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Monday, July 25, 2016

The Last Runaway

            A historical novel written by Tracy Chevalier, this book details the adventures of Honor Bright, a Quaker who leaves her native England for the United States in 1850. Her reason for emigrating is not to do with a search for new opportunities or religious freedom but to escape a broken romance. Traveling with her sister to Ohio where the sister will marry her fiancĂ©, Honor suffers severe seasickness on her ocean crossing and the loss of her sister from Yellow Fever while traveling from the ship to Ohio. Alone for the first time in her life, Honor must rely on the help of strangers.

            Honor travels to the Quaker settlement in Ohio where her sister’s fiancĂ© and her brother’s widow reside. The surroundings are uncomfortable because of the marital status of all three. Honor also becomes a friend of Belle, a local milliner and non-Quaker who welcomes Honor’s sewing skills to help her with her business. Belle has a half-brother, Donovan, who is a slave hunter. Donovan is enamored of Honor and while she feels an attraction towards him she is horrified by his profession. Instead, she marries a fellow Quaker, Jack, and moves in with him, his widowed mother, and sister. The relationship with her in-laws is awkward; they do not want her to help the escaping slaves. Honor cannot understand why her Quaker community doesn’t support helping the slaves who are traveling through their area en route to the Canadian border.

             Following her own principles, Honor becomes involved with the Underground Railroad.  After some strife, events build to a climax and a satisfactory resolution.

            The author, Tracy Chevalier, was born and raised in the United States, but currently lives in England with her family. She also is the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer Heat: Barbecuing and Grilling

            Master of the Grill: Foolproof Recipes, Top-Rated Gadgets, Gear, and Ingredients plus Clever Test Kitchen Tips and Fascinating Food Science, is written by the editors at America's Test Kitchen. Get the tips and techniques for cooking with both gas and charcoal grills. Find the latest tools, and plenty of recipes for both classic and innovative dishes. Several step-by-step photos accompany the recipes. This is a compendium of information.
            Franklin Barbecue: a Meat-Smoking Manifesto is written by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay. Franklin is an award-winning pitmaster and owner of the Austin restaurant Franklin Barbecue. He focuses mainly on smoking a brisket; but before he does this he sets the stage by demonstrating how to build or customize your own smoker, find and cure the wood, and create the best fire for smoking.
            America's Most Wanted Recipes at the Grill: Recreate Your Favorite Restaurant Meals in Your Own Backyard is written by Ron Douglas, a New York Times bestselling author of the series of cookbooks America’s Most Wanted Recipes. Preparing these main dishes and sides from such places as Applebees, Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, and more range from the simple to more complex.
            Meathead: the Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling, is written by Meathead (Craig) Goldwyn with Greg Blonder. Goldwyn is a pitmaster and barbecue contest judge, and the creator of the barbecue website He explains the concepts, methods and equipment of barbecuing and grilling. More than 100 recipes are given, accompanied by full-color photos and line drawings.
            The Essential New York Times Grilling Cookbook: More than 100 Years of Sizzling Food Writing and Recipes, is edited by Peter Kaminsky. This is a compilation of newspaper articles on barbecuing and grilling, accompanied by recipes and anecdotes. Authors include Mark Bittman, Craig Claiborne, Jacques Pepin, Mimi Sheraton, and others.  

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time

           The author, Arianna Huffington, is the editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post and author of several other books. Her inspiration for this book came when suffering an injury caused by lack of sleep, resulting in a remaking of her sleep habits and in-depth research of the science of sleep.

            Huffington identifies sleep deficiency as a worldwide problem, causing traffic accidents, susceptibility to illness, poor work performance and more. People often tout how little sleep they can get along on and still function well. But scientific studies reveal that adults must sleep between seven and nine hours in order to be at their best.

            Also included are appendices: a sleep-quality questionnaire, guided meditations to help in falling asleep, a list of hotels that focus on the sleep experience, and a review of mattresses for consumers. In-depth bibliographic information is given also.