Honoring Roald Dahl

t2-dahl-4801196_210684cRoald Dahl born today September 13th 1916 in Llanduff, South Wales, of Norwegian parents. Dahl was educated in English boarding schools. In search of an adventure, the young Dahl took a job with Shell Oil in Africa. When World War II broke out he joined the RAF as a fighter pilot, receiving terrible injuries and almost dying in a plane crash in 1942.

A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.

He rose to prominence in the 1940s with works for both children and adults and he became one of the world’s best-selling authors.

He has been referred to as “one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century”. His awards for contribution to literature include the 1983 World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and the British Book Awards’ Children’s Author of the Year in 1990. In 2008, The Times placed Dahl 16th on its list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”

Good morning starshine the earth says hello….”

Here are two of my favorite’s Dahl Classics!

(Click any picture for more info.)

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.

Raold Dahl is a legend. His stories enchant, his charming characters are unforgettable, and his timeless tidbits of wisdom are beautiful and provoking. I’m so happy to be able to honor him on this day.

“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books.”
~Roald Dahl

Which Dahl stories have you cherished and loved?

Tribute to Tolstoy

imagesBorn today September 9th 1828
Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy
(Usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy) was a Russian aristocrat and one of the world’s most preeminent writers. Tolstoy become famous through his epic novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina.


“We can know only that we know nothing.
And that is the highest degree of human wisdom.” (
War and Peace)

Tolstoy’s fictional work includes: dozens of short stories and several novellas such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Family Happiness, and Hadji Murad. He also wrote plays and numerous philosophical essays.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” (
Anna Karenina)

Towards the end of his life, Leo Tolstoy became increasingly interested in a version of pacifist Christianity with support for a strand of anarchist Communism. His exposition of pacifism and non-violence had a profound influence on others – most notably Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
This prompted his non-fiction work;
A Confession and The Kingdom of God is Within You.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”


Medieval Fare and Fiction

38de0f422fffb271a3f9006077becc55I love historical fiction and I also love fantasy fiction, so this showcases a little of both. Thanks to a little prompting from Robin C. Farrel I decide to compile a list of well known and highly rated Medieval & Fantasy fiction. I also shared a few drink pairings that I thought would compliment these books and do justice to their era. I hope you enjoy what I’ve come up with, and add your own favorites to my list!

Here is my Friday list of fabulous Medieval Fair and Fiction:

The Sunne In Splendour
By Sharon Kay Penman

A glorious novel of the controversial Richard III; a monarch betrayed in life by his allies and betrayed in death by history

In this beautifully rendered modern classic, Penman redeems Richard III; vilified as the bitter, twisted, scheming hunchback who murdered his nephews.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

The Inheritance Cycle
By Cristopher Paolini

An unforgettable, worldwide bestselling saga of one boy, one dragon, and a world of adventure.

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com
Book Bean:
 Hot Mulled Persimmons
Wash, peel, and slice ½ cup’s worth of ginger. Put it into a pot or kettle. Add 5 cinnamon sticks, handful of pine nuts, and 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and boil for 15 min. Lower heat and add 5 dried persimmons and 1 cup of sugar, simmer 30 min. Serve hot with ginger/pine nut garnish. As a non traditional option; add 5 satchels (or equivalent in loose leaf) of desired tea (white works well) for the last 5-10 min.

The Pillars of the Earth
By Ken Follett
A spellbinding epic story set in twelfth-century England. This book tells the story of the lives entwined in the building of the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has ever known-and a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state, and brother against brother.
Before this novel was published, Follett was known for writing in the thriller genre. The Pillars of the Earth became his best-selling work.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

ivanhoe-walter-scott-paperback-cover-artBy Sir Walter Scott

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

Ivanhoe was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. This is a classic historical fiction with knights, action, and romance.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

IMG_3411.jpgBook Bean: Mulberry Almond Steamer
Bring  8 oz of almond milk to a simmer, drop in a teaspoon of mulberry syrup (or more to taste) add in 2 drops of almond extract (or to taste.) Mix well, pour, and serve.

The Way of Kings
By Brandon Sanderson

Widely acclaimed for his work completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time saga, Sanderson now begins a grand cycle of his own.

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Here Be Dragons
By Sharon Penman
The turbulent clashes of two disparate worlds and the destinies of the individuals caught between them spring to life in this magnificent novel of power and passion, loyalty and lies.

The book that began the trilogy that includes Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning, Here Be Dragons brings thirteenth-century England, France, and Wales to tangled, tempestuous life.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Book Bean:
Soft Honey Mead
In a pot mix: 1 part white grape juice, 2 parts honey, and 3 parts water (part = an ounce or a cup etc. depending on how much you want to make.) Add in cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cardamom to taste. Bring it to a boil then simmer for about 30 minutes. Strain & chill.

The Mists of Avalon
By Marion Zimmer Bradley
The magical legend of King Arthur, vividly retold through the lives of the women who wielded power from behind the throne. A new twist on an enchanting tale.

Most of the events of the traditional Arthurian legend are presented in this re-telling. However, it is fascinating how the story normally told through the eyes of men, changes when experienced from the experiences of woman.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

The Last Kingdom
By Bernard Cornwell
An exciting, yet little known (although now on the rise) story of the making of England in the 9th and 10th centuries, the years in which King Alfred the Great, his son, and grandson defeated the Danish Vikings who had invaded and occupied three of England’s four kingdoms.

Told through a dispossessed noble, who is captured as a child by the Danes and raised by them. By the time the Northmen begin their assault on Wessex, he almost feels he is one.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

18d3059138f98fc4380ac7b082e2815bBook Bean: 
Spiced Pear Cider
Start with 2 liters of Apple juice in a big pan, then add 2 thumb sized ginger pieces, 2 sliced ripe pears, 2 cinnamon sticks, 4 cardamom pods, and 3 Tbs. brown sugar. Add the juice of 4 limes, and zest of 2. Bring everything to a boil then simmer until all of the sugar has dissolved. Serve hot in mugs with cinnamon stick. Spiced rum can also be added.


Fun fact: In Medieval Europe coffee was not around. Coffee didn’t make it’s way over till the 17th century. Also, milk was not something that was common to drink, especially if you did not have a cow or goat in your possession (freshness and all that.) So mead, almond milk, and cider were more common options.

So what are your medieval/fantasy fiction favorites?

Profound Paragraphs XI

“The test they had agreed upon, however, was utterly unnecessary.
They should never have undertaken it, because they really and truly were each other’s 100% perfect lovers, and it was a miracle that they had ever met. But it was impossible for them to know this, young as they were. The cold, indifferent waves of
fate proceeded to toss them unmercifully

“You have to make an effort to always look at the good side, always think about the good things. Then you’ve got nothing to be afraid of. If something bad comes up,
you do more thinking at that point…”

~ Haruki Murakami, The Elephant Vanishes

18lsmey191vbkjpg - Edited.jpg

“The Elephant Vanishes” is a collection of 17 short stories by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The stories were written between 1980 and 1991, and published in Japan in various magazines, then collections. The contents of this compilation were selected by Gary Fisketjon (Murakami’s editor at Knopf) and first published in English translation in 1993.