This is a bi-weekly series here at Adventures in Borkdom. It chronicles experiences I have that are directly inspired by the books I read.
Today’s Inspired Adventure comes from my reading of the well-loved classic Anne of Green Gables, a young adult novel, written in 1908, by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Here is Goodreads’ synopsis of the book:
As soon as Anne Shirley arrived at the snug, white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knew she wanted to stay forever… but would the Cuthberts send her back to the orphanage? Anne knows she’s not what they expected — a skinny girl with decidedly red hair and a temper to match. If only she could convince them to let her stay, she’d try very hard not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes or blurt out the very first thing she had to say. Anne was not like anybody else, everyone at Green Gables agreed; she was special — a girl with an enormous imagination. This orphan girl dreamed of the day when she could call herself Anne of Green Gables.
This was a re-read for me, and I am so very familiar with the plot and characters of the story, that reading it again was like coming home. I was first introduced to Anne via my childhood obsession with the mini-series, directed masterfully by Kevin Sullivan. I watched this, the subsequent mini-series Anne of Avonlea, and then the TV series Avonlea (as titled on Disney Channel) anytime they aired. In college, I was thrilled when my Dad bought me the VHS copies of all three (unfortunately, they’re warped now due to too much use). However, it wasn’t until I started teaching that I decided to actually read the books. I don’t know why I never thought of it before, because these are, of course, even better than Sullivan’s adaptations.
Throughout all of my viewings and readings, one scene always stuck out to me–Diana getting drunk. Oh what a fiasco that “little girls playing tea time” ended up being. Instead of giving you a synopsis, I’ll just show you Sullivan’s rendering of the scene, which he pretty much nailed on the head:
Tragically, Anne was banished from Diana’s life for a good chunk of the year after this mishap. It was an honest mistake, yet Diana’s mother truly believed that Anne was a terrible little girl who intentionally intoxicated her daughter. I’ve always wondered how easy this mistake was to make. When I was a kid, I always knew the difference between a Coke and a rum and Coke…anyone who saw my face after I mistakenly took a sip from my mom’s glass would know it by the wrinkling of my nose. How did Diana not know? And what’s raspberry cordial anyway?
“Diana Is Invited to Tea with Tragic Results”
There’s a bottle half full of raspberry cordial that was left over from the church social the other night. It’s on the second shelf of the sitting room closet and you and Diana can have it if you like.
– Marilla Cuthbert, page 147
So, I decided to try my hand at making some raspberry cordial, and, if possible, getting my hands on some currant wine to make a comparison between the two red beverages.
First, the cordial. I did a quick google search on raspberry cordial, and second on the search list was a recipe for “Anne of Green Gables Raspberry Cordial Recipe” from food.com. The recipe comes from the Anne of Green Gables Cookbook by Kate McDonald, so this must be the best and most accurate recipe to be found.
2 (300 g) packages of frozen raspberries
1 1/4 cups of sugar
6 cups of boiling water
It required only four ingredients which were readily available at my local grocery store. To be a bit more Marilla-like, I chose to buy only one package of frozen raspberries, and then two packages of fresh raspberries, since they’re in season and all. I bought these on Sunday, and unfortunately by Tuesday, when I planned on brewing, one package of raspberries had gone moldy. A very Anne-predicament, if I do say so myself. Of course, Anne wouldn’t have noticed until the last minute when they were already in the pot, would be too scared to tell Marilla, and then once some fancy visitor like the minister’s wife or her teacher Miss Stacy is invited for tea, and goes to take a sip, Anne would exclaim “Stop! Don’t drink it! It’s full of mold!”
I am a bit quicker on my feet than Anne, I guess, because I just supplanted a package of blueberries that I already had in the fridge. So, I was making Partially-Blueberry Raspberry Cordial now.
1. Put the unthawed raspberries into a saucepan and add sugar.
2. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved.
3. Using a potato masher, mash the raspberries and syrup thoroughly.
4. Pour the mixture through a strainer, extract all the juice.
5. Squeeze two of the lemons and strain the juice, add it to the raspberry juice.
6. Add the boiling water to the raspberry juice.
7. Allow the cordial to cool, then chill it in the refrigerator.
So, I started the cooking of the berries and sugar, and by the time I got to Step 3, I realized that I wished this recipe was more informative. It could use some time guidelines. I mashed up the berries to the best of my abilities, but how long did it need to cook? Oh well, I just went ahead to Step 4, assuming that once all the berries were smashed, it was long enough. Steps 1-3 took about 10 minutes.
Step 4 is the worst of all possible recipe steps! I hate squeezing juices through a strainer! So tedious. The thing is that it’s a lot of work–constantly stirring the fruit around the wire mesh of the strainer, all the while trying to press the juice through. This process easily took 15 minutes, if not longer. Also, it’s very messy. I forgot that I was wearing a nice work shirt, and ended up getting little drops of raspberry juice splattered on the front. Those probably won’t come out, will they?
Now, it was easy breezy. I squeezed the lemon juice in and poured the 6 cups of boiling water. Voila! Now it was all about cooling. I waited about 20 minutes longer for the cordial to get cool enough to pour into containers. Once it was cool, I had a new dilemma: what to store the cordial in? I didn’t want the red stuff to stain any of my plastic containers, so I decided upon two glass milk bottles that I had left over from a few “fancy milk” buys at Whole Foods.
Once poured and sealed, I placed the bottles in the fridge for 24 hours to cool.
Raspberry Cordial vs Currant Wine: What’s the Difference?
Anne, you certainly have a genius for getting into trouble. You went and gave Diana currant wine instead of raspberry cordial. Didn’t you know the difference yourself?
-Marilla Cuthbert, 154
So, the next task was finding currant wine. That was not an easy google search. I sought it out the day before, and all I found were really expensive bottles being sold at wineries far away. I was going to have to pass on the taste test. That’s when, as Marilla would say, Providence stepped in.
When I put the bottles of raspberry cordial in the fridge to cool, I noticed the bottle of red wine I had bought and drank from last Friday. I bought it because it was supposed to be a really good variety of mead, recommended by an employee at a local wine seller (not a liquor store–this place sold only fancy-pants stuff), and I only drink mead when I watch Lord of the Rings movies, which I was doing last Friday. Anyways, I examined the label, and lo and behold! It was currant wine!
Doesn’t that just beat all?! So, I was prepared for the comparison test.
Twenty-four hours later, I pulled out the cordial and the wine. I poured them into matching glasses, and analyzed the traits of the two. Here were my findings:
Smell: A very strong, delicious raspberry scent.
Color: A nice red raspberry color.
Taste: So good! Sweet and luxurious, I feel as if I’m spoiling myself. It definitely tastes just like raspberries!
Smell: Acidic and definitely alcoholic. No hints of raspberry at all.
Color: Deep purple, almost black.
Taste: Ugh! How did Diana fall for this? It’s dry and full of tannins, and would only taste better if I mixed it with the raspberry cordial!
In my opinion, Diana must’ve
A. been lying when she said she had drank Mrs. Lynde’s raspberry cordial before. Unless, Mrs. Lynde was slipping her a mixed drink.
B. never tasted alcohol before (this seems likely in Avonlea, especially with Mrs. Barry as a mother).
C. possibly never really tasted raspberries before either, because currant wine doesn’t taste ANYTHING like raspberries! Meanwhile, raspberry cordial tastes as if you’re drinking up a whole bush of the berries.
Raspberry cordial is delicious, and this recipe was relatively easy. If anyone likes sweet juices, or would like to make a really good mixer (I’m thinking the cordial would go good with vodka), I recommend making your own cordial as well. It only cost the price of the raspberries, which wasn’t much, and it made a whole lot. And, if you haven’t read Anne of Green Gables, get it on it! It’s an amazing book!
Next Week’s Inspired Adventure: Inspired by the great battle scenes of The Return of the King, I will go check out some local LARPing (Live Action Role Playing). Prepare your foam swords!
Hi all! I was absent here and on the Twitterverse for the last couple of days as I had a whirlwind in-laws weekend! My husband’s uncle from Illinois was in town, my mother-in-law had a birthday, and it was, of course, Easter, so I’ve been celebrating all over the place in San Diego! I didn’t get much reading done this weekend, but it’s been a few days since I checked in here with my current reads, what with all of my Hemingway posts, so today will be a great time to discuss what I’m up to, reading-wise.
I am currently reading multiple books: one wayyyy harder than I thought, one that isn’t as gripping as I like, and the rest are graphic novels, so whatever.
First, the Chaucer…
So, my Classics goal for April is to read The Canterbury Tales. Now, I thought that I had read The Canterbury Tales in college. I was wrong. I read “The General Prologue”, “The Miller’s Tale”, “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”, and “The Friar’s Tale”. And, I think that I read them translated.
Well, that’s not the major endeavor I am setting on right now at all! In fact, I must admit that I am intimidated!!! This book is hard! It’s a little easier than reading Catullus in Latin, but a lot harder than reading Shakespeare. It gets easier with every paragraph I read, as I’m starting to translate some of the words on my own (i.e. I recognize now that “eek” means “also” and “aventure” means “chance”), and if I read it aloud I can figure out what Chaucer is getting at. However, I am reading the footnotes and appendices ravenously to where it takes me about five minutes to read one page of poetry. Here are the opening lines of “The General Prologue”:
When that Aprill with his shoures soot
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veine in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour,
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Ispired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halve cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open eye-
So priketh hem nature in hir corages-
That longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kouth in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
The holy blissful martyr for to seke
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
Here’s my translation:
When April with his sweet showers has pierced the drought of March to the root,
and has bathed every plant in such liquid,
by whose power engendered is the flower,
Also, when the West Wind has breathed his sweet breath on every wood and field,
the tender shoots of plants, and the young sun has completed his half course in Aries,
and small birds make melody,
Nature so pricks them in their hearts,
that they sleep all night with an open eye,
and folks long to go on pilgrimages,
and these pilgrims go to seek strange countries for far-off shrines,
renowned in various lands;
and especially from every shire’s end
from England to Canterbury they go,
They go to seek the holy blissful martyr (St. Thomas a Becket),
who had helped them when they were sick.
Using the footnotes closely, that’s my translation, although there are definitely parts I’m still not sure on (are the birds sleeping with one eye open or is it the pilgrims? I’m guessing it’s the pilgrims, since they’re so excited.). It’s actually easier to translate Latin verse, as you always know what each modifier is being applied to, thanks to the endings of words.
So, this book is tough. Why am I reading this toughie? Well, I’ll discuss that on another day. I’ve set up a reading schedule so that I can finish it by the end of April (How cool is it that I’m reading it in April [the same time as the pilgrims are leaving for Canterbury]? Complete accident!):
As you can see, I can only handle about 30-40 pages per day with this book, which usually equates to one pilgrim’s tale per day. So, this should take me right to the last day of April! Wish me luck! While it’s hard, I have read one excellent story (“The Miller’s Tale”). It seems that gross-out humor has been popular for a very long time–this one is rife with gross-out humor!
So, there’s my Old World reading—now, lets discuss my Mid World reading.
I’m now in book 4 of the Dark Tower series–Wizard and Glass. The cliff-hanger ending of The Waste Lands has now been resolved, and now I’m reading the flashback chapters that tell of Roland’s youth and first love. While I don’t hate these flashback chapters as much as my blogging buddy SJ, they are quite a let-down after all of the excitement of Blaine the Mono, and the curiousities the ka-tet finds in Topeka. But, I am interested in Roland’s past, and I do want to know how Roland’s world has moved on. While his flashback doesn’t really reveal this, it does show what civilized people were like in his world. Which is interesting.
I also want to get some revelation on how Roland started on his quest and how all of the other gunslingers died, so I am also reading the graphic novel series in concordance with the novel. For this reason, Wizard and Glass will probably take a lot longer to finish than the other books, as I think that I will read all of the graphic novels before picking up with Roland’s present day story. Thus, when his flashback chapters end, I’ll continue to read on with the graphic novels. Maybe I’ll get some questions answered that way. In addition, I’m going to read “The Little Sisters of Eluria“, a short story contained in King’s Everything’s Eventual, so that I can get a peek at Roland on his quest before the start of The Gunslinger. I’m doing a lot of backtracking!
But, that’s okay, as The Wind through the Keyhole doesn’t come out until the last week of April, so I have time! I think I pre-ordered it already, so it should be on my doorstep on its release date!
Ah, a reader’s work is never done!
• A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
• Hardcover: 211 pages
• Publisher: Scribners, 1964 (first edition!)
• Genre: Memoir/Classic
• Recommended For: Anyone interested in descriptive memoirs, classic authors, “the Lost Generation”, and writing tips from one of America’s best authors.
An excellent quick read that inspires the aspiring writer and paints a lovely picture of Paris in the ’20s. Really brings Hemingway down-to-earth and makes me want to try to re-read some of his novels (never was a fan).
How I Got Here: My sister is currently on her belated honeymoon in Paris, and one of her goals was to see all the sights that she read about in this book. Before she left, she insisted that I also read the book, thinking that it would be inspiring as a writing book. This books satisfies tasks for A Classics Challenge, End of the World Challenge, and the Award-Winning Challenge. It’s also number 72 on my list for The Classics Club.
The Book: Goodreads’ Synopsis
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
– ERNEST HEMINGWAY, to a friend, 1950
Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway’s most beloved works. It is his classic memoir of Paris in the 1920s, filled with irreverent portraits of other expatriate luminaries such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein; tender memories of his first wife, Hadley; and insightful recollections of his own early experiments with his craft. It is a literary feast, brilliantly evoking the exuberant mood of Paris after World War I and the youthful spirit, unbridled creativity, and unquenchable enthusiasm that Hemingway himself epitomized.
My Analysis and Critique:
I’ve written quite a bit about this book already, and I’m sure it’s obvious that I greatly enjoyed this book.
I was and am surprised that I enjoyed A Moveable Feast so much as I’ve never been a fan of Hemingway’s. I always considered myself in the Steinbeck camp–Hemingway’s style always felt cold to me. Maybe it’s his minimalist, lean style. However, A Moveable Feast was nothing but heart! I saw Paris through Hemingway’s eyes, I could hear every conversation he transcribed, and I could taste the delicious meals and wine he consumed.
The book is composed of the journal entries he recorded as a young man living in Paris in the ’20s, and this is apparent in his stream-of-consciousness style. It was very engaging. Hemingway reflects upon his favorite spots in the city, the start and dissolution of his friendship with Gertrude Stein, his true friends and his phony colleagues. He comes off as a jerk at times, but his writing reflects his youth, and is as forgivable as any youthful misbehavior.
A Moveable Feast is also full of writing tips from Hemingway, as he reflects quite a bit on his writing process, the obstacles that got in the way of his writing, and how he dealt with said obstacles. Any creative person would get something out of Hemingway’s tips. I would place this on the shelf next to my most-prized writing books.
Overall, I highly recommend this book for its wonderful descriptions of Paris, the lively characters that Hemingway reflects upon (including Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald), and the inspiration it stirs in my writer’s soul. A quick read and worth anyone’s time!
Check out my previous posts below to get a better feeling for the writing in the book!
I was always a goody-goody. Never skipped school until college. I didn’t even participate in Senior Skip Day in high school, which was all but posted on the school calendar.
However, if I were to play hooky, I’d want it to be a once-in-a-lifetime, memorable occasion. The following ten characters could surely make it a time I would never forget, or regret!
1. Bastian from The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
Now, this guy knows how to skip school! Steal an awesome book from a bookstore, hide out in an attic (or storage room) full of blankets and candles, and literally get sucked into a good book. Plus, he brought supplies- an apple and PbJ, which he’s really good at rationing. I would love to skip a day of school so I could read with Bastian.
2. Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
I’ve always wanted to see New York! I could skip school and explore with Holden at my side…maybe I could even get him to lighten up!
3. Jake from The Waste Lands by Stephen King
I’m still reading The Waste Lands, and Jake just finished the weirdest day of skipping school–opening random doors in hopes of finding a desert, trespassing in vacant lots where he sees and hears trippy things, until he finally passes out in said vacant lot. I know it sounds like Jake might not be the best for a fun day, but he did hang out in a very cool bookstore. Plus, eventually his truancy is going to pay off when he finally finds the door he’s looking for! It would be awesome if I could skip school that day too!
4. Huckleberry Finn from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Just look at this guy! Skipping school so we can do some hunting and fishing, floating down the Mississippi, avoiding danger. I think Huck would be a blast to skip school with!
5. Alice from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Falling down the rabbit hole and exploring Wonderland or another typical day at school? I vote hanging with Alice!
6. Bod from The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
This kid desperately needs a pal! Particularly a pal who can keep him away from the goblins who’d love to steal him away and the psycho who murdered his whole family. He is pretty fun though, with a good imagination and he plays with ghosts in a graveyard. I could skip a day of school to hang out with him.
7. Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Now, I know that Anne would never skip school! She’s almost as big of a goody-two-shoes as I am when it comes to school. But, if she did, we would have some fun! We could hang out at the Lake of Shining Waters, imagine ghosts and goblins in the woods, and gossip a bit about Josie Pye!
8. Harry, Hermione, and Ron from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Skipping school with this crew could mean butter beers, hiding under Harry’s invisibility cloak, and standing up to rotten Slytherins. Or getting some sleuthing work done. Either way, it would certainly be a worthy excuse for skipping school!
9. Ponyboy and Johnny from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Awww, these cutie pies could use a reassuring voice when they hide out in the abandoned church. I could’ve helped them cut and color their hair so that it didn’t turn out so bad, help them read Gone with the Wind, and fixed them some real food other than bologna sandwiches. Or I could just spend the day giving them hugs and kisses, which is what they so desperately needed!
10. Pippi Longstocking from Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Man, this girl is crazy! Check out the spotted horse on her doorstep! If you skip school, head over to Pippi’s house…she can make anything fun and wild!
Setting is a huge part in any narrative work, be it fictional or memoir. Paris, in Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, is hugely significant– it could easily be considered the main character in this nonfiction work.
A Moveable Feast was published posthumously in 1964 and covers Hemingway’s time as a young expatriate in Paris from 1921 to 1926. As a young man in Paris, Hemingway spent his time writing, fretting over writing, and talking about books, writing, and art with his wife and circle of friends, which included Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. He also spent quite a bit of time relishing in the cafes, bookstores, and streets of Paris. For a man famed for his to-the-point style of writing, Hemingway paints a vivid picture of what it was like to be in Paris in the ’20s.
I am halfway through A Moveable Feast, and would like to share some images and a short film that illustrates the setting of Hemingway’s life in Paris. All images have been taken from the wonderful blog Hemingway’s Paris and cover the pages which I have read thus far.
Closerie des Lilas
Hemingway loved to write for hours in the cafes of Paris, and the Closerie des Lilas was a particular favorite of his. So much so, that he became very territorial if an annoying peer happened to encounter him and disrupt his writing. Here is an amusing scene when such an interruption occured at the Lilas cafe:
“Hi, Hem. What are you trying to do? Write in a cafe?”
Your luck had run out and you shut the notebook. This was the worst thing that could happen. If you could keep your temper it would be better but I was not good at keeping mine then and said, “You rotten son of a bitch what are you doing in here off your filthy beat?”
“Don’t be insulting just because you want to act like an eccentric.”
“Take your dirty camping mouth out of here.”
“It’s a public cafe. I’ve just as much right here as you have.”
“Why don’t you go up to the Petite Chaumiere where you belong?”
“Oh dear. Don’t be so tiresome.”
Now you could get out and hope it was an accidental visit and the visitor had only come in by chance and there was not going to be an infestation. There were other good cafes to work in but they were a long walk away and this was my home cafe. It was bad to be driven out of the Closerie des Lilas. I had to make a stand or move.
Hemingway continues to insult the man, who is also a writer, and finally gets him to promise to never frequent the Closerie des Lilas again! Incidentally, this guy seems to be riding Hemingway’s coattails and reminds me of everyone’s favorite hack, Kenny Bania of Seinfeld…
Shakespeare and Company
In those days there was no money to buy books. I borrowed books from the rental library of Shakespeare and Company, which was a library and bookstore of Sylvia Beach at 12 rue de l’Odeon. On a cold windswept street, this was a warm, cheerful place with a big stove in winter, tables and shelves of books, new books in the window, and photographs on the wall of famous writers both dead and living.
Hemingway, along with many other expatriate writing greats, spent a good deal of time at this bookstore. He chatted with Ms. Beach, met with other writers, borrowed books, and even received his mail there.
Along the Seine
Across the branch of the Seine was the Ile St.-Louis with the narrow streets and the old, tall, beautiful houses, and you could go over there or you could turn left and walk along the quais with the length of the Ile St.-Louis and then Notre-Dame and Ile de la Cite opposite as you walked.
In the bookstalls along the quais you could sometimes find American books that had just been published for sale very cheap.
“Seeing Paris” in the 1920’s
This film clip was also featured on Hemingway’s Paris and offers viewers the chance to see live action of Hemingway’s Paris in the ’20s. Check it out!