November 25, 2014

Christmas Baking and Cookbooks by Marie of The Boston Bibliophile - Holiday Extravaganza

At Christmastime, it seems like everything just gets more sparkly. I bring out the sparkly pins, sparkly sweaters and cover my home in decorations. My cooking gets in on the sparkles, too, as I plan and execute my yearly cookie spread.

Cooking means cookbooks, and I love pulling out my baking books at Christmastime. Here are some of my favorites.

The grandmother of all baking books is the Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking. It's out of print and hard to find, and my copy is all cracked and falling apart, but it's still the one I turn to for the basics and even the not-so-basics. You'll get all your classic cookies here plus fun things like a Christmas-tree-shaped cinnamon bread and more. I don't know what I would do without it.

For Thanksgiving, my family loves for me to make the scone recipe from this book; for Christmas, the Mexican wedding cake cookies and gingersnaps, peanut kiss cookies and coconut macaroons are standbys.

These "Cranberry-Orange Pinwheels" are a beloved staple of my Christmas cookie table, always made with Nantucket cranberries straight from the bogs.

The Gourmet Cookie Book is a collection of recipes from the storied magazine, and not just any recipes. This volume collects the "single best recipe" from 1941-2009. It's not just a cookbook but a little bit of social and culinary history. Each cookie has a story, and the cookies range from the easy to the difficult, the classic to the exotic.

I've made black and whites, strawberry tarts and discovered a new family favorite in the "Mocha Cookie," a rich chocolate cookie with an espresso-powder kick. And it's a really fun book to read to boot.

Marcy Goldman's Jewish Holiday Baking is a go-to cookbook for my multi-faith family all year long, but for post-Thanksgiving brunch my family loves the "Delicatessen-Style Classic Sour Cream Coffee Cake," a rich, buttery bundt cake laced with nuts and spices. It's amazing! And this is another can't-go-wrong cookbook.

This photo shows the coffee cake on the left and the scones from the Pillsbury book on the right, on our Thanksgiving buffet table a few years ago. The cranberry corn bread in the center is from a book  I no longer own and whose title I don't remember.

Today's guest post is thanks to Marie at The Boston Bibliophile!  Please leave a comment for her below and let her know you enjoyed her post!

GIVEAWAY 2 of 27 - Holiday Extravaganza Event

Every day through December 20th, I'm hosting a new giveaway on the blog in addition to the guest post. Each giveaway is in complete thanks to the author.  The giveaways will all end December 31st and the winners will be chosen in the next week.  Happy Holidays!

Today's giveaway is for Nichole Chase's new adult novel Suddenly Royal:

Goodreads Link

Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working toward a master’s degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it’s to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed.

Alex D’Lynsal is trying to keep his name clean. As crown prince of Lilaria, he’s had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women—especially women in the public eye. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She’s stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone’s front-page news.

While Sam tries to navigate the new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders.

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Nonfiction November: New to My TBR

This week Katie of Doing Dewey is hosting the weekly discussion topic.  Here it is:

New to my TBR: It's been a week full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book!


So many recommendations added in the first week alone!  The whole month?  Forget it.  TBR EXPLOSION.

Here is what you guys TOTALLY FORCED upon me this week.  You book pushers, you.  :P

Edgar Allan Poe: The Fever Called Living by Paul Collins and Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir thanks to JulzReads.

Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller thanks to Bookmammal.

Things I Learned from Dying by David R. Dow thanks to Regular Rumination.

Devotion and Defiance: My Fight for Justice for Women by Humaira Awais Shahid and Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman thanks to Based on a True Story

Warrior Women: An Archaeologist's Search for History's Hidden Heroines by Jeannine Davis-Kimball, Pilgrim's Wilderness by Tom Kizzia, and Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke thanks to eclectic/eccentric. (Wonder Woman also thanks to Savvy Working Gal)

The New Religious Intolerance by Martha C. Nussbaum thanks to Amy Reads.

Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights by Katha Pollitt thanks to River City Reading.

Mao's Great Famine by Frank Dikotter thanks to The Relentless Reader.

Without You There is No Us by Suki Kim thanks to Readers' Oasis.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson thanks to The Relentless Reader.

In the Land of Invented Languages by Arika Orkrent and Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: The Amazing Adventure of Translation by David Bellos thanks to Regular Ruminations.

Jay's Journals of Anomalies by Ricky Jay thanks to eclectic/eccentric.

And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts, The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, and Medical Apartheid: The Dark History on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington, all thanks to Based on a True Story

Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick, and The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang thanks to My Book Strings.

The Penguin Book of Witches by Katherine Howe, thanks to Confessions of a Book Hoarder.

I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales from a Happy Life Without Kids by Jen Kirkman thanks to River City Reading.

Thanks to things mean a lot I've added One Day I Will Write About This Place by Binyavanga Wainaina.

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward was already on my TBR but I totally forgot about it until Olduvai Reads' post.

November 24, 2014

Favorite Cozy Reads by Shannon of River City Reading - Holiday Extravaganza

Welcome to the Holiday Extravaganza Event!  From now until December 20th, enjoy guest posts by awesome, amazing bloggers, and giveaways by awesome, generous authors! Here is Shannon to kick the event off for us!

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is having a little extra time to cozy up with a good book. Though it's easy to fall into the hustle and bustle of the season, I try my best to avoid the stress (and cold!) as much as possible. We all know books are a great way to do that! In hopes of encouraging all of us to take some time to ourselves, here are six books I'd totally recommend cozying up with this winter.

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg
This graphic novel is absolutely stunning and layers ancient folktales with new stories in a perfectly beautiful way. It's North Pole setting and snow-filled pages just beg to be read under a blanket.

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
I was late to the Harry Potter game and didn't pick up the series until a few years ago, but it's quickly become a comforting staple in my reading life. Whether you're new to the wizarding world or have worn copies waiting patiently on your shelves, winter is the perfect time to cuddle up and drift off to Hogwarts.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
My book club read this fantastic, dark book set in frigid Iceland last summer. We all adored it, but agreed that it would be a perfect book to read in the middle of winter.

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
Far Far Away twists the world of Grimm's fairytales into a YA universe with smart, brave characters that feel completely unique. The story's small town gives the novel a wonderfully cozy feel that makes it nearly impossible to put down, especially when things start to feel slightly sinister.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
One of my favorite cold-weather reads, Donna Tartt's new classic follows a group of students in a small, intense Greek course at their New England college. Soon, the secrets in their elite group grow dark and twisted, making The Secret History amazingly page-turning.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Big and layered, Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she begins and ends her life time after time in attempts to get it right. It's easy to cozy up and sink into Ursula's story as she weaves through the pages of England's history. 

Today's guest post is by the lovely Shannon of River City Reading!  

GIVEAWAY 1 of 27: Holiday Extravaganza Event

Every day through December 20th, I'm hosting a new giveaway on the blog in addition to the guest post. Each giveaway is in complete thanks to the author.  The giveaways will all end December 31st and the winners will be chosen in the next week.  Happy Holidays!

Today's giveaway is a Hardcover of Invisible City by Julia Dahl.  I got the chance to read this ARC and it's one of my favorites from this year.

Goodreads Link

Just months after Rebekah Roberts was born, her mother, an Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn, abandoned her Christian boyfriend and newborn baby to return to her religion. Neither Rebekah nor her father have heard from her since. Now a recent college graduate, Rebekah has moved to New York City to follow her dream of becoming a big-city reporter. But she’s also drawn to the idea of being closer to her mother, who might still be living in the Hasidic community in Brooklyn.

Then Rebekah is called to cover the story of a murdered Hasidic woman. Rebekah’s shocked to learn that, because of the NYPD’s habit of kowtowing to the powerful ultra-Orthodox community, not only will the woman be buried without an autopsy, her killer may get away with murder. Rebekah can’t let the story end there. But getting to the truth won’t be easy—even as she immerses herself in the cloistered world where her mother grew up, it's clear that she's not welcome, and everyone she meets has a secret to keep from an outsider.

In her riveting debut Invisible City, journalist Julia Dahl introduces a compelling new character in search of the truth about a murder and an understanding of her own heritage.

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November 22, 2014

Nonfiction November: Week 3 Wrap-Up

Thanks, everyone, for writing some FANTASTIC posts on Nonfiction and diversity.  You came up with some amazing recommendations.  You had some really great insight into what diversity means to you, as well.  I mean, terrific reading!  

Recapping your thoughts on diversity was not an easy task - you all had lots to say!  So I summarized as best I could, though none of the summaries do the original posts justice - please take a look at them all! :)

JulzReads discusses how reading nonfiction leads to discovering more subjects of interest.

Heather @ Based on a True Story analyzes her NF reads and is looking for recs by authors of color.

Trisha @ eclectic/eccentric discusses how challenging writing about diversity is and what reading diversely means to her.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, and Insanity recommends some great memoirs and is looking for some more to read.

Monika @ A Lovely Bookshelf created a Transgender NF Book List.

Beth @ Too Fond loves reading about Africa and Asia and would like some more recs for Africa NF to read.

Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness gives recs on cultures from the Middle East and is looking for recs for Africa and authors of color.

Jess @ Confessions of a Book Hoarder is planning on using a spreadsheet to help her keep better track of her reads in diversity.

Ana @ things mean a lot recommends 10 authors of diversity for your reading pleasure.

Jay @ Bibliophilopolis shares three favorite NF reads that are diverse in location but all share a concept that he is familiar with.

Shannon @ River City Reading discusses her love of reading history and the importance of ensuring diverse books continue to be published.

Jancee @ Jancee Reads shares my love of Egyptian culture!  She is also looking for recs for NF in Europe.

Lu @ Regular Ruminations makes the great point that you can't just talk about diversity, you have to walk the walk!

Amelia @ Little Thoughts About Books makes a great point about how it only takes one book to diversify your reading!

Sarah @ The Everyday Reader lends her cultural anthropology studies to the discussion of diversity in nonfiction, creating an interesting post.

If you haven't tried out the cool Book Map that Guiltless Reading has to track reading diversely, be sure to check it out.

The Well-Read Redhead has a great description of what reading diversely means to her personally.  Plus, she is looking for recs from two countries she's visited and loved.

Holly @ Gun in Act One shares how fiction sparks her interest in reading nonfiction books.

TJ @ My Book Strings is looking for books set in South America.  Can you recommend something?

Melissa Firman shares the Nonfiction books that have helped expand her horizon and appreciate other cultures.

Feminist Texican Reads shares some of her favorite diverse nonfiction.

Caroline @ More Thoughts, Vicar shares her thoughts on diversity and shares some of her recent diverse reads.

Carrie @ Other Women's Stories shares her love of books in a diversity of subjects.

Travis @ shares what his way of reading diversely looks like.

Bex @ Armchair By the Sea shares how reading diversely for her has not been as diversed as hoped.  Help her out with recommendations!

Leah @ Books Speak Volumes sums up diverse reading really well and has a recommendation of diverse nonfiction for everyone to read!

Wendy @ Wensend is studying Arabic and is interested in nonfiction books about the area!

Olduvai Reads shares how reading Southeast Asian books for a Southeast Asian can still be diverse.

Reviews Added This Week:

One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson (The Emerald City Book Review)

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristen Newman (I'm Lost in Books)

The News Sorority by Sheila Weller (Based on a True Story)

A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906 by Simon Winchester (Olduvai Reads)

Seven Years in Tiber by Heinrich Harrer (JulzReads)

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (River City Reading)

The Crimes of Paris by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler (Love, Laughter, and Insanity)

Bossypants by Tina Fey (An Armchair by the Sea)

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward (Olduvai Reads)

My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff (Sarah's Book Shelves)

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore (Doing Dewey)

Be sure to check out Katie @ Doing Dewey on Monday for the final week of Nonfiction November!