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Showing posts from March, 2018

Book Review of The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin

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First published in 2006, The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin has been followed by three other books, the last of which was released in 2011, so it’s not clear whether or not the series will continue. The Janissary Tree sees Yashim in a race against time to find out who is behind a total of four, very public and brutal murders, one further murder in the Sultan’s palace and the theft of some hugely valuable jewels belonging to the Sultan’s own mother.
Characters
The main character is Yashim Togalu, linguist, cook, all-round problem-solver - and eunuch, which gives him access to the Sultan’s harem and the women in it. This is very handy as a plot device and since this is a work of fiction rather than a science text book, it’s fine with me that there’s quite a bit about Yashim’s appearance and behaviour which frankly doesn’t tie in with historical information about eunuchs. Likewise, I’m prepared to accept that Yashim often shows attitudes and behaviours which seem rather too much ahe…

Book Review of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

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First published in 1998, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith set the stage for a total of 18 novels (so far) which are collectively known by the name of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. This review is only for the first book, which tells the story of how Mma Precious Ramotswe came to become the first female private detective in Botswana, a country where many people still believe that women are inferior to men, and the challenges she faces to get clients before she can even try her hand at tackling cases.
Characters
This first book is very much focused on the character of Precious Ramotswe, who is aged 34 at the start of the novel, so she is old enough to have had quite a bit of experience of life, while still being fairly young. Her outlook and personality shows a great respect and love for Botswanan tradition, but she has a very modern outlook on the role of women in society and refuses to allow herself to be pulled down by the blatant chauvinis…

The Easter tradition of Paaskekrimmen, how to indulge your reading habit for the lowest cost and 4 book recommendations

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I like to do something a little different for special events, so, with Easter coming up, I started researching Easter traditions around the world to see what blog inspiration I could find.  My luck was in and I stumbled upon the Norwegian Easter tradition of Paaskekrimmen.  Interestingly, this is one of the few traditions I know of where it's clear exactly when it began, almost 100 years ago in 1923.  A Norwegian publisher had the bright idea of creating an advert for a crime novel in a way which made it appear like an actual newspaper story (not sure this would be allowed today).  The idea was a big success, so big, in fact that it started a tradition and ever since then, while most of the rest of the world has been out frolicking in the Spring sunshine (or enjoying the longer days at least) Norwegians have spent their Easter tucked up with crime novels (although a lot of them do head out to the countryside to do their reading).  Book publishers, magazines and newspapers all do …

Frugal but effective spring cleaning for health and hygge

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Even though winter hasn’t quite given up its hold where I live, spring is definitely starting to get the upper hand, which means it shouldn’t be long now before I can start on some proper spring cleaning.  As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been developing in increasing interest in natural cleaning but, up until recently, it’s always been mainly from an environmental perspective. Recently, however, I’ve been learning more and more about how natural cleaning not only helps the environment but also helps protect our health as well as making are homes feel nicer and saving us money.  So with spring (just about) here, I thought I’d share some tips on frugal but effective spring cleaning with an emphasis on protecting against (seasonal) allergies and irritations (bugs) as well as making your home a pleasanter place. To keep this post reasonably short, I’m only covering tips for cleaning tasks I think of as being specifically connected to spring cleaning, rather than all the cleaning tasks you c…

7 pollen-free house plants which are easy to grow, safe and which purify the air in your home

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I must confess, I’m a house plant serial killer.The one and only plant I have ever managed to keep alive over the long term was a cactus.I got it from my gran when I was little and it sat for years on a shelf behind my toilet, until one day my cat decided it was in her way and sent it flying to the ground.It never recovered and I was gutted.Since then, my track record with house plants has essentially amounted to trying, failing and giving them to someone else before it’s too late.Then I’ve been able to watch as the half-dead plant recovered and thrived, proving, as if I there was ever any doubt, that there was nothing wrong with the plant, it was me.I’ve decided, however, that 2018 is going to be the year I finally (start to) learn to keep plants alive.
The reason I never really bothered that much about the fact that I’m useless at growing plants, is because up until recently I thought of them mainly as for decoration.I did know they helped to reduce carbon dioxide levels, but I had…

International Women's Day - TED Ten

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