Nic is here today to share some of her favorite recently-published books about food and health. We hope you enjoy this rare peek at some of the adult reads we enjoy when we’re not busy reading children’s books.
Cooked by Michael Pollan – I was lucky enough to see Michael Pollan speak when he was touring for his earlier book, In Defense of Food, and I have been reading everything he writes and recommends every since. In Cooked he discussed the four classical elements – fire, earth, water and air – in relation to food and cooking. With four distinct sections on baking bread, grilling, fermenting and cooking in/with water you get a full grasp of the roots of cooking, and a glimpse into the possible future. Part III, Air, was of the most interest to me; I’ve recently begun attempts at baking bread from scratch, and I cannot claim anything even close to success, but as Mr. Pollan states “One reason to bake bread is to fill your kitchen with that aroma. Even if the bread turns out badly, the smell of it baking never fails to improve a house or a mood.” I haven’t yet attempted the recipe for Whole Wheat Country Loaf included in the appendix, but it is on my ever growing list of recipes to try.
Meatless by Martha Stewart Living – It took at least five recommendations from different people before I was convinced to pick up this cookbook from Martha Stewart. I know Martha has many devotees, but I am not one of them. I have, however, been a bit swayed by this particular book. One of my “must haves” in a good cookbook are photos, beautiful, simple, stunning photos. Meatless does not disappoint. One of the first recipes I made, Brown Rice, Edamame, and Cilantro Salad, was made just because the photo looked so fresh and simple (plus I had some cilantro begging to be used). Fresh and simple it was, just like the photo, and it will be added to the steady rotation of grain salads we eat over the summer months.
The Heavy by Dara-Lynn Weiss– If I could have my dream job it would be teaching children (teens in particular) how to eat and cook seasonal healthy foods. Because of this I was immediately drawn to the memoir The Heavy, which chronicles a mothers attempt to “cure” her seven year olds obesity. As a woman and mother struggling with her own food and body issues this was no easy task, and the media frenzy that was caused after a Vogue article went viral made very decision that much harder. This is a great read for anyone attempting to change food habits, examine personal body issues, or begin to understand the feelings a loved one has towards dieting/food in general.
Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Ross – Almost two years ago I began attempting to eat as sugar free as possible, which is no easy task. I began by avoiding sweets, skipping dessert and talking about being sugar free to anyone that would listen. But then I realized just how much sugar is added to the everyday foods that you don’t think about – crackers, protein bars, juice and many others – have so much added sugar you don’t even realize is there. (The average American eats about 22 teaspoons a day!!!) After that shocking realization I began to question quite a few of the other things I’d eaten for years…..and Salt Sugar Fat has made me even more sensitive to the foods I purchase, prepare and share with others. If you are concerned about your health, your children’s health, or just want to learn more about the tricks the processed food companies are playing on your taste buds, Salt Sugar Fat is the book for you.
What cookbooks or health books have you loved recently? We’d love to hear your recommendations!
Talk about perfect timing, Summer vacation is in sight and we have a boatload of books available in paperback for the first time, even some paperback originals, for your relaxing reading pleasure!
For Younger Readers to Middle Grade
Icky Ricky #1 Toilet Paper Mummy by Michael Rex
Icky Ricky #2 The End of the World by Michael Rex
Is there a kid in your life who loves dirt, slime and other assorted yucky stuff? Then this new series from Michael Rex is just what you need! Join Icky Ricky for his first two truly icky adventures, the perfect books for kids who like Captain Underpants, graphic novels, and a very funny story! There isn’t a mess he doesn’t love, and believe it or not, parents won’t be able to resist these cleverly written paperback original books from the author of Goodnight Goon and The Runaway Mummy either.
Bean Dog and Nugget: The Cookie by Charise Mericle Harper
Meet Bean Dog and Nugget in their graphic novel debut! They are creative and silly and think like kids think, making these two new adventures the perfect books for reading again and again. In The Ball, they lose their ball in the bushes and dream up clever ways to rescue it, finally becoming super heroes “Superdog” and “Ninja Nugget”. In The Cookie, our new friends argue over a cookie but in the end realize that their friendship is more important.
Rush for the Gold: Mystery at the Olympics by John Feinstein
In his fifth sports-themed mystery for young readers John Feinstein hits a home run. Our favorite junior sportswriters are at the Olympic Games in London! Stevie and Susan Carol have always been good at solving the mysteries they somehow always find while they are reporting on sporting events, but this time Susan Carol is not just a reporter, she’s also an Olympic competitor. Susan Carol is a star swimmer, and the media, agents and sponsors are all swarming around her. Stevie is fascinated and worried and a bit jealous of her athletic ability and all the attention Susan Carol is getting, but he also sees the dark side of high stakes competition, specifically how far some will go to win. Another terrific behind the scenes sports novel from Feinstein.
The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls by Julie Schumacher
A natural for Summer reading, four unlikely friends forced by their mothers to be in a mother-daughter book group during their precious Summer vacation! At first they all think they’ll have nothing in common but through the power of the books and the pressure of their moms they find they really do need each other. You can read Bobbie’s review of this book here, and a fun post from the author here.
The Revenant by Sonia Gensler
A real ghost story, magnificently woven with a story of “borrowed” identity and secrets, history and romance. Its 1896, times are hard and 17-year-old Willie is being forced to leave school to help out at home, a home where she doesn’t want to be right now. Impulsively Willie assumes the identity of a classmate and accepts the other girl’s teaching position at the Cherokee Female Seminary. Willie encounters cultural and societal differences at the school, but the biggest surprise is the “revenant” the ghost of a student who drowned following a secret and ill-fated romance the year before. Willie does her best to navigate this new territory, but the ghost continues to call out to her and wreak havoc on the school, she must be heard so that she can rest. And to add to Willie’s potential troubles there’s a possible love interest. So many secrets.
Intentions by Deborah Heiligman
Here’s what our colleague Bobbie had to say about Intentions:
Rachel thought she was grown up enough to accept that no one is perfect. Her parents argue, her grandmother has been acting strangely, and her best friend doesn’t want to talk to her. But none of that could have prepared her for what she overheard in her synagogue’s sanctuary. Now Rachel’s trust in the people she loves is shattered, and her newfound cynicism leads to reckless rebellion. Her friends and family hardly recognize her, and worse, she can hardly recognize herself. But how can the adults in her life lecture her about acting with kavanah, intention, when they are constantly making such horribly wrong decisions themselves? This is a witty, honest account of navigating the daunting line between losing innocence and entering adulthood–all while figuring out who you really want to be. I found the book to be incredibly original, often humorous, and most important, insightful!
Timepiece: An Hourglass Novel by Myra McEntire
I’ll admit that I was totally enchanted by Myra McEntire’s Hourglass, one of the most clever time travel books I’d read in a long time. It’s got romance, mystery and one of the most exciting and never-say-die narrators you could ever hope for. Well, the same cast of characters is back in Timepiece, and they’re still searching for the key to their various powers, but there’s danger at every turn. Hurry and get caught up with these novels because Book Three Infinity Glass goes on sale August 6th!
The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles
Now available as a paperback original here in the United States, The Kissing Booth was first published on the Wattpad platform in England, where it is the most-viewed, most-commented-on teen fiction title on the site, with with 19 million reads. In this fast-paced teen novel our heroine Elle is running the Kissing Booth at the Spring Carnival, nothing can go wrong, right? Well, then she kisses Noah, and the best laid plans go sideways. Should she follow her head or her heart? Will there be a happy ending or broken hearts all around?
Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman
It’s the Summer before her senior year and Angel plans to just have fun, but things don’t go as planned when she finds herself growing away from her best friend Inggy and possibly growing closer to Inggy’s boyfriend. A sexy Summer read from the author of Rosie and Skate and the adult short story collection Beautiful Girls, Jersey Angel is perfect for older teens.
Thanks for joining us today at RAoR, we hope your list of books for summer reading just got a little bit longer.
Please share your thoughts in our comments section.
Today we have a special spotlight on a new(ish) indie bookstore, Queen Anne Book Company in Seattle, Washington. Check out our behind-the-scenes look at this newly reopened community bookstore, and if you’d like to read more of our Spotlight on Indie Bookstore posts, you can find them here.
Last summer I wrote about Seattle’s Queen Anne Books, which just a few months prior had been purchased from its longtime owner, Patti McCall. Our book community was shocked in the fall when the new owner announced the sudden closing of the store just before the holidays. There were a few hopeful moments when we thought someone might swoop in to save the day, but ultimately the store closed its doors.
Cue sadness, dismay, and a neighborhood that mourned its loss. Then, just a few months ago, three intrepid souls came through to revive the dead! Former buyer for Eagle Harbor Book Co., Janis Segress and couple Judy and Krijn de Jonge have created a neighborhood coalition to bring the store back to life.
(Janis and Judy)
The first weekend of March was their grand opening and the outpouring of support was heartening and overwhelming. Here’s a table just for beautiful bouquets received for the opening (one was from Random House!).
Local authors such as Sherman Alexie, Maria Semple, Jonathan Evison and so many more (including RH’s Jim Lynch and Daniel Marks) volunteered in droves in order to keep a constant flow of events over three days as customers came in to check out the new space.
Although it’s the same location and a slightly different name, they have new racks (in another display of Northwest bookselling solidarity, University Books donated several warehoused racks to the store), new lighting and a slightly different feel. But experienced buyer Janis and longtime kid’s buyer Tegan Tigani (also a member of our book blogger panel) will help keep the same neighborhood, highly-curated feel that inspires such a dedicated fan base.
I took a lot of pictures when I stopped in: most of their publisher shipments had not arrived yet so it kind of looked like the Random House store.
My daughter, Ruby, had trouble finding a book I would allow her to buy (in other words, one that wasn’t Random House) but she did love the glasses Tegan gave her that made everything look like rainbows.
In an economy filled with bad portents for the fate of the brick-and-mortar retailer, it’s inspiring to see a community come together to support such a precious resource. When I had lunch with Tegan on Queen Anne hill while the store was closed and had no prospects, I could not believe the number of people who waved to her or stopped to talk and ask about the store. This is a major city, not the Main Street of a small town! Or is it?
Do you have a special indie bookstore in your neighborhood? We’d love to hear more about your favorites!
Each month, we present a panel of book bloggers with a question relating to children’s books and we share their views here on the blog. If you missed last month’s post on our bloggers’ favorite books of poetry, you can read it here .
This month, in honor of Mother’s Day, I thought it would be fun to ask our bloggers what book they love to give to new mothers or mothers-to-be. As I’ve come to expect from this terrific panel, the answers cover a wide range from the classics to the unexpected. There were a few I had to look up that I can’t wait to check out in person. Since my own sister is expecting a baby very soon, I am taking notes from this post and will definitely add a few to my list of books to stock my future nephew’s library!
What is one book to add to a new mother’s children’s book library? This is an amazingly difficult question to answer. Do I go with the traditional picture books that feature a mother and her young child such as Mama, Do You Love Me by Barbara M. Joosse? Or maybe something a bit humorous and less traditional like Marla Frazee’s The Boss Baby? Or maybe something practical like Doreen Cronin’s M.O.M. (An Operating Manual)? Or maybe something more multicultural like Floating on Mama’s Song by Laura Lacamara or Lullaby (For a Black Mother) by Langston Hughes & Sean Quall? This can be a crazy hard decision. Since I can’t decide maybe I will just give them all.
- Alyson, Kid Lit Frenzy @alybee930
I love to give every new mom a board book the baby can start being around right away. The Mini Masters board books by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober, especially A Magical Day with Matisse, are great because they pair gorgeous art with fun-to-read rhymes. It may be a while before Mom gets to a museum, and new parents need art, too!
- Tegan, TSquared Blog @ttigani
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown! I know this might not be the most original answer, but my mother read me that book all the time as a child. When I went to college she gave me a copy to take with me. And, recently, I found some Goodnight Moon stationary, which I now use for all my letters to her. There’s a reason it’s a classic.
-Rachel, Rachel Ann Hanley
Only one?? No fair! There are so many wonderful children’s books still in print, and so many beautiful new ones being published, that I could easily come up with dozens that belong in every new mother’s library.
What to choose? On the Day You Were Born? On the Night You Were Born? Peter Rabbit or Winnie the Pooh? Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle – the list of possibilities goes on and on. Of course, one could always choose a standard classic like Pat the Bunny or Goodnight Moon (but everyone buys those!), or something different like The Story of Babar or Make Way for Ducklings. Or you could purchase a modern delight like Mama Says: A Book of Love for Mothers and Sons by Rob D. Walker, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, or Meet Me At the Moon by Gianna Marino.
But okay, okay, if you’re going to make me select just one, I’ll go with a childhood favorite: When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne. I can still remember my parents reading these wonderful poems to me. And I can still recite bits and pieces of them, many decades later. In fact, I still have my much-loved copy! This is the kind of gift book that lasts a lifetime.
- Joanne, My Brain on Books @JoanneRFritz
Recently a number of my bookish friends have announced that they’re expecting. I really like to try and personalize each book I buy but my general go to books are The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and anything by Jan Brett or Jerry Pinkney. The Silverstein book was my favorite as a child so it holds many wonderful memories. Jan Brett and Jerry Pinkney have some of the best illustrations. Also, Mo Willems for humor!
- Heidi, YA Bibliophile @hmz1505
When your little one is at his littlest, board books are a fantastic option for those pudgy fingers! Add Tana Hoban’s Black & White to your library, for sure. It unfolds accordion-style, and the stark contrast of black to white is stimulating for those curious newborn eyes. A fun read aloud that was a favorite in my family is It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny by Marilyn Sadler — and it is hysterical! Why be a bunny when you can be a bear? P.J. Funnybunny is a rascal who sets off for a new life, and it’s deeply funny with deeper heart. Fantastic for repeated lap sessions!
- Carter, Design of the Picture Book @carterhiggins
Another mention of On the Day You Were Born…
The one book I would include in a new mother’s library would be On the Day You Were Born, by Debra Frasier. It is a lovely blend of art and science and describes the earth and its creatures welcoming a new baby. Ms. Frasier’s artwork is simple and bright, and the science facts are a good balance. On the Day You Were Born is a celebration and a promise of how the world and its inhabitants are all part of each other.
- Rene, Notes from the Bedside Table
And one more vote for Margaret Wise Brown’s classic…
Since my “baby” is 25, I’m not up-to-date with the most current children’s books, but a classic that every child’s library should contain is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. I read this book to my son so many times, I can almost recite the whole thing to this day. My son took great comfort in the familiar objects and the bedtime routine in the book and, once he discovered where it was, had to point out the mouse in each picture. I think the real beauty of the book is the simplicity of its message. This book has stood the test of time for a reason.
- Kathy, Bermudaonion’s Weblog @bermudaonion
What books do you give to new mothers or parents? I love giving The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch or Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney if the baby is a girl, and Someday by Alison McGhee for babies of either sex. We’d love to hear more suggestions from you!