New and Forthcoming Books from Authors We’ve Discussed
We’re not having book discussions in August. If you’re looking for some reading ideas, try one of these, or reserve a not-yet-published title.
Chevalier, Tracy. At the Edge of the Orchard. 3/16
Diffenbaugh, Vanessa. We Never Asked for Wings. 2015
Doig, Ivan. Last Bus to Wisdom. 2015
Erdrich, Louise. LaRose. 5/16
Hashimi, Nadia. A House Without Windows. 8/16
Hill, Lawrence. The Illegal. 1/16
Hood, Ann. The Book That Matters Most. 8/16
Ivey, Eowyn. To The Bright Edge of the World. 8/16
McLain, Paula. Circling the Sun. 2015
Semple, Maria. Today Will Be Different. 10/16
Shapiro, B.A. The Muralist. 2015
Smiley, Jane. Early Warning, Golden Age. 2015
Stewart, Amy. Lady Cop Makes Trouble. 9/16
Weisgarber, Ann. The Promise. 2014
Winters, Ben. Underground Airlines. 7/16
Duhigg, Charles. Smarter, Faster, Better. 3/16
Krist, Gary. Empire of Sin. 2014
Kurson, Robert. Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship. 2015
Lahiri, Jhumpa. In Other Words. 2/16
Millard, Candice. Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill. 9/16
Philbrick, Nathaniel. Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution. 5/16
Streever, Bill. And Soon I Heard a Roaring Wind. 7/16
Happy Reading! Fall book discussion titles will be announced soon.
Connected with our adult summer reading program, Exercise Your Mind, Read! we have some suggestions for what to read this summer. In the library this month, you will find a book display full of Real Life Adventure books, and a booklist to take. Several of the books on the list have been reviewed on this blog, as I enjoy reading them from time to time. What is real life adventure? Typically, these books are memoirs of an individual or group on an adventure, usually traveling somewhere exotic, where hardships are likely, such as mountain climbing, rowing across the ocean, or volunteering around the globe, or where survival is uncertain, such as a plane crash in the 1940s in New Guinea. If you’re looking for something refreshingly different, my lengthy booklist follows.
551.21 Dvo Dvorak, John. The Last Volcano: A Man, a Romance, and the Quest to Understand Nature’s Most Magnificent Fury, 2015.
551.566 Bog Bogard, Paul. The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light, 2013.
597.33 Cas Casey, Susan. The Devil’s Teeth: A True Story of Obsession and Survival among America’s Great White Sharks, 2005.
623.88 Gre Greenlaw, Linda. Seaworthy: A Swordboat Captain Returns to the Sea, 2010.
629.45 Jon Jones, Chris. Too Far from Home: A Story of Life and Death in Space, 2007.
629.45 Nel Nelson, Craig. Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon, 2009.
636.7 Rya Ryan, Tom. Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship, 2011.
796.522 Sim. Simpson, Joe. Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man’s Miraculous Survival, 2004.
796.522 Vie Viesturs, Ed. No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World’s 14 Highest Peaks, 2006.
796.525 Tab Tabor, James. Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth, 2010.
796.64 Ben Benson, Brian. Going Somewhere: A Bicycle Journey across America, 2014.
797.123 Bro Brown, Daniel. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, 2013.
797.123 Rac Rackley, Adam. Salt, Sweat, Tears: The Men Who Rowed the Ocean, 2014.
797.32 Dix Dixon, Chris. Ghost Wave: The Discovery of Cortes Bank and the Biggest Wave on Earth, 2011.
910.4 Fer Fermor, Patrick Leigh. The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos, 2014.
910.4 Fri Friedman, Rachel. The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure, 2011.
910.4 Mal Malusa, Jim. Into Thick Air: Biking to the Bellybutton of Six Continents, 2008.
910.4 Mar Marquis, Sarah. Wild by Nature: From Siberia to Australia, Three Years Alone in the Wilderness on Foot, 2016.
910.4 Mar Marshall, John. Wide-Open World: How Volunteering Around the Globe Changed One Family’s Lives Forever, 2015.
910.4 Pod Podell, Albert. Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth, 2015.
910.41 Goo Goodman, Matthew. Eighty Days: Nelly Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World, 2013.
910.41 Wig Wigge, Michael. How to Travel the World for Free: One Man, 150 Days, Eleven Countries, No Money! 2013.
910.452 Sid Sides, Hampton. In the Kingdom of the Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, 2014.
910.45 Kur Kurson, Robert. Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship, 2015.
910.9 Eva Evans, James. Tudor Adventurers: An Arctic Voyage of Discovery: The Hunt for the Northeast Passage, 2014.
916.2 Mah Mahoney, Rosemary. Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff, 2007.
916.3 Sha Shah, Tahir. In Search of King Solomon’s Mines, 2003.
916.48 Kin King, Dean. Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival, 2004.
916.751 Tay Tayler, Jeffery. Facing the Congo: A Modern-Day Journey into the Heart of Darkness, 2000.
917.3 Web Weber, Bruce. Life is a Wheel: Love, Death, etc., and a Bike Ride Across America, 2014.
917.4 Mil Miller, David. AWOL on the Appalachian Trail, 2011.
917.4 Sil Silva Cruzatt, Judith. The Voyage of Yankee Lady: Circumnavigating New England on a Sailboat, 2013.
917.4 Stu Stutzman, Paul. Hiking Through: One Man’s Journey to Peace and Feedom on the Appalachian Trail, 2012.
917.79 Sto Storey, Gail Donohue. I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, 2014.
917.9 Tow Townsend, Chris. Rattlesnakes and Bald Eages: Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, 2014.
917.94 Alt Alt, Jeff. Four Boots, One Journey: A Story of Survival, Awareness, and Rejuvenation on the John Muir Trail, 2014.
917.94 Rob Roberts, Suzanne. Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail, 2012.
918.11 Mil Millard, Candice. The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, 2005.
919.4 Hil Hill, Geoff. Oz: Around Australia on a Triumph, 2010.
919.89 Ast Aston, Felicity. Alone in Antarctica: The First Woman to Ski Solo Across the Southern Ice, 2014.
919.89 Fra Francis, Gavin. Empire Antarctica: Ice, Silence, and Emperor Penguins, 2013.
919.89 Rob Roberts, David. Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration, 2013.
932 Rya Ryan, Donald. Beneath the Sands of Egypt: Adventures of an Unconventional Archaeologist, 2010.
940.544 Zuc Zuckoff, Mitchell. Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II, 2013.
940.54497 Mur Murphy, Brian. 81 Days Below Zero: The Incredible Survival Story of a World War II Pilot in Alaska’s Frozen Wilderness, 2015.
940.5451 Kur Kurson, Robert. Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II, 2004.
940.54725 Hil Hillenbrand, Laura. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, 2010.
940.548 Zuc Zuckoff, Mitchell. Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II, 2011.
972.81 Car Carlsen, William. Jungle of Stone: The True Story of Two Men, Their Extraordinary Journey, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya, 2016.
973.93 Cap Caputo, Philip. The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America from Key West to the Arctic Ocean, 2013.
978 Buc Buck, Rinker. The Oregon Trail: A New Journey, 2015.
978.02 Sta Stark, Peter. Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: a Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival, 2014.
979.82 Sch Schooler, Lynn. Walking Home: A Traveler in the Alaskan Wilderness, a Journey into the Human Heart, 2010.
985 37 Ada Adams, Mark. Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time, 2011.
BIO Grylls Grylls, Bear. Mud, Sweat, and Tears: The Autobiography, 2012.
BIO Strayed Strayed, Cheryl. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, 2012.
Selecting Book Discussion Titles
I’m frequently asked how I select titles for book discussions. I’ve been leading two book discussion groups at the Woodridge Public Library for over 8 years, with occasional discussions led by my library director, Susan McNeil-Marshall. Leading book discussions has turned out to be very rewarding, but selecting titles continues to be challenging. There are so many books published each year, and even if I limit selections to historical fiction and narrative non-fiction, it’s still a daunting amount of books. Just to make it more fun, I like to challenge the book groups with a variety of titles that don’t fit neatly in those two categories. Sometimes the book group participants have suggestions, and sometimes I get ideas from other librarians. When asked, my book groups tell me that they’re interested in reading books they wouldn’t have found on their own, and that they like to read about other times, other places, and other cultures. When I have a long list of discussible books, I booktalk a variety of titles to each book group and have them vote, but usually I make the selections. Here are some of the places I look for ideas, as well as my own reading log:
Book Discussion Suggestions:
Summer ’15 Reading Group Indie Next List from Indiebound.org, recommendations from independent booksellers. A long, annotated list; very helpful.
Great Group Reads Selections from the Women’s National Book Association.
Websites like ReadingGroupGuides.com
Best Books of the the Year lists:
Notable Books List from American Library Association Reference and User Services Division
New York Times Notable Books
Booklist, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly lists of best books: these are trade publications full of professional book reviews.
EarlyWord.com is a good source of links to best book lists, books being made into movies, and lists of award-winning books. Book awards are a logical place to look for great books, although our groups do not always enjoy reading Pulitzer, Nobel, National Book Award, or Man Booker Prize winners. They often make for lively discussions though, even if we don’t all like the books.
What are other public libraries discussing? I look at their websites, and occasionally talk with other book discussion leaders. Popular selections may be discussed by many libraries in the area, including these recent titles:
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown
Dead Wake by Erik Larson
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
We haven’t discussed Me Before You although I’ve read it and other titles by Moyes, and our discussion of Henriquez’s book is upcoming. The other titles we’ve already discussed here. Ideas I got recently from looking at other libraries’ selections include these books I haven’t looked at yet:
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, also suggested by two patrons
Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar, about Chilean miners trapped in an accident in 2010.
Every book discussion group is different, with some focusing on mysteries, non-fiction, science fiction, and “edgy” books, often for discussion in a bar.
Not very helpful lists: Lists that are heavy on classics, older titles, and titles most libraries have already discussed. Here’s one that disappointed me: Sure Bets for Book Discussions from Booklist, December 15, 2015. Eight of the eighteen titles mentioned are more than fifty years old, and only two were published in the last three years.
When I have compiled a list of discussible books, I read book reviews, I look at reader reviews and rankings on Good Reads.com, and I read part of many, many books. Most of them I just read a chapter or two, and quickly decide that they probably won’t work for my book groups. Some books are too long. I will occasionally pick a book of over 400 pages, but attendance tends to be lower. Four years ago, I led a discussion of the historical novel Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, 532 pages. It won two awards, and I loved it, but only 3 patrons came to the discussion. Non-fiction books can take longer to read, so I try to be especially mindful about the length of those.
I also need to take a look at popularity and availability. I was all set to schedule a discussion of All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, when it won the Pulitzer Prize last year and publication of the paperback reprint was postponed a whole year. By the time the hold queues are gone and I can buy several paperback copies, most of the readers who are interested will have had 2 years to read it. And yes, at 531 pages, it’s quite long. And will my book groups be ready for another World War II novel set partly in France? We recently discussed Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland, and many readers love The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, both World War II novels set in France.
What did I pick for this spring, and how?
The Bees by Laline Paull I had read and liked, but didn’t really consider until I looked at the IndieNext list of reading group suggestions. A year in the life of a fictional bee hive, this is a non-traditional selection to discuss.
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez has been on my list of discussible books for several months. Recently another librarian shared that it was well-received at her library’s book discussion. Westmont and Elmhurst are also discussing it this spring.
The Distant Marvels by Chantel Acevedo was well-reviewed and the modern Cuban setting was intriguing. I read it, and it’s on the IndieNext List of reading group suggestions.
The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber was a hit at another library, and I’ve never seen another novel about African American homesteaders in the Badlands.
A Simple Murder by Eleanor Kuhns I read a few years ago, and realized that the setting of late 18th Century New England, with an itinerant weaver/detective visiting a Shaker community, would be something new and different.
The Wright Brothers, at 320 pages, is a shorter book by the noted historian/biographer David McCullough. Published in 2015, a paperback will be out in early May. I read it pre-publication, knowing it was a strong possibility for discussion.
I started leading book discussions on a regular basis in September, 2007, as the previous leader was retiring. That fall we discussed:
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn, a witty, clever novel told in letters.
The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig, a historical novel set in Montana that was so well-liked that many of us found a new favorite writer. We’ve since discussed his book The Bartender’s Tale.
Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson, a successful discussion of a popular real-life adventure led by librarian Susan.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a very dark and depressing post-apocalyptic novel. Beautiful writing, memorable characters, and deserving of its Pulitzer Prize. Somehow I led two discussions of this title. After the first quarter of 2008, I discontinued the previous discussion leader’s practice of discussing the same title with both groups a couple of months apart. One title, one discussion. Of course, that meant I needed to find more discussible books.
A Year in the World by Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun. I listened to this memoir before selecting it; it didn’t hold up as well on re-reading; not popular with the book group.
For other suggestions, here is a list of discussible books. To search this blog for books we’ve discussed, search under the category Book Discussions.
If you’re in a book group or thinking of starting one, I hope you find some of these suggestions helpful. If you need ideas for your book group, or have suggestions for ours, please leave a comment or stop by the library to chat with me.
My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes that Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl
In October, 2009, Ruth, the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine, was shocked to learn that the publisher was ceasing publication of Gourmet, which debuted in 1941. Even though the December issue was at the printers, and three more issues were planned, no more magazines would be published. Amidst this turmoil, she still has to launch “Adventures with Ruth”, a 10-episode travel and food television show, and go on tour for the brand new Gourmet Today cookbook, which she had edited. In the year that followed, Ruth wrote copy for the Gourmet Cookie Book, and tried to reinvent herself; not easy at 61. With her husband Michael, she spent a very cold and snowy winter at their country house, and decided to sublet their NYC apartment. Used to dining out on an expense account as a food critic, Ruth now has the leisure to visit farmers’ markets and to cook seasonally. Photographs of upstate New York and many recipes add to the appeal of this gorgeous book. Laid up part of the year recovering from an injury, Ruth also begins her first novel, Delicious!, which the Tuesday evening book group is discussing on January 26 at 7:00 p.m. Next I plan to read Garlic and Sapphires, about her life as a food critic, often in disguise.
Wishing you an adventurous year of reading!
If you’re looking for more memoirs, check out our book display called “A Year in the Life: Yearlong Projects, Adventures, and Travels”. Here is the accompanying booklist:
A Year in the Life: Yearlong Projects, Adventures, and Travels
028.8 San Sankovitch, Nina. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair. 2011
028.9 Mil Miller, Andy. The Year of Reading Dangerously. 2014
158 Rub Rubin, Gretchen. The Happiness Project. 2009
158.1 Kir Kirshenbaum, Mira. The Gift of a Year. 2000
158.1 Kra Kravitz, Lee. Unfinished Business. 2015
277.3 She Shea, Suzanne Strempek. Sundays in America. 2008
278.95 Ros Roscher, Ellie. How Coffee Saved My Life. 2009
303.483 Bre Brende, Eric. Better Off. 2004
306.3 Bru Bruno, Dave. The 100 Thing Challenge. 2010
330.973 And Anderson, Maggie. Our Black Year. 2012
331.702 Aik Aiken, Sean. The One-Week Job Project. 2010
332.4 Wol Wolman, David. The End of Money. 2012
338.476 Cle Clemens, Paul. Punching Out. 2011
362.18 Kar Karam, J.A. Into the Breach. 2002
362.21 Vin Vincent, Norah. Voluntary Madness. 2008
365.43 Ker Kerman, Piper. Orange is the New Black. 2011
365.6 Smi Smith, Jeff. Mr. Smith Goes to Prison. 2015
371.1 Bro Brown, Dan. The Great Expectations School. 2007
371.1 Dan Danza, Tony. I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had. 2012
371.1 Foo Foote, Donna. Relentless Pursuit. 2008
382.60951 Bon Bongiorni, Sara. A Year Without “Made in China.” 2007
577.56 Hol Holmes, Hannah. Suburban Safari. 2005
595.78 Pyl Pyle, Robert Michael. Mariposa Road. 2010
598 Kau Kaufman, Kenn. Kingbird Highway. 1997
598.07 Obm Obmascik, Mark. The Big Year. 2004
598.159 Kro Kroodsma, Donald. Birdsong by the Seasons. 2009
599.773 Tha Thayer, Helen. Three Among the Wolves. 2004
610.92 Mcc McCarthy, Matt. The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly. 2015
613.2 Jac Jacobs, A.J. Drop Dead Healthy. 2012
613.2 Law Lawson, Tracey. A Year in the Village of Eternity. 2011
616.83 Spe Spencer-Wendel, Susan. Until I Say Good-Bye. 2013
616.8526 Kuf Kuffel, Frances. Angry Fat Girls. 2010
616.8589 Ell Ellison, Katherine. Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention. 2010
630.092 Kim Kimball, Kristin. The Dirty Life. 2010
630.584 Cha Chaskey, Scott. This Common Ground. 2005
635 Lap Lapp, Laura. An Amish Garden. 2013
635.0484 Bro Brockman, Terra. The Seasons of Henry’s Farm. 2009
636.7 Kat Katz, Jon. A Dog Year. 2002
636.7 Mil Miles, Kathryn. Adventures with Ari. 2009
636.7527 Abr Abramson, Jill. The Puppy Diaries. 2011
640.73 Lev Levine, Judith. Not Buying It. 2006
641.013 Maj Majumdar, Simon. Eat My Globe. 2009
641.3 Gre Greenslate, Christopher. On a Dollar a Day. 2010
641.3 Kin Kingsolver, Barbara. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. 2007
641.5 Erw Erway, Cathy. The Art of Eating In. 2010
641.5 Smi Smith, Alisa. Plenty. 2007
641.552 Mat Mather, Robin. The Feast Nearby. 2011
641.564 Rei Reichl, Ruth. My Kitchen Year. 2015
641.815 Ale Alexander, William. 52 Loaves. 2010
649.1 Wym Wyma, Kay Wills. Cleaning House: A Mom’s 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement. 2012
664.132 Why Whynott, Douglas. The Sugar Season. 2014
746.432 Mar Martini, Adrienne. Sweater Quest. 2010
788.9 Ree Rees, Jasper. A Devil to Play. 2008
791.43 Rub Rabin, Nathan. My Year of Flops. 2010
795.412 Hol Holden, Anthony. Bigger Deal. 2007
796.352 Fei Feinstein, John. Moment of Glory. 2010
796.357 Sha Shaugnessy, Dan. Senior Year. 2007
796.72 Bec Bechtel, Mark. He Crashed Me, So I Crashed Him Back. 2010
798.2 Hus Husher, Helen. Conversations With a Prince. 2003
798.4 Cho Chong, Kevin. My Year of the Racehorse. 2012
798.4 Smi Smiley, Jane. A Year at the Races. 2004
809 Beh Beha, Christopher. The Whole Five Feet. 2009
818.6 Lan Lancaster, Jen. The Tao of Martha. 2013
910.4 Gil Gilbert, Elizabeth. Eat, Pray, Love. 2006
956.70443 Ste Stewart, Rory. The Prince of the Marshes. 2006
974.7 Roa Roach, Margaret. And I Shall Have Some Peace There. 2011
BIO Han Hancock, Noelle. My Year with Eleanor. 2011
BIO Hel Heller, Peter. Kook. 2010
BIO Loh Loh, Sandra Tsing. The Madwoman in the Volvo. 2014
BIO Mah Mah, Ann. Mastering the Art of French Eating. 2013
BIO Okr Okrant, Robin. Living Oprah. 2008
BIO Oxe Oxenhandler, Noelle. The Wishing Year. 2008
BIO Per Perry, Michael. Coop. 2009
BIO Rhi Rhimes, Shonda. Year of Yes. 2015
BIO Wal Wallace, Danny. Friends Like These. 2009
The Best Books We Read in 2015
Here is a list of the best (or favorite) books the reference and readers advisory staff at the Woodridge Public Library read or listened to in 2015. Not every book was published in 2015, but most of them are. Happy Reading! Brenda
Fink, Joseph and Jeffery Cranor. Welcome to Night Vale (Denise)
Tahir, Sabaa. An Ember in the Ashes. Read by Fiona Hardingham and Steve West (Beth)
Atkinson, Kate. A God in Ruins (Pam)
Brennan, M.L. Dark Ascension (Denise)
Doerr, Anthony. All the Light We Cannot See (Brenda)
Gaiman, Neil. Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances (Chris)
Haruf, Kent. Our Souls at Night (Brenda)
Laurenston, Shelly. The Unleashing (Denise)
Mandel, Emily St. John. Station Eleven (Pam)
Mitchell, David. The Bone Clocks (Brenda)
Morrison, Toni. God Help the Child (Chris)
Thorpe, Rufi. Dear Fang, With Love (Denise)
Tyler, Anne. A Spool of Blue Thread (Chris)
Fraction, Matt. Hawkeye. Vol. 3, L.A. Woman (Denise)
Flanders, Judith. A Murder of Magpies (Brenda)
Hart, Elsa. Jade Dragon Mountain (Brenda)
Penny, Louise. The Nature of the Beast (Pam)
Pulley, Natasha. The Watchmaker on Filigree Street (Brenda)
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Butcher, Jim. Working for Bigfoot: Stories from the Dresden Files (Denise)
Gibson, William. The Peripheral (Denise)
Koch, Gini. Alien Separation (Denise)
Novik, Naomi. Uprooted (Chris)
Robinson, Kim Stanley. Aurora (Brenda)
Schwab, V.E. A Darker Shade of Magic (Chris)
Green, Sally. Half Bad (Beth)
Rowell, Rainbow. Fangirl (Denise)
Beard, Mary. S.P.Q.R.: A History of Ancient Rome (Chris)
Bock, Laszlo. Work Rules! (Chris)
Brown, Daniel James. The Boys in the Boat (Brenda)
Buck, Rinker. The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey (Brenda)
Chapman, Bob & Raj Sisodia. Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family (Chris)
Gawand, Atul. Being Mortal (Beth)
Grazer, Brian. A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life (Chris)
Langguth, A. J. After Lincoln : How the North Won the Civil War and Lost the Peace (Joel)
Larson, Erik. Dead Wake (Brenda)
McCullough, David. The Wright Brothers (Brenda)
Murphy, Brian. 81 Days Below Zero (Brenda)
You may have noticed that I read quite a few books. I thought you might like a look at the stack of books I’m currently reading. At home, for pleasure, I’m reading Laurie King’s new mystery Dreaming Spies, set in 1920s Japan and Oxford, featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. I am also reading a cookbook from 2007, Mediterranean Harvest, by Martha Rose Shulman. I’m reading All The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr, on many lists of notable books published in 2014, because I’m considering it for a future book discussion. The book is narrated by a blind French girl and an orphaned German youth who can repair radios and is caught up in World War II. Because I’m trying to finish this book, I’m neglecting two books I’ve already started: Firefight, by Brandon Sanderson, a young adult fantasy novel and The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough, which is being published this May (I have an digital review copy). Next up at home (or for breaks at work) are Dead Wake, Erik Larson’s new book about the Lusitania and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, by Rachel Joyce, a companion novel to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.
In the car, I’m listening to a recording of The Corsican Caper, by Peter Mayle, a fun novel set in and around Marseilles, France, with descriptions of many great meals and a subplot about a Russian billionaire who wants to buy a house that’s not for sale.
At work, I’m re-reading At Home, by Bill Bryson and Lisette’s List, by Susan Vreeland, both for book discussions later this month.
Books I’m looking forward to reading but don’t have yet include Double Fudge Brownie Murder, by Joanne Fluke and Better than Before, by Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project. I recently finished reading Dead Heat, by Patricia Briggs, featuring werewolves Anna and Charles Smith. The last audiobook I listened to was a medieval mystery by Ellis Peters. Any suggestions for what to read next?
Here is a varied list of some of the best cookbooks published this fall. Enjoy! -Brenda
The Baking Bible. Rose Levy Berenbaum
A collection of recipes from simple to elaborate from an author known for her foolproof recipes, with plenty of baking advice and gorgeous photos.
Impressive but not too fussy recipes for a variety of French desserts from a well-known cookbook author who lives part-time in Paris.
Holiday Cookies. Chicago Tribune staff
Three decades of award-winning cookies created by Chicago Tribune readers.
How to Cook Everything Fast. Mark Bittman
Clear, step-by-step recipes with variations make efficient use of a cook’s time, but some of these delicious recipes are not what I’d consider fast.
The Kitchn Cookbook. Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand
Part cookbook and part friendly advice on stocking, organizing, cleaning, and designing kitchens, from the editors of a popular food blog.
Make it Ahead. Ina Garten
One Pot. Editors of Martha Stewart Living
120 recipes for weekday dinners, including desserts, using skillets, slow cookers, large pots, roasting pans, and more.
Plenty More. Yotam Ottolenghi
New recipes from a London chef known for his very creative Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-inspired vegetable dishes.
Prune. Gabrielle Hamilton
Unconventional, minimalist recipes with hand-written notes from a New York chef.
Twelve Recipes. Cal Peternell
Originally written for his son in college, these detailed recipes (actually several dozen) may inspire a love of food and cooking.