I recently realized that I have never attended a book club that I was not being paid to mediate. I enjoy participating in book clubs in this capacity, but I thought I should try one out as a civilian. In the book Big Little Lies, the main characters start an “erotic” book club (which isn’t really) and all they do is hang out and drink and maybe talk about the book a little. It sounded like fun. Pretty much right after I read that, one of my neighbors invited me to join her book club, so of course I over-enthusiastically accepted.
It was pretty much exactly like Big Little Lies. Big perfect house, beautiful and intelligent women, and me, doing my best Bridget Jones impression, as per usual when I’m nervous. I was a few minutes late, yet I was still one of the first people there, I really need to work on my fashionably late entrance. I’m either too early or actually late, how have I not got this down yet? I brought cookies and a Cabernet with a twist cap, because I was not about to try to open a corked bottle with an audience. I think I made the right call.
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I got this book on audio, I always like to be listening to something while I do the dishes or go to the gym. I literally laughed out loud, to myself, in public, like a crazy person, while I was listening to this book.
On the surface this is a funny book that follows a man on his trip around the world as he tries to distract himself from his longtime casual boyfriend’s wedding. This book is full of sly jokes and hilarious, “lost-in-translation” stories. There are also much deeper philosophical elements crafted into the story that contemplate getting older, loss and love. What I really enjoyed about this book is that it reads like a collection of short comedies, each taking place in a new exotic location, where the main character is the victim of continual hilarious misadventures. This book is a fun, quick read that is subtly complex.
I really enjoyed the narrator of this book, he really mastered Less’ “backwards laugh” and was great with all the accents and different character voices.
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100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake – Simple and delicious recipes to help people progress toward a more whole food diet.
Back in the Day Bakery by Cheryl Day – Charming cookbook full of decadent desserts, featuring cakes, pies, cookies, custards and more.
Complete Mediterranean Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen – Quick and efficient introduction to the Mediterranean diet with accessible recipes.
Cook Like a Pro by Ina Garten – These recipes are meant to impress, the meals look so complicated, but are actually quite simple to prepare.
Everyday Vegetarian by Cooking Light – Gorgeous layout with beautiful pictures. The recipes can be a bit challenging, but there are plenty of beginner’s options.
Forks Over Knives Cookbook by Del Sroufe – The cookbook to accompany the documentary and book about the benefits of a plant based vegan diet.
Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown – Fresh and healthy recipes that can be prepared for less than $4 per day, per person.
Good Housekeeping Cookbook – Fantastic introduction including kitchen safety and pantry basics. This book has recipes for almost everything you could ever want to cook.
Great Food Fast by Martha Stewart Living – Organized by season, these simple recipes help you prepare meals with ingredients at their freshest.
How to Boil Water by Food Network – Everything you need to know if you have never cooked before, includes plenty of pictures and illustrations to help you learn the absolute basics.
I Don’t Know How to Cook Book by Mary-Lane Kamberg – Breakfast, lunch and dinner organized by increasing levels of difficulty, this book will teach you how to scramble eggs and make a Sausage Souffle.
Whole 30 By Melissa Hartwig – For those looking to find out if they have food sensitivities.
Lets Collaborate! What are the cookbooks you use or recommend the most? Comment below:
As I transitioned from eating out all the time to learning how to cook, there were early cookbooks that became the foundation for my healthy cooking philosophy. After unsuccessfully trying to be a lazy cook, I discovered cookbooks on the benefits of whole food diets full of colorful and delicious meals. I sometimes wonder what my diet might be like today, if I had come across attractive and convincing books on cutting calories or Vegetarianism first. Instead my cooking journey can be defined by a failed attempt at laziness and a couple of fantastic whole foods cookbooks.
When I first started cooking, I looked for books that required minimum effort, like “One Pot” books. To this day I find this whole “One Pot” genre to be misleading and disappointing. I now understand that “One Pot” just means that the entire meal will be served in one pot, not that you cook everything in one-pot. Since I hate doing dishes, these “One Pot” meals that require three pots to cook make me want to deliver dirty dishes to the author’s doorstep. When you do actually find a one pot meal where everything actually cooks in one pot, the meal usually turns out brown, bland and mushy. Faced with the unsatisfactory reality of “One Pot” cookbooks, I moved on.
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I suppose most people learn to cook from their parents or maybe by watching cooking shows, but I learned to cook at the library. My mom cannot cook. I recently went to her house for lunch, she made steaks on the grill, one side was CHARRED the other was frozen, we had cereal. I have never watched cooking shows, except in waiting rooms, I actually enjoy them when I watch them, but I haven’t ever sought them out. Does anyone watch them? Is it a spectator thing or are you supposed to cook along with the host? Just wondering… My husband and I primarily ate out when we were younger, but then I started getting more interested in health and decided I wanted to learn to cook, so I started checking out cookbooks at the library.
I loved it when a new cart would come in with a few new cookbooks on it. A couple of the library ladies and I would fight over who would get each new cookbook first. Then we would all review and recommend new recipes to each other. I would consider a cookbook to be “good” if I made one or two recipes from it and liked at least one. Then I would photocopy (is that legal?) the recipe I liked and add it to my recipe binder. FYI, I have moved most of my recipes to the “Recipe Gallery” App on my IPhone, but I still have the binder, just in case. I now have a core understanding of how to cook, so I am not as excited by new cookbooks, but I still enjoy flipping through the new ones when they come in.
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Where'd you go, bernadette
I never really paid attention to this book when it was released, then I saw the movie preview and thought, I better read it before the movie comes out. In the preview I saw, it looks like the daughter goes missing forcing her eccentric parents to go on some sort of adventure scavenger hunt to find her. I either misunderstood, they were purposefully misleading or they really changed the movie, because the mother is the one who goes missing.
I almost gave up on this book twice. The first time was because the main characters are awful, they are intellectual snobs, who seemingly go out of their way to start petty wars with people in their community. Since, I had seen the preview and knew the parents were going to be drawn out of their isolation to find their daughter, I kept going, hoping everyone would be decent people at the end. Then the author started talking about the daughter, Bee’s, health problems. I literally stopped reading and looked up a book synopsis to make sure that the daughter doesn’t die. Sorry, I just don’t like sad books. After reading the summary, I felt pretty confident that they were not going to kill the daughter, so I kept reading.
Of course, the mom was awful for a good reason and everyone grew and changed by the end of the book. This is a fun page turner, with really great imagery of Antarctica, which I now need to visit. Can’t wait for the movie!
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Name and title: Carolyn Booker, Director of Library Services
Library name: Lewisville Public Library, Lewisville, TX
How many libraries are in your system? We are a one library city.
Staff size: 41 employees
Community size: 102,000
Collection size: 143,600 titles, 164,100 items including eBooks and eAudio.
What are you most proud of about your library?
The variety and quality of programming across all age levels is what sets apart the Lewisville Public Library. The staff work incredibly hard and are constantly trying new things and bringing exciting opportunities to the people who visit us.
What was your most popular event for teens or adults?
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I am always impressed and inspired when I hear what other librarians are doing for their communities. I think that every librarian can learn from other librarians and that every librarian has something to offer. One of our professions greatest strengths is that we view each other as colleagues, not as competition. We share our ideas with others in our profession and are truly flattered when someone uses our ideas, we are also grateful when someone helps us solve a problem. Let’s learn from each other!
I talk a lot about myself, my opinions and my experiences in this blog, but I hope that the stories I share are a starting point for conversation between librarians. This site will routinely offer articles, book lists, book reviews and librarian interviews. The interviews will feature librarians around the country and their creativity, successes, and challenges. If you are proud of your library and are interested in having it featured please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interviews will be by email, phone or in person (if proximity allows). We can all benefit from your experience!
Let’s Collaborate! Is there a library that you think consistently “wows” it’s patrons? What stands out about that library? Comment below: