Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Blue Blue Water

Did you know that the majority of the Earth's surface is water? In the book
BLUE MIND: THE SURPRISING SCIENCE THAT SHOWS HOW BEING NEAR, IN, ON, OR UNDER WATER CAN MAKE YOU HAPPIER, HEALTHIER, MORE CONNECTED, AND BETTER AT WHAT YOU DO by Wallace J. Nichols, the importance of water to humans is explored. A landmark book by a  marine biologist is on the remarkable effects of water on our health and well-being. Why are we drawn to the ocean each summer? Why does being near water set our minds and bodies at ease? In BLUE MIND, Wallace J. Nichols revolutionizes how we think about these questions, revealing the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on, under, or simply near water. Combining cutting-edge neuroscience with compelling personal stories from top athletes, leading scientists, military veterans, and gifted artists, he shows how proximity to water can improve performance, increase calm, diminish anxiety, and increase professional success. ML

Monday, July 28, 2014

Thank You!

I love viewing the 'best books of the year' selections because I always come across great books that might have been missed.  Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel is one of those books.  Finkel is a reporter for the Washington Post and in this book he embedded with some of the men that fought in the front lines of Baghdad after they returned home.  He not only talks about what life is like after war for the soldiers but for the soldiers spouses, family and friends.  This book is disturbing and heart breaking and should be read by everyone, even if you just glance through it and read just a few of the stories.  SG

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold

I Remember You: A Ghost Story by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir: Two missing boys and two vandalized classrooms.  The cases occur 50 years apart, but as a psychologist Freyr begins to piece together the events surrounding the latest disturbance, he becomes convinced that the two are related.  And he should know -- one of the missing boys is his own son.  Split between the police investigation in Ísafjörður and the terrifying happenings in an isolated, abandoned village, secrets from the past refuse to stay buried.  As both narratives reach their climax, will Freyr be able to push aside his guilt and confront the truth about his son's disappearance?  Recommended for fans of
Sigurðardóttir's Thóra Gudmundsdóttir series, as well as readers who enjoyed works by Johan Theorin and John Ajvide Lindqvist.  HM

Friday, July 18, 2014

Asian Pickling

Did you know that if you want to remove a heavy garlic smell from your hands you simply touch your hands to a piece of metal (the author, Karen Solomon, uses her kitchen faucet nozzle).  According to Ms. Solomon it works like a charm.  This and other interesting facts abound in her book Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and FermentedPreserves.  From kimchi to chutney and everything in between you will salivate over the recipes and the gorgeous pictures in this book.  Regions covered are Japan, Korea, China, India and Southeast Asia.  The spices and techniques shared make this book highly readable whether you enjoy pickling or not.  SG

Mysterious morsels

If you have a hankering for mysteries try Small Plates by Katherine Hall Page. This is a collection of short stories featuring Faith Fairchild, a clever caterer who seems to have a knack for solving “who-dunnits”.  Faith is the main character in The Body series, but Small Plates is just a sampler of sleuthing. The author has included several puzzling cases from New England to London with enough twists and turns to keep you going. Faith investigates a haunted house in Boston, encounters a strange couple in Cape Cod, and aids a bullied bride-to-be in London. This book has a little something for everyone. DB     

Monday, July 14, 2014

Family Secrets

Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead follows the life of young dancer, Joan, from her aspirations in a New York city ballet company and her early retirement when she decides to get married and has a child. Along the way, readers are introduced to the characters that influence Joan's life: Arslan Ruskov, the brilliant Russian dancer whom Joan helps to defect, Jacob, her partner in her strained and awkward marriage, Harry, Joan's ballet-prodigy son, and Chloe, the neighbors' daughter. Recommended for readers who enjoy literary fiction and family secrets. Similar in style to Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Namesake" and Jess Walter's "Beautiful Ruins." HM

Friday, July 11, 2014

Where'd You Go?

Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette was a book that I flew through.  It was the story of former architect Bernadette Fox and her life as a stay at home mom in Seattle.  I truly enjoyed the author's writing style and how we as readers went from thinking Bernadette was a crazy person to believing she was a genius.  There were many funny moments in the book but it was also heartwarming as the relationship between Bernadette and her daughter unfolds.  I also liked how the story was written through her daughters point of view.  I would highly recommend Where'd You Go, Bernadette.  Stacy Tines, guest blogger.

Speaking Frankly...

Summer and hot dogs go hand-in-hand. If you’re looking for a special twist for your franks check out Haute Dogs by Russell Van Kraayenburg. You'll be thrilled to learn about the history of the hot dogs, special events involving hot dogs, the many ways to cook hot dogs, and the differences between hot dogs, sausages and wieners. In addition to our all-American favorites, the author provides some European, South American, and vegan recipes. You’ll have to decide which toppings tempt you. This is definitely a fun and informative book, really mouth-watering! DB  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

spoils of war

Jacqueline Winspear is a terrific historical writer. She writes about England during two world wars, and without blood or gore illustrates the terrible cost wars have, not only to young people dying but the ones at home who love and miss them. Readers who love the Masie Dobbs series will like her new stand-alone The Care and Management of Lies. Set during WWI, the story follows two young women, Kezia and Thea. Although Kezia is marrying Thea's brother, they have become estranged from their former friendship over Thea's involvement in the suffragette movement. When war comes, their lives, and indeed, the lives of everyone around them changes. Thoughtful and well written, this is a good read. ML

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Novel Life

A. J. Fikry runs a small bookstore on Alice Island. He is a literary snob who doesn’t much believe in promoting children’s books or community outreach. It’s a good thing his wife Nicole takes care of these things. When Nicole dies suddenly in a car accident, A. J. loses his way. He attempts to drown his grief in drink and muses over the meaning of life by reading his prized possession, a copy of Tamerlane by Edgar Allan Poe. Invariably life strikes another blow. Tamerlane turns up missing and a toddler is abandoned at Island Books. To find out how A. J. copes, read The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. The book is full of twists, turns and colorful characters. DB