Choose this delightful movie when your spirits need a lift. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a story with a ridiculous premise- but haven’t we all heard of some pretty far out accomplishments that sheikh money have produced, such as the world’s largest indoor ski resort. Author of the book by the same name, Paul Torday, has a very rich sheikh desiring to be able to salmon fish in the desert of Yemen. Nothing will stop him from finding someone to accomplish this. He hires a financial and land management group with lovely Ms. Harriet Chetwode-Talbot to lead the project. She in turn contacts the National Center for Fishiers Excellence in England to work out the difficulties. No one can dream that this will be possible, but plans begin to fall into place. This is a story with humor, romance, faith, intrigue, delightful characters, and much charm.
Scandal Wears Satin is the second title in Loretta Chase’s Dressmaker series, following Silk is for Seduction. Sophy Noirot is one of three sisters with an exclusive London dress shop Maison Noirot. Their most prominent and valuable customer, Lady Clara, is caught in a compromising situation with an impoverished and unlikeable gentleman and she chooses to run away rather than be joined in a loveless marriage with a fortune hunter. Sophy and Lady Clara’s brother, Earl of Longmore, must join forces to find Lady Clara, avoid any scandal, and find a way to discredit Clara’s suitor so that she is not forced into marriage. As they travel together, Sophy and Longmore discover that they have much in common and friendship grows into love. But can a mere dressmaker marry an Earl? Chase has created engaging, likeable characters with dialog filled with wit and humor. This is a delightful addition to the series.
by Susan Withee, Adult Services Manager
I’m a pretty eclectic reader overall with interests that bounce around through much of the Dewey Decimal system and make forays into all sorts of fiction. But an ongoing and constant reading interest of mine is books about women’s lives, which have fascinated me since I climbed the stairs to the Children’s Room in the old Carnegie Library and checked out Abigail Adams: A Girl of Colonial Days. Since then I’ve continued to read anything from collections of women’s journals and letters, to books of humorous and true confessions, to biographies and personal memoirs, to social and cultural history. Here are some interesting books that I’ve enjoyed in the past year about women and their lives and history.
The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure. Author McClure, a young woman with a very understanding boyfriend and a childhood obsession with writer Laura Ingalls Wilder, set out to revisit all the joy she experienced from the Little House series by traveling to locales from the books, researching the real Laura’s story, and experimenting in her own apartment with Laura-esque chores like grinding wheat and churning butter. Reminiscent of Sarah Vowell’s wacky and humorous travelogues through American history, McClure’s experiences and commentary are often hilarious and wry, and her observations on girlhood both in Laura’s time and now are penetrating and poignant. A fun and unexpectedly touching book.
The Magic Room: A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters by Jeffrey Zaslow. A series of vignettes taken from a bridal shop owned and operated by three generations of strong, hard-working women in small-town rural Michigan, this is a tender, sympathetic look at the changing nature of weddings, marriages, and families since the shop opened during the Great Depression. The Magic Room is a wonderful book about ordinary women and the dreams, joys, and sorrows they encounter and share. (I especially recommend it if you, like me, are a secret devotee of the TV show Say Yes to the Dress!)
When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins. Starting out in 1960, when women still needed their husband’s permission to get a credit card and single women were routinely denied home mortgages (if they were even allowed to apply), this book tells the amazing story of five decades of nearly unimaginable social change in the lives of American women. For women and men of a certain age, this is a startling reminder of all they have lived through and witnessed first-hand, and for those young women who take the changes of the past 50 years for granted it’s a sobering revelation. Collins’ writing style is conversational, anecdotal, and witty and this social history is a page-turner – absorbing, enjoyable, and enlightening.
Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman. Born into the ultra-orthodox, insular Satmar Hasidic sect, Deborah Feldman grew up under strict traditional religious and social customs that governed every aspect of everyday life, but she struggled to meet the group’s expectations and live the life prescribed for girls and women. Her first rebellion was to secretly visit a public library some distance from the Satmar neighborhood and read voraciously from secular and popular works in English. Her final attempt to conform, an arranged marriage, was a disaster, and with the birth of her own daughter, Deborah began planning her escape from the community. This is a fascinating look at a mysterious and secretive group; an absorbing and suspenseful personal memoir.
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen. Pulitzer-prize-winning columnist and novelist Quindlen looks back on her life from the milestone of her 60th birthday, and makes observations and offers perspectives in her trademark style – candid, astute, funny, acerbic, and touching. Of parenthood she writes, “Being a parent is not transactional. We do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward endeavor: We are good parents not so they will be loving enough to stay with us but so they will be strong enough to leave us.” About her aging body she writes, “I’ve finally recognized my body for what it is: a personality-delivery system, designed expressly to carry my character from place to place, now and in the years to come. It’s like a car, and while I like a red convertible or even a Bentley as well as the next person, what I really need are four tires and an engine.” Amen, Sister. This book was a delight.
Timothy Underhill and Willy Patrick had several things in common, they were both authors, they had both lost a child they loved, and they were both troubled. Willy had man trouble and was running for her life, while Timothy had email trouble. It seems he’s getting emails from people of his past, who are dead.
In the Night Room is told with alternating chapters from Willy and Timothy, until they meet. Now, Timothy’s life is also in danger and they are on the run together. Timothy knows what must be done to save Willy and himself, but he doesn’t like it.
Elena is finally free of her mean stepmother and stepsisters, but isn’t sure what to do without any family or position to go to. Fortunately her fairy godmother swoops in to clarify the situation. Apparently, Elena was supposed to be a “Cinderella”, but the kingdom’s prince was only a child, so she has been reassigned as a fairy godmother. Elena takes quickly to the role, only regretting the loneliness of the position, when she encounters the rudest man she ever met and punishes him by turning him into a donkey. As he learns humility, she ponders whether she has the strength to question tradition. The Fairy Godmother is a delightfully funny tale filled with magic, adventure, and romance.
Author of many popular romantic suspense novels, Karen Robards has created a new series in the genre of paranormal suspense. Dr. Charlotte Stone is a psychiatrist and an expert in criminal psychology, studying serial killers and their motivations. As a teen, she was the sole survivor of a killer known as “The Boardwalk Killer”, and new murders are taking place with the same methods, leaving police to believe this killer has resurfaced. The FBI approaches Charlie, asking for her insights into the case. She has never revealed to anyone that she is able to see the ghosts of the recently murdered, and despite her reluctance to become involved in the case and with the spirits of the murdered, she agrees to help with the case. Along with the FBI, Charlie has unexpected assistance from the ghost of a murdered prisoner that she had been interviewing, Michael Garland. The Last Victim is the first in a planned series featuring Dr. Charlotte Stone and her ghostly assistant Michael garland, and the series is off to an exciting start.
Did you enjoy R.L. Stine’s teen series, Goosebumps and Fear Street? Stine has a new adult chiller, Red Rain! On an isolated island of the Carolina coast, travel blogger, Lea Sutter, witnesses a mysterious ritual supposed to bring back the dead. Soon after, a massive hurricane devastates the island. Among the few survivors, Lea sees two young orphaned boys and decides to take them back to her family and adopt them. Back home, her husband and two children are apprehensive about these beautiful blond children. Soon, a murder occurs. And then another. Stine’s brutal story of evil children is a gory but fun read, with an unpredictable outcome.
The Butterfly Cabinet is set in Ireland, telling a long kept secret from the castle back in 1893. Maddie McGlade, now in her nineties, the year 1968, begins the story of her life and the things she witnessed as a servant under Harriet Ormond. Harriet also tells her end of the story through her prison diaries.
Harriet never put up with any nonsense from her children. They had to learn a lesson, if she didn’t punish them they would never become the obedient children they should. Maddie, and other servants in the house, thought Harriet went too far in her discipline. The sevants risked Harriet’s ire by sneaking food and drink to the children during long durations of learning how to behave. When the youngest child is found dead, Harriet is accused and thrown in prison. It seems that Maddie has a guilty conscious and must tell her story to someone before she dies. This book was inspired by a true story of the death of the daughter of an aristocratic Irish family at the end of the nineteenth century.
City of Women is a deeply wrenching story set in Berlin during World War II. Most of the men have been shipped off to fight on one of the fronts, including the husband of Sigrid Schroder. She tries to maintain a normal life going to work at the patent office and coming home to a meager existence in an apartment with her impossible mother-in-law. Sigrid, as many other Germans, tries to ignore the atrocities that are happening all around her. She hides her involvement with a Jewish lover and then becomes friends with and helps a young woman who is hiding a group of desperate people.
This is not an easy book to read. Sigrid is not a likeable character even with her involvement against Hitler’s movement. The setting of Berlin during bombing raids is very bleak and disturbing. It is a very interesting perspective of war as we are taken inside the minds of people caught up in an ugly, desperate situation. The theme captures you as it plays out during a very real moment in history.
by John Pecoraro, Assistant Director
Eat your vegetables if you want to grow big and strong, at least that’s what our parents and teachers have always told us. Remember: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Our entire lives we’ve been told to eat right to feel right. Some of us have heeded this advice; some of us haven’t. Vegetarians and vegans have taken this advice to heart. October is National Vegetarian Month, and the perfect time to remind ourselves of the variety of eating experiences on offer from the greens, reds, yellows, purples, and other colorful fruits and vegetables available in garden and market.
Vegetarians and vegans are not synonymous. According to Merriam-Webster Online, a vegetarian is someone whose diet is one “consisting wholly of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and sometimes eggs or dairy products.” This type of vegetarian is also referred to as a lacto-ovo vegetarian. Vegans, on the other hand, are strict vegetarians who do not consume animal or dairy products. All vegans are vegetarians, but not all vegetarians are vegans.
Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or just want to eat like one, Manhattan Public Library has a wide selection of the cookbooks you’ll need to help you create a royal feast. If you like to cook outdoors, Grilling Vegan Style by John Schlimm delivers a full plate of meal options. From creative vegetable classics like Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime and Pepper Sauce, to the art of grilling faux meats, this guide fires up 125 recipes for the backyard chef.
Also for grilling enthusiasts, Jolinda Hackett presents 225 backyard favorites in Cookouts Veggie Style. Learn how to make delicious and unique vegetarian dishes such as Crisped Camembert and Mango Quesadillas and Cajun-rubbed Portobello Caps. You’ll never miss burgers and hotdogs again.
For reluctant vegans, try Vegan Cooking for Carnivores by Roberto Martin. Featuring mouthwatering photographs, this book explains that the key to good vegan cooking is substitution. Vegan versions of meat-eater favorites include the Avocado Reuben and “Chick’n” Pot Pie.
Former Bon Apetit columnist Marie Simmons begins Fresh & Fast Vegetarian with pages of fast cooking techniques, suggested tools, and lists of favorite ingredients. Only then does this author present recipes for 150 of her favorite dinners. From soups (White Bean and Fennel; Pumpkin and Tomato Soup with Cheese) to salads (Toasted Quinoa, Corn and Avocado) to main dishes (Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Quick Black Bean Chili), this book has it all.
Vegetarian recipes are often a godsend to individuals on a gluten-free diet. Carol Fenster offers quick and delicious dishes for the healthy cook in 125 Gluten-free Vegetarian Recipes. From snacks and appetizers like Baked Kale Chips, to filling dinners like Chili Cornbread Casserole and Eggplant Parmesan Stacks, to decadent desserts like Tiramisu and Chocolate Mousse, Fenster makes gluten-free eating fun.
Joy Tienzo draws from a variety of influences to feature a diversity of innovative vegan dishes in Cook, Eat, Thrive. This author uses a series of symbols to indicate which recipes are raw, low fat, soy-free, and wheat-free, as well as recipes you can prepare in 30 minutes or less. Recipes range from well-known favorites (Buttermilk Pancakes) to more exotic dishes (Sage-Ricotta Gnocchi with Spicy Squash Mash).
Many cuisines have a tradition of meatless cooking. Troth Wells takes us on a gastronomic tour of the world with her One World Vegetarian Cookbook. Recipes include Indian Creamy Mixed Vegetable Curry, Greek Cheese Pies, Middle Eastern Baba Ghanoush, and even good old Boston Baked Beans from the U.S.A.
A vegan diet isn’t strictly about fruits and vegetables. Vegans do sometimes like dessert after a meal. Lickin’ the Beaters 2 by Siue Moffat includes a wealth of vegan chocolate and candy recipes to drool over. Presented with useful hints and a handy quick recipe indicator for those who simply cannot wait for their sugar fix, recipes include favorites such as pralines, cookies and cakes.
For the ultimate one-stop vegetarian cookbook, from the author of the classic How to Cook Everything, pick up How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. This is the definitive guide to meatless meals that will appeal to everyone who wants to cook simple but delicious meatless dishes, from health-conscious omnivores to passionate vegetarians.
Manhattan Public Library has an extensive collection of cookbooks for all levels of culinary expertise. Check them out. They’re guaranteed to make you hungry for more.
I picked up The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde because I’ve read and liked the Thursday Next series and because the book got some great reviews. If you like Jasper Fforde’s oddball humor in his other books (or if you like Terry Pratchett), you’ll want to pick up The Last Dragonslayer.
Jennifer Strange is a foundling. She was abandoned on the steps of the convent of the Blessed Ladies of the Lobster as a baby and raised there. At 12, she was placed with Kazam Mystical Arts Management and is currently running the agency after the disappearance of its founder in a magic trick gone wrong.
Kazam is an employment agency for magicians that has fallen on hard times. Magic has been fading from the world and the magicians have grown less powerful as ambient magic has fallen. When magic starts to see a surge, strange events start to happen. The magicians with precognitive abilities all have a premonition that the last dragon will be slain in the next week. Jennifer sets off to find the Last Dragonslayer to see what she can do to prevent this from happening.
Jennifer Clodfelter knew she was to be a country music star. However, convincing those in Nashville was another matter. She went to Nashville only to find rejection, until she sang in a karaoke bar. There she felt the crowd totally connecting with her song and so did Mike Flint. Mike was Jennifer’s ticket into the big time.
Mike knew Jennifer had more in her and wanted her to sing songs from her life. Jennifer wanted to hide from that life, not bring it back in a new song. Of course Mike won out and Jennifer wrote songs from her life that tore her apart, but brought her audience satisfaction. Life in Nashville was lonely except for four true friends. Roy Durden, the front desk clerk at the Best Western where Jennifer lived before she became Jenny Cloud was her only friend before stardom. Tonilynn, her make-up and hair designer, was the friend that liked the real Jennifer Clodfelter. The other two friends in Jennifer’s Nashville life was Tonilynn’s son, Bobby Lee and her Aunt Gomer. Julie Cannon’s Twang, gives us insight into life as a country star.
As a huge Doctor Who fan and someone who grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, how could I possibly resist this graphic novel that combines the two? I obviously couldn’t.
The Doctor, Amy, and Rory have decided to visit somewhere cool and foggy and end up in San Francisco. When they run into an android in a bar, they realize the TARDIS has materialized inside the holodeck of the USS Enterprise and they are speaking to Data, Commander Riker, and Doctor Crusher. It doesn’t appear to be a coincidence that the Doctor is suddenly in another science fiction universe when the Cybermen show up. The Doctor tells the crew of the USS Enterprise about his dealings with the Cybermen when they realize the Borg and the Cybermen are working together to attack a planet in Delta IV.
The Doctor starts remembering flashes of something that never happened and realizes that the Cybermen have gone back and changed history. Can the Doctor convince Captain Picard that the Cybermen are just as dangerous as the Borg? Sadly, we all have to wait until January to find out.
With the first chill of autumn in the air, I carried my warm weather house plants inside that survived the intense Kansas heat. Just one day into cold temps and I am already dreading the long, cold winter. Reading is a respite when the story’s setting is lush and tropical. My latest read is set in the low country of Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. Porch Lights is Dorothea Benton Frank’s newest. All thirteen of her books revolve around this small town at the entrance to Charlestown harbor and draw you into the laid-back, charm of beach life.
Jackie McMullen has recently lost her NYC firefighter husband to a tragic accident. She takes her ten year old son, Charlie, home to Sullivan’s Island for the summer. Jackie finds a part time job and her mother does everything she can to make Jackie feel at home. Jackie feels over mothered and even pushed into a relationship with the widower who lives next door. Charlie finds friends and distractions from his sadness and wants to stay permanently. The ending is satisfying as they begin healing in the love and warmth of family.
This fast-paced and suspense-filled novel begins with an archaeological expedition to a remote area of the Amazon. Artifacts from the Kothga culture are discovered, including a representation of the evil god Mbwun–a half-man, half-reptile creature, and all are crated and shipped to the New York Museum of Natural History. But no one from the expedition lives to tell about their discoveries. Years later, the museum is set to unveil a new exhibit “Superstition”, which includes artifacts from many cultures that represent evil and superstition, including the Mbwun statue. Problems begin at the museum when gristly murders begin taking place. FBI Agent Pendergast and graduate student Margo Green each have theories about the deaths, but are ignored by museum directors. Then on the night of the exhibit opening, terror spreads through the museum. Relic is a gripping page-turner as the heroes are forced to explore remote and dark tunnels underneath the museum and as others battle to escape the monster roaming freely through the museum.
Relic is also the first book in a series of thrillers by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child that revolves around the Sherlock Holmes-like character of FBI Agent Aloysius Pendergast. Next in the series is Reliquary.