Friday, August 7, 2020

quarantine reads


Coffee Klatch is O’Neal Library’s weekly conversation series.  The meetings take place on Zoom and broad topic is selected for each session.  Join your friends and neighbors or meet someone new!  Register online for the Aug 12 meeting: “favorite subjects in school”


This week, our Coffee Klatchers shared their favorite reads since quarantine conditions started in March.  If you’re looking for some diverting reads, you may just find them here! 

Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ by Fleming Rutledge

With her trademark wit and wisdom, Rutledge explores Advent as a time of rich paradoxes, a season celebrating at once Christ’s incarnation and his second coming, and she masterfully unfolds the ethical and future-oriented significance of Advent for the church.

Anarchism and Other Essays by Emma Goldman

Widely considered to be one of the foremost experts on Anarchist theory, Emma Goldman's classic essay on the political/social/philosophical doctrine known as Anarchism is collected here, along with other excellent essays covering a wide range of radical topics like the enslavement of women, the destruction wrought by nationalism, the Puritan ethos, and much more.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

George Orwell's timeless and timely allegorical novel—a scathing satire on a downtrodden society’s blind march towards totalitarianism.

1984 by George Orwell

Written more than 70 years ago, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, his dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative is timelier than ever.

The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia and How It Died by Philip Jenkins

In this groundbreaking book, renowned religion scholar Philip Jenkins offers a lost history, revealing that for centuries Christianity's center existed to the east of the Roman Empire.

A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts by Theresa Ann Fowler

The riveting novel of iron-willed Alva Vanderbilt and her illustrious family as they rule Gilded-Age New York.

Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianca Bosker

With boundless curiosity, humor, and a healthy dose of skepticism, Bosker takes the reader inside underground tasting groups, exclusive New York City restaurants, California mass-market wine factories, and even a neuroscientist’s fMRI machine as she attempts to answer the most nagging question of all: what’s the big deal about wine?

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Winner: 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)

In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo (Winner: Booker Prize)

Girl, Woman, Other is a magnificent portrayal of the intersections of identity and a moving and hopeful story of an interconnected group of Black British women that paints a vivid portrait of the state of contemporary Britain and looks back to the legacy of Britain’s colonial history in Africa and the Caribbean.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

A Chosen Exile: The History of Racial Passing in American Life by Allyson Hobbs

Although black Americans who adopted white identities reaped benefits of expanded opportunity and mobility, Hobbs helps us to recognize and understand the grief, loneliness, and isolation that accompanied―and often outweighed―these rewards.

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich, the New York Times bestselling, National Book Award-winning author of LaRose and The Round House, paints a startling portrait of a young woman fighting for her life and her unborn child against oppressive forces that manifest in the wake of a cataclysmic event.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Already being hailed as "a Grapes of Wrath for our times" and "a new American classic," Jeanine Cummins's American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.

Sudden Death by Alvaro Enrigue, translated by Natasha Wimmer

A daring, kaleidoscopic novel about the clash of empires and ideas, told through a tennis match in the sixteenth century between the radical Italian artist Caravaggio and the Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo, played with a ball made from the hair of the beheaded Anne Boleyn.

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

In Valeria Luiselli’s fiercely imaginative follow-up to the American Book Award-winning Tell Me How It Ends, an artist couple set out with their two children on a road trip from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer. As the family travels west, the bonds between them begin to fray: a fracture is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

n this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (find Fresh Air interview)

The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep

“Compelling . . . at once a true-crime thriller, courtroom drama, and miniature biography of Harper Lee. If To Kill a Mockingbird was one of your favorite books growing up, you should add Furious Hours to your reading list today.” —Southern Living

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.

A Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

No outsiders are ever admitted to the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, hidden deep in the wilderness of Quebec, where two dozen cloistered monks live in peace and prayer. But when the renowned choir director is murdered, the lock on the monastery's massive wooden door is drawn back to admit Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Sûreté du Québec. There they discover disquiet beneath the silence, discord in the apparent harmony. One of the brothers, in this life of prayer and contemplation, has been contemplating murder.

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, translated by William Weaver

The year is 1327. Benedictines in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective.

Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross

With razor-sharp wit and perfect "Steel Magnolia" poise, Miss Julia speaks her mind indeed-about a robbery, a kidnapping, and the other disgraceful events precipitated by her husband's death. Fast-paced and charming, with a sure sense of comic drama, a cast of crazy characters, and a strong Southern cadence, Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind will delight readers from first page to last.

A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen

Six years after a global pandemic wiped out most of the planet’s population, the survivors are rebuilding the country, split between self-governing cities, hippie communes and wasteland gangs. But when reports of another outbreak throw the fragile society into panic, the friends are forced to finally face everything that came before—and everything they still stand to lose.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is told with the same comic accuracy and beating heart as Fredrik Backman’s bestselling debut novel, A Man Called Ove. It is a story about life and death and one of the most important human rights: the right to be different.

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Halfway across the country, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor. Dear Edward is at once a transcendent coming-of-age story, a multidimensional portrait of an unforgettable cast of characters, and a breathtaking illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again.

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Tom Hazard has just moved back to London, his old home, to settle down and become a high school history teacher. And on his first day at school, he meets a captivating French teacher at his school who seems fascinated by him. But Tom has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history--performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.


Monday, August 3, 2020

skip the line

It’s time for your monthly cheat sheet for navigating the long wait on Overdrive/Libby’s most popular titles in ebook and eaudio.  If you are on the waitlist for any of the titles in red below, try one of the mentioned alternatives to tide you over until your turn comes up!

For recommendations on Libby, I’ve selected authors/titles with little to no waitlist.  Titles on Hoopla are always available, no lines or waiting!

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

This hot new title is being compared to the work of Agatha Christie and other locked room mysteries. Try one of these authors while you wait:

Agatha Christie (on Libby) (on Hoopla)

Lisa Gardner (on Libby)

Gillian Flynn (on Libby)

Fiona Barton (on Libby)

Karin Slaughter (on Libby) (on Hoopla)

Or, try one of these books:
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley (eaudio on Hoopla)

The Last Flight by Julie Clark (ebook on Hoopla)

The Safest Lies by Megan Miranda (eaudio on Hoopla)

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (ebook/eaudio on Libby) (ebook/eaudio on Hoopla)

Or, check out this great story collection in print: The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked Room Mysteries: The Most Complete Collection of Impossible-Crime Stories Ever Assembled, edited and with an introduction by Otto Penzler.

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

This New York Times best-selling book explores the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality. Overdrive/Libby has curated a selection of books on race, racial equality, diversity, and inclusion, including White Fragility, but all the titles are currently showing long waiting lists.  Try one of these alternative titles while you wait:

So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (eaudio on Hoopla)

The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power by Desmond Cole (ebook on Libby)

In the Shadow of Statues: a White Southerner Confronts History by Mitch Landrieu (ebook/eaudio on Libby)

The Myth of Equality: Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege by Ken Wytsma (ebook/eaudio on Hoopla)

White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White by Daniel Hill (ebook/eaudio on Hoopla)

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

The Washington Post describes this summer delicacy as “Big fun, and then some. It’s empowering and surprising—a reminder to put down the phone and enjoy each moment for what it is.” Weiner in known for her summery, fun novels so try another of her titles while you wait!

Jennifer Weiner (eaudio on Hoopla)

Or, try one of these other beach-read favorites:

Elin Hilderbrand (on Libby) (eaudio on Hoopla)

Nancy Thayer (on Libby) (eaudio on Hoopla)

Mary Kay Andrews (on Libby) (on Hoopla)

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Bennett is a relatively new author on the scene and is being compared to Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, and Jacqueline Woodson.  Her first novel, The Mothers, is also experiencing a wait on Libby, but not as lengthy as the new book.

Toni Morrison (on Libby) (on Hoopla)

James Baldwin (on Libby) (on Hoopla)

Jacqueline Woodson (on Libby) (on Hoopla)

Jesmyn Ward (on Libby)

Or, try one of these books:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (on Libby)

The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai (on Hoopla)

The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom (on Libby)

Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West (on Hoopla)

Run by Ann Patchett (on Libby) (on Hoopla)

American Dirt By Jeanine Cummins

Already being hailed as "a Grapes of Wrath for our times" and "a new American classic," Jeanine Cummins's American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope. 

Alternative titles:

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (on Libby)

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames (on Libby) (on Hoopla)

Afterlife by Julia Alvarez (ebook on Libby) (Alvarez on Hoopla)

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (on Libby)

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips (on Libby)

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie (eaudio on Libby)

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (eaudio on Libby) (eaudio on Hoopla)

A couple, far from home and in desperate straits, does whatever is necessary to make it out alive in the thrilling film, Babel, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.

How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi

From the National Book Award–winning author comes a “groundbreaking” (Time) approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves.
Alternative titles:

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (eaudio on Hoopla)

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi (on Libby) (eaudio on Hoopla)

The Person You Mean To Be by Dolly Chugh (eaudio on Hoopla)

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele (eaudio on Hoopla)

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (on Libby)

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING MICHAEL B. JORDAN AND JAMIE FOXX • A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.
Alternative titles:

Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice that Restores by Dominique DuBois Gilliard (on Hoopla)

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein (ebook on Libby)

Chokehold: Policing Black Men by Paul Butler (ebook on Hoopla)

American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment by Shane Bauer (on Libby)

Are Prisons Obsolete? By Angela Davis (ebook on Hoopla)

The Myth of Equality: Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege by Ken Wytsma (on Hoopla)

The Little Book of Race and Restorative Justice: Black Lives, Healing, and U.S. Social Transformation by Fania Davis (ebook on Hoopla)

Or, place a hold on this important account due to be published September 8th, “A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom” by Brittany K. Barnett.
“An urgent call to free those buried alive by America’s legal system, and an inspiring true story about unwavering belief in humanity—from a gifted young lawyer and important new voice in the movement to transform the system.”

Thursday, July 30, 2020


Tune in on Zoom with us next month as the Genre Reading Group (GRG) explores journalists and journalism.  Fiction or nonfiction, the choice is yours!  Register here:

Here is a link to the Jefferson County Library Cooperative online catalog where you can browse some of the titles available and reserve anything that catches your eye.

Encore catalog:

For titles you would like to pick up at O’Neal Library: once you receive a hold notice that you have items ready for checkout, you may call the Circulation Dept at 205.445.1101 to schedule contactless curbside pickup OR visit ONL Express, limited access to the building Monday-Saturday 10am-2pm. Masks covering nose and mouth are required for the duration of your visit and there is a limit of 30 people in the building at a time. Visit during ONL Express hours to peruse the small journalism display on the 2nd floor near the elevator.

This week, GRG met to talk about magazines:

TV Guide is a bi-weekly American magazine that provides television program listings information as well as television-related news, celebrity interviews and gossip, film reviews, crossword puzzles, and, in some issues, horoscopes.

National Geographic (ONL subscribes)
National Geographic is the official magazine of the National Geographic Society. It has been published continuously since its first issue in 1888, nine months after the Society itself was founded. It primarily contains articles about science, geography, history, and world culture. 

Sunset is a lifestyle magazine in the United States. Sunset focuses on homes, cooking, gardening, and travel, with a focus almost exclusively on the Western United States.

Woman's Day is an American women's magazine that covers such topics as homemaking, food, nutrition, fitness, and fashion. The print edition is one of the Seven Sisters magazines aimed at stay-at-home moms: Woman’s Day, Family Circle, McCall’s, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Better Homes and Gardens.  Of these seven, only Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, and Woman’s Day remain in print.

The Week (ONL subscribes)
The Week is a weekly news magazine with editions in the United Kingdom and United States. The American edition started in 2001 and provides perspectives on the week's current events and other news, as well as editorial commentary from global media, with the intent to provide readers with multiple political viewpoints. In addition to the above, the magazine covers a broad range of topics, including science, technology, health, the media, business and the arts. The Week claims it is "designed for readers who want to know what's going on in the world, but don’t have the time to read a daily newspaper from cover to cover - let alone all of them."

Bon Appetitv (ONL subscribes)
Bon Appétit is a monthly American food and entertaining magazine, that typically contains recipes, entertaining ideas, restaurant recommendations, and wine reviews. Owned by Condé Nast, it is headquartered at the One World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York City and has been in publication since 1956.

Spin is an American music magazine founded in 1985 by publisher Bob Guccione, Jr. The magazine stopped running in print in 2012 and currently runs as a webzine, owned by NEXT Management.

Rolling Stone (ONL subscribes)
Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California, in 1967 by Jann Wenner, and the music critic Ralph J. Gleason. It was first known for its coverage of rock music and for political reporting by Hunter S. Thompson.

1843 is a bi-monthly lifestyle magazine that focuses on culture, design, fashion, health, travel, and technology. Based in London, the magazine is named after the founding year of The Economist magazine, its sister publication.

Smithsonian (ONL subscribes)
Smithsonian magazine places a Smithsonian lens on the world, looking at the topics and subject matters researched, studied and exhibited by the Smithsonian Institution—science, history, art, popular culture and innovation—and chronicling them every day for our diverse readership.

GQ: Gentlemen’s Quarterly (ONL subscribes)
GQ is the authority on men. For more than 50 years, GQ has been the premier men’s magazine, providing definitive coverage of style and culture. With its unique and powerful design, work from the finest photographers and a stable of award-winning writers, GQ reaches millions of leading men each month. The only publication that speaks to all sides of the male equation, GQ is simply sharper and smarter.

The Saturday Evening Post is an American magazine, currently published six times a year. It was published weekly under this title from 1897 until 1963, then every two weeks until 1969. 

Broom: An International Magazine of the Arts was a modernist magazine founded by Harold Loeb and Alfred Kreymborg and published from November 1921 to January 1924. Initially, the magazine was printed in Europe and had a complicated and brief run. 
According to the Pennwick Foundation, “Broom set up headquarters in Rome, where its first ten issues were printed. After the first year of publication, Kreymborg left, and Loeb moved Broom’s headquarters from Rome to Berlin, where he published six more issues before his money ran out. Broom’s associate editor, Matthew Josephson, took over the funding and moved Broom’s headquarters to New York, where he published five issues, the last of which was banned by U.S. postal censors.”

Just under two years after The Shadow appeared on magazine racks, Doc Savage became the third pulp character to get his own magazine.
The world met the Man of Bronze in a novel titled “The Man of Bronze,” March 1933.
Doc Savage was created by Street and Smith’s Henry W. Ralston, with help from editor John L. Nanovic, in order to capitalize on the surprise success of The Shadow magazine.
It was Lester Dent, though, who crafted the character into the superman that he became.
Dent, who wrote most of the adventures, described his hero – Clark “Doc” Savage Jr. – as a cross between “Sherlock Holmes with his deducting ability, Tarzan of the Apes with his towering physique and muscular ability, Craig Kennedy with his scientific knowledge, and Abraham Lincoln with his Christliness.”
Through 181 novels, the fight against evil was on. From a headquarters on the 86th floor of a towering Manhattan skyscraper, Doc, his five pals — Renny, Johnny, Long Tom, Ham and Monk — and occasionally his cousin Pat battled criminals the world over (and under) 12 times a year, from 1933 until early 1947; then the team’s exploits dropped to every two months until the final three quarterly issues in 1949.
Doc Savage is one of the few characters whose complete original pulp run has been reprinted in book form. Doc also appeared in a short-lived radio drama in the 1940s, a couple of serialized adventures on public radio and a 1975 movie. (”

Punch, or The London Charivari, was a British weekly magazine of humour and satire established in 1841 by Henry Mayhew and wood-engraver Ebenezer Landells. Historically, it was most influential in the 1840s and 1850s, when it helped to coin the term "cartoon" in its modern sense as a humorous illustration.

Tatler was first published in 1709. Today, more than 300 years later, Tatler magazine is published both in print and digitally, with a dynamic website focusing on parties and people, a dedicated social following and a series of stellar events. Tatler’s powerful mix of glamour, fashion, society, features and fun make the brand unique. Tatler magazine is published monthly.

Stereogum is the world’s best music blog, founded in 2002. It is independently owned and operated.

Horse & Rider (ONL subscribes)
Horse & Rider provides all you need for today’s Western horse life. Learn from top professional trainers, clinicians, and horse-keeping experts. Experience Western life. Travel to Western destinations and scenic trails. Horse & Rider is your resource to live today’s Western horse life.


One of GRG’s members mentioned a website, Birmingham Rewound, where memories of the Magic City from the 1940s through the 1970s may be enjoyed:

Another member mentioned a recent Birmingham News article on penicillin research that referenced the book “The Mold in Dr. Florey’s Coat: The Story of the Penicillin Miracle” by Eric Lax. 

“Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin in his London laboratory in 1928 and its eventual development as the first antibiotic by a team at Oxford University headed by Howard Florey and Ernst Chain in 1942 led to the introduction of the most important family of drugs of the twentieth century. Yet credit for penicillin is largely misplaced. Neither Fleming nor Florey and his associates ever made real money from their achievements; instead it was the American labs that won patents on penicillin's manufacture and drew royalties from its sale. Why this happened, why it took fourteen years to develop penicillin, and how it was finally done is a fascinating story of quirky individuals, missed opportunities, medical prejudice, brilliant science, shoestring research, wartime pressures, misplaced modesty, conflicts between mentors and their protégés, and the passage of medicine from one era to the next.”

One of Holley’s favorite nonfiction titles just happens to be about magazines in a roundabout way,  Ernest Hemingway and the Little Magazines: The Paris Years by Nicholas Joost, published in 1968.  Alas, it has been lost and is no longer available in the library system but it is worth an interlibrary loan if you have any interest!
“For much of the initial period Hemingway lived and wrote in Paris, the only writing he had published was his journalism. Gradually, as his reputation among the literary expatriate community grew, his work began to appear with regularity in many of the most important little magazines in Europe and the United States, including Little Review, Poetry, The Exile, Transatlantic Review, This Quarter, transition, The Double Dealer, and Der Querschnitt. Hemingway was also included in the Contact Collection of Contemporary Writers (1925), the first important anthology of the work of the expatriates.
One reason for Hemingway's original change of publishers from Liveright to Scribner's, was the opportunity the latter offered him to publish his work in Scribner's Magazine, in which his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald published and for which he received handsome payments. As Hemingway became established as a writer, he became one of the most sought-after, and highly-paid magazine writers of his time. His articles, stories, and excerpts from novels appeared frequently in such magazines as Life, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Holiday, and a host of other commercial magazines.”

Saturday, July 25, 2020

armchair travel

To travel would be a dream right now but a book can often transport you to different time or place, right from the comfort and safety of home.  From the Sicilian countryside to quaint Parisian streets to the glamor of 1940s New York, this list of destination reads is almost as good as taking a vacation!

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan
Escape to: Socialize with the ultra-rich in Capri, Italy and New York City.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Escape to: A luxurious resort in Maui, Hawaii, where you can sip on pineapple juice and take in the views of the ocean from your (honeymoon) suite.

Walking on the Ceiling by Aysegul Savas
Escape to: A quaint Parisian bookstore where the smell of buttered croissants from the cafe next door fills the air between the shelves.

From Scratch by Tembi Locke
Escape to: The Silician countryside complete with a big Italian family and lots of fresh food.

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
Escape to: An extravagant Cape Cod wedding.

When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
Escape to: The sun-kissed streets of 1960s Havana, Cuba.

Escape to: India, where you’ll explore food, heritage, and a colorful culture you won’t want to leave.

Tomorrow There Will Be Sun by Dana Reinhardt
Escape to: A private villa in Mexico with a bottomless pitcher of margaritas.

Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams
Escape to: A remote surfing village in Kauai, Hawaii.

The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell
Escape to: The luscious, green cliffsides of the Zambezi River in Zambia.

Escape to: The Korean island of Jeju and its crystalline, azure waters that you’ll want to dive right into.

Leading Men by Christopher Castellani
Escape to: The cafe-crowded streets of Portofino, Italy, where you can sip wine while taking in views of the Amalfi coast (and perhaps reading some Capote or Williams).

Cape May by Chip Cheek
Escape to: A gorgeous mansion overlooking the shores of Cape May, New Jersey (think Gatsby on the beach).

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly
Escape to: Revolutionary-era Russia to dine with tsars in ancient stone castles.

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Escape to: London, England, to track down (and maybe fall in love with) a royal.

If you are looking for even more adventure, register for the Bookies meeting on Tuesday, August 11th at 10am.  They’ll be meeting on Zoom to discuss travel writing.  The library is open for limited access Monday-Saturday 10am-2pm. Masks covering your nose and mouth are required for the duration of your visit and only 30 patrons are allowed in the building at one time.  Upstairs on the second floor, you’ll find a display of some exciting travel writing near service desk.  Register here for the Bookies’ August meeting:

feast for the senses

The topic for last week’s Coffee Klatch was “What’s Cooking?” and participants certainly arrived to the Zoom meeting with the good stuff!  Your cooking game is about to be sizzling! 

Next week, we’ll be chatting about looking ahead to fall.  Register here to receive a link to the Zoom meeting:

Vintage Lemonade

6 lemons juiced
1/2 cup sugar
12 cups water
2 cups crushed ice
lemon slices to garnish

Juice the lemons, removing the seeds. If desired, strain out the pulp. Mix the lemon juice with the sugar until dissolved. Add the water, crushed ice, and garnish with sliced lemons.

Frosty Blended Basil Lemonade

3 lemons
1 cup basil
1/2 cup sugar
6 cups water
2 cups ice
basil leaves to garnish

Excluding the garnish, add all of the ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend on high for 30-60 seconds. Pour into glasses (or a pitcher) and garnish with fresh basil leaves. NOTES
To minimize the possibility of sugar crystals, make a quick simple syrup by bringing equal amounts of sugar and water to a boil. Make sure to subtract the water from the water measurement.
Alternative sweeteners to experiment with include maple syrup, honey, date syrup and stevia, sweetening to taste. 

Whipped Feta w/ Honey (A Taziki's recipe) 

1 tbsp Chives, cut up
1 tbsp Honey
Black Pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 Cup Feta Cheese Crumbles, fat free
1/2 Cup Ricotta Cheese, skim or low fat
Pita Chips or Pita Bread, for dipping

In a food processor or blender, add ricotta cheese, feta cheese and olive oil. Blend until combined and smooth.  Add to a shallow bowl to serve, or any bowl if you don't have a shallow bowl. Spread it around and make a little flat. Add honey on top of cheese spread. Swirl honey around with a spoon.
Add pepper and chives on top.

Summer Protein Shake

- 1-2 medium-sized peeled and cut bananas
- 3 Tbs. of Greek Vanilla Yogurt
- 1/4 cup of rolled oats; uncooked
- 1 Tsp. of fresh ground mint
- 1 Cup of Ice
- 1 scoop of protein mix (vanilla flavoured) 
- 1 cup of Milk (vanilla flavoured; plant or nut based - optional)
- 1/4 cup of iced light or medium brewed coffee

Blend and serve. Makes about 3-4 Cups. 

Chicken and Rice Soup With Celery, Parsley and Lemon

Kate Mathis for The New York Times.
This soup is simultaneously cozy and fresh. It’s just the kind of thing you want to eat when you’re sick and seeking something that’ll perk you up and get you through it. The soup simmers long enough for the rice to start to break down so it thickens the soup. If you prefer a brothier soup that’s predominantly chicken and rice floating in broth, cook just until the rice is tender. Or if you want thick porridge, just keep simmering. (You can’t really overcook chicken thighs.) Lemon juice adds brightness, as does the lively mix of parsley, lemon, garlic and celery leaves strewn on top.

8 cups chicken broth
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 stalks celery, leaves reserved and stalks thinly sliced
¾ cup jasmine rice (unrinsed)
 Kosher salt
½ cup fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest plus up to 1/2 cup lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
1 small garlic clove
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)

In a large Dutch oven or pot, combine the broth, chicken, celery and rice. Season lightly with salt. (Some broths have more salt than others, so start easy.) Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the rice starts to break down and lose its shape, 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely chop together the parsley leaves, lemon zest and up to 1/2 cup celery leaves. Transfer to a small bowl, grate the garlic clove into the bowl, season with salt and stir to combine.
Using tongs, remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a medium bowl. Using two forks, shred the chicken into pieces, then stir it back into the soup. Remove from heat, stir in the butter (if using), and season to taste with salt. Stir in the lemon juice a little at a time until the soup is bright but still tastes like chicken. (You may not use the full 1/2 cup juice.)

Divide the soup among bowls and top with the parsley-lemon mixture. (The soup, minus the lemon juice and parsley mixture, can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; the rice will absorb liquid as it sits, so add more chicken broth when reheating. Add the lemon juice and fresh herb garnish just before serving.)


5 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 T olive oil
2 T serves de Provence
1 lemon, quartered
8 cloves garlic, peeled
4 medium-size shallots, peeled and halved
1/3 cup dry vermouth or white wine

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken lightly in flour.

Swirl oil in a roasting pan or cast iron skillet and place floured chicken in it. Sprinkle with herbs de Provence. Arrange the lemon, garlic cloves and shallots around the chicken then add Vermont or wine to the pan.

Put pan in the oven, and roast for 25-30 minutes, baste it with the pan juices. Continue roasting for another 2030 minutes or until chicken is crisp and meat is cooked through.


2 pkg. instant yeast
3 cups warm water
1 1/2-2 T kosher salt
6 cups AP flour

Mix all. Form into a ball and place in a bowl covered with a moist cloth. Set in a warm place and let rise 1-2 hours.

Recipe will make 2 large loaves of bread but if you don’t need that much, pull off enough to make a small loaf (about 1/4), form into a ball and allow to rise again for another hour. Put remaining dough in refrigerator where it can be used for a week, allowing for a longer rising time since it is cold.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut top of dough. Cook on parchment on a pizza stone, cookie sheet, or in a small iron pot. If using the latter cook with top on for 20 minutes, remove top and cook for another 15-20 minutes. If on a pizza stone, cook for 40 minutes.

Puppy Chow
(notes from the participant:  I add a stick of REAL butter to this though!  I also microwave instead of use a stove.  I also just use a whole box of cereal, powedered sugar, etc.  I am a minimalist. thus far improvising has not failed me.)

9 cups crispy rice cereal squares
½ cup peanut butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ½ cups confectioners' sugar

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate; add peanut butter and mix until smooth. Remove from heat, add cereal and stir until coated. Pour powdered sugar into large plastic bag, add coated cereal and shake until well coated. Store in airtight container.

Crockpot Chicken Marrakesh (one of Holley's favorites and it freezes really well!)

1 onion, sliced 
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (this tastes good, but I prefer to use an equivalent amount of butternut squash instead)
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (I use 2 cans)
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 2-inch pieces (I use thighs instead)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes

Place the onion, garlic, carrots, sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, and chicken breast pieces into a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, parsley, and salt, and sprinkle over the chicken and vegetables. Pour in the tomatoes, and stir to combine.  Cover the cooker, set to High, and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened, 4 to 5 hours.

Blueberry cobbler (this is a Pioneer Woman recipe and also freezes well)

1 cup self rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup of milk
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 cups blueberries, washed and lightly patted dry (I’ve only ever used fresh)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, milk. Add butter and mix until smooth and silky. Pour into preheated cast iron skillet and top with blueberries.  Lightly sprinkle more sugar and bake for an hour.

Summer Fruit Salad

1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon maple syrup, more if desired
½ teaspoon grated ginger
Pinch of sea salt

for the salad
10 strawberries, sliced
2 peaches, sliced
½ cup Bing cherries, pitted and sliced
½ cup blueberries
½ cup raspberries
¼ cup fresh basil, more for garnish
¼ cup fresh mint, more for garnish

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, lime juice, maple syrup, ginger, and salt.
In a large bowl, toss together the strawberries, peaches, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, basil, and mint. Drizzle the dressing on top and toss to coat. Garnish with basil and mint and serve.

Summertime Fruit Salad

1 pound strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
3 medium peaches, thinly sliced (I peeled mine, but if you don’t mind the skin, you can leave it on)
6 ounces (1 cup) blueberries
1 heaping tablespoon fresh, chopped basil or mint
2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

In a medium serving bowl, combine the strawberries, peaches, blueberries and basil. Drizzle the lemon juice, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar on top. Gently toss to combine.
Serve immediately, or chill for later. This salad is best enjoyed promptly, but will keep well for about 2 days in the refrigerator (pour off excess juices if necessary).

Peach Blueberry Fruit Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

1 cup (225 g) blueberries
2 peaches
Juice from 1 lime
3 Tbsp honey
Fresh mint leaves

Wash the blueberries and peaches. Cut the peaches into wedges. Arrange the blueberries and slices of peaches on a platter. Mix the lime juice and honey and drizzle over the fruit. Add fresh mint leaves, sliced thin or whole, and toss everything together.

Cranberry Orange Relish
From the Joy of Christmas (Junior League of the City of Washington Cookbook, 1983)

2   large oranges
4   Cups of raw cranberries
2   Cups of sugar
1   Ounce of brandy (or less to taste)

Seed and peel oranges; remove white membrane.  Chop oranges and cranberries.  Combine thoroughly with sugar. Add brandy and mix well. Refrigerate overnight.

Nadiya Hussain’s Kiwi and feta salad

We eat peaches with their fuzzy skin and don’t bat an eyelid, so why not kiwis? This salad offers a great balance of tart and sweet with the added pop of the little black crunchy sesame seeds. Great with a barbecue.

5 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp clear honey
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1 tbsp za'atar spice mix
4 tbsp tahini
1 red onion, finely diced
8 kiwis, firm but not overripe, topped and tailed and chopped into chunks, skins and all!
1 cucumber
7oz feta crumbled or roughly chopped
a small handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
2 tbsp black sesame seeds

1. Start by making the dressing at the bottom of a large serving bowl (saves on washing-up if nothing else). Add the oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic, za'atar and tahini and mix together.
2. Add the onion and mix through really well. The onion will soften as it sits in the vinegar. Tip in the kiwi.
3. To prepare the cucumber, slice lengthways and remove the seeds using a teaspoon. Cut into long strips and cube. Add to the bowl. Add the feta on top and sprinkle over the chopped dill and sesame seeds.
4. Don’t mix the salad till you are ready to serve, or everything will wilt and go weird!

And some of our favorite foodie tv shows and movies:

Salt Fat Acid Heat (Netflix)
Chef and food writer Samin Nosrat travels the world to explore four basic keys to wonderful cooking, serving up feasts and helpful tips along the way.

Nadiya’s Time to Eat (Netflix)
On this cooking show, Nadiya Hussain serves up delicious shortcuts, vital ingredients, and fast favorites perfect for today’s time-strapped families.

Flavorful Origins (Netflix)
Flavorful Origins is a twenty-part Mandarin-language (dubbed and subtitled) documentary series exploring culinary secrets of China and various cooking techniques and cuisines with native ingredients from the Chaoshan (season 1) and Yunnan (season 2) regions.

Alton Brown’s Good Eats (, available for purchase on Amazon)
With humor and good eating, Alton Brown explores the origins of ingredients.

It’s Alive with Brad Leone (, Youtube, Bon Appetit streaming app)
This series follows Leone as he creates food with microbial food cultures, though later episodes additionally focus on more general recipes and on-location activities.

Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman), he is left to figure out what's next. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), his friend (John Leguizamo) and his son to launch a food truck. Taking to the road, Chef Carl goes back to his roots to reignite his passion for the kitchen -- and zest for life and love. (c) Open Road

Master chef Kate Armstrong lives her life like she runs her kitchen at a trendy Manhattan eatery--with a no-nonsense intensity that both captivates and intimidates everyone around her. Kate's perfectionist nature is put to the test when she "inherits" her nine-year-old niece Zoe, while contending with a brash new sous-chef who joins her staff. High-spirited and freewheeling, Nick Palmer couldn't be more different from Kate, yet the chemistry between them is undeniable. Rivalry becomes romance, but Kate will have to learn to express herself beyond the realm of her kitchen if she wants to connect with Zoe and find true happiness with Nick.

The Danish/French Babette's Feast is based on a story by Isak Dinesen, also the source of the very different Out of Africa (1985). Stephane Audran plays Babette, a 19th century Parisian political refugee who seeks shelter in a rough Danish coastal town. Philippa (Bodil Kjer) and Martina (Birgitte Federspiel), the elderly daughters of the town's long-dead minister, take Babette in. As revealed in flashback, Philippa and Martina were once beautiful young women (played by Hanne Stensgaard and Vibeke Hastrup), who'd forsaken their chances at romance and fame, taking hollow refuge in religion. Babette holds a secret that may very well allow the older ladies to have a second chance at life. This is one of the great movies about food, but there are way too many surprises in Babette's Feast to allow us to reveal anything else at this point (except that Ingmar Bergman "regulars" Bibi Andersson and Jarl Kulle have significant cameo roles).. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Based on two true stories, "Julie & Julia" intertwines the lives of two women who, though separated by time and space, are both at loose ends until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.

rances Mayes is a 35-year-old San Francisco writer whose perfect life has just taken an unexpected detour. Her recent divorce has left her with terminal writer's block and extremely depressed. Her best friend, Patti, is beginning to think that she might never recover. "Dr. Patti's" prescription: 10 days in Tuscany. It's there, on a whim, that Frances purchases a villa named Bramasole--literally, "something that yearns for the sun." The home needs much restoration, but what better place for a new beginning than the home of the Renaissance? As she flings herself into her new life at the villa in the lush Italian countryside, Frances makes new friends among her neighbors; but in the quiet moments, she is fearful that her ambitions for her new life--and new family--may not be realized, until a chance encounter in Rome throws Frances into the arms of an intriguing Portobello antiques dealer named Marcello. Even as she stumbles forward on her uncertain journey, one thing becomes clear: in life, there are second chances.