A Fine Romance by Susan Branch

A Fine Romance !

A Fine RomanceThe Hook
What? A love affair with nature and in a country where gardens rule. Exactly what I like!

Tell Me More
I love art and journaling.  Susan Branch has an exceptional talent with watercolors and expresses everyday things into a joyful cacophony of delight. This book is a day-by-day account of the author’s trip through England aboard the Queen Mary 2.  It is luxuriously written and each chapter covers the must-see places that are close to Susan’s heart: the cottage where Beatrix Potter lived her final years, the Sissinghurst gardens, Jane Austen’s home, and so many other historical gardens thorough-out the English country side.

Snapshot

A Fine Romance !

Inspiration: Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.

Recommended For
Those who would love to travel, love gardens, and, of course, the artist in us all.

Final Say
I have purchased this book due to the details of the walking paths in the Cotswold and other little places along the way. It is a virtual journey one can live and relive without ever getting tired of visiting.

Grab A Fine Romance today!

– Keyla

Interesting New Titles from October’s LibraryReads List

The October LibraryReads list is here!   This nation-wide list is comprised of books read, reviewed, and voted on by librarians.  And there are some intriguing books coming out in October.  Here are the highlights:

A Sudden Light by Garth SteinA Sudden Light

“Garth Stein has given us a masterpiece. This beautiful story takes readers on a thrilling exploration of a family estate brimming with generations of riveting Riddell family ghosts and secrets. This is a true exploratory novel, taking readers through secret passageways, hidden rooms, and darkened corridors that engage all of the senses.” – Whitney Gayle, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CT

 

As you wishAs You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden

“Even if you don’t have a crush on Cary Elwes, you’ll enjoy this vivid behind-the-scenes account of the making of The Princess Bride. His stories, especially those involving Andre the Giant, will leave you in stitches. Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, and others also recount their experiences. An amusing account of a group of performers who came together to make a heartfelt film that is loved by many.” – Emily Weiss, Bedford Public Library, Bedford, NH

 

Malice by Keigo HigashinoMalice

“Detective Kaga is investigating the murder of best-selling author Kunihiko Hidaka. Hidaka’s wife and best friend both have rock-solid alibis, but Kaga discovers that the friendship might not have been what it seemed. A classic cat-and-mouse game with twists that keep the pages turning.” – Vicki Nesting, St. Charles Parish Library, Destrehan, LA

 

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The Glitter Plan by Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor with Booth Moore

The glitter planThe Hook
I pay attention when I have the opportunity to learn and understand what is considered a trend in fashion as it becomes an overt fashion statement to those who treasure labels.

Tell Me More
I am very motivated by entrepreneurial ventures and the risks taken to become successful.  Juicy Couture, a label for the young-at-heart has intrigued me since their inception.  And led to me  to ask myself: how, why and where?  Then I won this book through a GoodReads contest and the answers to these questions were answered. Juicy Couture is more than just a clothing label.  These two women have a pragmatic passion of combining fashion into useful, everyday objects. Their personal flair, infused by society’s reoccurring need to stand out in a crowd, helped them to make the best-timed judgment call ever made in the fashion industry.

Snapshot

The KFC theory is not just for chicken: do one thing and do it well.

The KFC theory is not just for chicken: do one thing and do it well.

Recommended For
Those of us who have big dreams and have the gumption to try to make creative ideas become a reality.

Final Say
There are so many people in the world that have experiences and dreams who want to do something that they love in order to make ends meet. Often they may not have the education so that they can accomplish their goals. This book is proof in the pudding that a little innovation and a lot of motivation can make a dream come true.

Get The Glitter Plan today!

– Keyla

Summer Reading Reviews, Week 7

Summer Reading may be over, but we still have several weeks worth of great reviews to share with you!  Here are some of our favorites from Week 7:

DIY Bride Crafty Countdown by Khris CochranDIY Bride Crafty Countdown

40 projects with various skill levels, some well worth the time, others a bit insane. The cost breakdown is helpful in evaluating if DIY actually makes sense.

 

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison ArngrimConfessions of a Prairie Bitch

Despite having never seen “Little House on the Prairie,” this memoir from the actress that played Nellie Olsen is an entertaining reflection of her Hollywood childhood. Hilarious and heartfelt, this dishy book is perfect summer reading.

 

Fledgling by Octavia ButlerFledgling

The BEST vampire book ever! Forget sparkles and pining, this story of survival set it the Pacific Northwest challenges your assumptions about vampires, race and love while also being epic fun. From genious Octavia Butler RIP.

 

Sister, Mother, Husband, Dog by Delia EphronSister, Mother, Husband, Dog

Mostly Delia Ephron’s memoir of essays is shadowed by the passing of her sister Nora. These are insights and observations but musings more that the profound but such is the way of grief.

 

Reading Roulette

We have hit the time of year where it is time to start thinking about winter projects, winter meals, winter trips, and, of course, what the heck we are going to read when the weather makes a turn for the dreary.  Winter reading, to me, has always been a high stakes game.  I want something exciting and well-written, just like my summer reading, but I also want deeper content – some to ponder and discuss at length.  So, with those rather high standards, the search for my winter reading becomes rather daunting.

Fortunately, there are plenty of fall/winter reading guides, both at the library and on the internet — because reading is the most awesome thing you could be doing, like, at any given moment.  (Also, it is really nice to know that everyone is concerned with what I read next?)   So, as a professional “book-slinger”, I have seen, read, and made many good reading guides.  But none are as fun as this What Book Should You Start Reading Next? game:

What Book Should You Start Reading Next - Google Chrome_2014-09-15_14-00-29

The premise is simple; click on the start button, let the list of books shuffle past, click stop, and get paired up with a surprise book.  The books are all critically acclaimed, interesting, and perfect for people who like reading from random suggestions from strangers on the internet (like me!).

Of course, if you prefer something a bit less capricious, we here at BPL have also created a Hot Reads for Cold Nights list that has some of the upcoming fall/winter titles we are most most excited about.  There are a lot of exiting books, well-written books, and a lot of books with depth, sentiment, and, perhaps, some laughter.

Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! by Kathy Sheldon

Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk!The Hook
Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! Make Stylish Shrink Plastic Jewelry by Kathy Sheldon caught my attention because I’m always on the lookout for cheap and easy craft projects to do in my down time. It’s even better when I find a project that hooks my kids and gets us all crafting together, and results in beautiful items we can wear ourselves or give as gifts. I’ve enjoyed making fun stuff with Shrinky Dinks since I was a kid myself, but now that I can purchase blank sheets of the shrink plastic (in clear and solid colors) and draw and color my own designs, it’s opened up a whole new world of creative possibilities.

P.S. If you don’t know what Shrinky Dinks are, check ‘em out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrinky_Dinks

Tell Me More
A colorful and fun crafter’s how-to book that combines drawing, coloring, and jewelry-making, Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! is filled with great ideas! It contains 35 projects and the templates you’ll need to make them happen. Think shrink plastic is a low-brow medium? You won’t after you check this book out and see the beautiful things you can easily make with it!

Snapshot

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Recommended For
I recommend this book for folks who love to make stuff, but don’t have a lot of time, money, or expertise. Shrink film is fun and easy to work with and this book contains projects with appeal for all ages. It also offers a wide range of styles – from cute and clever to simply beautiful.

Final Say
I own many interesting and unusual pieces of jewelry, and often receive comments and compliments from strangers about a piece I’m wearing, but on the days when I’m wearing something I’ve created from Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk!, I receive far more.  People love the look of this jewelry! It’s unusual and the shrink film retains color extremely well, so the pieces I’ve made are bright and eye-catching. Aside from the fabulous projects it features, it’s also inspired me to come up with many new and fresh ways to use shrink plastic creatively.

You can pick up a copy of Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! at the Bellingham Public Library.

– Jenni

 

Summer Reading Reviews, Week 6

So many good reviews from Summer Reading for Adults this week.  Check them out:

Sugar Cube by Kir JensenSugar Cube
Five Stars
Portland is well known for its world of food carts and Sugar Cube is no exception to the list of carts I want to relish. Great and unusual recipes with easy to follow instructions! My favorites: page 56, “Rosemary’s Baby” sugar cookies, and page 95, Pots de Creme.

 

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon KrakauerUnder the Banner of Heaven
Four Stars
Solid history of the Church of Latter Day Saints and its violent past. Fascinating and insightful.

 

 

A Bad Day for Pretty by Sophie LittlefieldA Bad Day for Pretty
Four Stars
Excellent mystery featuring the adventures of Stella Hardesty, DV survivor and force to be reckoned with. This sequel to Bad Day for Sorry is full of recognizable characters and middles aged heroine who you’ll want to see more of.

How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti

How Should a Person Be First Impressions
How Should a Person Be? is categorized as a work of fiction, but reading it felt very much like sneaking a peek into the author’s diary. The main character’s name is Sheila, which is also the author’s name, and several of the characters’ friends in the book really do exist in our world. Writers are told to “write what you know”, and works of fiction are often inspired by factual events. This book begs the question: At what point does reality become story? Is there a percentage of made-up stuff that a book must contain to be called “fiction”?

Drive-by Summary
Young, creative, and newly divorced – Sheila is a playwright on a deadline, and struggling with a severe case of writer’s block that is symbolic of how stuck she’s feeling in general. In the process of attempting to complete the play she’s already been paid to write, she embarks on a “life experiment” in which she closely observes and records her closest friends and relationships.

My Favorite Character
I hate to admit to being as narcissistic or irresponsible as Sheila reveals herself to be, but if I’m truly honest I’ll have to confess I’m guilty of many of her thoughts and actions at different points in my life. The likeability of the character occurs because the author lets it all hang out – the ugly and the beautiful, the mundane and the magical, the superficial and the reverent.

Words to Live By
Puer aeternus = the eternal child

“But while others actually build a life in which things gain in meaning and significance, this is not true of the puer. Such a person inevitably looks back on life as it nears its end with a feeling of emptiness and sadness, aware of what they have built: nothing. In their quest for a life without failure, suffering, or doubt, that is what they achieve: a life empty of all those things that make a human life meaningful.”

Recommended For
If you’re carrying a load of hidden shame, have voyeuristic tendencies, and enjoy subjecting yourself to the philosophizing of the self-absorbed, you’ll definitely enjoy this book. If you’re curious about the lives of young women and men populating the artsy underbelly of the city, you’ll probably like this book. If you feel that young people today are too self-focused, you might be annoyed by the characters in this book – but I’d bet you’ll still be interested in this peek into their lives. Be forewarned – Sheila lives the life of a sexually active adult and some related scenes are graphically depicted.

Final Say
I’ve always had a difficult time keeping a diary because of the embarrassing, and sometimes plain old boring, honesty that’s required. I don’t like to admit that I feel the way that I do sometimes, or that I’ve behaved the way that I have. I admire Sheila Heti’s bravery in writing this book and sending it out into the world.

You can get How Should a Person Be? at the Bellingham Public Library.

- Jenni

Summer Reading Reviews, Week 5

Here are some more great reviews from participants in our 2014 Summer Reading for Adults program.  Enjoy!

Expecting Better by Emily OsterExpecting Better
Three Stars
Pregnancy advice have you feeling anxious? This academic delves into the research to discern the customary from the scientifically established. She includes citations so you can make up your own mind but also summarizes her conclusions in reasuring and pragmatic advice.

 

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David SedarisLet's Explore Diabetes with Owls
Four Stars
The author’s dry sense of humor is so fun to read. He writes about childhood memories as well as his current adventures in biographical chapters. Other short story type chapters are confusing at first because he becomes someone else, quite opposite. This was a very entertaining book that made me think!

 

The Third Plate by Dan BarberThe Third Plate
Five Stars
Thought provoking look at farming, seed saving and market desire for foods.  A must read for anyone concerned about our food sources.

 

 

Want to see your review here?  Join Summer Reading for Adults!

Report From the Interior by Paul Auster

Book CoverThe Hook
A skillfully written memoir can be as moving as any novel, but it can be hard to break away from the humdrum verse-chorus-verse of writing a coming-of-age trajectory. Not to be discouraged, Auster published Winter Journal in 2012, an account of his 63 years of existence explored through the prism of physical being – a record of scrapes, residences, romantic encounters and familial losses, challenging the literary status quo through his use of non-linear narrative and themes contemplating his descent into old age.

Report From the Interior is his companion piece to Winter Journal, and examines the ideas most formative in his intellect and work – another unconventional offering to the world of autobiography. This time the meditations focus on childhood heroes, academic grapplings, political turmoil, and his own foray into literature.

Tone
Report From the Interior is presented in four chapters in the second person. The prose is disjointed – memories can be triggered by a teacup or movie poster, world events or secret alphabets – all information is fair game in the molding of a young mind, and it’s fascinating to see the touchstones of memory fragment and intersect. Auster begins with a vast intake of influences and memories, and like a train gathering speed, feeds on more substantial kinds of fuel as we progress through the pages. This book is a bit like opening your junk drawer, you could find anything from silver dollars to an endless supply of rubber bands and ketchup packets – but it’s damn riveting stuff. He spends 40 pages recounting the “cinematic earthquake” of “I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang”, and shifts to receiving a package from his former wife, writer Lydia Davis – a photocopy of every letter he had written her during their time together. The final chapter is a photo album in which the author presents a gallery of those who have made an impression upon him – and not a single image of himself.

A Snapshot
“Your circumstances at the time were as follows: Midcentury America; mother and father; tricycles, bicycles, and wagons; radios and black-and-white televisions; standard-shift cars; two small apartments and a house in the suburbs; fragile health early on, then normal boyhood strength; public school; a family from the striving middle class; a town of fifteen thousand populated by Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, all white except for a smattering of black people, but no Buddhists, Hindus or Muslims; a little sister and eight first cousins; comic books; Rootie Kazootie and Pinky Lee; “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”; Campbell’s Soup, Wonder bread, and canned peas; souped-up cars (hot rods) and cigarettes for twenty-three cents a pack; a little world inside the big world, which was the entire world for you back then, since the big world was not yet visible.”

Recommended For
Those open to exploring alternative forms of storytelling and memoir.

Final Say
This book will either leave you feeling challenged and inspired, or stuck at a family gathering where Great Uncle Paul has broken out the slide projector to relive his salad days at Columbia again. Take a chance, and let Auster’s interior worlds reflect your own.

You can grab Report From the Interior at the library today!

– Nicky