Literature and Movies

Free eBooks

Now that NaNoWriMo is over, I’m finding time to read again. I’m also taking notice of upcoming movies. As a huge fan of both Lord of the Rings and BBC Sherlock, I am eagerly awaiting The Hobbit. I’m sure that those who also enjoy both are aware that Martin Freeman, who plays Watson on Sherlock, is playing Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit. However, are you aware that Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock, is playing the voice of Smaug in The Hobbit? Gotta love that.

Other movies I’m looking forward to include Anna Karenina, Les Miserables and The Great Gatsby. I know, The Great Gatsby doesn’t come out until May 2013, but I can hardly wait to see what director Baz Luhrmann makes of the Jazz Age. It’s certain to be over-the-top and batshit crazy, in a good way.

I’m also looking forward to my yearly reading and watching of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. My favorite movie version is the one starring George C. Scott. He makes a magnificent Scrooge. He’s mean and selfish, and yet as you learn his story, your heart goes out to him. I can’t recommend it enough.

While The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy are not yet in the public domain, the other books are. Oddly enough, The Great Gatsby is not freely available on Amazon. However, I found the free, public domain version on eBooks for All. Les Miserables and Anna Karenina are available as free classics for the Kindle. The version of A Christmas Carol that I’ve listed below is illustrated and free-for-now, meaning if you don’t get it now, it will cost later.

Sorry if that confuses anyone. The lesson is, anything I list for free should be grabbed the day I list it. There are never any guarantees that anything will remain free. So go get ’em!

  A Christmas Carol (Illustrated) by Charles Dickens
This edition of Dickens’s immortal classic, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, features the original illustrations by John Leech, as well as another 20 woodcut engravings by Sol Eytinge Jr. from the 1869 American edition by Ticknor & Fields. Beautifully designed and carefully proofed for digital publication, this Top Five Classic edition includes a short introduction and bio. Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old curmudgeon who spurns Christmas as a “humbug,” is given the chance to redeem himself through the intervention of four Spirits on Christmas Eve. If reading Dickens’s most beloved story doesn’t put you in the true spirit of Christmas, you may be beyond redemption.

  Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Some people say Anna Karenina is the single greatest novel ever written, which makes about as much sense to me as trying to determine the world’s greatest color. But there is no doubt that Anna Karenina, generally considered Tolstoy’s best book, is definitely one ripping great read. Anna, miserable in her loveless marriage, does the barely thinkable and succumbs to her desires for the dashing Vronsky. I don’t want to give away the ending, but I will say that 19th-century Russia doesn’t take well to that sort of thing.

  Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
The book’s beginning tells of a generous bishop who is kind to a released convict. The convict goes on to become the mayor of a important city, because of the bishop’s influence on him. Meanwhile, a young girl is abandon by her lover, left alone and pregnant. If I while to tell you more of the story, I would ruin it for you but I will tell you this: this book is about extreme poverty, where people are forced to do horrible things in order to survive. It is also about how your actions can affect the lives of others. (description provided by Amazon reviewer A Kid’s Review)

  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The novel takes place following the First World War. American society enjoyed prosperity during the “roaring” 1920s as the economy soared. At the same time, Prohibition, the ban on the sale and manufacture of alcohol as mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment, made millionaires out of bootleggers. After its republishing in 1945 and 1953, it quickly found a wide readership and is today widely regarded as a paragon of the Great American Novel, and a literary classic. The Great Gatsby has become a standard text in high school and university courses on American literature in countries around the world and is ranked second in the Modern Library’s lists of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century.

Descriptions provided by Amazon and eBooks for All

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store and eBooks for All. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Mushroom Soup, Nordic Noir and Social Justice

This past Saturday was cold and dreary, with the temperature hovering in the mid-thirties all day. Our Internet connection had gone wonky, but no worries as we had plenty to read and a movie to watch. BTW, I really recommend the movie, Headhunters. It’s based on the novel by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo. If you like your Nordic Noir with dark humor and questionable morals, this is for you.

I threw together a mushroom soup that turned out pretty fab. It warmed body and soul on a cold autumn night. Here’s the recipe. I used the typical white button mushrooms, but next time I’ll use a mixture. I’m dying to try this with chanterelle mushrooms. This is a single pot recipe. I used our Le Creuset French oven, which I adore, though any large stock pot will do.

Mushroom Soup


  • Half a cup of butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 can of chicken broth (approx. 14 oz.)
  • Fresh mushrooms (as many as you like)
  • White wine
  • Garlic Powder
  • Dried scallions
  • Herbs de Provence
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Take aside about 1/3 of the mushrooms and, using a food processor or blender, chop into a thick paste. Slice the remaining mushroom to your desired thickness.
  • Melt the butter in the pot and let it simmer just a bit
  • Using a whisk, stir in the flour and also allow it to simmer for a moment or two
  • Slowly stir in the milk and bring to a slow simmer
  • Slowly stir in the chicken broth and bring to a slow simmer
  • Add the spices to taste
  • Add one or two splashes of white wine
  • Stir in the mushroom paste
  • Stir in the sliced mushrooms
  • Bring to a boil while stirring
  • Lower the heat, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer for about an hour


Free Today on Amazon

Looking for more soup recipes? Passionate about social justice? Then do I have a freebie for you!

  Soup and Bread Cookbook by Martha Bayne
The Soup and Bread Cookbook aims to explore the social role of soup through a collection of terrific, affordable recipes from food activists, chefs, and others. This quirky exploration of the cultural history of soup as a tool for both building community and fostering social justice is the result of a brainstorm: eating your way through a pot of soup day after day can get boring — why not get together and swap some with friends? Now neighbors across the country are getting together regularly for home-based “soup swaps.” In Chicago, the arts collective InCUBATE uses soup as a microfunding tool. And of course, soup can be a political statement: the radical volunteers of Food Not Bombs have been providing free vegetarian soup to the hungry as a protest against war and social injustice since 1980. These are just a few examples of the stories Bayne wraps around a collection of delicious, accessible, and tested soup recipes.

Description provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found this book via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

This freebie is a limited time offer and there is no guarantee it will still be free when you click on the link. Grab it sooner rather than later.

Global James Bond Day

Shaken, Not Stirred

Today is Global James Bond Day, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the premiere of “Dr. No,” the first of the dapper British spy’s 23 movies.

If you are a Bond fan or just enjoy the spy/thriller genre, you can participate in a number of ways:

Adele’s latest single is the title track to the movie and, no surprise, debuted today.

If you’re a Kindle owner or app user, Amazon has something for you. Today only, October 5, 2012, you can pre-order new editions of Ian Fleming’s series for $7.00 each. The regular price is $9.99 and the books will be delivered to your Kindle on October 16. It’s a nice discount and the new editions have cool new covers with a graphic, retro appeal.

Want to celebrate by watching a 007 flick tonight? Netflix and Amazon Prime have many of the films available for streaming.

If this puts you in the mood for a novel in the spy genre, you can find free reads for the Kindle and Kindle app on Amazon in the category Spy Stories & Tales of Intrigue.

Enjoy a suspenseful weekend!