Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Fast and Delicious

Christopher Kimball has done a lot of cooking. He started cooking magazines and starred in a cooking show on public television. His new venture (after a messy divorce from his old company) is Milk Street Kitchen with a TV show and cookbooks. His new book is Milk Street Cooking: Tuesday Nights. This book emphasizes fast cooking, weeknight cooking and using spices for flavor. So the first chapter is titled Fast, and the next Faster. There are chapters for Pizza night, One Pot, and Supper Salads. While the choice of dishes are semi-traditional, the spices and combinations are not. Some of the dishes are for example, Braised Chickpeas and Spinach, Shrimp with Tamarind. Sweets are also included,(Raspberry-Pistachio Meringue anyone?) Delicious! ML

Drama in Edinburgh

Isabel Dalhousie is the main character in Alexander McCall Smith's new novel, The Quiet Side of Passion. This is the twelfth installment in this beloved series. Isabel grapples with her responsibilities of friends, family and work while dealing with matters of the heart. She must call once again on her kindness and intelligence to determine the right course of action. Lovely. ML

Living with Nature

In Stephen R. Kellert's book
 Nature By Design: The Practice of Biophilic Design several principals are explored. What is Biophilic Design, you might ask. Biophilia is the theory that people possess an inherent affinity for nature, which developed in the long years of human evolution. This need for nature is vital for human health and well being. So Biophilic design seeks to connect humans with nature, either by the design of the building using natural materials,or bringing light and using plants, to name a few. Many hospitals are incorporating garden design in their building to alleviate stress in patients and staff. With over one hundred striking photographs of Biophilic design, this is a beautiful book. ML

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

a little something on the side


Ed Smith's new cookbook, On the Side, addresses the perennial question, what do I serve for sides?
The author has a online website, Rocket and Squash, which is a food journal regularly updated with restaurant reviews and recipes. Sadly, it mostly refers to restaurants in London!
The book is organized into chapters of types of sides, for example greens, leaves and herbs, or roots, squash and potatoes, ect. A nice directory included for the cook is a list of main dishes, such as steak, and what goes with them. In the case of steak he lists 20 sides that would go with, including carrots with brown butter and hazelnuts, dijon-dressed green beans, and sherry cherry tomatoes. MMMM


Design by Nature by Erica Tanov is a beautiful book! The nature references abound, such as the chapters being divided into wood, water, weeds, ect. There are beautiful pictures of rooms and the scenes of nature that inspired them. Artists are also spotlighted throughout the book. Fabric designers, weavers and print makers are featured. This book is more inspirational than a straight ahead how-to book. The photographs are spectacular and well worth spending an hour "leafing" through this book.

In the days before cheap air travel, families didn't so much take vacations as survive them. Between home and destination lay thousands of miles and dozens of annoyances, and with his family Richard Ratay experienced all of them--from being crowded into the backseat with noogie-happy older brothers, to picking out a souvenir only to find that a better one might have been had at the next attraction, to dealing with a dad who didn't believe in bathroom breaks.
 Now, decades later, Ratay shows how family togetherness was eventually sacrificed to electronic distractions. In hundreds of amusing ways, he reminds us of what once made the Great American Family Road Trip so great, including twenty-foot "land yachts," oasis-like Holiday Inn "Holidomes," "Smokey"-spotting Fuzzbusters, 28 glorious flavors of Howard Johnson's ice cream, and the thrill of finding a "good buddy" on the CB radio. A rousing Ratay family ride-along, Don't Make Me Pull Over reveals how the family road trip came to be.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Truth and Consequences

It is the day after Christmas and Amber is in a coma. She hears people in her room and struggles to remember what happened. Was her husband involved in her circumstances? Or was it her sister? She recognizes the nurses, but who is that mysterious man and what connection does he have to her? She remembers her job at the radio talk show Morning Coffee. She remembers her marriage, both the trials and good times. She remembers her childhood and an imaginary friend.  Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeny is a complicated story of love and vengeance. A real thriller. DB

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Life's a Beach!

If you love to laugh about everyday things, pick up Calypso by David Sedaris. As he comes to terms with middle age, David has an even sharper tongue about what bothers him and everything else. He has purchased a beach home in North Carolina and invites his extended family down for vacations and holidays. He then proceeds to endure, enjoy and exasperate them by being himself. Sedaris is edgy and very funny. Enjoy!

Monday, June 18, 2018

A library is a small town.

Back when Andrew Carnegie was building public libraries in every city across America, the town of Riverton, NH, had its own mogul, whose name was Robers, which morphed into "Robbers" through probably equal parts humor and resentment. In Sue Halpern's latest, Summer Hours at the Robbers Librarythe town barely hangs on, but the library is now its best-maintained building. Halpern brings together three oddball characters in this setting and follows them through their encounters with multiple points of view. There is librarian Kit, fresh from therapy following marriage to a controlling monster, Solstice (Sunny), a teenager whose parents live off the grid and hide a secret past, and Rusty, a fugitive from Wall Street. When Sunny is assigned community service at the library after being arrested for shoplifting, she soon connects with Kit and Rusty. Readers will be taken with this beautifully written novel with appealing characters
.Halpern subtly tests our assumptions about self, love, marriage, family, vocation, and ethics, both personal and communal. Along the way, she offers a realistic view of the struggles and triumphs of a small public library, while framing it as a safe place in which to search for answers and solace. 

Monday, June 4, 2018

Witness to Murder

What would you do if you saw a murder through your window and were unable to leave your house to get help? This is exactly what happens to Anna Fox. She’s a child psychologist suffering from agoraphobia. A new family has moved in across the park from her New York home and when she is caught looking at them through her window the woman and her son come over to visit. When Anna looks over another time she sees a stabbing. She alerts authorities but the family claims innocence and make her look like mental case.The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn is a thrilling, informative book about the strangers next door. DB