Tuesday, October 14, 2014

AUDIOBOOKS: The Anne books by LM Montgomery

Although I've read the Anne books multiple times, this summer I started listening to Anne of Green Gables on audiobook. Anne was a book offered by SYNC, a great free summer listening series. I almost didn't start Anne, I've read her so many times, seen the plays, listen to the music from both plays: Anne of Green Gables and Anne and Gilbert. I mean, I live on PEI, and my middle name is Anne, with an 'e', for goodness sakes! And then I started listening and fell in love all over again. Colleen Winton did such a fabulous job of narrating, putting all the enthusiasm into Anne, adoration into Matthew, and gruff exterior into Marilla that I could ever want. I found myself in tears multiple times, which is a good thing. Listening provided a new view of these beloved books

Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery10 h 7 min
narrated by  Colleen Winton

This really is such a wonderful story, with those iconic characters. ( See how I can connect the characters from AoGG with The Bookthief in number 8.) I think Marilla was my favourite this time through. I cry every time Matthew appears in the book, but Marilla is the one who really changes and grows. I wasn't able to get Colleen Winton reading all the books. I think they are new release editions with her narrating, and I'd recommend her versions whole heartedly.

Anne of Avonlea by LM Montgomery 8 h 39 min
read by Shelley Frasier
I've listened to Frasier narrate Stiff by Mary Roach and she did a fine job. Anne has settled down by this book, and started attending college, so her enthusiasm is dampened. She did mispronounce a few Island names which annoyed me more than it would most other people. 
I was impressed realizing how close to the books the Anne and Gilbert play authors followed the books. Many phrases from the wonderful songs are straight from the books. This is a middle book in a trilogy, so not enough really happens; just bridging between books 1 and 3, but Mr Harrison, the grumpy neighbour adds quite a bit to the story.

Anne of the Island by LM Montgomery 8h 42 min
narrated by Renee Raudman

Because I get my audiobooks from the library, my choice of narrator is rather limited. I knew part way through that I'd listened to another book by Raudman and I was right. (I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You, a silly YA series of espionage spy school for teenage girls)  She was good here as well and a little more subdued as befits the older Anne. Anne of the Island has Anne and Gil and Priscilla going off Prince Edward Island to attend Queens and get their BAs. There is much romance everywhere (except between Anne and Gilbert, arrrg!) as our characters are growing up.

Each time I started one of these audiobooks, I became immersed and listened non-stop. And I know everything that happens! If it has been awhile since you've read or reread the Anne books, I recommend grabbing a few audiobooks and loving them anew all over again.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Trish is hosting a Cook It Up! challenge. Try a new recipe, get out those cookbooks (or appliances) and try something new. I did a Mexican meal in the summer and for the fall, got cookie baking.

I was shopping in the summer with my mother, and she saw a cookie jar that she was going to buy, as it would look perfect in her kitchen. I stopped her and said to let me get it for her birthday, which was only a month away. It took me longer than it should have to realize I should make cookies and fill her jar before I gave it to her. Brilliant! (eventually)

I got out my Pillsbury Best Cookies cookbook and browsed for a while. I limited myself to cookies that were not heavily chocolate based, which although goes against most of what I believe in, fit more in line with the type of cookies my mother prefers. It was her birthday after all.

I made Coconut Macaroons, Brown Sugar Shortbread Puffs, Shortbread Triangles, Zucchini Cookies from the book, and Cake Batter Cookies from a Pinterest recipe.

Coconut Macaroons
These were fabulous! I may have had to make a second batch so there would be some left to give. They also made me look for recipes with only egg yolks, but now I have a list that I inserted in the Macaroon recipe page with recipes to try with yolks only, so I'll know what to do with those 2 egg yolks left-over after I make macaroons. More brilliant me!
And I will be making them again. Yum!
Shortbread Triangles and Zucchini Cookies
Everyone needs a zucchini recipe in the fall, right? I have an excellent chocolate zucchini bundt cake, and I always love a bundt cake. But you get a lot of zucchini, so a cookie recipe was called for. There was oatmeal, and spices as well as mini-chocolate chips.
The shortbread triangles were a slice and bake and used an egg yolk!  Pretty easy and quite yummy; a good shortbread recipe.

But not as good as the Brown Sugar Shortbread Puffs. They were a drop recipe and required no chilling, but one egg yolk! They didn't drop very pretty, and seemed a little dry as I baked them. Because they were a little rough around the edges, I went fancy and made a glaze with icing sugar and milk to put on top which added just the pizzazz these tasty cookies needed. A little chewy with that butterscotch edge - definitely going on the make again list. These did not get photographed for some reason. Neither did the completed cookie jar. But it was a great present and my parents both loved it.