Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Dirty Life

Kristin Kimball was a thirty-something writer living in New York City when she went to interview a farmer for an article. The farmer put her to work and also was handsome and interested. This precipitated a life change, moving to a farm and living with a partner. Kimball and her husband bought their own farm eventually,farmed with draft horses and raised and butchered their own meat. She describes the back breaking labor as well as the pleasures of farm life in this well written memoir, The Dirty Life: On Farming,Food, and Love.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Forgotten History

Kim Edwards, author of The Memory Keeper's Daughter, has created a compelling story about how ancestors' actions can have unforeseen long-lasting effects. In The Lake of Dreams, Lucy returns home after years abroad to tend to her mother and make tough decisions about her future. She discovers, locked away in a trunk, a beautiful hand-woven cloth with women's suffrage pamphlets. She's intrigued by the story behind the items, and her research reveals some painful truths about her own family which some would rather be left unearthed.

Friday, January 14, 2011

You can win!

Never Lose Again: Become a Top Negotiator by Asking the Right Questions by Steven Babitsky and James J. Mangraviti Jr. will help you with any situation from dealing with the phone company to buying a car or a condo. The two lawyer authors have a system of key questions that will allow you to make better deals. Starting with a general "how's everything going?" to wrapping up a deal with "How much do you estimate that will come out to?" this book guides you by examples.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Barbra's Style

You know Barbra Streisand for her performances on stage and screen. Did you know that she also loves architecture and design? She has shared personal photos of her homes and garden in A Passion for Design. This beautiful, large, coffee table book documents how she transformed her projects--from their humble beginnings to dramatic finishes, inside and out.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Witching Hour

Corrag, by Susan Fletcher takes place in 1692 as Corrag, a young woman jailed for her part in a massacre and suspected of being a witch, tells her story. Waiting for her death by fire, she tells Charles Leslie, a man investigating the crime, her life story. As she tells her story it is full of magic,heartbreak and love of the natural world. Leslie, who initially feels she deserves to die,is transformed by hearing her story. Historical note-The last execution of a so-called witch in Britain was in 1727. Over the previous three hundred years it is estimated that over 100,000 women stood trial, accused of witchcraft. If you listen to Corrag's story the injustice behind those statistics becomes apparent.

Southern mystery

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin is about a mystery of a girls disappearance,decades old. It's also about how paths not taken and things not said can change the course of a life. Larry Ott and Silas Jones played together as children,secretly, as one was black and one was white. More than twenty years have passed and Silas is a constable in the small southern town they grew up in. Larry (scary Larry) was never arrested for the girls disappearance,but stands all but convicted by the town. He leads a solitary life with no friends. When another girl goes missing past wrongs are confronted. This is a novel about the nature of friendship,and how choices can affect a life. Beautiful writing and a complex plot elevate this above the standard mystery. ML

Monday, January 3, 2011

Efficiency in 2011

Perhaps one of your resolutions this year is to reduce your energy use. Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audits has 140 simple solutions to help you achieve that goal. Many of the tips are common sense reminders (as in: "Do Not Sightsee in the Refrigerator" and "Turn Off Lights When Not in Use") and others are more labor-intensive ("Use an Outdoor Clothes Dryer" and "Add More Insulation"). Every little bit counts--and adds to your savings account!