Thursday, August 28, 2014

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl

by Ruth Reichl
narrated by Julia Whelan
May 2014

Book Jacket Summary
In her bestselling memoirs Ruth Reichl has long illuminated the theme of how food defines us, and never more so than in her dazzling fiction debut about sisters, family ties, and a young woman who must finally let go of guilt and grief to embrace her own true gifts.

Billie Breslin has traveled far from her California home to take a job at Delicious, the most iconic food magazine in New York and, thus, the world. When the publication is summarily shut down, the colorful staff, who have become an extended family for Billie, must pick up their lives and move on. Not Billie, though. She is offered a new job: staying behind in the magazine's deserted downtown mansion offices to uphold the "Delicious Guarantee"-a public relations hotline for complaints and recipe inquiries-until further notice. What she doesn't know is that this boring, lonely job will be the portal to a life-changing discovery.

Delicious! carries the reader to the colorful world of downtown New York restaurateurs and artisanal purveyors, and from the lively food shop in Little Italy where Billie works on weekends to a hidden room in the magazine's library where she discovers the letters of Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, who wrote to the legendary chef James Beard during World War II. Lulu's letters lead Billie to a deeper understanding of history (and the history of food), but most important, Lulu's courage in the face of loss inspires Billie to come to terms with her own issues-the panic attacks that occur every time she even thinks about cooking, the truth about the big sister she adored, and her ability to open her heart to love

My Thoughts
I have been listening to more audiobooks and I love it! There is just something soothing about having someone read to you while you work on mindless tasks. This was great book to sit back and enjoy over two weeks, it is over thirteen hours long. This was also a perfect book to read for librarians because of hidden letters and a card catalog that contained the clues to which files held the next letter.   

It is not all mystery though but a woman coming to New York to step away from her life and escape a tragedy that has made her have panic attacks at the thought of cooking. She is embraced into a family of eccentrics in both a food magazine publishing company and an old school shop in New york. Billie is ready to leave her past behind but also not ready to embrace the changes that could help her. It is a complicated book but it is more emotions rather than plot. You really feel for Billie and it was fun to watch her transform into someone with more confidence. 

This book had almost everything I love in a book. There is significant character development, mystery, cooking, letters, and a beautiful library. I was actually sad when this one ended because I loved the characters and the setting. New york is so much fun to read about and the restaurants there really are as amazing as Reichl made them sound. This is a highly recommended read and I a not usually a big fan of the standard adult fiction novel. It was just so much more to it than a straight forward romance or divorce story that they cater to the public. I guess it helps that Reichl really is a food critic and worked with major food magazines. Pick it up for a long flight or to laze around the house. Just make sure you have a few snacks handy because this book will make you crave food!   

Book Pairings
A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Remembrance of Things Paris: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet by

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Memoirs of a Goldfish by Devin Scillian

Memoirs of a Goldfish
by Devin Scillian
illustrated by Tim Bowers
32 pages
Personal Copy
Picture Book
April 2010

Book Jacket Summary
With his bowl to himself, Goldfish loves his life...until one day...
A personal account from a goldfish on life in his bowl as other intruders crowd him.
My Thoughts
The highs and lows of having a family are highlighted in Memoirs of a Golfish in a cute and fanciful way. My grandfather has always had a giant fish tank that I would spend time looking at and wondering what is going on in their little world. Well, this is a great book for those inquistive minds that wonder just that. Our little gold fish starts out by himself in a nice little fish bowl but soon gets over crowded by various other fish and decorations. All he wants is some room to himself and get away from all those other fish. His wish is granted but does he still want to be alone?
This book reminds me of Finding Nemo but in a good way. The way the fish interact and the crowded bowl just maked the movie pop into mind. I really like the illustrations in this book and the epressions that the little goldfish produces are rather funny. He is confused by a recent addition on a suba diver decoration and calls him Mr. Bubbles. It is an adorable book that even makes me want an aquarium.

Book Pairings
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
Paul Meets Bernadette by Rosy Lamb
Swimmy by Leo Lionni


Monday, August 18, 2014

Professor Whiskerton Presents Steampunk ABC by Lisa Falkenstern

Professor Whiskerton Presents Steampunk ABC 
by Lisa Falkenstern
32 pages
Personal Copy
Publisher: Two Lions
April 2014

Book Jacket Summary
Steampunk is fun! Steampunk is imaginative! It's making something new out of something old. It's dressing up in clothing from long ago. It's inventing machines out of hardware and found objects. It's creating a make-believe world! In Professor Whiskerton Presents Steampunk ABC, two mice dressed in Victorian clothing use gadgets and found objects each starting with a letter of the alphabet to build something fantastic - which is revealed at the end. A wonderful and delightful surprise!

My Thoughts
This is a gorgeously illustrated themed alphabet book! I love the genre of steampunk and I knew I had to pick this up the minute I saw the cover. The mice are adorable as they build a project out of gears and rivets. A is for anvil and the mice bend spoons for their project. It all builds up to the last letter which you can guess starts with a Z and is steampunk themed... Yes, a zeppelin. 
This is for the parent who is looking for something unique or quirky for their growing reader. The mice are impeccably dressed and a dapper little gentlemen with waistcoats and top hats. Falkenstern really goes to town in the background with gears and pipes that spell out the words.
This is a cute book to add to any steampunk collection. 

Book Pairings
Steampunk Alphabet by Nat Iwata
Extraordinary Jane by
The Most Magnificent Thing by


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene

The Secret of the Old Clock
by Carolyn Keene
narrated by Laura Linney
Listening Library
3 CDs (3 hours, 14 minutes)
June 12th 2007

Book Jacket Summary
Nancy, unaided, seeks to find a missing will, and the search not only tests her keen mind but also leads her into a thrilling adventure. 

My Thoughts
Nancy Drew is always a book series that I can revisit over and over, especially the first of the series. There is some discussion on how certain books in the series are racist but this first book is not generally on that list. The mystery still holds up after 84 years and is so like the movie mysteries of the time. There is a race to find a hidden will that helps support several relatives that are in need of the money that Josiah promised them. The historical fashion of the book is also prominent in the book and Nancy went shopping for a chiffon dress for an upcoming dance. It is elegant and Nancy has much more freedom than most girls in that time period with her own car and large sums of pocket money from her dad.
Nancy is also brave when she goes up against furniture thieves and being locked in a closet. One of the fun this about this series is seeing how Nancy gets out of scrapes and how many times she can be kidnapped in a book. It was weird not to have Bess and George running around in the background. They are her best friends in later books and instead had a school friend named Helen.
I loved Laura Lenney as the narrator and had not trouble sitting through the three hour book at work. She had great tone and I could feel the suspense as Nancy got into trouble. This is a great audiobook to go with if you have a shorter time span than the usual six to eight hours audiobooks generally run.

Book Pairings
Trixie Belden by Julie Campbell
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
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