standing, although “there was no evidence of anybody in the vicinity having any sort of knife or blade.”

Read more here:

Monday, June 20, 2016

These Famous Books Nearly Had Very Different Titles

These Famous Books Nearly Had Very Different Titles
Some books need no further explaining, their titles are so well known. Catcher In The Rye. Gone With The Wind. The Great Gatsby. The Alchemist.
It's hard to imagine these novels called anything else. Though so often a book, while being written, will have a completely different working title to the name it is finally given. Just imagine if Fifty Shades Of Grey was called Pervy Businessman's Odd Fetishes. Not quite the same ring, right?
Some real life examples:
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett was once called Mistress Mary, referring to the main character. Mistress Mary sounds more minxy than her character actually is in the book, so we think the title change was a good idea.
The Great Gatsby had the working title of Trimalchio In The West Egg. Say What?! An obscure reference most readers would not have understood. Phew.
Lord Of The Flies went by the title of Strangers From Within while it was being written. Apt, that's for sure, though Lord Of The Flies is far more intriguing.

5 Strangest Books Ever Written

5 Strangest Books Ever Written | Big Think

Codex Seraphinus
Books teach us, inform us, amuse us and provoke us. But some books plainly befuddle us. They invoke mysteries that hint of something ancient, extraterrestrial or possibly divine. Here are 5 such books - the Voynich Manuscript, Codex Seraphinus, Rononc Codex, the Smithfield Decretals and the Book of Soyga.
Read and view images of the books here: 5 Strangest Books Ever Written

Schoolboy's 16th-century scribbles

Schoolboy's 16th-century scribbles offer rare insight into National Library's medieval manuscript - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The scribbles of a 16th-century Welsh schoolboy have given researchers an intriguing insight into the history of a medieval book in the collection of the National Library of Australia (NLA).
The English Psalter — a book of psalms — was made between 1330 and 1350, most likely by monks for a wealthy lay person. It features Latin text in iron gall ink and illuminated letters and decorations.
NLA conservator Freya Merrell said pencil annotations by a boy called Thomas indicated the book might have been smuggled into Wales after Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1536.
"He's written his name and the date in there and he's done some little squiggles during his class time probably," Ms Merrell said.

The 100 best nonfiction books of all time

Robert McCrumRobert McCrum launches the Observer’s definitive 100 works of nonfiction – key texts in English that have shaped our literary culture and made us who we are.
Another book list? Yes and no. When we completed our 100 best novels in the English language last August, you did not have to be one of its fiercest critics – there were a few of those – to recognise it was still a job half done. Plainly, the English literary tradition is rich in great works of poetry and prose that are not novels. The King James Bible of 1611, for instance, is every bit as influential as the greatest novelists of the past 300 years, from Austen to Waugh. Indeed, as the 100 best novels series drew to a close, we began to wonder what a complementary list of 100 great English-language nonfiction titles might look like.The 100 best nonfiction books of all time: what should make the list?

So this new list is really part of a continuing investigation, a quest for the classic titles that form the core of Anglo-American literary culture: the 100 key texts that have had a decisive influence on the shaping of the “Anglo-American imagination”, economically, socially, culturally and politically.So this new list is really part of a continuing investigation, a quest for the classic titles that form the core of Anglo-American literary culture: the 100 key texts that have had a decisive influence on the shaping of the “Anglo-American imagination”, economically, socially, culturally and politically.
Next week, with what we are calling “the 100 best”, we will begin to identify some essential works of philosophy, drama, history, science and popular culture. Braided together, and alongside our parallel list of great fiction, these books will add up to an explanation of who we are and how we got here.
The 100 novels series uncovered all kinds of fascinating inner connections, a dialogue between different writers across time and space. We hope a similar conversation will emerge within this list. One half-acknowledged truth about the Anglo-American literary and intellectual tradition is the deep mutual debt shared by many of its principals.
As with the 100 best novels, each chosen writer, however prolific, will be represented by just one emblematic title. Charles Darwin, to cite an obvious example, will be identified as the author of On the Origin of Species, though many readers have a special fondness for The Voyage of the Beagle. As before, the list will be confined to English language titles. There will be allusions to Marx, Freud, Descartes and Montaigne, but their books must await another series. This list will also be strictly chronological, but with this difference. This time... we are going backwards, moving from the present day to the distant past, from classics in the making to outright masterpieces.

See full list here: 100 Best Non-Fiction Books (Selections 1 - 21 as at 20th June 2016)

Monday, June 13, 2016

X-Rays Reveal "Hidden Library" on the Spines of Early Books

When the printing press made its debut in Europe in the 15th century, hand-written manuscripts went the way of eight track tapes and CD players—becoming unfashionable in the face of new technology. So early book binders cut up some of these older texts and used the paper to reinforce the spines and covers of the newfangled printed books.
That practice has put researchers in another type of bind: To get to the valuable fragments built into these early modern books, they have to tear them apart. But according to Dalya Alberge at The Guardian a new technology is giving researchers a peek at the manuscript fragments without damaging the printed books.
Using macro X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (MA-XRF), Dutch researchers are able to scan the bindings to image the manuscripts hiding underneath. Erik Kwakkel, a book historian at Leiden University in the Netherlands tells Alberge that one in five early modern books contain the fragments. “It’s really like a treasure trove,” he tells Alberge. “It’s extremely exciting.”

Are Your Books Secretly Worth Millions?

A new X-ray process allows owners of books from four centuries of printing history (and mummy masks) to know if they have priceless manuscripts hidden inside.
Even more exciting? There are thousands and thousands of books sitting in libraries, personal collections, and book stores ripe for this treatment.
What’s new here is the technology. Scholars have known for a long time that early modern book production used cartonnage (layers of linen or papyrus) composed of fragments of older discarded manuscripts to strengthen the bindings of books. Kwakkel told The Guardian that as many as one in five books produced between the 15th and 18th centuries was made this way. The same technique was used seventeen hundred years earlier by Egyptians, who used manuscripts as papier mache to construct mummy masks for use in the burial of the dead. We knew the documents were hidden in the bindings of the books, but getting them out meant dismantling or destroying ancient historical artifacts.