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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.