Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nothing but the truth...

Ken Jennings, best known as “Jeopardy” champion extraordinaire, has taken on an awesome task in his latest best-selling book Because I said so! : the truth behind the myths, tales and warnings every generation passes down to its kids. Remember all those old adages your parents referred to constantly when you were growing up? The ones like "What if your friends all jumped off a cliff?" and "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye!" and more seriously, "Your face will freeze like that!" Well Ken has decided to test the waters and find what truth, if any, exists in these old sayings. The book is cleverly written, includes a truth scale and will definitely take you back to your childhood. Enjoy this de-bunking of age-old myths before you decide to pass any wisdom on to future generations. DB    

Thursday, December 27, 2012


I’m going to write about a film because I watched a DVD that was so unusual and so enjoyable that I just have to share.  You may not have noticed it but the Library has been purchasing more International films – award winning films from Cannes, the Toronto Film Festival, Academy Award nominees and more.  Amelie is an award winning French film starring Audrey Tautou, and by award winning I mean that it has been nominated for over 100 awards and won over 50!  It’s the story of a young, innocent girl who leads a sheltered and yet fantastical life.  Once she comes of age she sets off for the city and slowly becomes involved in changing other people’s lives.  The plot of the movie leads up to the question of whether she can change her own life as well. There are many funny scenes and Audrey Tautou does a fantastic job as the main character.  A bit of trivia – “In the opening credits, the girl playing Amélie as a child is shown doing various things. If you give a careful look at these activities, you'll find they illustrate the credits shown at the same time” (IMDB).  SG

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Curious Christmas

An off-beat newcomer and her strange shop threaten to upset the well-being of Parrish Springs just before the holidays. Matilda Honeycutt whirls into town, buys the old Barton Building on Main Street and opens what she claims is a Christmas shop, but appears to be filled with junk. The local merchants put up a fuss and aim to run her out of business, but the folks that enter her shop seem to leave transformed. They come away with items that are meaningful and remind them of the past. Things get more and more curious the closer it comes to Christmas. The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson is a short, inspirational read that will definitely warm your heart. Happy Holidays! DB

Friday, December 14, 2012

Gingerbread Goodies

One of the best parts of the holidays is the food, especially cookies—gingerbread ones! If you’ve got the time, The Gingerbread Book edited by Allen D. Bragdon has got the ideas. In addition to cookies, ornaments and all kinds of houses there are step-by-step instructions for game-boards, boxes and special centerpieces. You can play chess or checkers and snack on the pieces later. The book also includes a history of gingerbread and suggestions for springtime snacks. Happy Baking! DB   

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets, One Helping Hand at a Time by Carissa Phelps is Carissa’s story and so much more.  By the time she was twelve she had run away from home, dropped out of school and found herself trapped in the brutal life on the streets.  After being in and out of juvenile hall the kindness of one of her teachers, as well as others, pushed her to transform herself into a graduate of UCLA with both a law and business degree.  Now she’s back on the streets helping other at-risk kids.  Her story is riveting not only because it shows you what happens to these battered and broken kids on the street but because it gives you hope that we can affect change for the better. SG

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fashion through the ages.

Fashion, the clothes we wear, affect everyone. Mark Twain said it best "naked people have little or no influence on society." Messages about status,class, age and type of work are all conveyed by the clothes we wear. A man in a suit appears very different than a man in blue jeans. A woman can wear a pencil skirt and heels and then appear very different in sweats and Uggs.
We have a new reference book in the library called Fashion : The Definitive History Of Costume And Style. Published by DK in cooperation with the Smithsonian this book is lavishly illustrated with drawings,paintings,art objects and photos.
Each chapter explores an era, from the first (Prehistory-600CE) to the last (1980 Onward) Interesting to me was how simple clothes were in the earliest eras, tunics and draped rectangles of cloth) to the splendor of the Renaissance and the comfort of our modern clothes. Also, for the sewing buff are many small details of costume that are explored with close up photos.  One minor criticism is this covers the western world and not Asia or Africa.  However, this is just a fabulous book, come in and spend an hour setting in one of our comfortable chairs and look to your hearts content! ML

Monday, December 10, 2012

For the Dogs

The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs is a compendium of essays, cartoons, and articles spanning the New Yorker's impressive back catalog.  From the good and the bad to the top dogs and the under dogs, works by James Thurber, John Updike, Roddy Doyle and E. B. White (to name but a few) explore our sometimes rocky but always entertaining relationship with man's best friend.  Includes a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.  HM

Fact or Fantasy?

In Graham Joyce's novel Some Kind of Fairy Tale,we are told a story from a few points of view. The beginning; Christmas day as an older couple sets down to a quiet and sumptuous meal. A knock on the door, it's their daughter Tara, disappeared for twenty years and presumed dead. Their shock turns to dismay and anger as she recounts her story. She was lured away by a man on a white horse to the land of fairy, and to her mind, gone six months. She does look amazingly young! Her brother who has mourned her passing,her boyfriend who was suspected of her murder and her parents try to cope with her insistence on the truth of her story. She is sent to a therapist who thinks she suffers from amnesia. Who is telling the truth? The writing is well done with multiple points of view. There is a twist of plot at the end that makes us wonder. I loved this combination of mystery and fantasy that seems realistic along with characters that are very well developed. I read this in one very late night! ML

Friday, December 7, 2012

With the holidays approaching we all see the commercials on television showing groups of people laughing and chit chatting with family and friends.  Over and over we're told that this is desirable, but if you're like me (an introvert) then you might actually look at that scene and say "umm, no thanks!"  Don't get me wrong - I love people, love talking to people and love going out.  But while an extrovert will get energized by an evening of chit chat and socializing it just leaves me exhausted.  The Introvert's Way: Living A Quiet Life in a Noisy World by Sophia Dembling was highly enjoyable because it showed me that there's nothing wrong with being an introvert and that I'm not unsociable but "enjoy recharging through time alone."  Some of the described behaviors had me laughing out loud and whether you are an introvert or extrovert this book will be a fun read that will teach you much about human nature. SG

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Handmade for the Holidays

If you’re looking for some unique ideas for handmade gifts, or just want to wrap a present in a eye-catching way, check out Paper Made! 101 Exceptional Projects to Make Out of Everyday Paper by Kate Terry. She discusses materials and techniques in the first two chapters and devotes the other four to cool projects for Home, Fashion, Office and Entertaining. There are lots of clever card and gift wrapping ideas. You could even get the kids working on something special for friends, teachers, or relatives. The best thing is--most of these things are already in your home! These suggestions are sure to get your own creative juices flowing. DB

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bratty and Brilliant...

Yes, bratty and brilliant does describe 11 year old Flavia de Luce,amateur chemist,aspiring poisoner and all around oddball. In a series of books Allan Bradley has explored Flavia and the mysteries surrounding her:the crumbling mansion in which she and her father and sisters live,her mother's unexplained death and why her sisters hate her.  Actual mysteries happen also, people getting bumped off with alarming regularity, which Flavia solves despite the adults trying to get her out of the way. Flavia is the narrator so we see how her mind works, trying to understand the world around her.
All of this drama takes place in the fifties,in the small British town of Bishop's Lacey and Flavia's decrepit home, Buckshaw. 
Written with wit and perception, the latest in the series, Speaking From Among the Bones is due to be published in January. ML

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Journey

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is an unusual story by Rachel Joyce that has been getting a lot of interest lately and so I decided to give it a try.  It's not my typical read but I have to say I enjoyed the story which I can only describe as charming.  Harold, recently retired from the job he's had for many years, receives a letter from a past coworker and on his way to the mailbox decides he's going to walk 500 miles to deliver it in person.  With just the shoes on his feet (and not even his cell phone) he takes off, leaving his wife totally astounded!  There's much more to this story than I'm telling but that's basically the gist of it.  Join Harold on his unlikely pilgrimage.  SG

Monday, November 26, 2012

Read, Repeat

Still Alice by Lisa Genova is another World Book Night (WBN) selection for book givers.  I’m trying to work my way through the entire 30 title list from WBN as they all look like great titles.  I’ve actually read quite a few on the list and after I got half way through Still Alice I realized I had in fact read it already, probably when it was first published in 2007.  It’s the 2008 winner of the Bronte Prize and was a New York Times bestseller so you know it’s going to be a good read and I fully enjoyed it the second time around.  It’s the story of Alice, a fifty-something Harvard psychology professor, who develops early onset Alzheimer’s disease.  As the disease progresses you see how it affects her life and touches her friends and family.  What could be a sad and depressing book is actually very compelling and moving.  This would make an excellent book discussion selection and it certainly gives you a lot to think about. SG

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful Thinking

Anne Lamott, a San Francisco based “people’s” author has written her eighth book, just in time for the holidays. Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers is a tiny thought-provoking read. While her discourse tends to be somewhat autobiographical, it includes beliefs with widespread appeal. Lamott has successfully addressed alcoholism, Christianity, depression, and single-motherhood in her previous books. Her insight is contemporary, enlightened and humorous. This book is a great little tool for some quiet reflection. DB

Friday, November 16, 2012

They're Coming to Take You Away . . .

Truthfully, I don't get to read as often as I would like -- and when I do, it usually takes me weeks to get through a book.  I read Jennifer McMahon's Don't Breathe a Word in 2 days because I honestly could not put it down.  Fifteen years ago, Lisa was a dreamy twelve year-old who went missing in the woods behind her house after claiming that she was going to live with the fairies.  Now she's back, and it's up to her brother and his girlfriend to figure out what exactly happened to her -- even if that means delving into some deep, dark family secrets.  HM

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My "To Read" List Keeps on Growing

Detroit City is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an American Metropolis by Mark Binelli is on my must read list.  Just released November 13th the book shows Detroit hitting rock bottom with crime, poverty and ruin and catches a glimpse of Detroits future as a greener, economically diverse (and better functioning) city.  Detroit City Is the Place to Be is one of Publishers Weekly's Top 10 Best Books of 2012.

Next on my list is Justin Cronin's The Twelve.  If you haven't read the first book in this series - do so!  The Passage is an apocalyptic novel of man's own manufacture and the story of a young girl, Amy, who is destined to save the world.  The Passage was named one of the ten best novels of the year (2010) by Time, Library Journal, The Washington Post, NPR and more.

I'm seeing a trend in my 'to read' list.  It looks like I lean towards the best books of the year.  I do have a few other titles on my list including the Oxford Public Library Book Club selection (December 5th meeting at 1:00 pm if you are interested!):  In The Sea There Are Crocodiles Based on the True Story of Enaiatollah Akbari by Fabio Geda - the story of a young ten-year-old boy from a small village in Afghanistan.  When the Taliban takes over his mother moves him to Pakistan but has to leave him.  He makes his way on his own through Iran, Turkey and Greece before he finally gets politcal asylum in Italy at the age of 15.

If you read my earlier post about J.D. Robb you know I'm working my way through the 30 plus books in her In Death series (I'm up to number 13).  On my Overdrive downloadable book list is 101 Things to do With Pudding!  SG

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A World Book Night Selection

World Book Night U.S. (WBN) is a celebration of books and reading held on April 23, when volunteers across America give a total of half a million books to those who don’t regularly read.   WBN provides the free books and registered book givers receive 20 free paperback copies of one World Book Night title, to share with potential new readers.  If you would like more information visit

The book selections for 2013 World Book Night have been announced.  One selection is Playing for Pizza by John Grisham:  Rick Dockery is the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually gets into the game. With a seventeen-point lead and minutes to go, Rick provides what is arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he becomes a national laughingstock—and is immediately cut by the Browns and shunned by all other teams. But all Rick knows is football, and he insists that his agent find a team that needs him. Against enormous odds, Rick finally gets a job—as the starting quarterback for the Mighty Panthers . . . of Parma, Italy. The Parma Panthers desperately want a former NFL player—any former NFL player—at their helm. And now they’ve got Rick, who knows nothing about Parma (not even where it is) and doesn’t speak a word of Italian. To say that Italy—the land of fine wines, extremely small cars, and football americano—holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery would be something of an understatement.  A fun novel about overcoming adversity and about doing something you love. (copyright 2012 World Book Night) SG

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sugar Nation

Sugar Nation: the hidden truth behind America's deadliest habit and the simple way to beat it by Jeff O'Connell is a shortcut to a better life. Jeff is a journalist that has specialized in health and fitness as a writer and editor. He knew nothing about type 2 diabetes until he found out that his estranged father had lost a leg to the disease. At his physical a week later he discovered that diabetes was possibly also in his future. He began a mission to hold off diabetes as long as possible by doing research, conducting interviews, and using his own body as a guinea pig to better understand blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. This was a great read and anyone following Jeff's suggestions is likely to become healthier as a result.      SAL

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Driving the Divas

Jayne Amelia Larson is an ivy-league educated actress/director who ran out of money and job opportunities. She decided to chauffeur to make ends meet. One of her most demanding yet intriguing assignments was driving a Saudi family around Los Angeles for seven weeks one summer. She describes the experience as enlightening, exhausting and unbelievable. Jayne’s stint as the only female chauffeur to some of the richest people in the world catapults her into an elite world of entitlement and privilege, but only as a spectator. DRIVING THE SAUDIS: A CHAUFFEUR'S TALE OF THE WORLD'S RICHEST PRINCESSES (PLUS THEIR SERVANTS, NANNIES, AND ONE ROYAL HAIRDRESSER) is a revealing read. DB

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Smitten with cooking

Deb Perelman loves to cook. She isn’t a chef or a restaurant owner—she’s never even waitressed. Cooking in her tiny Manhattan kitchen was, at least at first, for special occasions—and, too often, an unnecessarily daunting venture. Deb found herself overwhelmed by the number of recipes available to her. Have you ever searched for the perfect birthday cake on Google? You’ll get more than three million results. Where do you start? What if you pick a recipe that’s downright bad?
So Deb founded her award-winning blog, Smitten Kitchen, on the premise that cooking should be a pleasure, and that the results of your labor can—and should—be delicious . . .  every time. Deb is a firm believer that there are no bad cooks, just bad recipes. She has dedicated herself to creating and finding the best of the best and adapting the recipes for the everyday cook.
And now, with the same warmth, candor, and can-do spirit her blog is known for, Deb presents her first cookbook: more than 100 recipes—almost entirely new, plus a few favorites from the site—all gorgeously illustrated with hundreds of her beautiful color photographs.Enriched Content Provided by Syndetics

I'm dead anyway...

 Arthur Cathcart considered himself a lucky man. A self-proclaimed nerd and a meticulous market researcher, he somehow won the affections of the lovely Florencia, owner of an insurance-brokerage firm, and their marriage was solid and happy, built on mutual respect, admiration, and love. Then his world implodes. He survives the carnage but decides to let the world assume he's dead, the better to stay safe while he tries to discover what happened and who's responsible. Chris Knopf, in Dead Anyway crafts a high-energy, very savvy thriller. Connecticut-based Cathcart has no time for police procedure and instead acts on his instincts, using his research skills to help him find the way and even becoming a badass when necessary. The novel generates enormous tension, and the mild-mannered number-cruncher is definitely an appealing hero. It's unclear if the novel is intended to be a stand-alone, or if it will launch a new series, but we'd very much like to see more of the engaging Cathcart.-- Booklist

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Literary Life

What would you do to have it all? That is exactly what Frances Thorpe has to answer when a random encounter with a dying woman gives her a chance to fulfill her dreams. Frances is a shy editorial assistant for a London’s Questioner newspaper. She has put in her time but nothing seems to be moving in the right direction. While returning to London one rainy evening she notices an accident. Since the road is basically deserted, she stops to help. She calls emergency and speaks with Alys, the accident victim, until the crew arrives. After making a statement to the patrol officers, she picks up her dull life once again. Frances is contacted by a sergeant and informed of Alys' passing. The family would like to meet Frances and thank her for her assistance. When she agrees to this, Frances’ life begins to change. Alys, Always by Harriet Lane is a twisting tale about coming to terms with grief and pursuing an aspiration. Intriguing. DB

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Death, Politics, and Roadtrips

Fascinated by presidential killings and their public commemoration, author and NPR contributor Sarah Vowell helms a whirlwind tour of American history in Assassination Vacation.  She visits sites and artifacts related to Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley -- all the while weaving in her trademark humor and social commentary.  If you like this title, check out some of Vowell's other books -- The Partly Cloudy Patriot, The Wordy Shipmates, and Unfamiliar Fishes.  HM

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Million Death Quake - The Science of Predicting Earth’s Deadliest Natural Disaster by Roger Musson.  “Million Death Quake” makes quite the headline, doesn’t it?  Roger Musson has been studying earthquakes for three decades and tells you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about earthquakes (and tsunamis).  This book is a scientific look at seismology including how it is used as a way to monitor nuclear testing.  If you don’t think you are interested I want to share an interesting quote from chapter 6:  “There has even been speculation that some ancient societies were so weakened by the effect of a disastrous earthquake that they collapsed altogether…”  But proceed with caution.  As Musson explains – as seen in Peru in the 1980s the consequences of earthquake prediction can be an economic disaster (and result in a lot of embarrassed scientists). SG

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Questioning Catholic

Jenny McCarthy may be too young to have her say, but she doesn’t let that stop her. The outspoken actress, former playboy bunny and best-selling author speaks her mind in Bad Habits: confessions of a recovering Catholic. McCarthy grew up on the south side of Chicago, in a working -class neighborhood. She was one of four girls. Jenny attended Catholic schools and eventually went off to college and then on to bigger but not always better things. She writes about questions that have plagued her along the way: choices, God, and traditional practices. Although the book is funny and often offensive it is none-the-less direct. McCarthy has come to terms with her life experiences, her religion and her relationship with the Divine. If you are looking for your own answers consider reading this work.DB

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hungry Girl!

Attention Hungry Girl Fans – Lisa Lillien has a new book out Hungry Girl to the Max! The Ultimate Guilt-Free Cookbook.  For those of you who don’t know her Lisa Lillien, aka Hungry Girl, is the star of the hit cooking show Hungry Girl which airs on both the Food Network and Cooking Channel.  She also has a free daily email service which can be found at  She’s written six N.Y. Times bestsellers – my favorite being the Hungry Girl Supermarket Survival book.  This new book H.G. to the Max! is a cookbook with over 650 recipes including meatless meals, single-serving recipes and dishes with five ingredients or less.  She includes meatless recipes and her pasta dishes are fantastic, ranging from a mere 141 calories to a little over 300 per serving.   At 290 calories the Hungry Girlfredo White Lasagna is a must try, but my vote is for the Chicken Girlfredo pizza.  Next up I’ll be trying the Crazy Glazy Roast Pork Tenderloin which has a simple marinade and the added bonus of a glaze that includes cranberry sauce, apricot preserves, rice vinegar and balsamic vinegar.  Making you hungry yet?  Then you'd better check this book out!  SG

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Emotions against facts.

A man is found poisoned to death in his home a few days after he announced to his wife his desire for them to separate. Tokyo detective Kusanagi and his partner begin to round up the suspects, with the jilted wife as the leading contender. Was it the girlfriend, the business associate, or a random act of violence? The solution eludes the investigators until physics professor Yukawa, known as Detective Galileo, is introduced to the case. But even his brilliant mind can't seem to connect all the pieces. VERDICT This intricate, sophisticated story will pique the interest of the most avid mystery readers, especially those who loved the author's acclaimed The Devotion of Suspect X. With this new book,Salvation of a Saint, Higashino has taken the art and craft of mystery writing to a new level of excellence.  Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC

So many kitchens,so little time.

Photographer Todd Selby is back, this time focusing his lens on the kitchens, gardens, homes, and restaurants of more than 40 of the most creative and dynamic figures working in the culinary world today. He takes us behind the scenes with Noma chef Rene Redzepi in Copenhagen; to Tokyo to have a slice with pizza maker Susumu Kakinuma; and up a hilltop to dine at an inn without an innkeeper in Valdobbiadene. Each profile is accompanied by watercolor illustrations and a handwritten questionnaire, which includes a signature recipe. Reveling in the pleasures of a taco at the beach, foraging for wild herbs, and the art of the perfectly cured olive, Selby captures the food we love to eat and the people who passionately grow, cook, pour, and serve these incredible edibles every day in his book Edible Selby.  by Syndetics

Friday, October 5, 2012

Puppy Love

Rachel Hale captures pure “amour” in her newest book SNOG: A Puppy’s Guide to Love. She provides sixty adorable photos of puppies: snoozing, playing and posing.  Proverbs and quotes about love match the images and provide humor and insight. Every picture is sure to tug at your heartstrings. If her work looks familiar, you may have seen it on various greeting cards or calendars. She has been perfecting her talent since 1995. Cuddle up and enjoy! DB

Thursday, October 4, 2012

New and Notable

Most of us stick to the authors we know and love and libraries are always cautious when purchasing a book written by an unknown author.  The August issue of BookPage (available in print for free at Oxford Public Library!) has a feature article on debut novelists and I’m happy to report that not only do we own a few of the titles (7 out of the 9 reviewed as must reads) but that these books have been pretty popular with our patrons.  I haven’t read these books yet as they are always checked out but according to the article “Start at the Very Beginning” Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann is “one of the most anticipated novels of the summer season, and rightly so.”  Carol Rifka Brunt’s Tell the Wolves I’m Home “is so good, there’s no need to grade on a curve.”  In City of Women by David R. Gillham, we find a novel “full of sharp twists, sex, muddy morals and a Berlin that breathes.”  Other must read debuts include A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson, The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay, Mountains of the Moon by I.J. Kay and Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead.  SG

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Trick or Treat in Style!

Halloween is fast approaching. But never fear, there’s still time to decorate
your house and get together a cool costume. We have several titles that will get your creative juices flowing and still leave you with some pocket change. Super-Simple Creative Costumes by Sue Astroth features easy costumes and accessories that involve a few stitches and some fusing. This book has many colorful pictures and includes patterns.

The No-Sew Costume Book by Michaeline Bresnahan and Joan Macfarlane lists the instructions for making 41 costumes out of poster board, foam, trash bags and sewing notions. The authors find some really interesting uses for items lying around the house. The costumes are both cute and cheap,    
a winning combination.

Cathie Filian’s book, Bow Wow Wow: Fetching Costumes for your Fabulous Dog has directions for making about 30 costumes for your four-legged friends. There is a size chart for pets of all sizes. Many of the costumes have a sew-or-glue option. These ideas are guaranteed to make you smile. Happy Halloween! DB

Monday, October 1, 2012

Read a Banned Book!

In 1937, writer and ethnographer Zora Neale Hurston published her greatest work to little fanfare -- Their Eyes Were Watching God was largely ignored, and was even viewed as tawdry.  Decades later, scholars and readers rediscovered her classic and fell under the spell of its heroine, Janie Crawford, a strong-willed African-American woman who narrates the passionate and tragic events of her life in 1930s Florida.  It is now regarded as one of the most important works in 20th century African American literature.

Their Eyes Were Watching God is just one of many books that the American Library Association has recorded as being banned or challenged by various groups -- check out our Banned Books display in the Adult Department.  HM

Cooking Michigan

I was just going through our cooking section looking for old or damaged books and I noticed all the many cultures represented, such as Greece, India or Italy. Also there are titles exploring the different areas of our country; many about Southern cooking, Tex-Mex and the Southwest area. What I also noted,was the fact we had some about cooking in Michigan! Our Michigan: ethnic tales and recipes by Carole Eberly is a slim volume that explores Michigan's immigrants and the recipes they brought that reminded them of home.
A different avenue is taken in Savor Michigan Cookbook: Michigan's Finest Restaurants Their Recipes & Their Histories by Chuck and Blanch Johnson. Published in 2007, some of these restaurants aren't around anymore, but their recipes live on. The Lark, a wonderful restaurant this writer had the privilege of going to is represented as is Five Lakes Grill in Milford, The Earle in Ann Arbor and The Riverside Inn in Leland.(Yes! I ate there too!)

Best of the Best from Michigan is selected recipes from  local cookbooks such as Junior League cookbooks, Michigan Farm and Garden, and titles such as Cranbrook Reflections and Mucky Duck Mustard Cookbook.
Well I can hardly wait to start cooking Cornish pasties, baked Michigan navy beans and homemade sauerkraut. Savor Michigan and Bon Appetit! ML

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lethal Legacy

In Lethal Legacy by Irene Hannon, Kelly Warren never believed her father committed suicide. She has found new evidence and brought it to the police. When Kelly has a life-threatening event of her own, Detective Cole Taylor digs deeper looking for further evidence. He discovers information linked to a long buried secret that Kelly didn't even know. Will they be able to discover the truth while keeping Kelly safe?     SAL

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Welcome to the Feast!

It's seventeenth-century England, and John's mother is accused of witchcraft. The two flee their village to seek refuge in the woods, where she imparts to him knowledge of an ancient ritual, a great feast celebrating the gifts of the earth. She dies from starvation shortly thereafter, and John is sent to work at Buckland Manor, where his innate culinary gift is discovered. He cooks for the lord of the manor, for visiting nobles, even for the king, and eventually rises to the position of head cook. When the lord's daughter, Lucretia, refuses to eat, John cooks to entice her out of her fast. The two fall in love, but the English Civil War ensues, and Lucretia is already promised in marriage. Pagan and Christian traditions collide in John Saturnall's Feast by Lawrence Norfolk, a sweeping tale of love and legend. Beautiful imagery and captivating details bring the story to life, while descriptions of culinary treats make one's mouth water. Norfolk's unique and sensuous blending of history and myth will appeal to those who love Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall (2009) as well as to his own devotees.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A little glimpse at Heaven

If you're looking for some thought provoking concepts about the hereafter, this book may be it. Concetta Bertoldi, author and psychic medium, has published her third work entitled Inside the Other Side. In it she describes how her ability to contact the deceased has allowed her to help the living. She shares thoughts, inspirations and comforting stories about her audiences and select readings. She talks about life lessons, soul contracts, soul link groups and the connection between this world and the next. The book is definitely informative and uplifting.  DB

Friday, September 21, 2012

Knowledge is Power

You may have stopped by the Library and seen the beautiful reference books we have on display.  The book that started it all is Anatomica: The Complete Home Medical Reference Book.  Visually appealing, you can find illustrations on everything from “Infection: viral replication” to the illustrations of the brain.  Sounds strange I know, but you won’t be able to tear yourself away from browsing this book.  New to the collection is the revised and updated Michigan Trees: A Guide to the Trees of the Great Lakes Region.  If you come across a tree in Michigan you can refer to this book, which has illustrations of leaves, twigs, flowers and shoots and nuts.  Notes are sprinkled throughout.  For example did you know that hickories belong to the same family as walnuts?  Next on my list of visually appealing reference books is anything published by Dorling Kindersley, aka DK.  Stop by and check out their Smithsonian series of reference books, such as Earth or Animal.  For fun see if you can locate the pink-tailed skink (hint: an adorable little reptile).  SG

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Heartbreak and Loss

Fourteen-year-old June is a loner whose favorite activity is going to the woods in her lace-up boots and Gunne Sax dress and pretending she's a medieval falconer. It's the 1980s, and the only person who understands June is her gay uncle Finn, a famous artist dying of AIDS. June's visits with him in New York listening to Mozart and exploring the city have made her older sister Greta jealous. A popular girl with a starring role in the school musical, Greta treats June cruelly, hiding her devastation that they are no longer best friends. In the end, Finn's final creation, a portrait he painted of June and Greta, along with his secret lover, Toby, serve to unite the sisters. Carol Brunt's novel, Tell the Wolves I'm Home, is both a painful reminder of the ill-informed responses to a once little-known disease and a delightful romp through an earlier decade. Library Journals LLC

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sacrifice and Love

When the Kitchen God gets caught criticizing the Jade Emperor's management of Earth's affairs, his punishment is to uncover the mysterious workings of the human heart.  To achieve this, he decides to follow one couple, Bian Yuying and Hou Jinyi -- from the Japanese occupation, through Mao's Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, and ultimately to death -- telling their story of love, compassion, and forgiveness.  Sam Meekings' Under Fishbone Clouds is a beautifully written testament to the strength and power one can derive from love in the most desperate of conditions.  HM

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee is a fascinating look at compulsive hoarding and the disorder that affects millions of people.  Learn all about the psychology behind this compulsion and follow the stories of several sufferers as they slowly learn how to modify their behavior and live without obsessing about their stuff.  Drs Frost and Steketee have studied the hoarding phenomenon for over 15 years and they include children in their studies.  It is interesting to see how these problems arise in youngsters and how families handle this behavior.  A very readable psychological story it is recommended to anyone interested in the human mind, obsessive compulsive disorders or hoarding. SG

Monday, September 10, 2012

Flying Home

The flu, and the auto-immune disease that followed has killed just about everyone. The country has descended into chaos. To survive in this kind of world, one must do hard things, kill or be killed. And yet, Hig, the central character still yearns for love and connection among the brutal realities of life. The setting of this novel is a chillingly realistic, post-apocalyptic world, yet there is still beauty and hope. A fine storyteller and writer, Peter Heller's The Dog Stars will transport you to a different place. ML

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ready to Retire?

If you’re thinking about retiring in the near future, 65 notable people are willing to give you some sensible advice. Read what Gloria Steinem, Jimmy Carter, Jane Fonda and many others have to say about their “Golden Years”. This collection of thoughts and stories offers some insight and practical suggestions to those of us nearing the second half of life. 65 Things To Do When you Retire by Mark Evan Chimsky is easy-to-read and amusing. A good first guide to help with retirement planning. DB

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Tale Told Well

The year is 1960, and the protagonist at the center of this novel, The Bartender's Tale,is Tom Harry, a beloved, no-nonsense bartender in Gros Ventre, MT, a sleepy town in remote northern sheep country. Tom is also a single father working long hours, trying to raise his 12-year-old son Rusty, in this enjoyable, warmhearted story about fathers and sons, growing up, and big life changes. Rusty is the narrator of the novel, and Doig  brings the young man's voice and perspective skillfully to life here. Rusty is puzzled by most of what he sees in the adult world, and there is little he can be sure of, except the love of his father. Doig poignantly captures the charm and pathos of Rusty's efforts to understand this complicated and often baffling adult world. Doig is famous for celebrating the American West, and he also beautifully captures the cadences and details of daily life in this Montana town. Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fairy Tales Revisited

Even though this is a young adult book, it is a must read for adults!  In The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer you are reunited with all of the fairy tales that you knew as a child, from Snow White and the Evil Queen to the Little Mermaid and Red Riding Hood.  This is the tale of twins Alex and Connor Bailey who find themselves in the land of stories.  As they come face to face with well known fairy tale characters you learn about what happened to these characters AFTER their ‘stories’ end.  Do they all really live happily ever after?  There are lots of moral lessons sprinkled throughout the book, as there is in any good fairy tale, but the best part for me was being reunited with the stories I grew up with.  The tale of the twins predicaments keep you on the edge of your seat and while you think you know what’s going to happen next there are plenty of surprises.  I listened to this as an audiobook because it is read by the author and I love Chris Colfer’s voice (Kurt from Glee, in case you didn’t know).  SG

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Little Sci-Fi with Your Fantasy

I'll be honest, Among Others by Jo Walton is kind of a weird book.  Told as journal entries written by 15 year-old Mori, we learn through the narrative that she is coping with life after the death of her twin.  Forced to start over amongst strangers, Mori consoles herself by voraciously reading Sci-Fi novels and trying to envision an unexpected life for herself.  Oh yeah, and her mother is a witch who she must ultimately face in order to save the world.  Part coming-of-age story, part fantasy, Among Others is a little outside the box, but definitely worth a read.  HM

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

An All-Time Favorite

If you’re looking for a great book, pick up one of the best-Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. This wonderful classic intertwines adventure, childhood, love and loss in an unforgettable tale of a boy and his two amazing dogs. The story is set in the Ozarks Mountains of northeastern Oklahoma during the Great Depression. Billy Colman is determined to get a hunting dog and with sacrifice and hard work he manages to save up and order two redbone pups. He begins to pursue his goal of hunting coons to help his family. During the story Billy learns about courage, determination, integrity and the character that shaped this nation. This book is a must-read for anyone over age ten! Enjoy, but be forewarned—there may be some tears! DB

Can You See Me Now?

Calling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray is a hoot!  As Clover, a fifty-something mom, feels her beauty fade and her career falter she finds she is becoming invisible – literally an invisible woman.  What could very well be a silly story is actually a quick and quirky read.   Jeanne Ray, New York Times bestselling author of Julie and Romeo, is able to pull it off and actually make you become vested in what happens to Clover, her family, and all the other invisible women Clover befriends.  Light and fun! SG

Monday, August 27, 2012

Letting go

Lucy Bloom, the main character in Jill Smolinski's novel Objects of My Affection, is broke, been dumped by her boyfriend, and has sold her house to pay for her son's rehab. This turn of events explains why she has taken a job to work for a difficult and eccentric artist, Marva, who needs help clearing a houseful of objects. As the two women forge an uneasy friendship she discovers a secret Marva is keeping as well as a new look at herself. There are things in life we keep, and some we need to let go. Knowing the difference is difficult. Lovely and upbeat, this is a book in the finest "chick lit" tradition. ML