My all-time top five favourite books

These books are my five favourite, in no particular order, as I simply can’t choose which I like the best.

Lost Nation – Jeffrey Lent

Description: A man known only as Blood guides an oxcart of rum towards Indian Stream. An ungoverned territory high in rural New Hampshire, north-east America, Indian Stream is the place where the luckless and the lawless make their way in order to make a fresh start — and Blood’s reason for heading there is no different. A man with a past he’d rather forget, he hopes to establish himself as a trader. But on their arrival, he and Sally — a beautiful sixteen-year-old won in a game of cards — soon find their presence there is the trigger for conflict within the community; conflict that finally forces Blood to confront his ghosts. Jeffrey Lent carries us deep into conditions of desolation and hardship, but at the same time maintains the relentless beat of hope. Written in lucid and seductive prose, LOST NATION resoundingly confirms Jeffrey Lent’s place in the front rank of modern novelists.

My opinion: This is a great book. The plot has so many twists I couldn’t believe it. I bought it in a clearance shop for little to nothing. I haven’t seen this book ever since, but it sure deserves better then be put on sale. If you can, please have a go and read it.

 

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

Description: This is the extraordinary love story of Clare and Henry who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future. In the face of this force they can neither prevent nor control, Henry and Clare’s struggle to lead normal lives is both intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

My opinion: I’m so glad I’ve decided to buy this book. I’ve read Niffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry before and up to the third part I’ve enjoyed that book. The third part let it down for me. So I wasn’t too sure about this book, but ever since I started reading I couldn’t put it down. I’ve read every single minute. And I’ve thought about letting it rest when I found out the inevitable turn of events, but I simply couldn’t. And I’m glad I didn’t. This book has made me cry over and over again. And still I want to read it again. The switching between times is sometimes a little hard to follow, but otherwise it’s a lovely, lovely book.

 

The Unburied – Charles Palliser

Description: Dr Courtine, an unworldly academic is visiting an old friend in the Cathedral town of Thurchester in the late 1870s. On his first night he is told the story of the town ghost, a legend deeply mired in the medieval intrigues of the Cathedral when two prominent churchmen met their deaths in unexplained circumstances. The story of dark deeds in the ancient close captures Courtine’s donnish imagination, and he is also embarking on some amateur sleuthing of his own – attempting to track down an elusive 11th century manuscript to prove his theories about the life of King Alfred. Suitably distracted, Courtine becomes the unwitting witness to a terrible crime committed on his own doorstep…

My opinion: After reading it at least ten times, I’m still no closer to solving the riddle that is this book. The description says it’s situated in the late 1800’s, but it could so easily be somewhere between 1700 and 2020. There’s no clue to what era this book is situated in. It gives me a uneasy feeling every time I read it and yet, I love it. This, again, is a book I picked up in a clearance shop, years and years ago. I’ve been asked to lend it out a couple of times, but I’m so afraid to loose that it stays on my shelves, until I pick it up and read it again.

 

The Lost Book of Salem – Katherine Howe

Description: While clearing out her grandmother’s cottage for sale, Connie Goodwin finds a parchment inscribed with the name Deliverance Dane. And so begins the hunt to uncover the woman behind the name, a hunt that takes her back to Salem in 1692… and the infamous witchcraft trials. But nothing is entirely as it seems and when Connie unearths the existence of Deliverance’s spell book, the Physick Book, the situation takes on a menacing edge as interested parties reveal their desperation to find this precious artefact at any cost. What secrets does the Physick Book contain? What magic is scrawled across its parchment pages? Connie must race to answer these questions – and reveal the truth about Salem’s women – before an ancient family curse once more fulfils its dark and devastating prophecy…

My opinion: I love witchcraft and this book is a great witchy story. From the beginning you are bombarded with curses, random stuff happening and more that simply hasn’t got a simple explanation. The names of the women are great and they’re apropriate for the times that their lives are set in. Again, I had a really hard time to stop reading. If you are into witchcraft, read it. I think you’ll love it. And if you’re not into witchcraft? Still read it!

 

Sarah’s Key – Tatiana de Rosnay

Description: Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old Jewish girl, is arrested by the French police in the middle of the night, along with her mother and father. Desperate to protect her younger brother, she locks him in a cupboard and promises to come back for him as soon as she can.
Paris, May 2002: Julia Jarmond, an American journalist, is asked to write about the 60th anniversary of the Vel’ d’Hiv’–the infamous day in 1942 when French police rounded up thousands of Jewish men, women and children, in order to send them to concentration camps. Sarah’s Key is the poignant story of two families, forever linked and haunted by one of the darkest days in France’s past. In this emotionally intense, page-turning novel, Tatiana de Rosnay reveals the guilt brought on by long-buried secrets and the damage that the truth can inflict when they finally come unravelled.

My opinion: This book was given to me by a friend as a BookCrossing book. I’ve since given it to the next reader and I can’t help but think that was a mistake. I so want to read it again. The wonderful writing really sucks you in, makes you feel like you are part of the book. Part of the lives of little Sarah that’s so desperately wants to go back to her little brother. I was so mad when I found out the truth. I remember thrwoing the book through the room whilest tears streamed down my face. I’ve had lots of nightmares about this book. I really wanted to help Sarah.

 

Vegetarians Nightmare Pizza

I thought I’d share my recipe for my infamous pizza. It’s really easy and fun to make and it’s the most delicious pizza. It’s better then those horrible store-bought frozen pizzas. This will be enough for two to three people.

First the dough:

  • 200 gr of flower (not self rising flower)
  • 125 ml of water
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 gr bakingpowder
  • 5 gr herbamare seasoning

Put the flower into a mixing bowl or foodprocessor. Add the olive oil, the bakingpowder, the seasoning and half of the water. Mix it gently and add water just bits at a time. When the dough forms a nice ball that’s not too sticky it’s done. Don’t worry if you didn’t add all the water. If the dough is a bit sticky, add a bit more flower.

When the weather’s nice outside I place the dough in a glass bowl, with cling film over the top, on the grass in the sun for around 45 minutes. When it’s cold or shady I’ll preheat the oven at 90° Celsius. Place the glass bowl in the oven (aluminium foil on top, as I have no idea if cling film can go in the oven) and heat it for 3 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Now it’s ready for the next stage.

Take the tray you want to use for your pizza. I use a huge round earthenware tray for this (∅ 40 cm). Rub it with olive oil (or butter). Roll the risen dough really flat and place it in the tray. Push the dough into the corners so it rises up a bit around the rim. It now needs to rise again. And again, there are two ways. Either place it outside in a see-through bin liner for 45 minutes or preheat the oven again on 90° Celsius and put it in (with aluminium foil) for 3 minutes. Turn the oven off and let it rest for another 20 minutes.

Your dough is now ready.

 

In the time your dough is rising you can get all the other ingredients ready. You need:

  • 700 gr chickenbreast in cubes
  • 10 gr of piripiri seasoning
  • Pizza sauce
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 6 slices of ham
  • 6 slices of salami
  • grated cheese
  • pineapple pieces
  • Little bit of olive oil

First make a paste of the olive oil and the pirpiri seasoning. Put in the chickenbreast cubes and leave it for at least 2 hours. If your chicken is still frozen, make sure you’ll leave it to marinade even longer. (tip: I slice the chicken into cubes when it’s still half frozen. This way it’s much easier to slice. But you need a VERY sharp knife to do this!) Fry them til there just about done.

Put the pizza sauce onto the waiting dough. Put as much on it as you like. Then slice the bacon, ham and salami in half and place them on the pizza. Put the fried chicken over the top and make sure to distribute it evenly around the whole pizza. Put the grated cheese over the top and place the pineapple  on the grated cheese. Again, put as much on it as you like.

Put the whole thing into a pre0heated oven on 175° Celsius for 30 minutes. Enjoy your Vegetarians Nightmare!

 

Note: I’m not responsible for any over-eating, nor am I responsible for never wanting another pizza again! 😉