For this month’s library book discussion we read Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen Woodiwiss. This is a romance in honor of Valentine’s Day. It was really good. The speaker was a librarian who is seriously into romance novels. He told us all about the history of the genre and the different types of romances. Very interesting actually. I’ve never been a big romance reader. I don’t like all the mushy stuff just like I hate kissing in movies.

My grandmother was a big romance reader. She got my mom and I started reading some of her books. They are all regency romances which means that they take place in England in the 1700s. Think Jane Austin time. These books have no naughtiness in them at all. If there is anything they kiss after the wedding. But somehow they always end up with kids. My mother refers to them as her smut books mostly because they are just so clean that you feel a need to make them a little trashy.

I finished listening to The President’s House by Margaret Truman. This is a history of the White House written by Harry Truman’s daughter. It was very good but I enjoyed her book First Ladies more. I’ve always felt sorry for the First Lady and that book gave great insights into what they had to live through.

When I went to the used bookstore I found a copy of the first book of my favorite series of all time. I was so excited that I actually squealed. It is The Skystone – the first book in the Camulod Chronicles by Jack Whyte. I fell in love with this series about 5 years ago. I’ve reread the rest of the books but my new local library doesn’t have a copy of The Skystone. This series takes the stand that King Arthur actually existed. In order to exist none of the magic in the legends could be true. So, what really could have happened to inspire the legends? This series has totally ruined any other Arthur stories for me. This is the end all and be all facts of life as far as I’m concerned. It starts with Arthur’s great-grandfather and follows the formation of Camulod as the Romans leave Britain. Arthur doesn’t show up until a lot later in the series and is quite a disappointment if you ask me. His ancestors are so great and he seems like a spineless little wimp but there are books still to be written so maybe he’ll get better. If you like historic fiction you will love this series!

The new book on tape in my car is A Trip to the Beach by Melinda and Robert Blanchard. This is the true story of two people from Vermont who move to Anguilla and open a restaurant. The only problem with listening to this on tape is having to go back and find the recipes so I can write them down. I made one last night that is superb. It is Caribbean Corn Bread. For the record, I hate cornbread. It is always dry and nasty. The only reason I tried this is because they said that they worked a lot to find a recipe that wasn’t dry. The magic ingredient is pineapple.

Caribbean Corn Bread
(Serves 8)
# 1 cup all-purpose flour
# 1 cup cornmeal
# 2 Tbs. baking powder
# 1 tsp. salt
# ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
# ¾ cup sugar
# 4 eggs
# 1½ cups canned cream-style corn
# ½ cup canned crushed pineapple, drained
# 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or mild white Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour a 9-inch square glass cake pan. (You can use a metal cake pan, but we’ve found the old-fashioned Pyrex brand works best.) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, corn meal, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar. While the mixer is running, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the corn, pineapple, and cheese, and mix to blend. On a low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until blended well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown around the edges and a tester stuck in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.