17 April 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Prize Pack Giveaway

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013 film)Last week I reviewed The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the 2013 film starring Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, and Shirley MacLaine, noting that it was fun and uplifting. Although the movie takes place in modern times (despite a retro feel), its spirit is in line with James Thurber's original 1930s short story.

Recently I had the opportunity to watch the movie on Blu-ray and loved seeing it on a bigger screen. Whenever I have a disk I always look for extras, so I was happy to find quite a few features for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, including extended and deleted scenes, music videos, a slide show, and a variety of behind-the-scene shorts.

Of the dozen or so features my favorites were "The Look of Life" and "That's a Shark," both of which introduce us to the actors, the scenery, and the challenges of filming. A few things stood out in particular from watching all the extras:

    The Thurber Carnival by James Thurber
  • First, I was quite impressed with how willing Ben Stiller was to attempt his own stunts, including jumping into the North Sea. (When needed, Stiller relies on a long-time stunt double plus a few other professionals.)
  • Second, I was amazed to find out that all of the non-New York City scenes were filmed in Iceland, including the shots that were supposed to take us to central Asia and the Himalayas.
  • Finally, I was interested in meeting the person who designed the titles for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; once you see the opening scenes of the movie, you'll know why. I loved the way the titles were added.
Take a look at the trailer and then read about my great giveaway.


The Giveaway: Thanks to Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and Think Jam, I can offer one of my readers a great prize pack. One of you will win not only a Blu-ray/DVD of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty but also a copy of the book The Thurber Carnival, a great collection of James Thurber's stories and art, including "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." You'll also get a great travel mug with the Secret Life of Walter Mitty motto (and hashtag) #LetLifeIn.

All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is to have a U.S. mailing address (no PO boxes for this giveaway) and to fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner on April 25 via random number generator. Once the winner has been confirmed, I'll erase all personal data from my computer. Good luck!

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15 April 2014

Wordless Wednesday 285

April Sunset, 2014


Click image to enlarge. For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

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New in Paperback & Giveaway: Seduction by M. J. Rose

Seduction by M. J. RoseLast summer I reviewed M. J. Rose's Seduction, which was an Indie Next pick for May 2013. This don't-miss Gothic thriller was recently released in paperback, and to celebrate, the good people at Atria are giving away a copy to one of my readers.

Although Seduction is the fifth in Rose's Reincarnation series, it works very well as a stand-alone novel. I liked the setting, the mystery and thriller elements, and of course, the perfume.

For more about the novel click on the link to my review and take a look at the publisher's summary:

A spellbinding Gothic tale about Victor Hugo's long-buried secrets and the power of a lover that never dies . . .

Grieving his daughter's death, Victor Hugo initiated seances from his home on the Isle of Jersey in order to reestablish contact with her. In the process, he claimed to have communed with Plato, Shakespeare, Dante and even the devil himself. Hugo's transcriptions of these conversations have all been published. Or so it has been believed. . .

A hundred years later, recovering from her own great loss, mythologist Jac L'Etoile is invited to Jersey to uncover a secret about the island's mysterious Celtic roots. She's greeted by Neolithic monuments, medieval castles, and hidden caves. But the man who has invited her there, a troubled soul named Theo Gaspard, hopes she'll help him discover something quite different . . . something that will threaten their sanity and put their very lives at stake.
To be entered for a chance to win a copy of the paperback edition of Seduction, all you have to do is have a U.S. mailing address and fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner via a random number generator on April 22 (to celebrate Earth Day!). Once the winner has been confirmed, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck!

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14 April 2014

The eMerging eReader #6: Organizing, Reviewing, Remembering

The eMerging eReader © www.BethFishReads.comSo far in the eMerging eReader series, I've gone over devices, software, apps, and eReading in general. In today's installment, I address getting organized, reading for reviewing, and remembering to read my eBooks.

Getting organized. As you know by now, my not-so-secret weapon for organization is Calibre. A key factor for my becoming an eMerging eReader was having a single location for all my books. Because Calibre lets me sort my books by several factors (publication date, due date at library, freelance assignment, genre, and so on), it's dead simple for me to find my next read.

This may be controversial, but once I finish reading an eBook, I delete it from my computer and device. If I bought the book, it will backed up and thus retrievable. If it's an eGalley, I'll buy a finished copy if I want to reread it. If it's a library book, then I don't own it and thus must remove it from my devices. One of bonuses of eBooks is less clutter, and that includes less electronic clutter.

Reading for review. As I mentioned earlier, my focus and enjoyment of eBooks has steadily increased, especially when reading for pleasure. I had a more difficult time adjusting to reading eBooks for freelance reviews or for more in-depth reviews on my blog. I'm a sticky note junky and felt completely lost when I couldn't flag pages and jot down quick thoughts on colorful tabs.

Fortunately, bookmarking pages in eBooks is as simple as a tap and is, in fact, easier than grabbing a physical marker. Although it took some getting used to, I can now also highlight passages in eBooks without a thought. (I used to struggle with remembering the long press; I have no idea why.) The most difficult transition for me has been training myself to type notes right on my devices (both Kobo and Bluefire have this feature) instead of writing on a sticky note. I'm beginning to develop a good rhythm, though, and I bet I come to rely on this.

When I sit down to write my review, it's really nice to see all my highlighted passages and notes in one accessible list, and viewing a bookmarked page is as easy as a tap. One thing I really love is taking advantage of the search function to check spellings and facts; so much easier than skimming a print book.

Remembering to read. I used to collect eBooks and then just let them sit (in Calibre!). It was puzzling to me because I never forget to listen to an audiobook, even though almost all my audios are digital. Then it stuck me. I have triggers that tell me to pick up my audiobook. In the evening when I walk or cook, I turn on the mp3 player (phone, whatever) and plug in the earbuds. It's a long-time habit.

With that insight, I declared eBooks as daytime reading. On working days, they're what I read at lunchtime, when waiting for an appointment or phone call, or when I need a break from editing. In this way, I never forget about my eBooks. I still read print in the evenings, and on days off of work I usually turn first to the book I'm most interested in, regardless of the medium. I'm not sure what my habits will be in the long run, but before I developed a trigger, I almost never picked up an eBook.

Next up: getting social and nagging issues.

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12 April 2014

Weekend Cooking: The Kitchen Journals: A Week in the Life

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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The Kitchen Journal @ www.BethFishReads.comThis week I decided to try something I've never done before and share my week in the kitchen. I made all these dishes from scratch, although I admit that I have an advantage because I work from home. On the other hand, I work long hours, so I'm not sure I really have more time than those of you who work outside the house.

I might, however, have the jump on you in two areas: I don't have kids and my husband is easygoing if dinner is a little late. These two factors take the pressure off me, and make my time in the kitchen a lot of fun. After I come back from my walk, I turn on my audiobook, pour a glass of wine, and get to work. One of my favorite times of the day.

This was a fairly typical week, although I rarely make dessert and I didn't have to bake bread (we had some of my bread in the freezer). Note that we have a tossed salad every night, but I didn't bother to photograph it. So, without further ado, here's my week in food and photos. Click on the links for the recipes; click on the images to enlarge.

Sunday. We have salmon almost every week. One of our favorite methods of cooking it is to use my spice rub and grill the fish. Note that the photo below is not from Sunday. This week, I served the fish with grilled baby bok choy and a tossed salad. (I didn't come up with the idea of documenting the week until after dinner.)

The Kitchen Journal / Weekend Cooking @ www.BethFishReads.com
Although I rarely make dessert, I celebrated finishing our taxes by baking a lemon olive oil cake (pissota con l'oio) from an old Saveur magazine to eat with fresh fruit. We like more lemon than the original recipe, so I add add the zest from a whole lemon instead of the ½ teaspoon called for. We ate this all week.

The Kitchen Journal / Weekend Cooking @ www.BethFishReads.comMonday. The Swiss chard and mushroom galette from the April 2014 issue of Bon Appetit really caught my eye. I made the dough on Sunday, so Monday night's dinner came together pretty quickly. I often make my own ricotta cheese, but this week I decided to buy it instead. The dough is not for the faint of heart, considering the 1½ sticks of butter, but it was delicious. Mr. BFR had the leftovers for lunch the next day. I used chives for the herb, but in the summer I'd use parsley, basil, and/or oregano fresh from the garden.

The Kitchen Journal / Weekend Cooking @ www.BethFishReads.comTuesday. On Tuesday, we had a very simple meal. We grilled lamb chops, which I seasoned lightly with Penzey's Cajun seasoning. I love Penzey's mixes, especially the salt-free blends. (I'd rather add my own salt.) The asparagus is so wonderful right now, I've been buying it weekly. Mr. BFR requested baked potatoes, and I figured why not? This was a yummy all-American spring dinner.

Wednesday and Thursday. You might start to see a bit of pattern here. I tend to alternate meat and fish nights with vegetarian meals. On Wednesday, I made a big pot of black beans with veggies, hot peppers, a little mustard, some molasses, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and so on. The recipe is loosely based on an old Moosewood Restaurant recipe for Cajun skillet beans, which is good just as written. I tend to use whatever vegetables are on hand and whatever herbs and spices I'm in the mood for. I served this over quinoa.

The Kitchen Journal / Weekend Cooking @ www.BethFishReads.com
Whenever I make a dish that will last two nights, I try to perk up the second night with something new. So on Thursday I made maple cornbread from King Arthur Flour. We love this recipe. I baked it in a cast-iron cornbread pan (the extra batter went into a 6-inch cake pan), which makes eight little wedges.

The Kitchen Journal / Weekend Cooking @ www.BethFishReads.comFriday. I'm typing this post up on Friday afternoon. Tonight's dinner will involve the vegetables pictured. My original thought was to make a stir-fry with shrimp (I have some in the freezer), but today has been cool and rainy so now I'm more in the mood for soup. I think this one will have a chicken stock base and maybe some small pasta. And I'm pretty sure I'll stick to vegetarian, though I might pull some cooked chicken or the shrimp out of the freezer. I'm just not sure yet. Spices? I'll probably use that fresh rosemary and then keep it simple, adding pepper and a bit of sea salt.

How did your week in the kitchen turn out? Hope your dinners were both delicious and fun to put together.

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Copyright

All content and photos (except where noted) copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads 2008-2014. All rights reserved.

Thanks!

To The Blogger Guide, Blogger Buster, Tips Blogger, Our Blogger Templates, BlogU, and Exploding Boy for the code for customizing my blog. To Old Book Illustrations for my ID photo. To SEO for meta-tag analysis. To Blogger Widgets for the avatars in my comments and sidebar gadgets. To Review of the Web for more gadgets. To SuziQ from Whimpulsive for help with my comments section. To Cool Tricks N Tips for my Google +1 button.

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