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I haven’t done a Midweek Miscellany post for some time. But when I discovered Jessica Hische’s wonderful website Daily Drop Cap, I had to share it with you.  Isn’t the candle ‘I’ lovely?  Every day has a different letter and a different style – brilliant.

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B ut on to more bookish things.  There’s been some chat around the subject of the length of books.  Do nights drawing in make it more conducive to reading longer books?  Personally, no – my longer book reading tends to be centred around the school holidays when I don’t have to get up, and can often manage to stay awake long enough for a good read before going to sleep.  But thinking about book length in a different (geeky) kind of way, this made me wonder what the number of pages I read is, and how they’re spread between book length.

So I referred to my spreadsheet – yes I’ve been keeping one for years, however I only have pages read data since 2008.  I added this as I thought comparing total pages read with number of books might tell me something – whether I’ve been reading lots of novellas, or more 500+ page chunksters one year.   It turns out that I’m remarkably consistent – the average number of pages I read per book is between 270 and 290. Scanning down the lists, there are a few more novellas than 500+ page chunksters, but the majority of books I read are bang in the middle. So far, then, it’s not a really useful statistic, but that average figure does perhaps illustrate my preference for shorter rather than longer reads. There are many exceptions that don’t fit that rule of course – so I shall stop waffling about it and talk about something else.

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N ew at Gaskell Towers – It’s a cookbook. Vegetarians may want to look away now.  Hix Oyster & Chop House is the latest book from Mark Hix who features on the Great British Menu TV programmes, and owns a restaurant near London’s Smithfield meat market.  It’s not all meat – there’s a whole chapter on oysters too, plus salads, sauces, desserts etc.  I’m afraid you wouldn’t get me to eat an oyster, but I do like my meat, and meat is the star of this book. It’s the carnivore’s dream as there is a helpful set of pictures of all the different cuts of pork, beef, veal, venison, lamb with comments on texture and cooking each of them. Hix is famed for cooking his meat on the bone – I’m going to have to find a butcher that does veal chops.   

Then there are loads of lovely sounding recipes.  The photography is mouthwatering, and the book has been designed really nicely.  The recipes don’t sound overcomplicated – concentrating on the quality of the ingredients.  We’ll be cooking from it this weekend – there was a hash made with shredded duck legs that caught my eye for starters … I can feel a Homer drool coming on.

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And finally, it’s the second UK Book bloggers meet this weekend in Oxford. If you want to find out the details, please contact Simon Thomas over at Stuck in a book. It’d be great to see you there if you can make it!

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