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What I’m reading and my fabulous cranberry sauce

Thanksgiving Eve! It’s been kind of a crazy week.  Crazy weather.  We were getting snow last night and it all turned to rain today.  Thank goodness for travel that won’t be bad around here.  I hope everyone has safe travels this weekend!

Here were my reads for the last month.  One book was crazy long, plus I got distracted with other things (the table).

First up was the bad one.

wolfe

The book is about the wars between England and Scotland. A peace treaty was worked out and was to be cemented by marrying a Scottish lady (Jordan) to an English earl.  Of course, the English knight (William de Wolfe) who was to bring her to the earl fell in love with her and and the story goes from there and on, and on, and on. I liked the time period, but the main characters really were not all that likeable in my opinion. At first I liked them, but as the book went on, they both seemed emotionally unstable. Jordan really caused a lot of deaths to other people by her immature actions and William was willing to risk all those people just for her. William flew into strange rages which seemed okay with Jordan. Just peculiar. I became very annoyed with it by the end. On an editorial note, it was full of typos and really could have been made into 2 books quite easily.  I probably wouldn’t have borrowed the book if I knew how long it was – almost 900 pages. You don’t notice the length of a book on the kindle unless you actually look up how many pages are in it.  This was borrowed through the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

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lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

This book is good on so many levels.  It’s really several stories in one.  The primary story is Henrietta.  She is a woman whose cervical cancer cells were the first that were able to be cultured and be used for science. In fact, her cells were so amazing that you can trace pretty much all of modern vaccines and advancements in medicines to her, like the polio vaccine.  It’s pretty amazing.  The other part of the story was Henrietta’s family and how this affected them.  They did not know about her cells being used and finding out created some havoc in their lives.  They have not been compensated in any way to date.  The focus for this section was on Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah, and how she is trying to piece together and learn about the mother she doesn’t remember.  The interesting part is that Ms. Skloot became part of the story as well as her relationship with Deborah grew over time. Normally the writer doesn’t put themselves in the story like that, but it was pretty integral.  This book raises a lot of questions about medical ethics and privacy and made me think a lot.  Highly recommended.  Borrowed from my library via Kindle.

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12years

Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup

An interesting side note on this book. Solomon lived in the town I live in right now! It was strange to read about Fort Edward and Sandy Hill (which is now Hudson Falls) and know that this man actually walked on these streets. 

Anyway, this is the story of a free African American in the North who was kidnapped and sold to slavery in Louisiana where he was for 12 years.  Of course, you know that he ends up free because he wrote the book, but this was a pretty gripping book any way.  He described life as a slave in detail and what life was like living on a cotton farm.  It was pretty matter of fact, which made it all the more chilling.  I know this movie is coming out soon and I already know I will be crying throughout the movie. 

I actually bought a copy of this book after trying to get it at the library forever. It was 99 cents for my Kindle.  Even a cheapo like me can afford that ;)

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And now for Thanksgiving, here is the recipe for my famous cranberry sauce! It’s super easy.

cranberry sauce

  • 1 package of fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • a cinnamon stick (3 inches or so)
  • half of a vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Put all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. The cranberries will pop open as it cooks. Let cool and fish out the cinnamon stick.  Then serve!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I will see you all on the flip side of the holiday!

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