DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

It’s inevitable that you will one day tire of what you are now cooking – the recipes you now rely on will eventually fail to thrill, the staples that once provoked extreme satisfaction from family and friends will instead elicit groans. When that moment comes, the library has your back! We have assembled a list of 13 great cookbooks from 2018 for your consideration. Click here to view the entire list in our catalog, or click on the title or cover of each suggested book to be taken to its record in our catalog.

Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi

Author and chef Yotam Ottolenghi presents 130 streamlined recipes packed with his signature Middle Eastern-inspired flavors. Each dish can be made in 30 minutes or less, with 10 or fewer ingredients, in a single pot, using pantry staples, or prepared ahead of time for brilliantly, deliciously simple meals.

Now & Again: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus + Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers by Julia Turshen

In this book – the follow-up to Small Victories, which Real Simple magazine called “an inspiring addition to any kitchen bookshelf” – Julia Turshen presents more than 125 delicious recipes and 20 creative menu ideas to help cooks of any skill level gather friends and family around the table.

Mississippi Vegan: Recipes & Stories from a Southern Boy’s Heart by Timothy Pakron

Inspired by the landscape and flavours of his childhood on the Mississippi gulf coast, Timothy Pakron found his heart, soul, and calling in cooking the Cajun, Creole, and southern classics of his youth. In his debut cookbook, he shares 125 plant-based recipes, all of which substitute ingredients without sacrificing depth of flavor and reveal the secret tradition of veganism in Southern cooking.

Milk Street: Tuesday Nights by Christopher Kimball

Kimball and his team of cooks and editors search the world for straightforward techniques that deliver delicious dinners in less time. Here, they present more than 200 solutions that will transform your weeknight cooking, showing how to make simple, healthy, delicious meals using pantry staples and just a few other ingredients. Some chapters focus on time – with recipes that are fast (under an hour, start to finish), faster (45 minutes or less), and fastest (25 minutes or less) – while others highlight easy methods or themes.

Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering by Joanna Gaines

Drawing inspiration from television personality Joanna Gaines’s home kitchen and her Waco restaurant, this book includes 125 classic recipes – from breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to small plates, snacks, and desserts – that represent a modern selection of American classics and personal family favorites. Complemented by Gaines’s love for her garden, these dishes also incorporate homegrown, seasonal produce at the peak of its flavor.

Israeli Soul by Michael Solomonov

For their first major book since the trailblazing Zahav, Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook go straight to the food of the people – the great dishes that are the soul of Israeli cuisine. To find the best versions, the authors scoured bustling cities like Tel Aviv and sleepy towns on mountaintops. Solomonov has perfected and adapted every recipe for the home kitchen.

Food52 Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake by Kristen Miglore

Drawing from her James Beard Award-nominated “Genius Recipes” column and powered by the cooking wisdom and generosity of the Food52 community, Kristen Miglore has unearthed and rigorously tested 100 game-changing dessert recipes from beloved cookbook authors, chefs, and bakers – and collected them all in this guide.

Everyday Dorie: The Way I Cook by Dorie Greenspan

The James Beard Award-winning and New York Times magazine columnist shares the irresistibly informal food she makes all the time for herself, her husband, and her friends. The dishes – many of which can be served as a dinners, side dishes, or an appetizers – are practical and can be made with common ingredients from the supermarket, farmers’ market, or pantry.

Eat At Home Tonight: 101 Simple Busy-Family recipes for Your Slow Cooker, Sheet Pan, Instant Pot, and More by Tiffany King

Founder of the Eat at Home website and family meal-planning wizard Tiffany King shares recipes focused on simplicity, flavor, and healthy balance to help home cooks end every day with an affordable family dinner. This is the cookbook to turn to when all hope of a homemade, wholesome dinner seems lost.

Delish: Eat Like Every Day’s the Weekend by Joanna Saltz

You don’t have to know how to cook, you just have to love to eat. Delish.com speaks to food lovers who don’t fancy themselves chefs, and this – their first cookbook – collects all the online insanity and entertainment into one print volume. Inside, you’ll find more than 275 recipes and ideas that are meant to be devoured (Quesadilla Cake, Chicken Fried Cauliflower) plus tips, tricks, and indispensable advice.

Cravings: Hungry for More by Chrissy Teigen

After the extraordinary success of Cravings, Chrissy Teigen returns with more of her signature wit and take-no-prisoners flavor bombs. Her 100 recipes are simpler and provide plenty of bang for your buck, reflective of her new time-conscious status as a parent responsible for getting food on the table.

All About Cake by Christina Tosi

In this book, Christina Tosi takes you into the sugar-fueled, manically creative cake universe of Milk Bar. From two-minute microwave mug cakes to gooey Crock-Pot cakes, from Bundts and pounds to their famous cake truffles and, of course, their signature naked layer cakes, this book will help bakers of all levels to indulge in a world of flavors. Along the way, Tosi reveals the methods behind her team’s creativity that will allow you to invent any cake flavor you can imagine.

Power Plates: 100 Nutritionally Balanced, One-Dish Vegan Meals by Gena Hamshaw

Focused on the art of crafting complete, balanced meals that deliver sustained energy and nourishment, this book features 100 compelling and delicious recipes that just happen to be vegan. Every recipe contains the key macronutrients of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and proteins, which together make for a complete meal – things like Smoky Red Lentil Stew with Chard, and Falafel Bowls with Freekah and Cauliflower.

{ 1 comment }

Picking up where I left off yesterday, here are 10 of my favorite nonfiction reads from the last year. Click here for the entire list, or click on the individual covers and titles below to be taken to their records in our catalog.

Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley

Sloane Crosley is often referred to as the female David Sedaris, and all of these essays are top notch. The writing is a perfect mix of hilarious and heartfelt. Fans of Nora Ephron should absolutely read this collection.

She Caused a Riot: 100 Unknown Women Who Built Cities, Sparked Revolutions, and Massively Crushed It by Hannah Jewell

An empowering look into the epic adventures and dangerous exploits of 100 women. The entries are both funny and informational. You’ll learn something new on every page.

What If This Were Enough? by Heather Havrilesky

This essay collection from the writer of the popular “Ask Polly” advice column examines the contradictions of middle-class American life with insight, humor, and terrific prose.

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister

An incisive exploration into the transformative power of female anger. Rebecca Traister does an incredible job taking this still unfolding history and turning it into a narrative.

Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings in Chicago’s South Side by Eve Ewing

Eve Ewing knows Chicago schools. She was a student and teacher in them, and is now a scholar who studies them. This fascinating history of the Chicago Public School System is framed around the 2013 announcement of an unprecedented number of school closings.

Educated by Tara Westover

Tara Westover’s memoir of escape from her survivalist father is thrilling from start to finish. She didn’t set foot in a classroom until she was 17 and now holds several advanced degrees. This memoir is truly inspiring.

Tonight I’m Someone Else by Chelsea Hodson

From an American Apparel model to a NASA employee, Hodson takes us through her work experiences in essays that look at the ways people connect to their work and to each other.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

Published posthumously, this account of the author’s research into the Golden State Killer is riveting from start to finish. Since the publication of the book, the serial killer has been caught and confessed.

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

Nicole Chung looks back at her life as a transracial adoptee and wrestles with the fact that the prepackaged myth her adoptive parents told her may not be the whole truth. Chung’s writing is beautiful and the story of finding your identity is engaging from the first page to the last.

Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin

In these essays, Bolin shows how women’s bodies are used as props to boost the stories of men. She analyzes, novels, movies, stories, and television programs that are obsessed with disenfranchised women. She ends the stunning collection by examining the injustices that real women suffer because of the portrayal of women in media.

{ 0 comments }

While librarians don’t sit around and read all day at work, most of us are voracious readers when we’re not on the desk. Below are 10 of my favorite novels and short story collections published in 2018. Click here for the entire list, or click on the individual covers and titles below to be taken to their records in our catalog. Come back tomorrow for a look at my 10 favorite non-fiction reads of 2018.

The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

Inspired by the author’s own loss of faith at the age of 17, this thrilling debut about religious fervor on a college campus is told through a series of intense memories pieced together after a terrorist attack.

Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey

A missing mother. An isolated community. One of the best canine narrators in literature. Dey sets her novel in a secluded area of Canada, and the area becomes the emotional center of the book, which deals with both adolescence and motherhood.

Invitation to a Bonfire by Adrienne Celt

Loosely based on the adulterous marriage of Vladimir Nabokov, this novel is told in diary entries and follows the love triangle of Zoya, Vera, and Leo through the 1920s. The novel is filled with beautiful sentences worthy of Nabokov himself.

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

If you knew the date of your death, how would you choose to live? This is the question at the heart of this novel, which follows the four Gold siblings throughout their lives and examines how they deal with the information given to them by a mystical woman on the Lower East Side of New York City in the summer of 1969.

Florida by Lauren Groff

This short story collection is entrancing from start to finish. Groff’s ability to write precise sentences leads to several unsettling (in a good way) stories where danger lurks at every turn.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

This compelling novel tells the story of love, justice, and loyalty as a couple is ripped apart when one is falsely accused of a crime.

The Wrong Heaven by Amy Bonnaffons

In this imaginative and unsettling debut short story collection, Bonnaffons creates worlds that are decidedly strange. Her writing is funny, insightful, and probing. A story in the collection about a woman trying to turn herself into a horse was also featured on a recent episode of This American Life.

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

1980s Chicago is the setting for this novel, which explores the AIDS crisis through the character of Yale Tishman, an art director who tries to finalize a deal for a collection of 1920s paintings as his whole world begins to crumble around him. This novel is beautiful from beginning to end. You’ll want to read it in one sitting.

Certain American States by Catherine Lacey

A story collection about characters trying to come to terms with their place in the world. Catherine Lacey’s tales of love, loss, and longing are hard to shake. The way she writes about characters trying to get a handle on their own lives is simply beautiful.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Miller expertly makes the story of Circe come to life in this astounding novel. After she is banished to a deserted island by Zeus, Circe hones her occult craft and comes into contact with several famous figures from mythology.

{ 0 comments }

Who doesn’t love a good stunt memoir? You know: Books in which an author recounts his or her decision to do (or not do) this or that thing and then document the results of said decision. As someone who regularly undertakes large personal projects that inevitably fall far short of completion, I relate and admire those individuals who decide to do a thing, then do that thing, and are then (finally!) possessed of the energy and organizational skills to relate their findings to the world. Anyway! We have assembled a list of 15 such titles for you to peruse. Click here for the entire list, or click on the title or cover of each suggested book to be taken to its record in our catalog.

So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading by Sara Nelson

Sara Nelson set out to chronicle a year’s worth of reading, to explore how the world of books and words intermingled with the “real” world. Fifty-two weeks, fifty-two books …  and it all fell apart the first week. That’s when she discovered that books chose her as much as she chose them, and the rewards and frustrations they brought were nothing she could plan for.

Three Among the Wolves: A Couple and Their Dog Live a Year With Wolves in the Wild by Helen Thayer

Helen and Bill Thayer, accompanied by their part-wolf, mostly Husky dog, Charlie, set out on foot to live among wild wolf packs, first in the Canadian Yukon and then in the Arctic. They discover the complexities of wolf family structure and view the intricacies of the hunt firsthand, as well as the wolves’ finely honed survival skills and engaging playfulness.

Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell

This is the story of Julie Powell’s attempt to revitalize her marriage, restore her ambition, and save her soul by cooking all 524 recipes in volume one of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking – in a mere 365 days.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver

In this book, Barbara Kingsolver and her family embark on a rural, locally sourced adventure. For one year, their diet will consist solely of  food that was raised in their own neighborhood or that they have grown themselves.

A Year Without “Made In China”: One Family’s True Life Adventure in the Global Economy by Sara Bongiorni

Sara Bongiorni fills this book with engaging stories and anecdotes of her family’s yearlong attempt to outrun China’s reach – by boycotting Chinese-made products – and does a remarkable job of taking a decidedly big-picture issue (the effects of globalism) and breaking it down to a personal level.

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs

The author of The Know-It-All follows up his bestselling account of reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica with another improbable adventure – a year spent living, as literally as possible, by the rules of the Bible.

The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin

In the vein of Julie and Julia, this book describes Gretchen Rubin’s year-long attempt to discover what leads to true contentment. Drawing at once on cutting-edge science, classical philosophy, and real-world applicability, Rubin has written an engaging chronicle of personal transformation.

Working in the Shadows: A Year of Doing the Jobs (Most) Americans Won’t Do by Gabriel Thompson

What is it like to do the back-breaking work of immigrants? To find out, Gabriel Thompson spent a year working alongside Latino immigrants, who initially thought he was either crazy or an undercover immigration agent. Thompson shines a bright light on the underside of the American economy, exposing harsh working conditions, union busting, and lax government enforcement – while telling the stories of workers, undocumented immigrants, and desperate U.S. citizens forced to live with chronic pain in the pursuit of $8 an hour.

My Year With Eleanor: A Memoir by Noelle Hancock

In this book, Noelle Hancock recounts the results of her decision to heed the advice of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and do one thing a day that scares her in the year before her 30th birthday.

MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche

Newly arrived in Chicago and friendless, author Rachel Bertsche  settles upon a plan: She’ll go on 52 friend-dates, one per week for a year, in hopes of meeting her new Best Friend Forever.

Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy by Maggie Anderson

On January 1, 2009, Maggie and John Anderson embarked on a year-long public pledge to “buy black.” The Andersons combed Chicago in search of supermarkets, dry cleaners, gas stations, pharmacies, and clothing stores owned by African-Americans, and this is the story of what they learned.

Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body By Not Looking At It for a Year Kjerstin Gruys

When Kjerstin Gruys became engaged, she was thrilled – until it came time to shop for a wedding dress. Faced with a new set of impossible beauty standards, she found herself struggling to maintain a positive self-image. She then decided to embark on a bold plan, vowing to give up mirrors and other reflective surfaces, relying instead on her friends to help her gauge her appearance and her outlook on life.

Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianka Bosker

In this book, Bianka Bosker quits her job as an executive in the tech industry and gives herself one year to become a master sommelier. Her quest takes her inside underground tasting groups, exclusive New York City restaurants, California mass-market wine factories, and even a neuroscientist’s fMRI machine as she attempts to answer the most nagging question of all: what’s the big deal about wine?

All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island by Liza Jessie Peterson

This book recounts a year in poet and actress Liza Jessie Peterson’s classroom at Island Academy, the high school for inmates detained at New York City’s Rikers Island.

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

This book documents the twelve months during which author Cait Flanders bought only consumables: groceries, toiletries, fuel for her car. She trashed 70 percent of her belongings, learned how to fix things rather than throw them away, researched the zero waste movement, and completed a television ban – learning at every stage that the less she consumed, the more fulfilled she felt.

{ 0 comments }

Dec 18 2018

Bon Appetit: 10 Cozy Culinary Mysteries

by Elisabeth H

It’s impossible to separate the holiday season from high-calorie sweets, but – oddly enough – all too easy to justify the consumption of those pies and cakes and salty snack mixes. Allow us to propose a solution to this problem: Instead of cracking open a cookie tin at 3 a.m., why not dig into a food-themed mystery instead? We have assembled a list of 10 titles (old and new) that will satisfy your appetite for mystery and for food. Click here for the entire list, or click on the title or cover of each suggested title to be taken to its record in our catalog. And (this is important) please forward all uneaten cookies to your local branch of the DeKalb County Public Library.

Fer-de-Lance and the League of Frightened Men by Rex Stout

One of the first culinary mysteries appeared in 1934 with Fer-de-Lance, the first Nero Wolfe novel. Wolfe is not only a brilliant private detective, but food is his number one preoccupation and delight. On the hunt for more Wolfe? Click here to view and request more titles featuring this food-savvy detective.

The Secret, Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams

In this new series from author Ellery Adams, Nora, a bookstore owner helps her customers solve their problems by prescribing the perfect book. (The freshly baked scones don’t hurt.) When a potential customer is found murdered, Nora founds a secret society of book- and scone-lovers to solve the mystery of his death. We also have the book’s sequel, which you can request by clicking here.

Glazed Murder by Jessica Beck

When Suzanne Hart buys a donut shop with her divorce settlement, she thinks that her world is finally about to settle down. Her plans have their middle punched out, though,  when the body of one of her customers is dumped in front of her shop. If you can’t stop with just one, we have more than 10 other installments in this series – you can view and request them by clicking here.

Cake and Punishment by Maymee Bell

In the first installment of a delectable new Southern-set series, Sophia Cummings, pastry chef extraordinaire, must craft the perfect cake for an old friend’s wedding while sifting through the suspects in a murder. More sweet murder awaits you in the sequel, Batter Off Dead, which you can request by clicking here.

Death by Darjeeling by Laura Childs

The first in the popular Tea Shop Mystery series introduces Theodosia Browning, owner of Indigo Tea Shop. She is catering an event when an esteemed guest is found dead, his hand clutching an empty teacup. Theo desperately tries to save her reputation and track down the real killer. Need a refill? You can view and request other titles in the Tea Shop Mystery series by clicking here.

The Merlot Murders by Ellen Crosby

Ellen Crosby’s debut mystery is set in the wealthy Blue Ridge wine country of northern Virginia, where vineyard heiress Lucie Montgomery must find a killer or lose her cherished family vineyard. Can’t stop sipping? You can view and request other titles in the series by clicking here.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

This is the first novel in Joanna Fluke’s recipe-laden mystery series about cookie shop owner Hannah Swensen. In it, Hannah’s work-life cookie crumbles when the delivery man from a nearby dairy is found murdered behind her shop. With more than 20 titles in the series, Swensen’s sweets will keep you pleasantly buzzed for many an hour – to view and request other titles in the series, click here.

Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake by Sarah Graves

In this new series by Sarah Graves, Jake and Ellie (from the author’s Home Repair is Homicide mysteries) open a chocolate-themed bakery. Ellie’s old family recipes reel in the customers – until an early-season hurricane scuttles their plans. To make matters worse, the health inspector is found murdered in their kitchen. The followup – Death By Chocolate Malted Milkshake – isn’t available for checkout yet, but you can request it by clicking here.

Cherry Pies & Deadly Lies by Darci Hannah

This new series features a fearless, reckless sleuth who unravels a complicated culinary mystery. Whitney Bloom is furiously baking pies when she receives a desperate call from her mother: the manager of her family’s cherry orchard has been found dead and all evidence points to her father as the killer.

Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A.L. Herbert

Mahalia “Halia” Watkins’ Sweet Tea restaurant has the finest soul food in Prince George’s County, Maryland. In between preparing her famous cornbread and mashed potatoes, Halia dips her spoon into a grisly mystery, investigating the murder (in her kitchen!) (next to her frying pan!) of a smooth-talking, shady entrepreneur. Ready for a second helping? You can request the sequel, Murder With Macaroni and Cheese, by clicking here.

{ 0 comments }

What’s it like to be a professional dishwasher, or a tax collector for the IRS? What enormous pressures is a prison guard subjected to on a daily basis? What were the hotel staff laughing about while you were checking out last weekend? With these – and other – questions in mind, we assembled a list of 12 memoirs that will take you behind the scenes of 12 very different workplaces. You can click on the book covers or titles below to be taken into our catalog, or click here for the entire list.

Dishwasher: One Man’s Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States by Pete Jordan

This is the true story of a man on a mission: to clean dirty dishes professionally in every state in America. Part adventure, part parody, and part miraculous journey of self-discovery, it is the unforgettable account of the author’s transformation from itinerant seeker into “Dishwasher Pete” – unlikely folk hero, writer, publisher of his own cult zine, and the ultimate professional dish dog – and how he gave it all up for love.

Confessions of a Tax Collector: One Man’s Tour of Duty Inside the I.R.S. by Richard Yancey

Richard Yancey needed a job. He answered a blind ad offering a starting salary higher than what he’d made over the three previous years combined. The job? Field officer with the Internal Revenue Service. Yancey was brilliant at it. As a revenue officer, Yancey knocked on doors and made people pay. (Never mind that he couldn’t remember where he stashed his own tax records.) Yancey details how the job changed him, and how he managed to pull himself back from the brink of moral, ethical, and spiritual bankruptcy.

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

In this book, Jahren recounts her childhood in rural Minnesota, with a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs. These early experiences led to a career as a paleobiologist, a role that takes her around the world, from the North Pole to Hawaii to Ireland. The core of her book is the story of the relationship she forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, a student who becomes her lab partner and best friend.

Nature Noir: A Park Ranger’s Patrol in the Sierra by Jordan Fisher Smith

This is the story of Jordan Fisher Smith’s fourteen years as a park ranger on 48 miles of Sierra Nevada river canyons. Ranger work, in this place where wildness tends toward the human kind, includes encounters with armed miners who scour canyons for gold, drug-addled squatters, and extreme recreators who enjoy combining motorcycles, parachutes, and high bridges.

Blue Blood by Edward Conlon

Conlon, whose uncles, father, and grandfather were all police officers, and who becomes a NYPD officer himself after graduating from Harvard, paints a vivid portrait of the world of Big Apple law enforcement. Despite the fact that his father wanted something better for him, Conlon is irresistibly drawn to the force, and this book relates in thrilling, comic, tragic day-to-day details his ascent from beat patrolman to detective.

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell

Two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist, throwing herself into the fascinating world of death investigation – performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, counseling grieving relatives. This book, which chronicles her two years of training, takes you behind the police tape of the events large (the disastrous crash of American Airlines flight 587) and small (the individual murders, suicides, and accidents that are her stock-in-trade).

Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover

In this book, author Ted Conover spends a year as a prison guard at New York State’s infamous maximum-security facility, Sing Sing. A gallery officer, Conover often has to supervise scores of violent felons – by himself. As he confronts the impossibility of doing his job by the book, he begins to develop the sense of balance between leniency and tyranny that defines a good prison guard. This is an excellent look at what prison life does to people on both side of the bars.

Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library by Don Borchert

Borchert, a longtime assistant librarian in a suburban Los Angeles library, pulls back the curtain on public library service and reveals a world overflowing with outsized, oddball personalities – on both sides of the desk.

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky

When Jacob Tomsky emerged from college with a philosophy degree, he didn’t intend to enter the hospitality business. Yet he did, becoming a valet parker for a luxury hotel in New Orleans. Ten years later, Tomsky was still in the industry and had worked his way around and through the hotel world. In this book, you are provided a backstage look at what lies beneath the surface of hospitality.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: & Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Doughty, the blogger behind the popular web series Ask a Mortician, describes her experiences working at a crematory. In addition to detailing her day-to-day experiences – sweeping ashes from the machines, caring for bodies of all shapes and sizes – Doughty unearths and details the sometimes weird history of cremation and undertaking.

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl

Reichl, a former restaurant critic at the New York Times and once the editor-in-chief of Gourmet, recounts her visits to some of the world’s most acclaimed restaurants, where she often dined both as herself and – in disguises involving wigs, makeup, and credit cards under assumed names – anonymously.

Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford

Author Bill Buford had long thought of himself as a reasonably comfortable cook before he decided to answer a question that ate at him every time he prepared a meal: How would his skills measure up in a professional kitchen? Buford seizes the opportunity to train in the kitchen of Mario Batali’s three-star New York restaurant, Babbo, and this book is the story of his time spent under Batali’s tutelage and of his apprenticeships with culinary masters in Italy.

{ 0 comments }

Picture books about immigration and refugees allow us to experience the feelings of fear, courage, and hope that are part of the journey from one’s homeland to a new country. In these 11 picture books, young protagonists find themselves leaving old lands and journeying to new ones, where hope and promise live side-by-side with memories of what has been left behind.

We Came to America by Faith Ringgold

Award-winning author-illustrator Faith Ringgold offers a timely look at the diverse makeup and backgrounds of the American people and celebrates the country’s diverse immigrant heritage. Ringgold’s poetic text and vibrant art affirm the message that diversity enriches us all.

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

Other students laugh when Rigoberto, an immigrant from Venezuela, introduces himself. But later, he meets Angelina and discovers that he is not the only one who feels like an outsider. A beautiful and inclusive story that encourages children to find the beauty in their own lives and share it with the world.

Mustafa by Marie-Louise Gay

A young boy named Mustafa has traveled a long way to this country from his old one, where the trees were dusty and gray and there was not a lot of extra food. Here, he visits a park near his new home and finds beautiful flowers, ladybugs, fall leaves, and finally, a friend.

Islandborn by Junot Díaz

Lola was just a baby when her family left the Island. When she has to draw it for a school assignment, she asks her family, friends, and neighbors about their memories of her homeland. However, their memories of home are not all happy – there is also a remembrance of struggles.

Imagine by Juan Felipe Herrera

When Juan Felipe Herrera was very young, he picked flowers, helped his mama feed the chickens, slept under the starry sky, and learned to say goodbye to his amiguitos each time his migrant family moved on. When he grew up, he became a poet. This beautifully illustrated poem encourages children to imagine all that they might one day be.

Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say

A Japanese-American man recounts his grandfather’s journey to America, which he later undertakes himself. He also describes the feeling of being torn by a love for two different countries. The immigrant experience has rarely been so poignantly evoked.

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

In warm, sparkling prose that moves easily from English to Spanish and back, Caldecott Honor artist Morales traces the journey that she and her small son took in 1994, when they emigrated from Mexico to the United States. Many books about immigration describe the process of making new friends and fitting in; this one describes what it’s like to become a creative being in two languages, and to learn to love in both.

A Different Pond by Bao Phi

This beautiful tale about a father and son’s fishing trip in Minneapolis shows the interconnectedness of family. The story, told from the boy’s perspective, begins when his father wakes him before dawn. Although the child enjoys the outing as a special adventure, they are fishing for food, not sport. The quiet time together provides opportunities for the father to talk about his long-ago life in Vietnam.

Marwan’s Journey by Patricia de Arias

A child fleeing conflict walks across the desert, recalling the home he left behind and promising to return to it someday. As he walks, the simple and poetic text brings readers along on this heartbreaking journey: “I walk, and my footsteps leave a trace of ancient stories, the songs of my homeland, and the smell of tea and bread, jasmine and earth.”

The Journey by Francesca Sanna

What is it like to have to leave everything behind and travel many miles to somewhere unfamiliar and strange? In this beautiful, powerful book, a mother and her two children set out on such a journey – a journey filled with fear of the unknown, but also great hope for what lies ahead.

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco

The story recounts the author’s great-grandmother’s arrival in this country from Eastern Europe. Her dress and babushka become part of a quilt that is been handed down from generation to generation. This book is most notable for the family traditions and the changes that it describes, and for the intergenerational love it portrays.

{ 1 comment }

Afrofuturism is an art form that allows black people to see themselves in the future despite a sometimes distressing past and present. Through these science fiction and fantasy works, authors re-imagine the past and generate box-breaking black life in the future. We’ve put together a list of eleven titles featuring black characters living in fictional universes brimming with magic, technology, and time travel.

Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor

A timid thirteen-year-old girl undertakes a dangerous quest into the Forbidden Greeny Jungle.

Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler

Larkin describes the broken world of 2032, as war racks the North American continent and a religious crusader becomes president.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The sole continent of the earth is threatened by murder, betrayal, a super-volcano, and overlords who use the planet’s power as a weapon.

The War With the Mein by David Anthony Durham

The ruler of an idyllic empire hides the truth from his four children, until an assassin from the Mein, an exiled race, strikes him down and frees his children.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Zâelie and her family fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi.

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

After the rich abandon the city, those without money must adopt the old ways of farming, barter, and herb lore. Then the moneyed return seeking a harvest of bodies.

Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler

This collection of short stories includes the novella, “Bloodchild,” a parable about the treatment of women throughout history.

Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany

Journeying to Bellona, where only criminals and madmen remain, The Kid wonders at the strange portents that appear in the city’s cloud-covered sky.

47 by Walter Mosley

In 1832, a 14-year-old slave meets Tall John, who teaches him magical science and the meaning of freedom.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

The only one of her kind ever invited to study at Oomza Uni, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy, Binti uses her intellect to fight for herself and her people.

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

A con artist masquerading as a street musician meets a wealthy man intent upon opening a portal to another dimension.

{ 0 comments }

Nov 2 2018

All’s Well That Ends Welles!

by Scot L

When you think of Orson Welles, what comes to mind? Citizen Kane? The commercials for Paul Masson wine? His final screen performance, as the voice of Unicron in Transformers: The Movie? Although 46 productive years separate his celebrated screen debut in Kane (“Rosebud …”) and his final line (“Destiny … You cannot destroy my destiny …..”) as a cartoon robot, the time between is a dead zone to many. Yet those years were filled with memorable performances and directorial achievements that are all the more impressive for the financial and logistical challenges Welles faced in making them.

Today, Netflix begins streaming a recently completed version of The Other Side of the Wind, a project Welles worked on intermittently throughout the 1970s. Originally intended to be shot quickly, Welles almost immediately encountered a series of delays that would bring any other production to a permanent halt. Josh Karp relates this bizarre and inspiring story in Orson Welles’s Last Movie: The Making of The Other Side of the Wind. But what about Welles’s other movies? We’ve put together a list of 10 movies for your next Orson Welles Movie Marathon that will help you connect the dots between Charles Foster Kane and Unicron.

 

Citizen Kane (1941)

Welles’s film debut is perennially touted as the Best Movie Ever, but don’t let that stop you from watching it – it’s a blast. Welles stars as the enormously wealthy and magnificently unhappy Charles Foster Kane, whose dying word (“Rosebud”) prompts a journalist’s search for the meaning behind the word.

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Based on Booth Tarkington’s novel, Welles’s second film chronicles the precipitous decline of a wealthy Midwestern family. Subjected to grotesque studio edits after completion, the movie is an example of mutilated greatness – and makes any viewer wonder what Welles’ unspoiled vision of the film would have been.

The Stranger (1946)

In Welles’s third directorial effort, Edgar G. Robinson plays a war crimes investigator on the trail of a fugitive Nazi war criminal (Welles) who has integrated himself into the life of a small New England town.

The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

Welles wrote, directed, and starred in this twisty tale of murder gone wrong. He plays a lusty sailor who finds himself drawn into the orbit of a disabled attorney and his wife (played by Welles’ then-wife, Rita Hayworth). Agreements to stage a murder are made; confessions are signed; actual murders are committed. The movie’s smashing climax – set in a mirror maze – more than adequately reflects the labyrinthine plot.

Macbeth (1948)

Shot in 23 days, this is Welles’s first cinematic adaptation of Shakespeare.

Othello  (1951)

Welles’s second adaptation of Shakespeare took a little longer – around three years – to complete. Shot in Morocco and Italy, Welles addressed the many logistical and financial problems he faced by pumping his own money into the production. The Criterion edition owned by the library contains the European and US versions of the film.

Mr. Arkadin (1955)

Criterion rewards the Welles fanatic again with its three-disc edition of this film. It’s the story of an American smuggler who is hired by a mysterious billionaire (Welles) who claims he cannot remember his past. The smuggler’s job? To investigate that past. The only problem is, the people he talks to begin ending up dead.

Touch of Evil (1958)

Thrilling, sleazy, and endlessly entertaining,  Welles’s next film opens in a Mexican border town. A bomb is planted on a car; the car drives across the border; the car goes boom. Welles – painfully bloated – stars as the corrupt police captain Hank Quinlan, while Charlton Heston portrays Mexican drug enforcement officer Miguel Vargas. (Chew on that for a bit.)

Chimes at Midnight (1965)

Regarded by some as the crowning achievement of Welles’s career, the film was originally released in 1967 and then forgotten about. Long available only in pirated editions, Criterion’s spiffy DVD release of Welles’s third full-length Shakespearean adaptation – it incorporates elements of both Henry IV plays, Richard II, Henry V, and The Merry Wives of Windsor – is marvelous and well worth the wait. Welles stars, in a heartbreaking turn, as Falstaff.

F Is For Fake (1975)

Welles’s last completed film was originally intended to be a documentary about the professional art forger Elmyr de Hory. It is that, and so much more – what that more is, we will leave as a surprise for you.

{ 1 comment }

With Halloween approaching, your children may be asking for spooky stories. While some younger readers love thrills and chills, others are more sensitive to things that go bump in the night. If you’re looking for a gentle scare, we’ve put together a list of 13 books that provide safe places for children to learn about the world and their own emotions.

Bad Kitty, Scaredy-Cat by Nick Bruel

A group of monsters shows up on Bad Kitty’s doorstop. Kitty is scared until she decides to take matters into her own paws!

Click, Clack, Boo! by Doreen Cronin

Farmer Brown doesn’t like Halloween, so he draws the shades and climbs into bed. However, the barnyard animals have other ideas. Big surprises are in store for Farmer Brown!

Herbert’s First Halloween by Cynthia Rylant

Herbert is worried about his first Halloween – but with help from his dad, a special tiger costume, and some roaring practice, Herbert finds confidence on Halloween night.

How to Scare a Ghost by Jean Reagan

Want to know how to scare a ghost? This book will provide young readers and listeners with all the tips they need to lure in and frighten a phantasm!

Tacky and the Haunted Igloo by Helen Lester

It’s Halloween, and Tacky the Penguin’s friends have prepared the scariest igloo in the Arctic. It’s the best Halloween ever, until a a group of ghostly hunters show up demanding treats. How will Tacky save the day?

Duck & Goose, Honk! Quack! Boo! by Tad Hills

Duck and Goose go trick-or-treating, but what will they do when they hear a swamp monster is looking for them?

Fright School by Janet Lawler

In this story, school-age zombies, ghouls, and ghosts learn how to scare trick-or-treaters. But what in the world scares monsters?

The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael by Bonny Becker

When the Thirteen bus pulls up one stormy evening, Michael boards it despite some grave misgivings. Creepy and funny, with a surprise twist!

It’s Halloween, Chloe Zoe! by Jane Smith

It’s Halloween, but one house is way too frightening to visit. With the help of her friends and her dad, Chloe Zoe finds the courage to discover what treat is behind its foreboding front door!

Peep and Egg: I’m Not Trick-or-Treating by Laura Gehl

Peep can’t wait to go trick-or-treating, but Egg thinks Halloween is too scary! What will convince Egg to brave the night?

Samurai Scarecrow: A Very Ninja Halloween by Rubin Pingk

Yukio loves Halloween and his sister loves him. When Yukio carves a pumpkin, Kashi carves one much like it. When Yukio maps out his evening, Kashi’s map looks veeery similar. Upset, Yukio says some things he doesn’t really mean. What can save their Halloween?

Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting

In this atmospheric book, mysterious green eyes watch from the darkness as trick-or-treaters pass by. But to whom – or what – do the eyes belong?

Halloween Good Night by Rebecca Grabill

In this rhyming bedtime story, werewolves, witches, zombies and other cuddly monsters will help you count down the minutes until bedtime.

{ 0 comments }