May 22, 2015

Dead Author's Society: 7 Graves of Famous Authors

Authors often leave a legacy with the books they write, but have you ever wondered if their resting places are as noteworthy? Apparently I'm not the only one with the creepy obsession to author-stalk the dead. In fact, there's a website where you can stalk anyone famous (www.findagrave.com/).

One of the greatest writers of all times, or at least one of the most influential is the great bard, William Shakespeare. His grave site, located at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratsford, Warwickshire, United Kingdom, includes a gravestone with this epitaph (supposedly written by Shakespeare himself):

Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare,
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And cursed be he that moves my bones


Famous author grave sites, Delicious Reads Dead Author's Society
Church of the Holy Trinity where William Shakespeare was buried in 1616.
Source
The gravestone of F. Scott Fitzgerald (author of The Great Gatsby that we read last year) could be easily missed if you didn't know to look for it. Buried in St. Mary's Church in Rockville, Maryland, Fitzgerald's grave is etched with the last words from his book:

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Delicious Read Dead Author's Society
The grave of F. Scott Fitgerald
Source 

Strangely, Fitzgerald and his wife are not even from Maryland, but if you notice on his gravestone, his full name is Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald. Does that ring any bells? Yep, you guessed it. His distant cousin was the very writer of "The Star Spangled Banner." The original Francis Scott Key had family ties to Maryland. The story of Fitzgerald, not very religious and a known drunk, and how he came to be buried at a Catholic church is worth the read.

Adventurous geeks all around make the pilgrimage to La Madeliene Cementary in Amiens, France to visit the famous Jules Vern's grave. This iconic author, left his mark in books like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (which we just read for book club last month) and Journey to the Center of the Earth. His grave and the statue climbing from it, make it an icon in and of itself.

Delicious Reads Dead Author's Society
Headstone at Jules Vern's grave site.
Source
What about J.R.R. Tolkien (author of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings)? He's got to be in some magical place, right?

Delicious Reads Dead Author's Society
J.R.R. Tolkien's Grave
Source
I'm going to be honest: I kind of thought it was a bit of a let down. Tolkien was buried in Wolverton Cemetary in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. Maybe in person you can feel the magic or at least the eyes of a hobbit boring into the back of your head.

Many authors have made requests in their wills as to their epitaphs. The great Charles Dickens, buried in Westminster Abbey in Poet's Corner (London, England), write in his will "that my name be inscribed in plain English letters on my tomb . . . I rest my claims to the remembrance of my country upon my published works." He got what he asked for:


Delicious Reads Dead Author's Society
Grave of Charles Dickens
Source
In Elmira, New York you can venture to the grave of Mark Twain. Like Dickens, Twain's grave is simple and unassuming. I almost wish that Huckleberry Finn or Tom Sawyer would have added some humor to his final resting place. 

Delicious Reads Dead Author's Society
Headstone of author Mark Twain
Source

By far, the prize for the best epitaph goes to H.G.Wells (author of The Time Machine and The Island of Dr. Moreau). It has nothing to do with the location of his grave because there isn't one (he was cremated in England and his ashes cast out at sea). But Wells said once that if he wrote his own epitaph, it would say:

Goddamn you all: I told you so.

And that, my friends, is how you go out with the last word.

XoXo,


Young Adult Author of Remembrandt



Robin


(for more funny epitaphs, check out these "last words" of famous authors). 

May 20, 2015

Delicious Dish: Pickled "Under the Sea" Cucumber Salad



With Summer right around the corner, I'm always looking for delicious salads recipes to throw together for BBQs and family dinners that don't take much time and effort but look and taste amazing.

For our epic themed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea book club this month, I thought this would be a perfect salad to try out. I think it might be my new go-to side dish! It's light and refreshing, has a nice texture and crunch, and something different than the tried and true ho-hum green salads we're used to.

Pickled Cucumber Salad

2 Large cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 red onion, thinly sliced (I like them thin so I used 1/16 on my Kitchen Aid Slicer)
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup loosely chopped fresh dill plus extra for garnish



A little secret to easily peeling your vegetables is buying a peeler similar to this pink KIWI one at an asian market or here on Amazon.  They are super cheap (at least when I found mine) and they are the best I have ever used...I don't dread peeling things now.


 Before slicing your vegetables, mix the sugar and rice wine vinegar together and allow to dissolve.




Next, slice the cucumbers 1/4 inch thick and slice the red onion (I only used half of an onion) 1/16 thick or 1/32 thick.


I'm a little accident prone, so I can't recommend gloves like these enough.  Perfect protection from cutting your fingers while using a slicer or grater.


Mix the dressing and the vegetables together and allow to meld in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  


After sitting, the cucumbers will start to soften and the juices will create a lot of excess liquid.  Feel free to drain the excess and then toss with feta, your chopped dill, and salt and pepper and garnish with a little extra dill just before serving. 
  

Luckily, my husband is a better cook than I am but for all you other unfortunate souls, even your non-cooking significant other can handle a recipe like this. Win!


Have leftovers or need to stretch it out for a big group? Extend this recipe by tossing it with romaine lettuce, adding some chopped salami and your favorite dressing (Try THIS one from Karen.  It's a book club favorite and pairs well with a variety of salads.  I will always have it on hand!)

Happy cooking and happy summer all!  (All photos by me, Summer Nicole Photo. :)

Enjoy,
Summer

May 15, 2015

Book Club Ideas for "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" {by Jules Verne}


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Book Club
by Jules Verne


This is probably Jules Verne's most popular book but he has many good books that are classics and even have been made into movies.  Such as Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Mysterious Island, and Around the World in 80 Days. But 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is known to many who haven't even read the book, I mean who hasn't heard of Captain Nemo. I think almost everyone there that night had a different cover of the book.
{Table Decorations}

Bethany had so many great decorations. Put out all the things you have that have to do with the ocean. She put shells and sea sponges in apothecary jars. She had many beautiful clocks and almost had this steam punk feel to the decorations. This book was published in 1869 therefore having items from that era will add to the decor.




We even had a beautiful mermaid show up!


Kellie bought these adorable star fish hair clips that we wore in our hair




{Discussion}

Bethany put together this awesome guide and questions handout.













{DIY Globe of the Journey}

Here's a brilliant idea,
Bethany took a small world globe and painted it black with gold continents then traced the path that the Nautilus went on its journey. We loved having the visual of the Nautilus's journey that they traveled.

"The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the Living Infinite. " 
— Jules Verne (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea 


{Take Home Gift}

Bethany had these cute bags with blue anchors on them. Inside of the bag was giant pearl gum balls, and a beautiful sea/steam punk necklace inside.



Bethany attached our necklaces to this quote,

"May the hatred be appeased in [your] heart!
May the contemplation of so many wonders extinguish in [you] the spirit of revenge!
May the judge disappear and the philosopher continue and the peaceful exploration of the sea!
However strange [your] destiny may be, it is sublime!"



Thank You Bethany for Moderating,
Thank You Kate for Hosting!

Thank You to Summer Nicole Photography for all the fabulous photos!!


May 13, 2015

Food Ideas for "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" {by Jules Verne}


This month we read, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" by Jules Verne. 

Bethany was our moderator and we all couldn't wait to see what she would do to make this night amazing! The last book she moderated was our Halloween book "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson, it was such an amazing night! 


Our seafood inspired menu:


Up first...{Drinks}

drinks

drinks

The drink sign ups said "any blue drink" so our newest book club member Cami signed up and didn't disappoint us with this yummy drink she created which consisted of: Sprite, as the base with some blue food coloring, a little bit of coconut syrup and a dash of lime juice.  She also took Swedish fish and froze them to put into the pitcher. Love it Cami!

{Sides and Salads}
There were lots of delicious side dishes and salads so let's get talkin' about them!


Of course we had to have shrimp cocktail with sauce, crab cakes (and some vegetarian variety zucchini cakes), and this delicious Sea Cucumber Salad. Summer is going to do a Delicious Dish post on this salad next week so be sure to come back and check it out.

Shrimp Cocktail

Cucumber Salad

Crab Cakes

Fruit Salad

Brooke put together this delicious fruit salad. She used blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and red grapes mixed with 8 T cream cheese, 2 C of greek yogurt, 4 T agave and the crunch of 1 1/2 C of grape nuts.


Strips of dried seaweed for people to try if they dared! 
(You can find these at Costco and Trader Joes)


The sea shell pasta couldn't have felt more at home and we can never go without our fresh veggies and dip!

{Main Dish}
We had Clam Chowder with oyster crackers and Tuna Croissant Sandwiches

Clam Chowder

{Desserts}
We were all blown away by the beautiful desserts, they were almost to pretty to eat!
ALMOST.

Sand Dollar Sugar Cookies

Kate made this amazing sand dollar sugar cookies. Then she put them on a bed of crushed up graham crackers to mimic a beach, which was the perfect touch. 

Macaroons

These macaroons held a little surprise edible pearl inside. 
The edible pearls are these Sixlet candies with a pearl coating.

Sixlet Candies

Sea Sponge Cake

Angie made this divine "Sea Sponge" Dessert Cake. It turned out picture perfect and it was divine!


As always, the food was perfect and Bethany came up with the perfect menu for this book club meeting. It's always fun to see the creative way she moderates the books she picks. It was such a treat to go to book club that night. 
THANK YOU BETHANY!

Thank you Kate for hosting book club at your beautiful home. We love you.

Looking for a great photographer? Check out Summer, the lady behind the magic of these photos!

I hope this gave you some good food ideas for your own
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Book Club

Check back soon for the rest of the fun we had that night.

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