Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Mysterious Mr. Clemens

Samuel Longhorn Clemens (also known as Mark Twain) declared that his autobiography could not be published for 100 years. In November of this year, a century will have passed and the first installment of the huge work (more than 5000 pages!) will be released to the public. Until then, you can get a glimpse into his life by reading Jerome Lovings' Mark Twain and gain perspective on the source of his "tragic laughter."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Charming Southern Novel

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, by Beth Hoffman came highly recommended to me and I recommend it to you. It is a wonderful and entertaining novel about a sad little girl who lived with and took care of her mentally ill mother but was eventually scooped up by her great aunt Tootie and taken to Savannah, GA, to live in a wonderful restored historic house. There are all the eccentric Southern characters you could want to find, pulling stunts that will make you smile, including a cook, Oleta, who assumes the role of CeeCee's first friend and caregiver. I was sorry to finish this book after being totally involved with the characters, the story and the setting.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Outbuildings Galore

Thinking about building additional storage for your outdoor treasures? Barns, Sheds, & Outbuildings is a great resource for ideas. It contains practical information about designing structures, foundations, framing, roofing, wiring and plumbing. The section with projects and plans has detailed drawings with dimensions. Great color photos accompany the detailed instructions for every step of the process, characteristic of Creative Homeowner Press books.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Going public with colon cancer story

As a one-year colorectal cancer survivor, I found Colon Cancer Survivor's Handbook, by Curtis Pesmen, riveting and informative. This isn't a subject that is fun to read about but the book is packed with helpful information as well as the very personal story of the author who was diagnosed at age 43 with Stage 3 rectal cancer. Doctors thought he'd already had the cancer for 5 years. He survived to write about it in Esquire and later publish the book which is now in its second printing. I recommend it to anyone who has been diagnosed with colon cancer and also to their family and friends. There are some good tips on what to say and what not to say to the patient!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cheese, Please!

Who doesn't love cheese? So many flavors, forms, textures, uses! We've just added two new books on the subject to the collection: Cheese Making and World Cheese Book. Here you get the whole spectrum: cheeses you can make in your own kitchen to be self-sufficient and a comprehensive guide to global varieties. That's a lot of cheese!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Make Preserves, Jams, Pickles and Cordials This Summer

Get your jam pot ready. The River Cottage Preserves Handbook by Pam Corbin will inspire you to pick and preserve the season's bounty. I especially liked the recipe for red currant jelly and sweet cucumber pickle but there are many others to choose from. The photos are gorgeous! This cookbook was originally published in Great Britain but this edition was edited for U.S. publication.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Some Like it Hot

Bumbling Bounty Hunter Stephanie Plum is no stranger to dangerous situations. But things hit a little too close to home in Janet Evanovich's 16th Plum installment, Sizzling Sixteen ,when Stephanie's sleazy boss, Vinnie, is kidnapped and held for ransom because of outstanding gambling debts. As much as Stephanie would like to leave Vinnie to the dogs who nabbed him, no Vinnie means no work. And no work means paycheck. And no paycheck means no new shoes (or no food or rent payments, for that matter). And, oh yeah, Vinnie is family... Stephanie teams up with former 'ho, Lula, and trigger-happy office manager, Connie, to find Vinnie--and in the process anger the wrong people. In the end, the good guys win and the bad guys are put behind bars for a long, long time. Add to the mix a Hobbit convention, a hungry alligator, a sexy male bounty hunter, and plenty of firepower. While Plum adventures aren't particularly deep, they're a fun way to pass an afternoon. And Sizzling Sixteen delivers in a big way!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Presumed Guilty

Prolific bestselling author Jodi Picoult tackles another difficult topic in her latest work, House Rules. Jacob Hunt is an 18-year-old who loves forensic science, knows all sorts of strange facts, and has a younger brother. Jacob also has Asperger's Syndrome and Jess, his tutor, has been murdered. All of the quirks that come with Jacob's autism make him look guilty. Even Jacob's family and lawyer aren't sure of his innocence--will the jury find the truth?

Friday, July 9, 2010

What is in your closet?

What to Wear for the Rest of your Life: Ageless Secrets of Style, by Kim Johnson Gross, is a look at your closet for the woman of a certain age. It is sometimes a bit redundant so you won't need to read every word to get the information you need. There are many hints, tips and stories about how to put together an outfit or collect a wardrobe. There are also personal stories of the author's experience surviving divorce and changing careers which are moderately interesting. The book is divided into sections such as: "mother of the bride or groom", "but you don't look like a grandmother" and "how to wear a shirt when you no longer have a waist". It is easy to find a chapter for your particular situation.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Many of my friends and coworkers access their Facebook accounts with startling regularity (some might deem them "addicted") and find it a useful tool for connecting with folks near and far. The Facebook Effect traces the path of the online phenom from its humble beginnings in a nineteen-year-old's dorm room to its current successful status in less than a decade.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

When a Scratch Could Kill You

Lauren Belfer's new novel, A Fierce Radiance, takes place in New York during WWII, with all the fears and uncertancies of that era. There are interweaving plots,a murder,a love affair, and death. The main storyline, however, is the development of penicillin. Before antibiotics, you could die of a scratch,an infection, the flu, or meningitis. Penicillin changed life as the people then knew it. Big drug companies were competing to see who could develop the technology to produce the drug because of the huge profits involved. The government was trying to control production to be able to use penicillin for it's armed forces. Although this sounds grim, the novel is a complex, interesting read.