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Chrissy Teigen's mom Pepper has written a family cookbook that emphasizes the link between frugality and flexibility, that was a necessity growing up in a large working class family in Thailand. She later used this pinciple as a young mother newly moved to the states, whose own daughter wouldn't eat Thai food, and a grandmother who couldn't always find Thai ingredients. Sloppy joes, spaghetti, and omelets get the Thai touch, but more authentic recipes also come with substitutes, such as green beans for green papaya. There are also recipes for homemade chile crisp, and a doctored up fish sauce that she keeps on her dining table. All of it sounds delicious. This is the perfect easy cookbook for someone who likes Thai food but hasn't tried to get the same flavors yet in their own cooking. There isn't one recipe in this book that I wouldn't eat. — Carla
I was probably in college when I first heard of The Barbizon. A hotel just for women with meals and maid service provided? Sign me up! When this book came out, I was expecting an interesting history of the hotel, but this book was so much more. In addition to the story about the hotel, the book tells the stories of the women who came through the doors-aspiring actresses, dancers, models, writers, musicians, and secretaries. Some were famous, like Sylvia Plath, Joan Didion, Grace Kelly, Liza Minelli (Judy Garland drove the desk clerk crazy by calling to check up every few hours), and Cybill Shepherd. Some became household names, most did not. The women were from middle and upper-middle class homes, and were almost exclusively white. Through their stories you see the changes in our culture about expectations for women over 50 years, and the changes in Manhattan. I expected to be entertained, but I was fascinated. I highly recommend it. — Deb
I started telling people they should read this book before I even finished it, starting with my teenage daughters. (It is a YA book, even though I got to it first...sorry girls!) Don't let the YA label stop you, adults open to it will find plenty here. This book is fantastic on several levels.
First...It is skillfully plotted, suspenseful storytelling, especially impressive for a debut author. Daunis is a protagonist worth spending time with, as she triued to figure out who is behind the drug deals which are harming her community, while also dealing with her own questions of loyalty, belonging, and what it means to become a member of a community while coming into one's own strength.
Second...The perspective of this book is firmly rooted in the Indigenous culture which both the protagonist and the author share. Author Angeline Boulley is a registered member of the Sault Ste Marie Chippewa Tribe, and this book explores issues of the US/Indigenous history, Anishinaabe language, culture, and medicine in ways that are so organic, and beautifully realized.
And...this is a Michigan book! It's set in Northern Michigan, mostly in Sault Ste. Marie and Sugar Island. The author lives in SW Michigan now, and there are several mention of Ann Arbor that come as welcome little nods. Don't miss this one. — Gwen
***Content warning: Drug abuse, Overdose, Suicide, Sexual Assault***
“Grandmother had a fear of heights. Once she stood up on a low stool and broke out in tears because she was so panic-stricken that she couldn’t get down. Grandfather hurried over to her and held out his hand, led her to a comfy chair, and held her hand until she calmed down. At that moment I realized he was with her voluntarily and that, unlike me, he could leave anytime.”
“Families are complicated” is quite the understatement when describing the family in this book. The narrator is a young boy whose grandmother thinks he’s a dolt. The grandmother is a former Russian ballerina who constantly fusses and insults everyone around her. The grandfather is in love with his neighbor. And the boy’s parents? You’ll have to read to find out.
Alina Bronsky knocks it out of the park with this one. "My Grandmother's Braid" is darkly funny but so full of empathy and sensitivity. And I can’t get over how good the narration is. I’m very excited now to go back and read her previous book "The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine when I get a chance. I hope you love it too! — Kaitlyn
"Simply Julia" is so much more than a cookbook! Not only is this book filled with approachable recipes and helpful tips, Turshen shares honest and personal essays on topics such as body positivity, anxiety and volunteering. I enjoyed this book so much that I signed up for one of her Saturday cooking classes via Zoom and felt like I was spending an afternoon in my kitchen with a longtime friend. I was left with a variety of amazing salad dressings for a month and many tips on how to modify her recipes to accommodate my vegan, vegetarian and diabetic friends. This book will delight your palate, feed your soul and spark meaningful conversation at your dinner table. Prepare to be nourished from the inside out! – Laurie
Meet Dory. She's just your average six year-old girl. Except that she lives in a monster-infested house, has a fairy godmother named Mr. Nuggy, and is being chased by an evil, coffee-loving robber who wants to keep her locked away in a cave for all eternity. So yeah, totally normal. Abby Hanlon perfectly depicts the wild imagination of young children and how easily they can become caught up in their own stories. Dory Fantasmagory will have both kids and adults crying with laughter. And don't worry, there are four more titles in this series! — Lori
During this time of transition, I'm returning to Jenny Odell's "How to Do Nothing." This thoughtful book combines deep research with lyrical prose, examining everything from art and public space to birdwatching and histories of communal living. While it's framed as a guide to "resisting the attention economy," this book feels less like a how-to guide and more a call to reorient our approach to productivity, and the cultural values that accompany it, at a more fundamental level. – Rachel
"Mostly the water is unconcerned with beauty. Mostly it rages and beats the cliffs till they crumble, plunging unwary creatures to their deaths. The water eats at the posts of the docks, bends that wood to its knees. The water does not reflect. It is itself, and it spreads to the horizon." (247)
Siblings set off to bury their father's rotting body in the Gold-Rush American West. The children attempt to live with and bury their past, so that they might have a future. Their present, however, is filled with folklore, hardship, anti-Asian American racism, and a thirst for home. This novel seems the love child of "Grapes of Wrath", "East of Eden", and "As I Lay Dying" told through a young girl. Zhang's writing beckons the reader to chase the siblings through the chapters, often, leaving room for our imagination within the layers of this tale. The world of this story is searching for nuggets of gold, the words themselves lend nuggets of truth just as precious. — Rose
A debut memoir of beautifully intertwined vignettes that make it feel more like a ghost story than a life survived. Jones grew up in a world of hard contrasts and the way she tells of her experiences, you will find yourself utterly enthralled from the first page. — Shannon
Not a strictly a book about baseball as much as it is a look at how mistakes are made due to the poor assumptions, biases, and fallacies that we all make in our everyday lives. Each chapter looks at one or more poor decisions in the history of the game and the thinking behind those decisions. How does anchor bias influence umpire calls? What does suvivorship bias have to do with Nolan Ryan's high pitch counts? How does the sunk cost fallacy figure into player salaries? A great book for fans of the game who want to learn more about the psychology and economic thought that has shaped the game. — Tom
This novel is on par with every literary novel I've read over the past 40 years that has remained a part of me. Beautifully written with an obvious love and admiration for strong families, the story is a microscopic unzipping of a family at the end of the 1950's and the tumultuous 1960's on their entire family structure. The story takes place on the nature-battered coast of Maine, in the home of Margreete, the matriarchal grandmother who the story is built around, and each member of the family's relationship to and with her. The children are young when they move into their grandmother's home. We witness their growth, their insecurities, and the changing family dynamics that are impacted by the assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King and the Vietnam War on this loving family. I found nearly every sentence worthy of re-reading. — VICK