Pageviews last month

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Passings of 2015

            At the close of 2015, we remember some of those individuals from the world of books. Prolific, popular, either of a mainstream or literary bent; let’s review their accomplishments.
            Jackie Collins was a romance novelist who focused on the loves, marriages, and divorces of Hollywood’s finest. And she knew her subject; she had relatives and friends in the industry. Born in London in 1937, she relocated to Los Angeles in the 1960s. Her thirty-two novels all appeared on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Her books include: Lady Boss; Hollywood Wives; and The Santangelos.
            E.L. (Edgar Lawrence) Doctorow, born in New York in 1931, was a critically acclaimed author who wrote historical fiction, often featuring actual historic individuals. He wrote twelve novels, among them Billy Bathgate, Ragtime, World’s Fair, and The March; he also wrote short stories and drama. Before beginning his writing career, Doctorow was an editor. He also taught writing courses at several colleges.
            Although Leonard Nimoy was a television and film actor by trade (Star Trek, Mission Impossible, In Search Of . . .), he also was a writer. His two autobiographies are I am Not Spock and I am Spock. Nimoy was born in 1931 in Boston. He also directed films and had a lifetime interest in photography.
            Terry Pratchett was a writer of fantasy novels, with a humorous bent; he was born in 1948 and lived in England for his entire life. He is most famous for his Discworld series, which began in 1983 and also influenced television programs, video games, and board games. Pratchett also wrote children’s books.  
            Ruth Rendell was a writer of thrillers and psychological murder mysteries. She was born in England in 1930 and began a writing career first as a news writer and then as a novelist. Her most famous series features the character Inspector Wexford; she also wrote several standalone novels under her name and that of her pen name Barbara Vine. Rendell won many awards and was appointed a life peer of the Order of the British Empire.
            Ann Rule was a prolific writer of true crime non-fiction. Born in Michigan in 1931, she received an associate’s degree and then worked in law enforcement for awhile. She wrote articles for True Detective magazine under a nom de plume; then she wrote her first book The Stranger Beside Me, based on her real-life encounter with murderer Ted Bundy. Other true crime books followed; many based in her home region of the Pacific Northwest.
            Oliver Sacks was a neurologist, naturalist and writer; he was born in London in 1933. Completing school in England, Sacks continued his professional career in the United States. His lifelong interest in case studies of people with neurological disorders also led to a successful career as a writer, beginning with The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and other Clinical Tales and other bestselling non-fiction. Recent biographical works include On the Move: a Life and Gratitude.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Book Discussions: January through June, 2016

Join us once a month, on a Wednesday afternoon from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, to discuss a fiction or non-fiction book selection. Coffee, tea, and cookies are served. Books are available at the Circulation Desk four weeks before the discussion date. Our schedule is:
          January 20th: The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics is written by Daniel James Brown. It traces the story of an American rowing team from the University of Washington that defeated elite rivals at Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympics, sharing the experiences of such contributors as their enigmatic coach, a visionary boat builder and a homeless teen rower. Registration begins December 16th.
         February 17th: The History of Love is written by Nicole Krauss. This is a novel about a man named Leo Gursky, who reminisces about his lost love, missing son, and the publication of his book. Meanwhile, a teenage girl named for one of the book’s characters seeks her namesake, as well as a cure for her widowed mother’s loneliness. Registration begins January 20th.
         March 16th: The Art Forger: a Novel is written by Barbara Shapiro. It is about an artist with a tarnished reputation who stumbles on a piece of art that disappeared twenty-five years ago. She agrees to forge it for a gallery owner but then realizes that the art she is forging may itself be a forgery. Registration begins February 17th.
          April 20th: The Weird Sisters is written by Eleanor Brown. It is about three sisters who are unwillingly brought together to care for their ailing mother; they discover that everything they have been avoiding may prove more worthwhile than expected. Registration begins March 16th.

          May 18th: Time and Again is written by Jack Finney. Here, Simon Morley is selected by a secret government agency to test Einstein’s theory of the past co-existing with the present and is transported back to 1880s New York. Registration begins April 20th.

          June 15th: Unbroken: a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption is written by Laura Hillenbrand. It relates the story of a U.S. airman who survived when his bomber crashed into the sea during World War II, spent forty-seven days adrift in the ocean before being rescued by the Japanese Navy, and was held as a prisoner until the end of the war. Registration begins May 18th.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Fit and Healthy for the New Year

            January 1st is around the corner! After the overindulgences of this holiday season, we’ll all be ready for our resolution to be fit and healthy for the New Year. Here are some books to help you plan your course.
            Eat Clean, Stay Lean: 300 Real Foods and Recipes for Lifelong Health and Lasting Weight Loss is a publication written by registered dietitian Wendy Bazilian and the editors of Prevention magazine. The reader is introduced to the basics and benefits of clean eating with whole foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, unprocessed meats and fish, and unrefined grains, then learns how and where to shop for these foods. Chapters follow on each type of food (fruits and veggies, proteins, condiments, etc.) with recipes, color photos, and preparation tips.  
            Yoga Therapy for Stress & Anxiety: Create a Personalized Holistic Plan to Balance Your Life, is written by three experts on yoga and meditation. The authors explain what creates a stress-filled life and how to use exercises, breathing techniques, meditation and other tools to relieve this stress. Over fifty illustrations of yoga postures are presented to assist the reader.
          Core Fitness, written by Hollis Lance Liebman, is a fully-illustrated introductory guide to working the body’s core, which is a system of muscles in the lower-trunk area that includes the lower back, abdomen, and hips. After learning about the necessary equipment and nutritional requirements, the reader is presented with over seventy exercises for warm-up, core stabilizers, core strengtheners, and cool-downs. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

New Books about Diabetes

            Celebrate American Diabetes Month in November with these newly published books.

            21 Things You Need to Know about Diabetes and Nutrition, written by Stephanie A. Dunbar and Cassandra L. Verdi, two nutritionists who work for the American Diabetes Association. They present the 21 most common questions people have about diabetes, nutrition, and meal planning, and provide the answers in easy-to-understand text. Topics include best carbohydrate choices, carbohydrate counting, reading nutrition labels and glycemic index. The reader learns how to enjoy special occasions and eating out as well as daily meal planning.

            Ask the Experts: Expert Answers about your Diabetes, is compiled by the editors of the Diabetes Forecast from its bi-monthly issues. Actual questions and answers are presented on such topic areas as nutrition, exercise and weight loss, monitoring blood glucose, oral medications and supplements, using insulin, diabetic complications, and more.

            The Diabetes Solution: How to Control Type 2 Diabetes and Reverse Prediabetes Using Simple Diet and Lifestyle Changes is written by Jorge E. Rodriguez, MD and Susan Wyler, RDN.  Rodriguez, a gastroenterologist and Wyler, a nutritionist and cookbook author, provide an overview of the disease and describe how to control it through meal planning, exercise, and medication. Also provided are one hundred recipes that control intake of carbs and calories and promote weight loss that is so important in managing diabetes.

            The Johns Hopkins Guide to Diabetes: for Patients and Families is written by Christopher D. Saudek and others. This is the second edition of the book, providing up-to-date research on diabetes diagnosis and genetic effects, improvements in blood glucose monitoring, oral and insulin medications, benefits of good nutrition and exercise, use of insulin pumps, and more.



Sunday, November 22, 2015

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

            Erik Larson is the author of several bestselling non-fiction books that read like suspense novels. Here he presents the story of William E. Dodd who in 1933 was appointed as the American diplomat to Germany. Dodd was a middle-class history professor and author who was a supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He brought along his wife and two adult children to his post. Dodd was out of his element among the other diplomats who qualified by virtue of their political connections and upper-class status.
This was a transitional time for Germany; Adolf Hitler was amassing power over the German government but had not yet gained full control. Dodd found that the Germany that he remembered from his college years had changed. His daughter Martha and son Bill embraced an active social life; Martha had several affairs with German officials, communists, and others. While at first she was impressed by the “new” Germans in time she became disillusioned.
Dodd, who at the outset did not believe the rumors of violent incidents against the Jews, homosexuals, communists, and other minorities, eventually saw these events at close range. He spent his last few years as diplomat trying to publicize the growing crisis in Germany but was ignored. Would acknowledgement of this crisis changed world events? We will never know.
Martha’s diaries and correspondences, sharpened by her previous publishing career experience in the United States, and Dodd’s professional and personal correspondences provided most of the detail for this book. Larson’s meticulous attention to detail and character development make reading it an instructive experience.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Beauty, Thy Name is Woman

            The quotation really is “Vanity, thy name is woman”, but the above title is appropriate for this entry. Usually women are the ones who search for reading material on improving their physical appearance. Here are some of our library’s new selections on this popular subject.

            Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-Seven Women Untangle an Obsession, edited by Elizabeth Benedict, is a collection of essays written by a variety of famous and not-so-famous writers, actresses, and others about their crowning glories. Each selection is humorous and informative, giving the reader insight into the cultural and emotional entanglements that our hair produces.

            Vintage Hairstyles: Simple Steps for Retro Hair with a Modern Twist is written by Emma Sundh and Sarah Wing, with accompanying photographs done by Martina Ankarfyr.  Wing is the hairstylist who has developed the easy-to-do modern techniques for producing these retro hairstyles dating from 1910 through the 1960s. Tips on color, accessorizing the hairstyle, and makeup ideas also are presented.

            How to Fake Real Beauty: Tricks of the Trade to Master Your Makeup is written by professional makeup artist Ramy Gafni. From faking the perfect complexion to the perfect tan, to creating big eyes and shapely eyebrows, the information is here. Create a brighter smile and use contouring to change the shape of your face and features. A multitude of color photos provide guidance for the reader.   

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Bee Cottage Story: How I Made a Muddle of Things and Decorated My Way Back to Happiness

            Frances Schultz, the author, can list several accomplishments to her resume. She is a blogger (, author and co-author of several books, a contributing editor to House Beautiful, has appeared on several television shows, and more. Here she presents a combination memoir and home decorating guide; showing us her inner soul and her home and how she was able to develop both.
            The reader learns about Frances’s abilities and accomplishments during her early years, in her career and the social/emotional realm. Yet as she approached the age of fifty, she broke off a relationship just before the wedding because she realized that she wasn’t being true to herself and her fiance. At loose ends, Frances decided to cope psychologically by throwing herself into a renovation project. Before she broke off her engagement, Frances, with her fiance’s approval, had purchased a small cottage in East Hampton. She threw herself into the project; its details are recorded here with helpful decorating guidelines and accompanied by appealing before-and-after photographs taken by Trevor Tondro.    
            Happily, Frances succeeds in both creating her new home and recovering emotionally. This book is based upon the House Beautiful magazine series on the makeover of Bee Cottage.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker

            This novel, based on fact, is written by Jennifer Chiaverini. It tells the story of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, a talented needlewoman and a former slave who worked to earn freedom for herself and her son. She settled in pre-Civil War Washington D.C. where she successfully established her own business as modiste, or dressmaker, to the fashionable wives of politicians.
            But the political atmosphere was changing in Washington D.C. Abraham Lincoln was elected as president and tensions grew between the northern and southern states. Elizabeth’s success increased when she was introduced to Mary Lincoln, the president’s wife, and became Mrs. Lincoln’s only dressmaker. Through the years of the Lincoln presidency, Elizabeth had a front row seat to their domestic life and historic events. She became the confidante of Mary Lincoln and was able to deal with her erratic moods which most of Washington D.C. society criticized.
            After Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, Elizabeth continued to emotionally support Mary while others turned away from her. However, Elizabeth’s decision to write her autobiography featuring her years of slavery, establishment of her dressmaking business, and relationship with Mary came back to bite her when the publisher modified some of the text to present a salacious view of Mary. Mary broke off all contact with Elizabeth and never reconciled with her.
            Even though the ending of the friendship upset Elizabeth, she continued with her life’s work of promoting equality for the newly freed slaves.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Murderer's Daughter

            The latest thriller from author Jonathan Kellerman features a very different protagonist from that of his usual series character Dr. Alex Delaware. She is Dr. Grace Blades, a successful, intellectually gifted psychologist, also based in Los Angeles as is Delaware, whose well-balanced demeanor conceals a secret. Grace was the daughter of psychologically damaged parents who died in a murder-suicide when she was five years of age. She was shuffled around the foster care system until ending up with a caring woman who happened to have a brother-in-law, a psychologist and professor, who recognized Grace’s intelligence and spirit and worked with her to maximize her potential. When the foster mother died suddenly under suspicious circumstances, Grace is adopted by the brother-in-law and his wife.

            Grace grows into adulthood living a much better life with her adopted parents. But while she transforms herself into a successful career woman, Grace also has a reckless side that includes racing cars and anonymous sex. Then some individuals from her foster care childhood appear and Grace’s life is threatened. Reluctant to contact the police because of complications, Grace instead manages to protect herself, identify the murderer, and arrive at justice. The breakneck pace of the story and the well-developed characters add to the reader’s enjoyment.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


            X is the 24th book in the best-selling Alphabet series written by Sue Grafton. Private investigator Kinsey Millhone is back to solving mysteries; this time the reader gets three for the price of one. As usual, the story is set in Santa Teresa, California; it is the spring of 1989. Some of the characters in this book are old friends of the reader: Henry, Kinsey’s nonagenarian landlord, Rosie the owner of the bar that Kinsey hangs out at, and others.

            And the three mysteries? One involves a job offered to Kinsey by a wealthy woman to find the child she gave up for adoption. Only the woman isn’t who she seems to be, as Kinsey discovers when the police question her about the marked bill that she received in payment. She eventually uncovers the truth as well as acts as the go-between for a divorced couple trying to one-up each other.

            Mystery number two is a job that PI Pete Wolinsky was unable to complete before he was murdered in Grafton’s last book. It involves a list of the names of six women that Pete was trying to protect. They all are or were involved with Ned Lowe: his daughter, ex-wives, current wife, and old girlfriends. Ned tried controlling all of them. Did he murder one of them too?

            Mystery number three is minor yet humorous. An elderly couple moves into the house next door to Henry and Kinsey. At first they are viewed as a pitiful pair, the husband is confined to a wheelchair and they are low on funds and without a car. Henry always is doing favors for them. But Kinsey senses something is not as it should be, and her investigations lead to the truth.

            Humor, suspense, well-drawn characters that you’d like to know better; this book has it all.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Female Sleuths

            If you enjoy reading mysteries solved with a feminine touch, here are the latest available from some well-known authors.

            Patricia Cornwell’s series of crime novels, originated in 1990 and features Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a medical examiner who relies on forensic science and her own natural intelligence to identify murderers. Kay, her family members, and friends are often endangered during the hunt for the killer, but are rescued at the end. Most recent books include Flesh and Blood and Depraved Heart.
            Krista Davis has written a series of books featuring Sophie Winston, the Domestic Diva; an event planner who always runs into murder. Recent titles include The Diva Steals a Chocolate Kiss and The Diva Wraps it up.
            Janet Evanovich’s most famous series is the one featuring bounty hunter Stephanie Plum who, with the help of her grandmother, friends and co-workers, is always able to solve the mystery, although things usually don’t go smoothly. These are ‘romantic adventure’ novels. The series begins with One for the Money, recent entries are Top Secret Twenty-One and Takedown Twenty.
            Joanne Fluke is the author of the Hannah Swensen culinary mystery series. Series titles currently number eighteen, featuring Hannah who is a bakery owner and amateur sleuth. You’re sure to get recipes for baked goods as well as the answer to whodunit. Recent titles are Double Fudge Brownie Murder and Blackberry Pie Murder.
            Sue Grafton is the author of the “alphabet mysteries” featuring Kinsey Millhone, a private investigator whose stories are set in late 1980’s California (the fictional Santa Teresa). On the surface, Kinsey is an independent, self-sufficient person. However, as the series progresses, the reader learns of her many personal issues.  A is for Alibi was published in 1982. The series now nears the end of its run; the 24th entry, X, will be published very soon.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Writers with August Birthdays

            James Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924. The author of over twenty works of fiction and non-fiction, Baldwin received numerous accolades, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Grant. He was one of the most widely read African American authors in the twentieth century. He died in 1987. Some of his best known works include Another Country; Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone, and Go Tell It on the Mountain.
            P.D. James was born on August 3, 1920. A British mystery writer whose works are in the classic style with modern elements, focusing on psychological and social issues. Her most famous character is Adam Dalgliesh. Her most recent books were The Private Patient, the final Dalgliesh novel, and Death Comes to Pemberley, a murder mystery featuring the characters from Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. James died in 2014.
            Suzanne Collins was born on August 10, 1962. She began her career by writing for children’s television shows, including several on the Nickelodeon network. Her first effort at writing children’s books was the creation of The Underland Chronicles, a five-part fantasy/war series. This was followed by The Hunger Game Trilogy, a young adult series whose three novels The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay have been published in several formats including film.
            Steve Martin was born on August 14, 1945. This actor/comedian began his writing career with a play and pieces for The New Yorker Magazine, followed by novellas Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company, and the novel An Object of Beauty.
            Danielle Steel was born on August 14, 1947. She is well-known for generating over ninety works of fiction on a regular basis, many of them best sellers, since the early 1980s. Several of her books have been adapted for television and motion pictures. Her most recent books include Country, Prodigal Son, and Pegasus.  

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Preparing Your Harvest

            This is for all you gardeners who have spent the season fussing over your fruit and vegetables. Harvest time is near! Here are some books that will help you preserve your crops.
            The Gentle Art of Preserving, written by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi, demonstrates the food preservation techniques of pickling, smoking, freezing, drying, curing, fermenting, bottling and canning. Information is given on the equipment, ingredients and timing required for these methods; and they are accompanied by an assortment of recipes for each.
            The Complete Home Guide to Canning and Preserving: Includes over 75 Easy Recipes for Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Sauces, and More encourages the reader to “buy locally and eat healthfully”. Whether you buy from your local farmstand or grow your own, these recipes, safety tips and instructions will boost your sense of self-sufficiency.
            Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables and Herbs in Krauts, Kumchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes and Pastes, is written by Kirsten and Christopher Shockey. Using the laco-fermentation process, the authors provide instructions, safety tips, and recipes for these dishes. All supply nutritious bacteria and probiotics that aid in digestion and boost the immune system.  
            Put ‘em up! Fruit: a Preserving Guide and Cookbook: Creative Ways to Put ‘em up, Tasty Ways to Use ‘em up is written by Sherri Vinton. Here the reader learns preparation and troubleshooting techniques for jellies, jams, conserves, curds, gastriques, and more. The book contains eighty recipes for eighteen types of fruit.
            Saving the Season: a Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving is written by Kevin West. He is the blogger for who here relies on his Southern roots and experiences as a food journalist in New York and the West Coast to provide information on American canning traditions, food safety and nutrition. 220 recipes range from jams, pickles, cordials, cocktails and candies.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The City of Falling Angels

            This non-fiction book is a colorful presentation of the city of Venice, its history, culture, and personalities, beginning with the depiction of the 1996 fire at the historic La Fenice Opera House. It is written by John Berendt, who coincidentally happened to be in Venice at the time and decided that the city was worth further investigation.
            Berendt explores Venetian history, its environmental problems, and its culture. He introduces us to some of its famous past and present visitors such as Henry James, Robert Browning, and Woody Allen, and expatriate residents such as the poet Ezra Pound and his mistress Olga Rudge, and the American Daniel Curtis who purchased the Palazzo Barbaro, and whose descendants remained there. Other intriguing residents are presented. One is Archimede Segus, a renowned Venetian glassblower who creates a collection of glass based upon his impressions of the fire; we also meet the entrepreneurial developer of rat poisons, a writer of erotic poetry who commits suicide, a couple who become indispensable to elderly and wealthy individuals so that they can appropriate their literary and art collections, and more.
            Berendt follows the investigation of the fire, at first thought to be an accident, then a case of arson. Was the Mafia involved? Berendt also follows the fundraising adventures of the American Save Venice Foundation whose efforts to raise money for rebuilding the opera house became tainted by the petty squabbles between its members.
            Berendt also is the author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and wrote and edited for New York and Esquire magazines.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Perfect Your Style

            New ideas for decorating your home can be found here at your library. Some of the new books we have are:
     Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: a Room-by-Room Guide is written by Gabrielle Stanley Blair, the author of the blog The theme of her book is how to live well with kids – and with six kids of her own she’s had a lot of practice. Blair’s ideas focus on finding a solution that is elegant yet works within your architectural and financial constraints. An abundance of color photos along with descriptive text illustrate family-friendly decorating solutions.
     The Height of Style: Inspiring Ideas from the World’s Chicest Rooms is from the editors of Elle D├ęcor magazine. The editors present a compilation of the “best” rooms they have published in the last five years, each with an “overarching vision”. The rooms are divided into four categories: classical, fanciful, practical, and personal. Each full-color photo is accompanied by detailed text and the name of the designer. A list of decorating sources is included.
     Sarah Style: An Inspiring Room-by-Room Guide to Designing Your Perfect Home is written by Sarah Richardson, an award-winning Canadian designer and the host of several HGTV television programs. Sarah tours each room in the house, from entry, to kitchen, to bedroom and more; presenting ideas and full-color photos of more than one hundred rooms. Get empowered to redo a small space or several rooms.
     Taunton’s All New Decorating Idea Book is written by Heather J. Paper, a decorating writer with many years of experience. In this book she focuses on the three elements that are the foundation of a well-designed room: style, color, and personal touches. Full-color photos illustrate how these elements are utilized in the selection of furniture, floor coverings, window treatments, lighting and more.  

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Afternoon Book Discussions/July through December 2015

     Join us once a month, on a Wednesday afternoon from 1:00 to 2:00 pm, to discuss a fiction or non-fiction book selection. Coffee, tea and cookies are served. Books are available at the Circulation Desk four weeks before the discussion date. Our schedule is:

 July 15th                       Registration begins June 17th
The City of Falling Angels
Written by John Berendt
          Traces the aftermath of the 1996 Venice Opera House fire, an event that devastated Venetian society and was investigated by the author, who through interviews with such locals as a suicidal poet, a surrealist painter, and a master glassblower learned about the region’s rich cultural history.

August 19th                 Registration begins July 15th
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
Written by Anthony Bourdain
         A New York City chef who is also a novelist recounts his experiences in the restaurant business and exposes abuses of power, sexual promiscuity, drug use, and other secrets of life behind kitchen doors.

September 16th            Registration begins August 19th
Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker
Written by Jennifer Chiaverini
         Presents a fictionalized account of the friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and her dressmaker Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave.

October 21st                Registration begins September 16th
Defending Jacob
Written by William Landay
         When his fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student, assistant district attorney Andy Barber is torn between loyalty and justice as facts come to light that lead him to question how well he knows his own son.

November 18th            Registration begins October 21st
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin
Written by Erik Larson
         Documents the efforts of the first American ambassador to Hitler’s Germany, William E. Dodd, to acclimate to a residence in an increasingly violent city where he is forced to associate with the Nazis while his daughter pursues a relationship with Gestapo chief Rudolf Diels.

December 16th             Registration begins November 18th
What Alice Forgot
Written by Liane Moriarty
         Suffering an accident that causes her to forget the last ten years of her life, Alice is astonished to discover that she is thirty-nine years old, a mother of three children, and in the midst of an acrimonious divorce from a man she dearly loves.



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Outdoor Projects: Books to Inspire You

                        Prepare your yard for a staycation this summer when you create one or several outdoor projects as described in these books.
            The Bartlett Book of Garden Elements: a Practical Compendium of Inspired Designs is written by Michael and Rose Bartlett. Michael, now deceased, and Rose traveled the world for thirty years in search of unique garden ornamentation that is now documented with the information and colorful photos in this book. Examples of fences, fountains, and furniture, to stairs, sundials, and swimming pools, and more are given.
            Mosaic Garden Projects: Add Color to Your Garden with Tables, Fountains, Birdbaths, and more is written by Mark Brody and Sheila Ashdown. Here they present 25 projects that range in easy to advanced ability level. Tools, supplies, materials, and techniques are described and templates are provided. Color photos complement the text.
            The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects is written by Spike Carlsen. Carlsen, an expert woodworker, and former editor of Family Handyman, provides illustrated instructions for 76 projects that promote a sustainable lifestyle. Some of these projects cover harvesting and food preparation, storage and workspaces, animal shelters and feeders, and more.
            The Complete Guide to Outdoor Carpentry: Complete Plans for Beautiful Backyard Building Projects is a Black & Decker publication. Step-by-step instructions are given for more than 30 projects, including chairs, tables, benches, swings, and more. All are accompanied by color photos.
            Outdoor Wood Projects: 24 Projects You Can Build in a Weekend is written by Steve Cory. The projects are easy-to-do and include complete illustrated instructions. Construct planters, trellises, window boxes and outdoor furniture; some made from new wood, others from reclaimed wood or bamboo for extra savings.  

Monday, June 8, 2015

Alternative Diets

            Here are some more diet and cookbooks featuring healthy foods, as selected by librarian Nicole. Two books are based on the Paleo diet, and the other three on juicing.

            Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans, written by Michelle Tam, offers a variety of family-friendly Paleo recipes as well as strategies for stocking the pantry, feeding kids, maximizing flavor, and saving time in the kitchen.

            The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat, written by Loren Cordain, presents a breakthrough nutrition program based on eating the foods we were genetically designed to eat – lean meats and fish and other foods that made up the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors.

            The Blender Girl: Super-Easy, Super-Healthy Meals, Snacks, Desserts and Drinks is written by Tess Masters. This debut cookbook from the powerhouse blogger behind, features 100 gluten-free, vegan recipes for smoothies, meals, and more made quickly and easily in a blender.

            The Joy of Juicing: 150 Imaginative, Healthful Juicing Recipes for Drinks, Soups, Salads, Sauces, Entrees, and Desserts is a creative collection of juicing recipes from award-winning broadcast journalist and bestselling author Gary Null.

            The Reboot with Joe Juice Diet: Lose Weight, Get Healthy and Feel Amazing is written by Joe Cross. He gives readers all the tools they need to embark on their own journey to health and wellness, including inspiration and encouragement, recipes, and diet plans.


Friday, May 29, 2015

Healthy Living: Cookbooks, Diets, and More

            Anytime is the right time to eat healthily. Librarian Nicole offers an assortment of books to help us along.
            100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love, is written by Lisa Leake. Lisa decided her family’s eating habits needed an overhaul. She, her husband, and their two small girls pledged to go 100 days without eating highly processed or refined foods.
           A Slice of Organic Life is written by Sheherazade Goldsmith. It features over 90 self-contained projects, from growing your own food organically, cooking home-grown produce, keeping selected livestock, and leading a more sustainable lifestyle. This down-to-earth, yet practical guide is the perfect start for someone looking to go “green”.
           The Naked Foods Cookbook is written by Margaret Floyd. This cookbook, organized by the amount of time it takes to prepare a recipe, collects tasty, gluten-free dishes made with whole foods and healthy fats.
           Gluten-Free Girl Every Day is written by Shauna James Ahern. The book features food you want to cook every day: fresh, satisfying and filled with great flavors. Vegetables in season are the key to these recipes, along with whole grains, beans, and a few key spices and homemade sauces.
          The How can it Be Gluten Free Cookbook: Revolutionary Techniques, Groundbreaking Recipes is written by the editors at America’s Test Kitchens. They tried thousands of recipes to figure out the secrets to making favorite foods without gluten. This landmark book tells what works, and why.

Friday, May 22, 2015

May is Older Americans Month

            It’s inevitable that we age. To be prepared, and perhaps improve the experience, try these books.
            Goddesses Never Age: the Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being, is written by Christiane Northrup, M.D., a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and New York Times best-selling author. Here Northrup offers tips on how to enjoy good health, a fulfilling sex life, and pain-free movement while continuing to build on all of our relationships. Several personal stories enhance the text, and the 14-Day Ageless Goddess program is presented.

            Our Aging Bodies is written by Gary F. Merrill, a professor of cell biology and neuroscience at Rutgers University.  Using clear, informative text and anecdotal examples, Merrill describes the aging of the body’s major organs and bodily processes.

            Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying), written by journalist Bill Gifford, presents the latest in anti-aging research. Informative yet humorous, Gifford shows the reader some of the recent techniques that may or may not slow the aging process, including calorie restriction, adding resveratrol or turmeric to your diet, stem cell research, and the old standbys – proper diet and exercise.
            Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security is written by Laurence J. Kotlikoff and others. Find out how many Americans are missing out on billions of Social Security dollars to which they are entitled. Ways to maximize your lifetime benefits include: filing for benefits and then suspending them; start, stop, and start benefits again; how to collect from a divorced spouse’s account; and many others. Clear information is given in easy-to-understand language.  

            Social Security for Dummies, written by Jonathan Peterson, explains what social security is, how and when to sign up for benefits, navigating the system, and more. Also, find out about disability benefits and Medicare.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

            Already a bestseller in Japan and England, this book also is on the Newsday bestseller list here. It is written by Marie Kondo, a young Japanese woman and cleaning expert who has had a strong passion for decluttering and organizing since childhood. During her career, she has developed the KonMari Method which requires that you “concentrate your efforts on eliminating clutter thoroughly and completely within a short span of time”.

            How to decide what to throw away and what to keep? You must take each item you own, hold it and observe whether it sparks a feeling of joy within you. If it does, keep the item; if it does not, you should feel free to discard it or give it away. What types of items should you evaluate?  Clothing, books, papers, and komono (miscellaneous items).

            Kondo approaches the art of decluttering and organizing spiritually. For example, she says that if you are getting rid of something because it has outlived its use, or never served a purpose, be sure to thank the item for its service. Also, each day when you put away the things that you wore or used, say something like “Thanks for all you did for me today”.

            Finally, Kondo believes that once you have completed your “tidying up” project, you may experience other positive changes in your life. You may gain confidence in your decision-making capacity, gain confidence in life, reduce anxiety, find your mission in life, and more.

            This is a little book that can make a great impact.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Do Celebrities Really Know How to Cook?

            Decide for yourself when you browse through these cookbooks, written by celebrities and selected by librarian Janine.

            It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great is written by Gwyneth Paltrow, the Academy Award-winning actress and bestselling cookbook author. Here she returns with recipes for the foods she eats when she wants to lose weight, look good, and feel more energetic.

            Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood is written by the popular country singer. She has found another way to reach her audience – with this follow-up to her successful Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen. In Home Cooking, Trisha serves up more homey, Southern-inflected fare from her country music kitchen.

            Eva’s Kitchen is authored by actress Eva Longoria. Although she may be most recognized for her role as Desperate Housewives saucy Gabrielle Solis, Eva’s favorite pastime is to be in the kitchen cooking the food she loves for her family and friends. Here are the recipes for her favorite dishes, accompanied by her life story.

            The Chew: What’s for Dinner? captures the show’s trademark wit and practical advice while highlighting ways to make dinner fun. Formatted like 2012’s standout bestseller, The Chew, this all-new book features more than 100 delectable recipes, perfect for each day of the week, from Manic Monday (fast and easy) to Friday Fun day (delicious treats), as well as the weekend.  

            The Tucci Cookbook, written by actor Stanley Tucci, features nearly 200 irresistible recipes, perfectly paired with delicious wines. The book is brimming with robust flavors, beloved Italian traditions, mouth-watering photographs, and engaging, previously untold stories from the family’s kitchen.

            Kate Gosselin’s Love is in the Mix is the work of Kate Gosselin, the well-known mom to eight growing – and hungry – kids. She knows her way around the kitchen, bestowing her passion for cooking onto her brood of budding chefs and sharing the family’s favorite recipes for both entertaining and everyday.

            Double Delicious! Good, Simple Food for Busy, Complicated Lives is written by Jessica Seinfeld. Here are more of her easy, imaginative recipes that use the power of purees to make everything healthier, from a hearty turkey meatloaf to an irresistible tiramisu. Again, she’s raised the bar nutritionally and eliminated unnecessary sugar and fat, boosted fiber and nutrients, and cut way back on sodium to bring us more healthful food with fantastic flavor.

            Skinny Italian is written by Teresa Giudice, the star of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Teresa shows how anyone can master the cornerstones of Italian cuisine. Learn how to make six different tomato sauces from scratch, how to choose and use the right olive oil, and how to prepare over sixty Giudice family recipes straight from Salerno. Discover how easy and economical wholesome, homemade cooking can be.


Thursday, April 16, 2015


            This novel is written by Colum McCann, a critically acclaimed author who was born in Ireland and now resides in New York City. The story includes elements of historical fiction and family saga. The reader travels back and forth through the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries (not in chronological order), and from Ireland, the United States, and Canada, to explore the thoughts and actions of both historical and fictional individuals.

            The historical figures are: Frederick Douglass, the nineteenth century American abolitionist and former slave; John Alcock and Teddy Brown, two British airmen who in 1919 won the contest to be the first to fly from North America to Great Britain or Ireland within 72 hours; and Senator George Mitchell, who was an integral contributor to the peace settlement in Northern Ireland during the late 1990s. These four men are seen to interact with four fictional characters, all women from the same family – great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, and daughter – during five different time periods. By the end of the novel, we are impressed by the inner strength of all of the characters as they cope with their own troubles, as well as with the historical “Troubles” of Northern Ireland.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pride and Prejudice Revisited

            The classic eighteenth-century novel Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen, has inspired many other books; some of which update the storyline and others which continue the adventures of its well-known characters. Here are some of these titles, for Jane Austen aficionados and neophytes alike.
            The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, written by Bernie Su, explores the life of the twenty-four-year-old graduate student who still lives at home with her two sisters and is posting her views on YouTube for her thesis project, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Then she meets the arrogant William Darcy.
            Longbourn: a Novel, is written by Jo Baker. It presents the story of Pride and Prejudice, but as seen through the eyes of the Bennet servants, fleshing out their characters and focusing on their life events.
            The Pursuit of Mary Bennet, written by Pamela Mingle, tells the story of the socially awkward Bennet sister and her chance at love. To escape another one of Lydia’s scandals, sisters Mary and Kitty are bundled off to Jane and Bingley’s house where Mary meets Henry Walsh, an eligible bachelor who seems genuinely interested in her.
           Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: the Classic Regency Romance – Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem is written by Seth Grahame-Smith. In this altered tale, Elizabeth Bennet battles zombies who rise up from the plague-stricken dead. Joining forces with Elizabeth, a highly skilled warrior, is the equally talented-in-combat Mr. Darcy.   
            Death Comes to Pemberley is written by P.D. James, a well-known mystery writer. Who should unexpectedly arrive at the Darcy’s ball but Elizabeth’s disgraced sister Lydia, who claims that her husband Wickham has been murdered. Mayhem is the result until the situation is masterfully handled by Mr. Darcy.
          The Darcys Give a Ball: a Gentle Joke, Jane Austen Style is written by Elizabeth Newark. Here the children of the original characters – Elizabeth, Jane, Georgianna Darcy, Charlotte Collins, and others – come into their own as they find romance.
            The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet is written by Colleen McCullough, author of The Thorn Birds. After the death of Mrs. Bennet, Mary sets off to pursue adventure and romance. Meanwhile, the other family members have some brushes with scandal before all is resolved.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America

            Author Bob Herbert was formerly an opinion columnist for the New York Times and is now a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, a public policy think tank. He presents his argument for the need to rebuild the economic structure of America. Herbert’s suggestions on alleviating the financial woes of the middle class and poor that have escalated during the past forty years are decidedly influenced by his liberal views.
            Herbert’s examination of what he sees as problems are divided into chapters focusing on various social ills, including: a shortage of well-paying jobs, insufficient training for the jobs of the future, perpetual wars and their financial and human tolls on us, public vs. charter schools in education, and our country’s infrastructure (transportation, communication, etc.) and how it has worsened due to neglect and natural disasters. Herbert accompanies the description of each problem with anecdotal reports about its victims, and offers recommendations on improving these situations.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

March is Women's History Month

            This is the month to celebrate contributions made by women in all walks of life, whether  their accomplishments are great or conventional. Here are some books written by and/or        
about political leaders and activists.
            Bella Abzug was a lawyer, U.S. Representative (1971-1978), social activist and a leader of the Women’s Movement. Bella Abzug: How One Tough Broad from the Bronx Fought Jim Crow and Joe McCarthy, Pissed off Jimmy Carter, Battled for the Rights of Women and Workers, Rallied Against War and for the Planet, and Shook up Politics along the Way: an Oral History, is written by Suzanne Levine.

            Betty Friedan was an American writer, activist, and feminist. She wrote The Feminine Mystique, considered an important book of the American Feminist Movement of the 1960s. Friedan also was the first president of the National Organization for Women. Friedan’s autobiography is entitled Life so Far.

            Kirsten Gillibrand currently is a United States senator from New York State (since 2009). Her book Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World is both a biography detailing her youth and her political career, and an appeal for more women to become politically active.

            Condoleezza Rice is the former Secretary of State (2005 – 2009) and currently is a faculty member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She has written the book Condoleezza Rice: a Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me, which details her childhood in segregated Birmingham, Alabama and her road to politics.

            Margaret Sanger was a nurse who became a sex educator and birth control advocate during the early and middle twentieth century. She established organizations that eventually became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. You can read The Autobiography of Margaret Sanger, written by her. Also, The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution, written by Jonathan Eig describes Sanger’s contributions along with those of three other individuals in developing what was the first birth control pill.

            Sonia Sotomayor is currently an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (2009 - ). Her book My Beloved World describes her journey as a Hispanic-American lawyer who progressed through the ranks as a district attorney to an appointment as a judge in the U.S. District Court to the U.S. Court of Appeals and finally the Supreme Court.