Friday, June 29, 2012

Counseling for Clotheshorses

Dr. Jennifer Baungartner is a clinical psychologist with a fashionable twist. She is the founder of InsideOut, a wardrobe consulting business. Not only is she able to organize your closet, she can get to the real problems that wardrobe glitches reveal. Are your closets overflowing? Are you in a fashion rut? Are you a shop-til-you-drop personality? Check out You Are What You Wear: what your clothes reveal about you, for some fascinating insights and practical advice for apparel agony. DB

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Beauty and Corruption

Donna Leon, the author of Beastly Things, has lived in Venice for thirty years. As Venice is the setting for her much-loved Guido Brunetti mystery series, Leon has tackled various social issues, from human trafficking through immigration policy with disgust for government corruption yet reveling in the physical beauty of the city on the sea. Her moody hero is moral and admirable, and totally Italian in his love of his wife's cooking! This latest in the series is, as usual, well-written and complex.ML

Yes, Another Dog Story!

Giant George: Life with the World’s Biggest Dog by Dave Nasser with Lynne Barrett-Lee is the story of an irresistible puppy who grew to be almost five feet tall, seven feet long and 245 pounds.  In 2010 George made it into the Guinness Book of World Records and he has even appeared on Oprah.  Big in stature he also has a big heart.  Read all about his life with the Nasser family for a light-hearted, heart-warming family story. SG

Monday, June 25, 2012


If you are familiar with Louisa May Alcott’s story “Little Women” then you know all about Beth, Jo, Amy and Meg.  In Geraldine Brooks novel March we meet their absent father and learn much about his pre-Little Women life as well as what went on while he was away from his family, serving in the army during the Civil War.  If you are at all familiar with Geraldine Brooks writing then you know she is meticulous in her research.  She brings to life the Civil War from a point of view rarely seen.  This is a must read.  Coincidentally, Confederates in the Attic (see previous entry), was written by Geraldine Brooks husband.  While he was busy researching this non-fiction story she rebelled against all things Civil War.  It must have rubbed off on her and if you read the afterward in March you will get quite the chuckle.  SG

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Living History

Join former war correspondent and author Tony Horwitz as he investigates the sometimes curious mark The Civil War has left on the United States in Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War.  From experiencing "period rushes" with hardcore reenactors to puzzling out the differing interpretations of the Confederate flag on either side of the Mason-Dixon, Horwitz explores how attitudes and grudges born in America's bloodiest conflict are still shaping the country's social and cultural fabric today.

Interested in seeing a Civil War reenactment this summer? Check out for events within Michigan.  HM

Monday, June 18, 2012

Political Dirty Tricks

John Sanford's book, Dead Watch,is about politics, or should I say the dirty tricks behind politics. Very fast-paced, it opens as Lincoln Bowe,a former senator is found dead. His wife realizes someone is watching her and turns to Jacob Winter, ex-Army Intelligence "fixer" who has the ear of the president. Full of twists and turns, this thriller will take you on a fast ride!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Perilous Parchment

John Lyons is a retired professor and biblical scholar. He studies ancient remains and manuscripts. Soon after he discovers a rare parchment, believed to be the only letter written by Jesus Christ, he is found dead. His wife Kathleen, who has Alzheimer’s, is found hiding in the closet clutching the murder weapon. Is she really guilty? John has a host of friends and colleagues who share his passion. He also has a long-time mistress. Are any of these people willing to kill for a priceless artifact? His daughter Mariah is determined to find out who killed her beloved father. In The Lost Years, Mary Higgins Clark intertwines a new theme-archaeology, with murder. DB

Friday, June 15, 2012

Who is John Galt?

Atlas Shrugged:  What happens to the world when the great brains of the world disappear?  No one knows where they've gone.  Have they retired? Run away? Are they on strike or been kidnapped?  Dagny Taggert, a great industrialist and the main character of this book, is trying to run a railroad but at each turn she finds incompetent fools are taking the place of the brilliant men and women who have gone missing.  The times become dimmer and dimmer and the government steps in more and more. You can imagine what happens.  This book is a story that was written by a philosopher, and so you will learn about Ayn Rand's beliefs as you read it.  You don't have to agree with her philosphy to enjoy this book.  Be prepared - it is a large novel, and I'm not just referring to the number of pages!  SG

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Taste of Summer!

Who knew making your own ice cream could be so simple and so delicious? In the book Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones, Kris Hoogerhyde and Anne Walker show us how. They own the wildly popular Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco and have created such delectable flavors as Salted Caramel,(yes you make your own caramel from scratch) Cherry Almond and Malted Vanilla with Peanut Brittle and milk Chocolate Pieces. MMMM! The book's chapters are organized into flavors and there are many beautiful photos. ML

A Visit to Asia

The new cookbook Lemongrass and Ginger,by Leemei Tan, is like a trip to Asia.The recipes are arranged by country; Japan & Korea, China, Philippines & Indonesia, Malaysia & Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam and lastly India & Sri Lanka. Each chapter is prefaced with an introduction, explaining the style of each country’s cuisine.

    At the end of the book there is a “basics” section containing a glossary & techniques section, with recipes for 20 spice pastes & stocks, and explanations of techniques from rehydrating dried mushrooms to preparing squid. What shall I try first? Hmmm,maybe Gado Gado, an Indonesian vegtable salad with a peanut sauce/dressing. Or the Thai classic Pad Thai, I'll bet it's better homemade!ML

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer Secrets

When the women of the Kelleher family come to the beach house in Maine, simmering emotions reach the boiling point. Alice, the matriarch of the family, is cold and demanding. She is hiding an old secret that has been eating away at her for many years. Her eldest daughter Kathleen is present under protest, resentful and rebellious toward family members. She has created a safe haven in California and longs to put in her time and return. Ann Marie, a dutiful daughter-in-law, is re-evaluating her “perfect” life. She has developed a tempting crush that threatens her long-time marriage. Maggie, the youngest woman there, has just discovered that she’s pregnant. Her boyfriend has commitment issues and has yet to learn that he will be a father. As these four women resolve old grudges and face new challenges the family story unfolds and grows. Read Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan for a sea-side summer drama. DB