Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What We're Reading: Jan

My Passion for Design by Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand has excelled in many fields and her latest accomplishment is in that of design. Her interest has been exhibited in all of her own own homes - from '60s Manhattan walkup to a more recent L.A. estate. Now she has put all she has learned about light, color, and house and furniture design into her most recent Malibu home. It is a reflection of her love of 18th - 20th century American architecture and style. Every detail of this dream project is the result of her passion and determination to get it right. The resulting book includes beautiful photos of the house and grounds from conception and a "let's talk" writing style that lets the reader understand every nook and cranny. It is a tour worth taking.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What We're Reading: Edward

Burger Parties: recipes from the Sutter Home Winery's build a better burger contest

by James McNair

Every September for the last twenty years, ten finalists have competed in the Sutter Home Winery's Build a Better Burger Contest. Burger Parties contains sixteen of the best party menus from the contest. Menus cover every type of cuisine from Ocean Shore to Jamaican to Italian to Greek to Southeast Asia and more. Trying every one of the menus will keep you busy every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What We're Reading: Laurie

A precious little story about an ant who stumbles upon some string, and a friendly bird who shows the ant that the string can be as long as it needs to be depending on how it is used.

A delightful story about a boy who loves the outdoors and finds beauty in the most unexpected place.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What We're Reading: Abby

The Room by Emma Donoghue

This story is told from the perspective of Jack, a 5-year old boy who has lived his entire life with his mother in one small room. Jack's mother gave birth to him alone in this room because as we learn she has been held captive by a man they call Old Nick. Wanting to make life as normal as possible for her child she teaches him songs and games and whatever else she can think of to keep him stimulated and learning. She also teaches him how to get help when and if he is able to get out, which he eventually does. We then see the struggle and how difficult it is on the outside and the limitations that living in such a small unnatural space has imposed on both mother and son. There is such a strong bond between the two that both have to learn to grow and heal outside of the room and individually. This is a very unique novel that exposes not only the psychological damage but the physical consequences that could result from this type of horrific situation.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What We're Reading: Edward

Heat Wave

Naked Heat

by Richard Castle

The third season finale of Castle had Rick saying"I love you Kate, I love you Kate" while holding her injured body. On the television series the relationship between Castle and Beckett is undefined. They shared but one kiss and almost died in each others arms. In the Nikki Heat novels by Richard Castle, the relationship between the writer and the detective is anything but ambiguous. Their work relationship is much like the one on the television series. But they share a more personal relationship off the job. Heat Wave and Naked Heat would make great beach reads for this summer. In the fall the third Nikki Heat novel, Heat Rises is due out. Also due out this fall is Deadly Storm, the first graphic novel based on Richard Castle's Derek Storm series.

What We're Reading: Tracy

Some fun picture books for lawn season:

Bun, Onion, Burger, by Peter Mandel, illustrated by Chris Eliopoulous.

Kitschy, retro style art highlights this simple story of a backyard barbeque.

Lawn to Lawn,
by Dan Yaccarino.

When Pearl's family moves away, the left-behind lawn ornaments (a pink flamingo, gnome, jockey, and concrete deer) undertake a brave journey to find her new home. Unfortunately, it's located in "Ritzy Estates," a gated community.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What We're Reading: Cathy

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

Kate Mosse returns to the area of the French Pyrenees and the Cathars in this story. Freddie, unable to stop grieving for his brother who was killed in WWI, goes on a doctor recommended vacation in the south of France. He crashes his car and must spend the night in the nearest village, Nulle. That night, he takes part in their annual festival where he meets a young woman, Fabrissa, and instantly falls in love. How that love saves him and frees the village of its ghosts is the rest of the tale.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What We're Reading: Edward

Eye of the Red Tsar: a novel of suspense

by Sam Eastland

Prisoner 4745-P has been in the Siberian gulags since the fall of the Romanov Dynasty. He is feared by both his fellow prisoners and the gulag's guards. 4745-P was a Finnish soldier who was chosen by Tsar Nicholas to be his special investigator, the Emerald Eye. During the Great Terror, Stalin calls the Emerald Eye back to Moscow to get to the truth about the murder/disappearance of the Romanov family. The Emerald Eye, Pekkala, knows that he and his investigation are pawns in Stalin's larger game. But Pekkala was treated like one of the Royal Family. His pride and curiosity force him to take the assignment. The Tsar's enemies and other fear his investigation. Will his superior skills unearth the truth about the end of the Romanovs? A sequel is in the works. Great Read. This is the first book on my ten best of the year for 2011.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What We're Reading: Abby

Unbroken: A World War II story of survival, resilience and redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.

This is the incredible, true story of my new hero, Louis Zamperini. Louie was a kid heading down the wrong path when his brother got him interested in running in high school. He was such a good runner that he qualififed for the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It was not outside the realm of possibility that Louis might have broken the four minute mile had World War II not happened. But when the war started Louie joined the Army Air Corps and became a bombadier. After many successful missions Louie's plane was shot down somewhere over the Pacific in May 1943. Only Louie and two others survived. For the next 47 days these men battled starvation as well as the elements and very aggressive sharks, day after day, until they finally hit land. Thinking that their ordeal was over they soon discovered that their trials and challenges were only beginning. They were now in Japanese POW camps where they were relentlessly tortured and starved for more than two years. It is impossible to imagine how he could survive all of that but his story is quite a testament to his amazing resilience. There are many times when he comes close to breaking but he never does.