East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Find yourself something to do for the Autumn

I usually point out here on my blog what I think are interesting offers from Humble Bundle – still one of my go-to services to keep my to-read list stocked. The deal is the usual – you get a pack of themed books for real cheap, and you help a charity. Everybody wins.

The latest book selection from Humble Bundle is so quirky and weird I was sure I’d find something interesting – and indeed, the eight volumes you get for 83 euro-cents are already on my hard disk.

This month’s theme is crafts for the autumn.

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Making changes (still writing -related)

After the bout of bad health I suffered through early this year, I decided to make a few changes. After all, my life has changed: I was a researcher working in a lab, a teacher moving between universities, now I am a writer spending most of his time sitting in the dark in a room full of books, typing.
So, different life, different problems, time to make some changes.

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Eat like in the days of old

A quick shout-out for a blog I just discovered, and that I really envy – this is the sort of blog I would love to write.


No matter if you are lovers of history, readers of the classics, adventure enthusiasts or just curious people that enjoy good food, please direct your browsers to Farrell Monaco’s blog, Tavola Mediterranea, a beautiful site full of recipes from the ancient shores of the Mediterranean.

Beautiful idea, wonderful execution.
Ah, envy!

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Cook books and other writer’s resources

A quick heads-up.
As I think I mentioned already I love cooking – it’s a relaxing activity, a way to leave problems behind and be good to ourselves, and what the heck, somebody’s got to do it, right?


Through the years I have collected a number of cookbooks and recipe collections, and I’m always on the lookout for new sources of gastronomic adventure.
Selection_999(030)From which, the heads-up: The Humble Bundle is doing a special Sous Geek Cookbooks bundle, offering 21 books about food and cooking aimed at the geek, and part of the money you pay goes into a charity.
The offer is open for another twelve days.
As usual with the Humble Bundle, the offer is tiered. Continue reading

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A relaxing hobby for the long winter night

The new year started and I crashed.
Bad health, cough and cold (but luckily no flu, so far) and then, two days ago, my brother noticed I was rambling and suggested I should take a break.
I can spend two days without writing and still make all the deadlines.
Incidentally, I have just delivered (with one week of delay) the first episode of The Curse of Fantomah to my patrons. So I’ve reason to rejoice, and take a break. Continue reading

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Cooking is one of those skills that look good on a writer, a scientist, or an action hero.
Being able to put together some quality food out of raw ingredients is a show of mastery, and an essential skill.
Anyway, that’s my rationale.

9781906502904One year ago – give or take a few weeks – I bought a book as a gift for a friend’s wife.
The poor girl can’t cook to save her life (it’s not a mortal sin, mind you, just a fact of life) and she’s always been rather curious about my (supposed) cooking prowness.
So I went and got her a copy of South Wind through the Kitchen, that’s a sort of best-of compilation of recipes and food writing by the great late lamented Elizabeth David.
If I can do anything at all in the kitchen, I owe it to my mom, Len Deighton and Elizabeth David.
And as I could not give my mom to that lady as a gift, in doubt I went for the David book, because it’s sort of more dignified than Deighton’s by any means masterful Action Cook Book.
Also, I caught a copy in a local book store, which is always better, I thought, than having the book mailed through Amazon.
I picked it up and thought about wrapping it up in brown paper, like something out of a grocery store.
Something silly like that. Continue reading