Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chaucer Fuss - The Nun Priest's Tale

"The Nun Priest's Tale" is the final segment of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. The power of dreams and education are explored within this tale.

"The Nun Priest's Tale" is the most optimistic story in Chaucer's work. Within this story, Chaucer reminds his readers of the importance of learning from all aspects of life. Hands-on learning is emphasized in his work as he describes the importance of learning essential life decisions through dreams.

This work illustrates the significance medieval Englanders placed on supernatural occurrences and the spiritual world. It was important to be aware of all areas of life, including the conscious and subconscious mind.

Chaucer did not plan on ending The Canterbury Tales with "The Nun Priests Tale." In fact, his work was meant to be much, much longer. However, the Nun Priest's Tale does seem a fitting ending to Chaucer's work. The Canterbury Tales reflects both traditional lifestyles and progressive ideas in medieval England. It is appropriate that a tale focusing on the importance of knowledge and awareness is the close of Chaucer's tomb of writing.

Bibliographical Reference:
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. New York: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2006.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Chaucer Fuss - The Pardoner's Tale

"The Pardoner's Tale" departs from previous themes explored in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales through examining the extent men will go for riches and notoriety.

I remember reading this story in an English Literature class. It was the one and only segment of The Canterbury Tales that my class tackled. Perhaps the instructor wanted to teach us the downfalls of greediness and thinking only of ourselves... or perhaps she wanted to avoid the sticky issue of gender that is so often brought up in Chaucer's work.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chaucer Fuss - The Franklin's Tale

It seems that all of my comments on The Canterbury Tales revolve around the status of medieval women. "The Franklin's Tale" is no exception.

"The Franklin's Tale" is my least-liked story from The Canterbury Tales. Within these pages, Chaucer tells the tale of countless women in history. He seems to suggest that women should be free.... but then proposes that wholesome women will commit suicide rather than be defiled by men.

Friday, October 28, 2011

October Library School Update

You know when you have SO much to do that you're stressed out? Combine stress with a whole whack of other negative feelings and boom -- that's my life tonight. I can't concentrate despite the looming library school deadlines. I feel confused, upset, rushed, headache-y, and stuck in one spot. It rather sucks...

Having said that, I do really love what I am learning. All of the material is finally clicking - I begin to see things in my environment in a new light. I'm slowly internalizing all of this pedagogy. So, I guess I am doing wonderful in one regard.

I have just a little over a month until Christmas break rolls around... and then sleep! And lots and lots of blogging. And reading for fun!! Oh how I've missed it!

PS - a big, bigggg collective hug to all of you! *hug*

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chaucer Fuss - The Clerk's Tale

"The Clerk's Tale" is a story that I secretly love. Why secretly? Because this work seems simultaneously degrading and progressive for women.

The Clerk's Tale focuses on the relationship within a nuclear family. The husband is shown exercising ultimate control over his wife's actions... including persuading her to agree to the murder of their two children.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Chaucer Fuss - The Wife of Bath's Tale

I think most people vision medieval England as an era of strict morality, high religion, and chastity belts. And, to be honest, medieval England does not bear a resemblance to the highly sexualized culture of contemporary England. However, the England of the 1300s was sexualized in its own way.

"The Wife of Bath's Tale" portrays the sexual life of a woman from Bath. Morality and virginity were important aspects of medieval culture. Yet, culture is a fluid concept and there remained a flexibility for women to exert dominance within these confines.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chaucer Fuss - The Reeve's Tale

Chaucer's "The Reeve's Tale" continues the theme of illicit sexual activity in medieval England while providing an account of a traveling scholar.

A few months ago I read The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England. Within those pages Ian Mortimer suggested that England's medieval population often helped neighbors in plight. Chaucer's story seems to be constructed on a subversion of this notion. "The Reeve's Tale" portrays travellers as mischievous and deviant. It is the traveling scholar seeking hospitality who attacks the honour and respect of the family providing his room and board.

Monday, September 19, 2011

First Two Weeks of Library School

Ahhhh, I haven't written in here forever!

How's the program going?
It's intense. Confusing. Mind-boggling. And, thankfully, interesting.

On the off chance that I'm not thinking about school work and assignments and course readings, I'm thinking about how much I miss E. I'm sure I'll get my head into the right space soon enough.

Lately, we've been learning about just how much information is out there needing to be organized and managed. We've delved into cataloguing, reference work, and IT (the scariest of the scariest topics for me).

They're also supplying us with many, many videos on the crazily expanding amount of information. Here's a recent one:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chaucer Fuss - The Miller's Tale

We are quickly introduced to the miller in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. The miller, described as an athletic and charismatic man, tells a graphic tale of adultery. The wit and sexual capabilities of an intellectual and tradesman are pitted against each other within this work.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

This week the Book Blogger Hop asks:

"What are you most looking forward to this fall/autumn season - a particular book release? Halloween? The leaves changing colour? Cooler temperatures? A vacation?"

Library school! I'm starting my master's program this fall (after eagerly waiting for *months*). Yesterday we had a general orientation to the campus and community. I am so very excited to get started on my classes next week! Stay tuned for future posts on my experiences in the program and path to becoming a fully fledged librarian and information scientist :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chaucer Fuss - The Knight's Tale

"The Knight's Tale," Chaucer's first character-led story in The Canterbury Tales, explores gender relations and notions of marriage in medieval England.

The Knight, a man of chivalry and little means, tells the tale of an ancient love triangle. For, as luck should have it, two men imprisoned in a jail cell fall in love with the same woman, Emily. Locked in their cell, the men may only steal glances of Emily as she walks outside their prison window. The Knight provides an account of each man's escape from prison, search for Emily, and battle to win her heart.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chaucer Fuss

I had heard of the British Library's special collections and exhibit marked "Treasures of the British Library" before leaving for England in April. The exhibit was said to be a room full to the brim of sacred texts, historical documents, and beautifully crafted manuscripts. There was no choice. I had to make a visit while in London, as any eager and upcoming librarian would do.

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop

This week on Book Blogger Hop, hosted at Crazy-For-Books, we are asked...
Q: Do you have pets?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Picture Me Wednesday - 2011 Week 21

E is a potter. Not so much an Englishman with the last name Potter (hehe), but more so a guy who knows his pottery.

A few months ago I saw a sturdy white cup in the pottery factory and fell in love. Little did I know that I would soon be receiving one, with a few added personal touches, as a present.

I just love this cup and had to share it online. It is the perfect study companion for a caffeine addicted gal. I know it will be used many, many times come September.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Death by Books

This weekend K and I went book hunting and found ourselves in a shop that closely resembled an episode from Hoarders.

A bookstore should have a wide selection of books... but this was overboard. Books were piled high to the ceiling. Books were heaped onto tables. Books were laden between the isles. I often had to squeeze through piles of books on the floor that were higher than me to get to the next shelf!

Two flights of stairs and we were in the basement. Lights flickered as we stood looking at, seriously, a mountain of books.

I totally regret forgetting to bring my camera on this outing. What I saw is hard to describe, and all I have to show for the experience are two slightly fuzzy Ipod pictures.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

You can participate here:

Task: Highlight one or two titles in your personal collection that have the most interesting titles!

I haven't had the chance to participate in a Book Blogger Hop in months now! I am so excited to get back at it this week... and what's better than wacky book titles?!

Here's some selections from my library:

Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl
By Sherry Argov

It may not always have the best advice, but Argov sure is entertaining!

With Hitler to the End: The Memoirs of Adolf Hitler's Valet
By Heinz Linge

I'm dying to read this book currently stationed on my bookshelf.
I'm a WWII/Holocaust history buff.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Secret Daughter

Nature or nurture?
What truly makes you 'you'?

Shilpi Somaya Gowda's Secret Daughter examines notions of family and self-identity while confronting cultural differences between America and India during the 1990s and 2000s.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Sweet Sunday's Yummy Lit Review:

Three months ago JJ put an order in for cinnamon buns. In all due respect, I was very busy in those three months. Graduation. Birthday celebrations x 3. E was in town and JJ not so much in town. Full time work. It was hectic.

And those cinnamon buns they wanted, well I make them 100% from scratch. That means 5 hours of straight baking.

Putting my excuses *cough* aside, I took three months to make a pan of cinnamon buns. But, those buns did bring me promptly back into baking-mode.

Which brings me to Snickerdoodles.

I've wanted to try Snickerdoodles for awhile now. I hadn't heard of these cookies until last year... but when I saw how simple the recipe was I knew I had to give it a shot.

To be honest, I was skeptical that something with so little ingredients and such simple procedures could be so good!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Picture Me Wednesday - 2011 Week 20

Do you write in your books?

I like to record information.
Who? What? Where? When?
I like to cover all the bases.
I guess where my books originate from are no exception in my 'must record information' mind.

When a book comes from a special place, from a special someone, or from a special moment in history, I like to record it all down in its margins.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe

Jenny Colgan's Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe explores one girl's highs and lows while establishing her own little bakery in London, England.

Written as a work of fiction, Colgan tells the tale of Issy Randall. Issy, who recently became redundant at her office job, searches for her life's meaning and a way to pay the bills in Colgan's work. Vibrantly colourful characters and a shifting plot-line are introduced throughout the text. Not only do readers learn the intricacies of Issy's personality, but the ins and outs of creating a bakery, too.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (4)

"She can't listen to the women discussing stretch marks and labor pains as rites of passage. Everyone acts as if being a woman and a mother are inextricably intertwined. A fair assumption, since she made it herself. Only now does she know it's an enormous lie."

Secret Daughter - Shilpi Somaya Gowda (page 29)

The People's Chef

The creation of soup kitchens.
The improvement of the British military's diet.
The formation of the first non-pub restaurant in London.

Alexis Soyer, a French national residing in Britain, did it all.

Ruth Brandon's The People's Chef: The Culinary Revolutions of Alexis Soyer examines the modernization of the restaurant industry and European views on nutrition during the nineteenth century. Brandon tests century-old recipes in a contemporary kitchen while providing a non-fiction account of the Irish Famine, the Great Exhibition of 1851, and the Crimean War.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Happy One Year

This time last year I had just met E, now my Englishman, who happened to live halfway across the world. I decided to devote my spare time to reading and reviewing books, coffee cup in hand. I wrote my first blog post.

Today I spent my afternoon in an *unhappy* airport, experienced a torrential rainstorm, thunder, and lightening. As fate would have it, E left Canada on Coffee Tale Reviews' 1 year anniversary. The fact that this little blog has made it through a year is a bittersweet affair.

I would like to thank each and every one of my readers, followers, authors, publishers, friends, and family members for your kind comments, suggestions, or promotions.

Thank you for making a wonderful year at Coffee Tale Reviews.

PS - A 1 year anniversary isn't complete without some stats:
179 posts
41 books read & reviewed
25 yummy recipes tested

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Katy Carter Wants a Hero

Ruth Saberton's Katy Carter Wants a Hero chronicles one woman's tale of self-discovery. Katy Carter, Saberton's protagonist, is a disgruntled London high school teacher who believes that the kind of men from her well-read storybook romances truly do exist. But... do they really?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Inside Hitler's Bunker

Many know Adolf Hitler spent the last few months of his life in a bunker underneath the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. But, little is known of what happened in the bunker, now sealed off to the public. Joachim Fest, a Berliner himself, examines life in the Fuhrerbunker during late April and early May 1945.

Fest's Inside Hitler's Bunker: The Last Days of the Third Reich provides an account of the defeat of National Socialist Germany in May 1945. Hitler's actions, decisions, and behaviour from within his bunker are examined in Fest's work. Fest also chronicles German citizens' and military officials' reactions to the advancing Soviet troops and fall of the Third Reich.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thank You!

A few weeks ago I was presented with "The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award" from McGuffy's Reader. Thank you so much, McGruffy!

So, why has it taken me so long to respond to this honour? To be blunt, life has been hectic - lots of work and E now in Canada means that I am a busy and *very* happy lady.

The blogosphere and it's corresponding award community have ground rules for awards. Nominate 15 other bloggers and share 7 random facts about yourself. I know I'm cheating the game, but instead I would sincerely like to say thank you.

Thank you all for sticking through a somewhat down time on the blog. I'm sorry for ignoring it just a little (okay, maybe a bit more than a little). There are plenty of written reviews waiting to be posted online. I may be slow on the comment front, but I sincerely appreciate (and love reading!) each and every comment (and award ;) hehe) that is left on my cyber-doorstep.

Thank you.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England

Next month you are travelling to England. Fourteenth century England at that. What do you need to know? What are the laws? What should you expect to eat, do, and wear on your stay?

How will you experience medieval England?

This is a central question in Ian Mortimer's The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century. Mortimor creates a very unique non-fiction history text through writing the past as if it were the present.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Murder. Religion. Heresy.

Heresy, a historical thriller written by S.J. Parris, portrays a series of murders at Oxford University during the 1580s. Parris utilizes the character of an ex-Catholic monk, Giordano Bruno, to uncover suspicious and brutal deaths at Oxford. In doing so, Parris examines tensions between Catholicism, Protestantism, and intellectual modes of thought in Elizabethan England.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Picture Me Wednesday - 2011 Week 19

Photo taken @ York, England.

I'm the graduate this afternoon!
I've waited a long, long time... but finally *today* is the day.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Beautiful Artifacts, Heartbreaking Relics

I received my first e-mail from an author requesting a book review in late March. As the writer of a little-known blog I was shocked to discover that any author would offer up their book for my criticism.

I was unsure about performing the review. What if I didn't like the book? The author suddenly became a person and perhaps, because of that, I wondered if I would be able to write a honest review. I have brutally pointed out the flaws in literature in the past. I hoped to be able to do the same when the author became more than words in a book. When I was greeted with a format (short stories) and style (magic realist) that I do not frequently pursue, I agreed to the task.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Share your favourite post from the last month and tell us why it is close to your heart!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Picture Me Wednesday - 2011 Week 17

Sometimes it's the little things that make you laugh.

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

You can participate here.

No Price Too High

Last month I embarked on a 9.5 hour plane ride home from England. Around a hour into the flight, we were informed that there was a problem with the film feed. Thankfully I had one book in my hand and another twelve in my carry-on.

Did I say I was a book hoarder?

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (3)

"Isn't ravish a great word? I've never been ravished in my life but it sounds like great fun. James, my fiance, isn't the ravishing type. He'd be too worried that his boss might find out and his chances of promotion would be scuppered, which is fair enough I suppose; one of us has to be sensible. But wouldn't it be so fantastic to be so irresistible that your man can't control himself?"

-- Ruth Saberton, Katy Carter Wants a Hero, pp. 2-3.

Blog-Writer's Block

Life has been hectic lately, meaning I have shamefully misplaced my blogging time with sunshine, friends, a photograph shoot, and cookies. Well, not completely.

I've had blog-writer's block. I've read (and read and read), but not reviewed. Sorry! While I've been silent I have popped around to some of your blogs and I love what I've seen - so many interesting books are out and about right now. Apparently I read a lot more blogs while I have writer's block :P

I think it's high time I begin writing again. No more silence, please!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The May Long

Happy Victoria Day!

Queen Victoria, the 'Mother of Canadian Confederation' - July 1, 1867.
To my fellow Canadians - I hope you all enjoy the May Long :)

~ photo taken @ Buckingham Palace, May 2011 ~

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lazy Sunday (1)

It is the last half hour of Sunday and I have one last meme. Franny, the creator of the wonderful Mind Reader, has asked me to participate in her Lazy Sunday. Well, here I go!

Getting to Know YOU (2)

Lime Flowers

Sweet Sunday Yummy Lit Review:
Lime Flowers

Lime : Tart. Vitamin C. Antioxidant. Electric green. Aromatherapy ingredient. Excellent flavour for potato chips. Robbie Williams' description of the English.

It was only a few hours ago that I decided to add 'a main ingredient in delicious and crisp cookies' to this fruit's definition.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

You can participate here.

1. I'm loving that in 24 days E will be in my hometown... I have a feeling these WILW posts will be very countdown driven over the next few weeks ;)

2. I'm loving Sara Haze's song, Lovely. A beautiful, beautiful song with lyrics that we all need to hear every once in awhile.

Picture Me Wednesday - 2011 Week 15

If I could go anywhere right now......... I'd go here:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (2)

"He was dressed in an old leather jerkin and breeches of worn brown cloth, his hair was severely receded on top but long at the back, leaving his large forehead bare, and his face was pitted with the marks of pox; he might have been my own age or he might have been fifty, but the most striking aspect of his appearance was that he had no ears. Ugly welts of scar tissue surrounded the holes where they would once have been, betraying the fact that he had at one time been brought to justice as a petty criminal. He continued to watch me with a cool, level gaze in which I could discern no malice, rather a kind of mocking curiosity."

Page 157 - Parris, S. J. Heresy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Weekend With Mr. Darcy

I finished reading A Weekend with Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly a few weeks ago. The book's jacket attests to it being a 'joyous' and 'terrific' read. It was not mistaken. Connelly weaves a tale that is engaging, fast paced, funny, unexpected, and memorable - exactly as a contemporary work of fiction should be.

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy portrays both the romantic and professional lives of a group of women attending a Jane Austen conference in the twenty-first century. Connelly's work asks the question that many modern (and book loving) women have asked - where are the heroic, chivalrous, stoic, and romantic men in today's society? Do men with nineteenth century principles exist? Can we expect to find our very own Mr. Darcy?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Getting to Know YOU

I've seen MannLand5's link-up over the last few weeks... Today, I give it a shot :)

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Sweet Sunday's Yummy Lit Review:
Chocolate Chip Muffins

While I was in Europe I had a few food cravings.

North American-style pancakes with maple syrup?
Booster Juice smoothies?

Yep, I'm guilty. I've been craving all of these dishes over the last few weeks.

It wasn't long after I managed to score a pancake breakfast with E in London that I started to crave a new breakfast meal. Homemade chocolate chip muffins.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hops & Follows

Well, it's Friday... which means Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday!

Thank you for visiting. Be sure to leave a comment and/or follow and I'll definitely hop on over to your blog, too!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday!

You can participate here.

Let me begin by saying that I'm not loving that I'm home after a five week stay in England. It is nice to get back to a life of normalacy... but I left a very important person on the other side of the world.

So, what am I loving?


This Youtube video is super adorable. The pup so reminds me of my own furry babies. I can only guess how many times I have hit 'replay' since a Facebook friend posted it yesterday afternoon.

2. That airport goodbyes are always followed by a new countdown. A few days ago I said goodbye to E in London. In just 28 days I'll be greeting him at my airport's arrivals area. This is our shortest time spent apart yet, and I am so so thankful!

Picture Me Wednesday - 2011 Week 14

E and I visited Poland in early April. I had no idea what to expect when we entered this country. Most of our time was spent in Krakow, Poland's former capital. It's a beautiful (and very old) city peppered with cobblestones, narrow streets, 14th century buildings, and brightly coloured walls.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (1)

"It's a strange game, love, she thought, and nine times out of ten it's nothing to do with love at all. It's to do with satisfying men's lust, and lust for conquest, and from now on she would play the game to her advantage, not theirs."

Page 74 - Annie Wilkinson, No Price Too High.

The Wedding

I'll admit that I have taken a long time to write about the wedding... I wasn't really in one place shortly after April 29th. I wanted to see the wedding's aftermath in England. I also wanted to see how my North American hometown had reacted to the wedding.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I'm Home

I'm home!

It's 1AM where I am, but 9AM in England.... let's just say I'm wide awake and completely and utterly lost in the time zone change.

So, how was the trip? Fantastic. I didn't want to leave. And, you'll be pleased to know, I acquired a huuuuuuge stack of new books.

Okay, maybe not that huge... but I do have a dozen new and shiny covers sitting on my table.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Flea

I love poetry. I may randomly quote famous lines of English literature and I absolutely adore Sir Thomas Wyatt's "Whoso List to Hunt."

John Donne is another one of my favourite poets. So many of his poems stand out to me. Beautiful tales of love and comedic stories of manipulation in relationships abound in Donne's writing. "The Flea" is one of his comical relationship tales.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Picture Me Wednesday - 2011 Week 13

As you may know, I've been in the UK for awhile now. Due to differences in power wattage (and not wanting to fry my electronic devices), I haven't been able to upload photos. But, I'll soon be trading the Atlantic Ocean for my hometown waters of the Pacific (pictured here). This photo reminds me of my oh-so-far-away home.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sweet Sunday's Yummy Lit Review:
Chocolate Chip Cookies

A few months ago I was asked to make a batch of classic chocolate chip cookies for JJ. I quickly donned my apron, tied my hair back, pulled up my sleeves, and got to work.

What can I say? You say bake, and I'll ask how much.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wedding Bells & Princesses

My stay in England just so happens to coincide with Kate and Wills wedding. The timing happened completely by chance, but I am ever-so-glad the wedding and my holiday fell into the same time period.

Viewing the hype leading up to today has been very interesting. I have taken many pictures of store displays, and yes, I have fallen into the tourist trap of buying products depicted with images of the couple. Limited 'Royal' Editions of Cinderella, Little Miss Princess Books, cookies, flags... you name it, and it's probably featuring tomorrow's Royal wedding somehow.

But, how are the English responding to the wedding? Are they eagerly awaiting tomorrow's tv coverage? To put it bluntly - not so much.

However, I'm looking forward to seeing Kate walk down the isle. I can't wait to see what her dress looks like. I guess I'm a girly girl. I can see a wedding, history in the making, and a girl becoming a princess... how could I say not join in on the hype?

I'll let you know how tomorrow goes on this side of the pond!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Picture Me Wednesday - 2011 Week 12

When I stumbled across this scene a few months ago I knew I had to take a picture. Torrential rains, the city lit up, and a fountain glowing nearby... BC.

And, I must say, so much different from where I currently am stationed... warm, sunny, and cheery England at Spring.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!!

Dear family, friends, followers, readers and fellow book-adorers:

Happy Easter!!

Sending you kind thoughts and happiness,

Much love,

Ms. C


Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Dutch in Wartime

A few weeks ago I was given a newspaper-style magazine called The Dutch in Wartime. It is a publication designed to teach the horrors of the Second World War to grandchildren (and great-grandchildren) of North America's Dutch immigrants. I happen to fall into this category of individuals.

I think, as many of us were children growing up in the second half of the twentieth century, we have all heard stories of World War II. Our connections to the war vary depending on our family members' ages, locations, and personal attributes.

There are plenty of academic texts on the history of the Second World War for countries such as the United States, England, Italy, and Germany (and many others, too!).

In the past I have had a hard time finding academic sources on Holland during the World War. Sadly, there is very little published material on Holland during the war. In fact, there is such a lack of information on Holland and World War II that I have been unable to write university papers on the subject.

The Dutch in Wartime attempts to fill this void of information on Holland from 1939 to 1945. The publication provides readers with countless first-hand accounts of the war. Tales of heroism, hiding, starvation, death, and liberation are told within its pages.

This publication is powerful. It reminds readers that everyone, civilian and solider, are effected by war. That one cannot 'get over' a war - it stays with you forever. It is intentional hatred. It is intentional acts of murder. Victims of war should not be silent, but continue to speak out against past atrocities. As it was so adeptly written, "to remember means to be alert" for the future (page 4).

History and first hand accounts of atrocity are hard to review. I cannot even fathom performing this activity when the stories I read are so close to my own background. Instead, I have created a short summary of information on World War II and Holland.

The Facts:

- Holland intended to be neutral during the Second World War - they were ill-equipped for war when the Germans invaded on May 10, 1940. Holland's warfare equipment was created prior to 1914 (page 4).

- Children were often confused by the war. At school children were told Germans were their enemies, while at home some were forced to socialize with the foreign soldiers. German soldiers, who missed their own children, would play with Dutch children and told stories of their families in Germany (page 5).

- The German Army believed Hollanders shared Germanic blood. This meant that German rule was much more lenient until the Dutch protested against German activities (page 6).

- Dutch schoolchildren had to sign a Declaration of Loyalty to Germany. Those who did not sign the declaration were to be sent to German prisons or labour camps. Many Dutch children were forced into hiding due to this (page 6).

- On November 11, 1944 Germans raided houses in Rotterdam for all men and boys fit for work. 50,000 out of the 70,000 eligible males in the city were deported to Germany for work. This occurrence is known as the Rotterdam Roundup (page 11).

- Before the war Holland contained 140,000 Jewish individuals - 102, 000 had perished come 1945 (page 16).

- The winter of 1944-1945 is know as the Hunger Winter. It was the coldest winter on record. The Dutch had literally no food, electricity, or water due to German occupation. People resorted to creating fires in small coffee tins and eating tulip bulbs, rats, and other animals found on the street. Many individuals collapsed on the streets due to starvation and the cold. Unfortunately, Hollanders had so little energy that those who perished on the streets were left on the side of the road (page 20).

- Holland was liberated in May 1945 by Canadian and British forces (page 4).

- Holland celebrates Remembrance Day on May 4th and Liberation Day (full of celebrations and parties) on May 5th (page 3).

Bibliographical Reference:
Bijvoet, Tom. De Krant: The Dutch in Wartime, Special English Language Edition of Maandblad De Krant to Mark the 65th Anniversary of Liberation. Pentiction, British Columbia: Mokeham Publishing, Inc., 2010.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Blog Hopping From Across the Pond

Book Blogger Hop

I have a (rare) free Friday night in England... and I think it's high time I started hopping again.

This week Crazy For Books asks: "If you find a book you love, do you hunt down other books by the same author?"

A: I do. Lately, I have become obsessed with Jojo Moyes. I read her latest book (to be released in North America this Summer) The Last Letter From Your Lover, and instantly fell in love with her as a writer. I've searched my hometown for books by this English author, but they are hard to come by. While I'm staying in the England I'm determined to find more of her work!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

'Recipe for a Good Life'

"Take a few cups of kindness
One dash of humility
One sprinkle of laughter
One teaspoon of patience
One tablespoon of generosity
One pint of forgiveness
One quart of love
And a gallon of faith

Mix in determination and add lots of courage; stir it up very well, spread it over the span of your lifetime, and serve it to each and every person you meet."

Picture Me Wednesday - 2011 Week 11

This picture pretty much sums it up: I love Coach... and love... and handwritten letters. I received this handbag as a present a few months ago and had to add the 'love letter' accessory. It may be a bit hard to see, but the white rectangle behind the 'love' is a model of a letter's envelop.

Just looking at this handbag makes me smile :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Learning Curves

It would be a lie to say that I didn't seriously contemplate what book to bring on my trans-Atlantic flight. I needed a book that could entertain me for just over 9 hours. I even purchased a book specifically for this occasion. But, said book never made it on the journey. Instead, I began Gemma Townley's Learning Curves a few day's before leaving for England.

A few years ago, when I first purchased Townley's book, I had read the first few chapters and then given up. But, for some reason, the banana yellow spine of this work called out to me in early April. By the time I was packing my suitcase, I was more than halfway into the novel. Looks like I had no choice but to bring Learning Curves along for the journey.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Real-Time Post

Hello all!

Most of you will be aware that I'm currently stationed in England. I have been posting updates (written before departure) over the last few weeks. But, I have yet to create a real-time post. A post that I have written while in foreign territory. Today's my first 'do nothing' day, and what better way to spend it than re-entering the blogging world.

So, how is the Land of E treating me?

Sunday, April 17, 2011


This has got to be one of the driest books I have read (*ouch* sorry Gaskell). There's no other explanation for my behaviour.

Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford, first published in book form in 1853, is merely 138 pages (the Dover Thrift Edition). It has taken me over three months to read. In fact, I would have given up reading if Gaskell had not been part of the Wordsworth Classics Reading Challenge 2011.
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