1001 Books

I bought 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die August 2007 after (and I’m confessing my shameful secret here) seeing an actor reading it in a Hollywood gossip magazine. I don’t remember the actor, it was an older male, and I don’t remember the mag (although it was probably US–I used to have a subscription).

I bought the book because I love reading. I’ll read anything. Yes, even Hollywood gossip mags. I bought the book, ran home,  and immediately sat down in my comfy chair to page through it. I was ashamed to learn that I had only read 48/1001 (4.8%) books on the list. I may have read more. Some books I feel I should have read, but can’t quite remember if I did or not. Those books I left off my list. There’s also a few books I’ve started and never finished. Those aren’t on the list either.

I’ve shared this book with a few friends and I think its neat that we all have our niche when it comes to books. I’m more of a contemporary lit fan. One friend likes the revolutionary flower-power books of the 1960’s and 1970’s and another friend likes the classic lit of Europe.

I immediately went to Amazon and ordered a bunch of the books on the list. Since my initial burst of excitement of crossing off titles, I’ve slowed down considerably. My number is currently at a lowly 57 (5.7%) books.

I’ve recently discovered the 1% Well-Read Challenge, which challenges bloggers to read 10 books on the list in 10 months. I’ve missed the boat in joining the challenge–it ends in February–but it’s reignited my desire for crossing off titles.

Hence, this post. I’m posting this to publicly challenge myself to regularly read one of the 1001 Books I have not read.

Update: Oh no, there’s been an update to this book, a 2008 edition. 282 books were added, which means 282 were deleted. Including a bunch I’ve read. I’ve decided to stick with the original list and maybe pursue the additions as extra credit.

Arukiyomi has created a great Excel spreadsheet you can get here for both the original version and the update.

Here’s the original list:

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{TWD} Heading to Taha’a

The market in Papeete

The market in Papeete

Today we are at sea on the way to Taha’a, which produces 80% of the vanilla grown in Tahiti. When we were here last year, before I started baking, I didn’t understand the importance of Tahitian vanilla beans. Now that I know, I’m going to stock up on {relatively} cheap vanilla.

Tahitian vanilla, YUM!

Tahitian vanilla, YUM!

Heather of Randomosity and the Girl chose Buttery Jam Cookies for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe.


I loved this recipe. It came together easily and required no refrigeration prior to baking. I used apricot jam and added candied ginger.


I made this cookie Thanksgiving weekend, along with the Linzer Sables and Grandma’s All-Occasion Sugar Cookies, prior to our vacation. I brought in a plate with all three cookies to work.


Because of my vacation and the holidays, my co-workers won’t see me or my baking for three weeks. My hope was that this plate of cookies was a good send-off.


{TWD} Greetings from Rangiroa

Rangiroa, the world's largest atoll

Rangiroa, one of the world's largest atolls

Hi everyone! I’m scuba diving in the South Pacific seas surrounding Rangiroa today. Rangiroa is an atoll, which is an island of coral surrounding a lagoon. Atolls are formed from volcanic activity. A volcano erupts, its top blows up and falls into the sea, and coral growing on the sides of the volcano continue to grow.

NASA picture of the Rangiroa atoll

We’re on a 14-night cruise in French Polynesia. We went on a similar cruise last year (except this time we’re going to the Marquesas) and the snorkeling was amazing. We decided to go again this year so I could try my hand at scuba diving. Even though I’m missing out on a lot of the holiday mumbo-jumbo, I baked up a storm prior to our vacation.

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Ulrike of Küchenlatein who chose Grandma’s All-Occasion Sugar Cookies. You can find the recipe on Ulrike’s blog.


These cookies were wonderful. The dough came together easily and it was easy to roll and cut. I made the dough one day and baked the next.

Pizza! Pizza! Pizza! oh, and some granola


This week‘s The Art and Soul of Baking recipe was pizza dough. I’ve made pizza from scratch before and it is easy and doesn’t take a long time. I made the pizza in between 3 batchs of cookies.  I made a broccoli and cheese pizza for P and a carmelized onion and cheese pizza for me.

pizza2Homemade pizza is great, not only because it is an easy dough, but also because the dough freezes well. I stick it in the fridge before work and its perfectly defrosted and ready for rolling when I get home.

Carmelized Onions

Enough for one personal-size pizza

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 shot of cognac
  • 1 splash of balsamic vinegar
  • salt, to taste

Heat of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until golden brown. Add cognac and and balsamic vinegar and cook a few minutes longer. Remove from heat and add salt to taste.


I also made the next recipe  in Super Natural Cooking, Grain-ola. For the last few months, I’ve been making home made granola for my morning cereals and yogurt instead of buying processed cereal from the store. I’ve never made the same recipe twice, but they all follow the same method. Mix rolled oats with nuts, add a sweetener and an oil, sometimes add wheat germ or shredded coconut. Bake in low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until toasty and golden brown. Remove from oven and stir in dried fruit. Stir occasionally while it cools. Once cooled, store in an air-tight container.


This recipe called for coconut oil, which I have never used, and honey as the sweetener. In addition to the oats, walnuts, raw sunflower seeds, shredded unsweetened coconut, orange zest, and dried tropical fruits were added to the mix.

This oatmeal tastes okay. It has a weird taste. I’m thinking it is the coconut oil. I’m leaving for vacation this week and will bring some along for the plane ride.

{TWD} E-linzer-phant Sablés


Oh boy, I love elephants. I don’t know why, but they’re my animal. My earliest memories are my Dad reading bedtime stories, particularly Babar,  to my brother and me. I love Babar. Not the cartoons, just the original childrens’ books.


I always picked the elephant stuffed animal when given a choice. I was 17 years old when I had to have my tonsils removed. Volunteers for the hospital made little stuffed animals for children admitted for surgery. At the hospital, the nurses gave me a choice of a dog or an elephant. When I woke up from the operation, I was still holding on to the elephant and the nurses said I held on to it for the duration of the surgery.


In my brief history as a recording artist–okay, really it was one song I recorded on the computer when my husband and I were bored one evening many years ago–, I sang about elephants. Not about love for my husband, not about the despair and depression and the world ending, not about sunshine and happiness–elephants. You get the picture?


Anyway, I was in Sur la Table for my weekly 😛 visit and I saw that they had an elephant cookie cutter. How could I resist? It was only $1.00. And then I saw the mini-Noah’s Ark animal cookie cutters with a mini-elephant. How could I not buy it? I thought they would be perfect for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection–Linzer Sablés. Noskos of Living the Life chose this recipe. You can find the recipe on her blog.


Sablés are a type of cookie popular in France. They are a buttery shortbread cookie with a sandy (sablé = sand in French) texture. Linzers are spiced sandwich cookies. This recipe is a combination of the two.


These cookies turned out okay. I didn’t get the “sandy” texture. I probably creamed the butter and sugar too long. I burnt my last batch because I forgot to set the timer. I thought they were a bit too “spicy” tasting. In spite of all this, I think my Linzer Sablés turned out very pretty. 😛