Read The Recipe! Spring is Here

Posted on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 by Jason Delpire

This month, I would like to look at “Greenfeast: Spring, Summer.” This completes the coverage of seasons started in “Greenfeast: Autumn, Winter ” which I wrote about previously.

Greenfeast: Spring, Summer by Nigel Slater book cover

As you may guess, in this volume author Nigel Slater gives dishes that are generally lighter, fresher and visually brighter.

One of my favorite parts of this collection is that the time commitment seems to be quite short; who wants to spend hours in a hot kitchen during summer? Simple dishes and small ingredient lists make for quick dinners. Eating fresh, plant-based dishes also gives you an excuse to visit the farmer’s market, by the way.

The recipes are mostly vegetarian-friendly and can be made to even vegan standards (with slight modifications), if necessary. Each dish is given a ridiculously brief name, mainly because the recipes are simple. The only issue I can see is some ingredients can be a bit difficult to find, but I like to think that gives me the freedom to make it my own.

Recipes are sectioned by time of day, or an indication of how it is prepared or how it is served. A couple that caught my eye: Mustard Guacamole, Mozzarella, Bagel looks like a great breakfast sandwich. Pasta, Tomatoes (see what I mean about ridiculously brief names) could be scaled up to create a nice dinner with lunch leftovers.

As a companion to “Autumn, Winter” I think this succeeds in finishing the task set by the author. Enjoy!

March Literary Links: Nurturing Your Relationships

Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2023 by Karena

We spend plenty of time learning how to talk. It’s how you get the job; how you win people over; how you lead someone where you want them to go. But what about the other side of communication — the rich, endless, less popular art of listening?

Life often demands that we view conversations as opportunities to impress or unload. But what happens if we approach every conversation as a shared adventure — a chance to go somewhere new, together? Here are some books to get you thinking about your relationships as plants and your conversations as water. Continue reading “March Literary Links: Nurturing Your Relationships”

Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories

Posted on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 by MaggieM

collage of book covers written by women

“Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories,” is the theme for Women’s History Month this year, and I don’t think they could have picked a better theme.

At our core, humans are creatures of stories. Long before the written word, we used oral storytelling to convey important information and ideas and most importantly, meaning. Whether you write advertising copy, political speeches, novels or text books, effective communicators know that people learn best through stories. To resonate with people you have to have a compelling narrative. This is why it is vital to have women’s voices in all corners of our society. This includes, but isn’t limited to, books. So let’s start with women authors. Continue reading “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories”

Nonfiction Roundup: March 2023

Posted on Monday, March 6, 2023 by Liz

Below I’m highlighting some nonfiction books coming out in March. All of the mentioned titles are available to put on hold in our catalog and will also be made available via the library’s Overdrive website on the day of publication in eBook and downloadable audiobook format (as available). For a more extensive list of new nonfiction books coming out this month, check our online catalog.

Top Picks

Forager by Michelle Down book coverForager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult: A Memoir” by Michelle Dowd (Mar 7)
As a child, Michelle Dowd grew up on a mountain in the Angeles National Forest. She was born into an ultra-religious cult — or the Field as they called it — started in the 1930s by her grandfather, a mercurial, domineering, and charismatic man who convinced generations of young male followers that he would live 500 years and ascend to the heavens when doomsday came. Comfort and care are sins, Michelle is told. As a result, she was forced to learn the skills necessary to battle hunger, thirst, and cold; she learned to trust animals more than humans; and most importantly, she learned how to survive in the natural world. At the Field, a young Michelle lives a life of abuse, poverty, and isolation, as she obeys her family’s rigorous religious and patriarchal rules — which are so extreme that Michelle is convinced her mother would sacrifice her, like Abraham and Isaac, if instructed by God. She often wears the same clothes for months at a time; she is often ill and always hungry for both love and food. She is taught not to trust Outsiders, and especially not Quitters, nor her own body and its warnings. But as Michelle gets older, she realizes she has the strength to break free. Focus on what will sustain, not satiate you, she tells herself. Use everything. Waste nothing. Get to know the intricacies of the land, like the intricacies of your body. And so she does. Using stories of individual edible plants and their uses to anchor each chapter, “Forager” is both a searing coming-of-age story and a meditation on the ways in which understanding nature can lead to freedom, even joy. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: March 2023”

Debut Author Spotlight: March 2023

Posted on Friday, March 3, 2023 by Katherine

Here are just a select few of the many promising debut titles coming out in March 2023. These have all received multiple positive reviews from library journals. If you’re interested in seeing a longer list of titles, please visit our catalog.

Weyward by Emilia Hart book coverWeyward” by Emilia Hart

I am a Weyward, and wild inside.

2019: Under cover of darkness, Kate flees London for ramshackle Weyward Cottage, inherited from a great aunt she barely remembers. With its tumbling ivy and overgrown garden, the cottage is worlds away from the abusive partner who tormented Kate. But she begins to suspect that her great-aunt had a secret. One that lurks in the bones of the cottage, hidden ever since the witch hunts of the 17th century.

1619: Altha is awaiting trial for the murder of a local farmer who was stampeded to death by his herd. As a girl, Altha’s mother taught her their magic, a kind not rooted in spell casting but in a deep knowledge of the natural world. But unusual women have always been deemed dangerous, and as the evidence for witchcraft is set out against Altha, she knows it will take all of her powers to maintain her freedom.

1942: As World War II rages, Violet is trapped in her family’s grand, crumbling estate. Straitjacketed by societal convention, she longs for the robust education her brother receives — and for her mother, long deceased, who was rumored to have gone mad before her death. The only traces Violet has of her are a locket bearing the initial W and the word “weyward” scratched into the baseboard of her bedroom.

Weaving together the stories of three extraordinary women across five centuries, Emilia Hart’s “Weyward is an enthralling novel of female resilience and the transformative power of the natural world. Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: March 2023”

Books That Read Like a Podcast

Posted on Friday, February 24, 2023 by Reading Addict

an iPhone with headphones playing the last episode of the Serial NPR podcast

I can admit it: I’m slow to adopt new trends, but I have recently (finally?) become enthralled with podcasts. I have always just had so many books I wanted to read that it was really hard for podcasts to break through to my awareness. Although, in my defense, I was actually listening to podcasts before they were called podcasts on NPR with shows like “This American Life,” “Radiolab” and “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” A lot of podcasts remind me of my favorite books of conversational essays. The podcasts I have recently found have been highly entertaining and engaging — like sitting with a friend and enjoying a cup of coffee while catching up on interesting tidbits. Some of the podcasts follow true crime cases. Some take a deeper look at cultural moments or things we may not remember fully (or correctly) from history. And some just talk of random things. Continue reading “Books That Read Like a Podcast”

Read the Recipe: Noma 2.0

Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2023 by Jason Delpire

Recently, I watched the movie “The Menu.” I loved it: I saw bits of myself in a few of the characters on either side of the pass. Here is a short synopsis of the film: an ultra-exclusive restaurant prepares a special menu for a select clientele.The Menu movie poster Essentially, “The Menu” is a horror/comedy/satire piece on the fine dining experience. Between this movie, other recent stories spilling secrets on the culture of restaurant work, and the recent announcement of Noma’s impending closure (Noma is a many-times named Best Restaurant in the World and is planning to close in 2024), some have started calling for the end of fine dining, whatever that means. The issue for many is the impression that all fine dining restaurants are hyper-competitive, intense, toxic workplaces that can destroy people. Though those accusations are damning, the idea of “free labor” was the final straw. In some high-profile places, like Noma, talented and ambitious cooks are hired, but not paid. According to “The Sorcerer’s Apprentices” by Lisa Abend (a book about the now-shuttered restaurant named el Bulli), the cooks are paired with a host family and generally they eat at the restaurant (the “family meal”). My view has been these types of positions are for a special few, and the sacrifice is repaid through contacts made and through future earnings. Generally, these types of situations are only found at high-end places, but the pressures and expectations can find their way to “regular” establishments. You might have dined in a place that suffers from the same problems, even here in Mid-Missouri. Continue reading “Read the Recipe: Noma 2.0”

Staff Review: Happy for You by Claire Stanford

Posted on Monday, February 20, 2023 by Karena

Evelyn Kominsky Kumamoto is the adult daughter of a distant Japanese father and a dead Jewish mother. When we meet her, she is preparing to start a new job at a large internet company, having set aside her philosophy dissertation in search of a change.
Book cover of Claire Stanford's "Happy for You"

Evelyn is somewhat anchorless — in identity, in work and in her relationships. But it is clear her ambivalence does not come from a lack of depth. Evelyn is a philosopher, who traces the movements of her own mind with the curiosity of a scientist. If she seems stuck between two points, it’s only because she is taking her time mapping the troubled landscape of the liminal space. Continue reading “Staff Review: Happy for You by Claire Stanford”

Debut Author Spotlight: February 2023

Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 by Katherine

Here are a few of the most notable debut fiction titles being published this month. These have all received positive review from library journals. For a longer list of titles, please visit our catalog.

Spire House book coverThe Spite House” by Johnny Compton

Eric Ross is on the run from a mysterious past with his two daughters in tow. Having left his wife, his house, his whole life behind in Maryland, he’s desperate for money — it’s not easy to find steady, safe work when you can’t provide references, you can’t stay in one place for long, and you’re paranoid that your past is creeping back up on you.

When he comes across the strange ad for the Masson House in Degener, Texas, Eric thinks they may have finally caught a lucky break. The Masson property, notorious for being one of the most haunted places in Texas, needs a caretaker of sorts. The owner is looking for proof of paranormal activity. All they need to do is stay in the house and keep a detailed record of everything that happens there. Provided the house’s horrors don’t drive them all mad, like the caretakers before them.

The job calls to Eric, not just because there’s a huge payout if they can make it through, but because he wants to explore the secrets of the spite house. If it is indeed haunted, maybe it’ll help him understand the uncanny power that clings to his family, driving them from town to town, making them afraid to stop running.

Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: February 2023”

Literary Links: Inventors and Inventions

Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2023 by Ida

On December 13, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a major breakthrough in cold fusion technology. I don’t pretend to understand all the details, but I know there’s a lot of excitement over the possibility for a clean energy future. This seems like an opportune time to focus on books about inventors and inventions. 

Book cover: Nature's Wild IdeasHumans are by far the most technologically advanced species on Earth, but we often look to nature for inspiration. In “Nature’s Wild Ideas,” Kristy Hamilton explains how the anatomy of lobster eyes provided a blueprint for the design of x-ray telescopes. Similarly, the movement patterns of ants and bees led to innovations in traffic management. And studies of tardigrades — those miniscule masters of survival — have been key in developing better methods of refrigeration. Continue reading “Literary Links: Inventors and Inventions”