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Wondrous Words Wednesday

One or more of my words this week, may be well-known to many of my fellow bloggers. However, all the words are new to me and particularly caught my attention in my recent reading and blogging activities.

1.My first word this time, I found across at ‘Musings Of A Bookish Kitty’ , when the lovely Wendy combined her review of this book, with a feature in one of her regular memes. The word is in the book title and whilst Wendy does explain its meaning as part of her review, I found myself intrigued as to whether there was a more comprehensive explanation for the word.

THE DEW BREAKER

We meet him late in life: a quiet man, a good father and husband, a fixture in his Brooklyn neighborhood, a landlord and barber with a terrifying scar across his face. As the book unfolds, moving seamlessly between Haiti in the 1960s and New York City today, we enter the lives of those around him, and learn that he has also kept a vital, dangerous secret. Edwidge Danticat’s brilliant exploration of the “dew breaker” –or torturer — is an unforgettable story of love, remorse, and hope; of personal and political rebellions; and of the compromises we make to move beyond the most intimate brushes with history. It firmly establishes her as one of America’s most essential writers.

DEW BREAKER

The Dew Breaker is a novel by Edwidge Danticat, published in 2004. The title “comes from a Creole phrase which refers to those who break the serenity of the grass in the morning dew. It is a Creole nickname for torturer.” In this case, the “Dew Breakers” are members of the Tonton Macoutes, a group of volunteers who tortured and killed thousands of civilians under the regimes of François and Jean-Claude Duvalier in Haiti.

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2.Next up this time, is a word I first discovered some time ago, in the synopsis of a book I was featuring in one of my regular memes. Having updated my WordPress since then, I recently decided to tidy up as many of the original posts as possible, catch up with reading some of the books I had featured, but then consigned back the the bookshelves and finally to get a few more reviews posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

CRANIOPAGUS

They are on the verge of becoming the oldest surviving craniopagus twins in history, but the question of whether they’ll live to celebrate their thirtieth birthday is suddenly impossible to answer.

CRANIOPAGUS

A type of conjoined twin united on any portion of the cranial vault or calvarium not involving the foramen magnum, skull base, face, or vertebrae. The juncture is rarely symmetric and may involve the entire head or only a portion and may include the meninges, venous sinuses, and the cerebral cortex. Infinite variations exist in both axial and rotational orientation. Type 1, twins are facing the same direction; type 2, twins are facing the opposite direction; type 3, twins are facing 90° from one another.

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3. Finally this time, another word featured by a fellow blogger, this time the lovely Kelly, over at ‘Kelly’s Thoughts & Ramblings’. Kelly quite often features recipes on her site, either her own personal favourites, or those she is trying for the first time and as a confirmed non-baker, I am constantly amazed at some of the delicious looking results of her efforts 🙂

Image Of Kelly's Snickerdoodles

KELLY’S CHAI SPICE SNICKERDOODLES

SNICKERDOODLES

A type of cookie made with butter or oil, sugar, and flour, and rolled in cinnamon sugar. Eggs may also sometimes be used as an ingredient, with cream of tartar and baking soda added to leaven the dough. Snickerdoodles are characterized by a cracked surface and can be crisp or soft depending on preference.

Snickerdoodles are often referred to as “sugar cookies”. However, traditional sugar cookies are often rolled in white sugar whereas snickerdoodles are rolled in a mixture of white sugar and cinnamon.

… Is An image for the weekly meme Wondrous Words Wednesdaya weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we have encountered in our reading. It is hosted by Kathy, over at ‘BermudaOnion’s Weblog’.You can either stop by and leave a link to your own ‘mystery’ words of the week, or just browse the eclectic mix of words that others have discovered, there is always a great selection.

Don’t forget that Kathy and the rest of us, all love to read your comments  as well, so that we can visit and share your words of the week!

 

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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14 comments
    • Hi Nikki,

      If you follow Nigella Lawson, she has featured a recipe for snickerdoodles in her ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’ book, so you might have remembered it from there?

      I must admit that I am not much of a cook, past the day-to-day evening meal and I don’t watch any of the bake-off programmes which seem to dominate television peak-time viewing these days.

      I like to eat and enjoy good food, but only if someone else is preparing it 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment, I appreciate it.

  • Of course I knew snickerdoodles, though at one time I thought they had something to do with Snickers candy bars. 🙂

    I think I could have figured out a reasonable definition for the second word just based on its relationship to the word cranium. However, that first expression is totally new to me. I find it really fascinating! Maybe I need to look into that book a little more closely.

    • Hi Kelly,

      Do you know how long it took those of us of a certain generation, to get used to calling it a ‘snickers’ bar, when throughout our younger years it was always a ‘marathon’ bar!!

      Since I first put the post together and came across snickerdoodles on your site, I have checked out a few more recipes and I can’t believe the amount of different takes there are on one food item. There seems to be no concensus amongst the cooks and bakers out there, about what they should look or taste like, crunchiness, texture etc. I think that even I might be able to rustle up a batch of these, after all, who’s to know if I am right or wrong 🙂
      ——————
      ‘The Dew Breaker’ was written some ten or so years ago, however it does sound like a great read, if more than a little violent. I can’t make up my mind whether to give it a try or not, however I have never read anything with a story centred around Haiti before, so as a cultural experience, it will probably be quite illuminating.

      Thanks for stopping by and for the use of your photograph, I appreciate both 🙂

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      I have to admit that some snickerdoodle recipe results look more appetizing than others and I personally like my biscuits, whatever variety they be, with quite a bit of crunch to them, so I too wouldn’t be eating too many of the softer more chewy variety.

      I could obviously have worked out the basic meaning of craniopagus, from the synopsis of the book, however I found the definitive medical condition description, so interesting. Also, the fact that in co-joined twins, one could be so much smaller than the other was new to me. This article published in 2015, introduces Ronnie and Donnie from Ohio US, who at 64, are the World’s longest living co-joined twins ..

      http://aplus.com/a/ronnie-donnie-conjoined-twins

      Thanks or stopping by, I always appreciate your comments 🙂

    • Hi Kathy,

      This from Wikipedia …

      “The Joy of Cooking claims that snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, and that the name is a corruption of the German word Schneckennudel (“snail noodles”), a kind of pastry. It is also possible that the name is simply a nonsense word with no particular meaning, originating from a New England tradition of whimsical cookie names.” …

      Although a couple of English cooks have featured snickerdoodle recipes in their books and on their shows, I doubt that you would find many folks on the street who would have ever come across the name, here in the UK.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by, I always appreciate your comments and that you continue to host WWW 🙂

    • Hi Barbara,

      I promise it is by sheer coincidence (you can check my Goodreads stats.), but your comment about the dew breaker excerpt, I read the evening before I reached the point in your own book, ‘Flowers For The Dead’ (which I am totally absorbed with and ‘enjoying’, if that’s the right word), where creepy Adam is out in the garden of his house, in the early hours of the morning

      “He lets go of his hair, forces his tense muscles to uncoil, and heads into the garden. Perhaps he can rediscover peace there. The dawn light is still dim as he steps into the cold December air, so sharp he can smell it. There was a frost overnight, and now the ground is iron hard beneath his feet. Everything is white. Each delicate vein on the remaining leaves is trimmed with frost, their soft curves sharpened. Blades of grass are outlined perfectly as stark white shards. Where he treads there comes the gentlest of crunches as the crystals give beneath his weight.”

      Surely Adam is every bit as dangerous as a Haitian torturer?

      Thanks for stopping by, always great to recieve your comments and have a good weekend 🙂

  • I love these words. I only knew snickerdoodle (which I haven’t eaten in a while, but remember is quite tasty, as I like cinnamon-based desserts). The background to ‘dew breakers’ was fascinating. And I’d like to look into more of Danticat’s work; I’ve read only one of her short stories, Lele, which I liked very much – it was a sad, atmospheric story.

    I also want to wish you a happy New Year; I took a short break from blogging during December but now am getting back into it, and I look forward to reading your bookish thoughts this year 🙂

    • Hi Hila,

      A belated Happy New Year to you also, although it is so nice to have things back to normal and to actually know what day of the week it is!

      I hope that you enjoyed your short blogging break and that you have re-charged your batteries ready for the coming year. My own blogging schedule has taken something of a battering of late and I have been so tempted to throw it all in, as I just seem unable to cope with keeping on top of posts and comments, let alone my lamentable amount of reading. I am going to give it a couple more weeks and see how I feel about things then.

      I love cinnamon based sweets and desserts, although to be fair, I have quite a sweet tooth and will enjoy almost anything sweet and tasty! I do however, tend to enjoy my biscuits slightly more on the crunchy side and some of the recipes I have come across for snickerdoodles, seem to end up with an almost cake like biscuit. Kelly’s was one of the more appetising looking batch of biscuits that I came across.

      Edwidge Danticat is a new to me author, however I can see why her books have achieved such high acclaim and reviews on just about every site. As a piece of social commentary, much of it about her native Haiti and personal relationships, her books sound like compulsive reading and Edwidge is an author I definitely need to follow.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good week 🙂

    • Hi Naida,

      I do feel a bit of a fraud sometimes, when so many of my new to me words, come courtesy of fellow bloggers and it is they who have gone to the trouble of discovering them in the first place. However, I am even more amazed at the amount of new words I come across on such a regular basis, it is definitely true that you never stop learning, so long as you have an open and receptive mindset!

      I also come across an impressive array of new authors and just wish I had the time to read something by each of them. Edwidge Danticat definitely falls into that category, although I am not quite sure that The Dew Breaker would be my first choice of her books. She has written some real works of social commentary by the sound of things, with many of the storylines sounding a little more emotionally charged.

      I have to stop checking back to Kelly’s picture, when folks leave comments about snickerdoodles, as they really do look quite scrummy 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope that you are well 🙂

Written by Yvonne

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