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Archive for December, 2010

Books to curl up with Dec 2010 (Click to Listen) or download http://www.box.net/files#/files/0/f/0/1/f_662868909.

We’ve decided to dedicate a second annual show to recommending a few books that would be perfect to curl up with once the holiday houseguests have left. Or in the case of those of us living in central Vermont, to read while we’re snowed in (like the rest of northern New England). Yippee!

And in between the sledding and skiing, we’ve also added a few titles to the list that we’re hoping to read ourselves.  We will report on the results later. In the meantime, happy new year and happy reading.  May 2011 be full of good books for you.

What we have read and recommend

Perfect for a long winter’s read

Hawaii by James Michener – Having had a bad Michener experience in her youth,  Lisa Christie never thought she would recomend one of his books.  So here it goes. She loved Hawaii.  The saga of how the islands formed from the sea, were peopled by Polynesians, and then shaped by New England missionaries, Japanese immigrants, Chinese immigrants and history is full of interesting characters and decisions.  One caveat, be prepared to devote a lot of time to this book.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson — A very comforting book about the English countryside, class conflict and second chances at love.  The  main character is of another era and delightful – wish we could meet him. This book is lovely, old-fashioned and yet somehow so of-the-moment.

Truly great writing

Let the Great World Spin by Collum McCann – Just an amazing book about life in New York City.  Truly great writing and a thought provoking tale of making a life in all kinds of circumstances.

Almost any title in the Penguin Classics Series — They have developed a gorgeous printing of many classics. The beautifully illustrated hardcovers will make you happy just to hold them while you read amazing tales.  Titles include Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre, with Arabian Nights coming this spring.

What we hope to curl up with soon:

Isn’t it time you met this woman?

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff – A look at the life of the woman everyone has heard of but knows so little about.

Read this and send it to a friend

Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A memoir of friendship by Gail Caldwell — A look at friendship and it’s importance told through the sotry of two women – Ms. Caldwell and Caroline Knapp the author of Drinking: a love story.  A good book for a good friend.

Still a best-seller one hundred years later

The Autobiography of Mark Twain – What could be better? The great author Twain writing about the fascinating subject of Twain.

Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell  – the latest novel by Mr. Mitchell is well written tale of Japan and Holland.

At Home: a short history of private life by Bill Bryson – Our former across the river neighbor dissects the rooms in his English home and in doing so writes a history of why we live in the dwellings we do.

Coffee and a mystery to boot

On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle – A series of mysteries set in a NYC coffeehouse. If you want to learn a little about coffee while reading a light mystery, this series might be for you.

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2010 Holiday Gift Giving (Click to Listen) or download http://www.box.net/files#/files/0/item/f_662874425/1/f_662874425 now.

Happy Holidays to our listeners. Blessed are the readers, as they say (or maybe that’s just what we say!).

We keep hearing from people who need gift ideas  – for office mates, for birthdays, winter solstice celebrations, for the first snow, for host/hostess gifts or just because.To help those of you searching for that perfect gift of a book, we have some ideas. Even if it’s the last minute you should still be able to find these titles at your local bookstore.

First, two cookbooks:

The perfect book and cookie for everyone on your list

The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009 by Gourmet Magazine. Beautiful graphics, some great history of american cooking and life.  Good recipes that yield delicious cookies.  And these in turn could become superb gifts. A nice cycle heh?

Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan – This master of the French Table provides recipes that inspire and allow you to enjoy one delicious meal after another.  Yes, it is French cooking. But it has a modern slant and tells you what the French are eating today – both at home and in restaurants.

Then some non fiction.

Always Entertaining, Julia Child

As Always Julia: The letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto — a collection of 200 letters exchanged between Julia and Avis DeVoto, her friend and unofficial literary agent.  The letters show a unique and lifelong friendship between the two women. They also illustrate the often challenging process of creating Mastering the Art of French Cooking. We recommend reading this, cooking a good french meal from Around the French Table and then watching Julie and Julia.

Now for some fiction.

Vida by Patricia Engel – a collection of related short stories about a Colombian-American woman who grows up in New Jersey as the daughter of Colombian immigrants.  The characters who inhabit these stories will move you and stay with you long after you close the book. This book is reminescent of Lahiri’s collections, but stands well on its own with a firmly Latin flavor.

We now have two picture books for kids and the adults who love them

Shhhhhhh…..It’s bedtime

The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood and Renata Liwska – This book explores the different kinds of quiet with kind words and amazing illustrations.  Could calm the most frazzled holiday shopper and many many children. A great going to bed book.

Alfie Runs Away by Ken Cadow – This is a lovely story of a boy who runs away to home with a little help from his mother.

Now, one for chapter book readers (or those who are reading to chapter book readers).

Danger Box by Blue Balliet – A great old fashioned adventure story set in modern day Michigan. This tale incorporates an engaging mystery, small town life, surviving today’s recession, life with disabilities, growing up with beloved grandparents, finding friends and Darwin. Yes, it manages all that!

Other books we thought of but did not mention during the podcast.

Fiction

Room: A novel by Emma Donoghue – A stunning novel about survival.  Despite a disturbing concept – a boy and his mother are held hostage in a room, it remains uplifting – Lisa LC promises.

Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong – Great fiction for anyone needing a well written book that leaves you feeling good at the end.

Non fiction

Spoon Fed: How eight cooks saved my life by Kim Severson – You will love the time you spend with Ms. Severson.

Chapter books

The 68 Rooms by Marianne Malone – A superb story reminiscent of The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler.

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