Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Put a wreath on it!

Wreaths are traditional decorations to celebrate the winter holidays but in the new book Wreath Recipe by Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo many other seasons and materials are explored. Although the book is divided into seasons and materials for the season, there is an introduction that is all about the underpinnings. Things like tools needed, branch cutting techniques, and attachment techniques are addressed. The photography in this book is outstanding, clear and colorful. How about a summer wreath of apple branches, buddleia, yarrow and ivy, wouldn't that be beautiful?  The wreath featured on the cover of the book is beautiful, with liquidambar leaves, callicarpa berries, asters and rose hips. Where can we get these materials, you might ask. The authors say although many materials can be foraged, your local florist or nursery will also have either have them or know where you could order them. All in all, very inspiring! ML

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Great Green Room

June Andersen, a successful banker in New York City, has inherited a children’s bookstore. Bluebird Books was a fixture in Seattle and great-aunt Ruby managed it for over sixty years. June must return to Seattle, and her estranged family, to settle Ruby’s estate. She is forced to take a deep look at her childhood and her relationship with her mother and sister. While working in the bookstore she discovers a bunch of old letters linking her aunt to Margaret Wise Brown, the well-known author of Goodnight Moon. She also uncovers some secrets her clever Aunt Ruby hid for many years. Goodnight June by Sarah Jio offers us a what-if glimpse into the origin of a classic children’s book. DB

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Adoption and Fostering

Molly Ayer, a foster child, has to do fifty-plus hours of community service to stay out of juvenile detention. She reluctantly agrees to help an elderly widow, Vivian Daly, clean out her attic. Vivian really doesn’t want to get rid of anything and she spends time with Molly reminiscing over old items in her trunks. It turns out that Vivian, an Irish immigrant, was orphaned in New York in the 1920’s and sent by train to the Midwest to be adopted. Molly finds out that she and Vivian have quite a bit in common, and an unlikely friendship blossoms. This story is based on the orphan trains that ran west from New York between 1854 and 1929. Orphan Train: a novel  by Christina Baker Kline  provides an thoughtful look at immigration and adoption in the recent past. DB  

Monday, November 3, 2014

If you can't travel to Paris...

Is the thought of making French food too intimidating for you? Do you think it would be too fussy, to fancy, too...well, French! Dorie Greenspan is here to help you. She is the author of many cookbooks, and her blog, www.doriegreenspan.com , was named one of the top fifty food blogs in the world by the Times of London. Her newest lovely book, which is owned by OPL, is called Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere.
My own personal pet peeve is no photos in cookbooks, so this one is a treat, with many glossy close-ups. The range of baking is covered here, from cake and cookies to tarts, galettes, and so much more. The emphasis is on clear directions and while not ultra simple, the experienced home cook should have no trouble. Hmm, what shall I bake first? Should it be fancy like Gingerbread Buche de Noel, or a little simpler like Limoncello Cupcakes or Jam-Filled Sandwich Cookies? The book comes in at a hefty 460 pages, so there should be no problem finding something. mmmmm...ML

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Bones of a Saint

Saint Brigid's Bones: A Celtic Adventure, is a novel about the world of ancient Ireland, where Christianity and paganism are existing side by side. St. Brigid's bones have been stolen from the small monastery in Kildare that she established and the sisters face a cold winter. In ancient times pilgrims would make a prayer journey to a monastery and pray in the presence of saintly bones, and make a financial offering. Without the bones, the sisters will have no income, so a young nun, Sister Deirdre is assigned the task of finding them. She is appealing, a bit of a rebel, and comes from a family of pagans and singers, a noble family. This novel is written by a historian, Philip Freeman, and the history is rich and colorful, with sympathetic characters. For those history lovers! ML

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Million Dollar Prize

When your mother, the most remarkable female mathematician in history, dies your world becomes skewed in more ways than one. Alexander Karnokovitch wants to put his mother to rest privately, but it is not to be.  Many colleagues from around the world intend to come and pay their last respects to the remarkable Rachela, and they will not be swayed. Of course it is rumored that she has solved a famous mathematical problem and that solution may be hidden in her home. As the math crowd descends on Madison, Wisconsin—Alexander (Sasha) has to deal with their demanding personalities in addition to his grief. The Mathematician’s Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer is a funny, introspective, and enlightening novel about academia and family life. DB

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fashion Fix-its

Is your favorite shirt old, worn  and torn? Rips, tears and snags are inevitable. Rather than ditch those damaged articles, learn how to mend them. Denise Wild of BurdaStyle magazine illustrates basic and advanced fix-it techniques that are sure to help you restore your clothes. The fashionable hints at the end of each chapter will help you add that extra zip to your duds.  Mend & Make Fabulous: sewing solutions & fashionable fixes will have you looking refreshed, repaired and ready to roll! DB