Thursday, January 17, 2019

Murder in Japan


 Newcomer, a mystery by Japanese writer by Keigo Higashino, features Det. Kyochiro Kaga of the Tokyo Police Department. His style is deceptively laid back, so people underestimate him, but he does some intricate and surprising investigating and of course, solves the case! The author is hugely popular in Japan, and also wrote The Devotion of Suspect X, the English translation of which was nominated for the 2012 Edgar Award for Best Novel and the 2012 Barry Award for Best First Novel.

Winter in New York

Isabel Allende's new book In the Midst of Winter, is a sweeping novel about three very different people who are brought together in a story that journeys from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil. In the Midst of Winter begins with a minor traffic accident--which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected  love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmaster--a 60-year-old human rights scholar--hits the car of Evelyn Ortega--a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala--in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor's house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz--a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile--for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a  story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia. Tender and surprising, this is a lovely read.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Fast and Delicious

Christopher Kimball has done a lot of cooking. He started cooking magazines and starred in a cooking show on public television. His new venture (after a messy divorce from his old company) is Milk Street Kitchen with a TV show and cookbooks. His new book is Milk Street Cooking: Tuesday Nights. This book emphasizes fast cooking, weeknight cooking and using spices for flavor. So the first chapter is titled Fast, and the next Faster. There are chapters for Pizza night, One Pot, and Supper Salads. While the choice of dishes are semi-traditional, the spices and combinations are not. Some of the dishes are for example, Braised Chickpeas and Spinach, Shrimp with Tamarind. Sweets are also included,(Raspberry-Pistachio Meringue anyone?) Delicious! ML

Drama in Edinburgh

Isabel Dalhousie is the main character in Alexander McCall Smith's new novel,The Quiet Side of Passion. This is the twelfth installment in this beloved series. Isabel grapples with her responsibilities of friends, family and work while dealing with matters of the heart. She must call once again on her kindness and intelligence to determine the right course of action. Lovely. ML

Living with Nature


In Stephen R. Kellert's book
 Nature By Design:The Practice of Biophilic Design several principals are explored. What is Biophilic Design, you might ask. Biophilia is the theory that people possess an inherent affinity for nature, which developed in the long years of human evolution. This need for nature is vital for human health and well being. So Biophilic design seeks to connect humans with nature, either by the design of the building using natural materials,or bringing light and using plants, to name a few. Many hospitals are incorporating garden design in their building to alleviate stress in patients and staff. With over one hundred striking photographs of Biophilic design, this is a beautiful book. ML

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Mysterious Inhertiance

After struggling to survive for a few years, Hal receives a letter informing her of an inheritance. It seems she has a family that her mother never mentioned. She has been named an heir to Mrs. Westaways’s estate. Hal could really use the money. But is she really related to these people? She wants to believe it, but then she realizes that it could all be a misunderstanding. She travels from London to meet with the other heirs. She begins to uncover many sinister secrets and a past that leaves her wondering who she really is. The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware is the story of deep, dark family secrets. DB

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

a little something on the side


Ed Smith's new cookbook, On the Side, addresses the perennial question, what do I serve for sides?
The author has a online website, Rocket and Squash, which is a food journal regularly updated with restaurant reviews and recipes. Sadly, it mostly refers to restaurants in London!
The book is organized into chapters of types of sides, for example greens, leaves and herbs, or roots, squash and potatoes, ect. A nice directory included for the cook is a list of main dishes, such as steak, and what goes with them. In the case of steak he lists 20 sides that would go with, including carrots with brown butter and hazelnuts, dijon-dressed green beans, and sherry cherry tomatoes. MMMM


Design by Nature by Erica Tanov is a beautiful book! The nature references abound, such as the chapters being divided into wood, water, weeds, ect. There are beautiful pictures of rooms and the scenes of nature that inspired them. Artists are also spotlighted throughout the book. Fabric designers, weavers and print makers are featured. This book is more inspirational than a straight ahead how-to book. The photographs are spectacular and well worth spending an hour "leafing" through this book.

In the days before cheap air travel, families didn't so much take vacations as survive them. Between home and destination lay thousands of miles and dozens of annoyances, and with his family Richard Ratay experienced all of them--from being crowded into the backseat with noogie-happy older brothers, to picking out a souvenir only to find that a better one might have been had at the next attraction, to dealing with a dad who didn't believe in bathroom breaks.
 Now, decades later, Ratay shows how family togetherness was eventually sacrificed to electronic distractions. In hundreds of amusing ways, he reminds us of what once made the Great American Family Road Trip so great, including twenty-foot "land yachts," oasis-like Holiday Inn "Holidomes," "Smokey"-spotting Fuzzbusters, 28 glorious flavors of Howard Johnson's ice cream, and the thrill of finding a "good buddy" on the CB radio. A rousing Ratay family ride-along, Don't Make Me Pull Over reveals how the family road trip came to be.