Monday, December 27, 2010

Fighting Brain Disease

This little book of 100 Simple Things just might give you a fighting chance against Alzheimer's. Some of the suggestions are as easy as eat berries every day and avoid inactivity. Others are more involved, like "get a higher education" and "have an interesting job." The bottom line? Make an effort and you might reap the rewards.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An Edible History

97 Orchard, by Jane Ziegelman, is a fascinating book! It is the story of five immigrant families who lived in one New York tenement building. I especially enjoyed reading about the women of different nationalities and how they coped with carrying water up flights of stairs for cooking and bathing, carrying babies up those same flights of stairs, and then shopping for groceries and carrying those up the same stairs. Then, to top off their days, these German, Irish, Italian and Jewish women cooked the food for their families. Some of my ancestors were German so I was interested in the recipes the Germans relied on each day.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sweet and Sultry

The new album by Sara Bareilles, Kaleidoscope Heart, follows the same vein as her first album, Little Voice. Her style varies throughout the album -- she has peppy hits and moody ballads. She's similar to artists like Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos, and she performed at the 2010 National Christmas Tree Lighting!

Monday, December 13, 2010

From Neck to Nothing

Nora Ephron is one of my favorite authors. She's funny, humble, and witty. You might know some of her work--she wrote the screenplays for When Harry Met Sally, You've Got Mail and Julie and Julia. Her essays are equally engaging. I Feel Bad about My Neck was just the beginning. She's back with a new collection, I Remember Nothing. Give her a read--and you'll have a hard time putting down the book.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Bold and Radical Partnership

Franklin and Eleanor: an Extraordinary Marriage by Hazel Rowley is a new, almost scholarly, look at a couple who seem to come alive in its pages. This is a well-documented account of the history and facts based on letters and other documents, of the couple who challenged conventional views of marriage and gave their all to their country. I especially enjoyed reading about Eleanor's feelings about sharing a house with her mother-in-law and her need for her own place. She and FDR eventually both had their own cottages on the Hyde Park property. There is an interesting undercurrent about the White House cook, chosen by Eleanor even though she couldn't cook anything worth eating. The details of FDR's negotiations in WW II are riveting. If you want to feel like you are experiencing the war or the depression, this is the book for you. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Unconventional Creativity

Julian Beever is no ordinary artist. His work takes hours of detailed sketching and planning before he begins the creation of the piece...which can be washed away in a matter of moments if the clouds should decide to burst! The incredibly realistic drawings stop people in their tracks and this book describes each piece from Julian's perspective.