The School of Essential Ingredients

The School of Essential Ingredients Book Cover

Bauermeister spent time in Italy with her family and picked up a love of “slow food.” Her descriptions of food and cooking will make your mouth water. This is the story of a chef, Lillian who has her own restaurant and offers Monday night cooking classes. Eight very different students gather for different reasons to learn to cook. The recipes they make come from the different needs and desires of the students. This book is a quick read and a treat for the soul.

Bringing Up Bébé

Bringing Up Bébé Book Cover

Druckerman gives us an interesting look into French parenting techniques and insight into striving for autonomy in children at an early age. She and her British husband are living in Paris indefinitely and during that time they have 3 children. She notices how French children seem to behave better, need less attention and are still very happy. They sleep through the night at an early age, are pleasant at meal times, eat their vegetables without a fuss and never whine! This sparked my interest and I thoroughly enjoyed looking at parenting in a different way. Although it is considered a parenting book, the author makes it very interesting by using her own experiences and insight into the trials and joyful times in her day to day life.

The Story of Lucy Gault

The Story of Lucy Gault Book Cover

The lives of a family in 1920’s Ireland are changed forever when the 9yr old daughter cannot bear the thought of leaving their home when they are forced to move, and runs away, leading her parents to believe she has tragically drowned. The story is beautifully written by Trevor, covering the themes of love, guilt, and forgiveness.

The Street Sweeper

The Street Sweeper Book Cover

This is the remarkable story of intertwining lives dealing with a man recently released from prison, a Holocaust survivor he befriends, a history professor from Columbia Univ., and the effects their lives have on each other in unimaginable ways. You may be surprised at how it will affect you. Highly recommended.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Book Cover

This is the story of a young boy (Oskar) who lost his beloved father on Sept 11th. He finds a key among his father's things and begins to believe that if he can find the lock which is opened by his key, he will have a greater understanding of his father. He makes a plan to visit all of the people with the last name of Black in New York City. As we follow him in his quest, we also learn the story of his grandparents who survived the bombing of Dresden. It is a sad book and sometimes a bit difficult to read because Oskar has a mild form of autism and the story of the grandparents goes back and forth in time, but Oskar touches your heart from the beginning and you really want his story to have a happy ending.


Divergent Book Cover

In a future society, sixteen year old Beatrice Prior must choose one of five factions where she will spend the rest of her life. Each faction is devoted to a specific virtue: Candor (honesty), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peace), and Erudite (knowledge). Her decision is complicated during a test each sixteen year old takes that tells them which faction they would best fit in with. For Beatrice the results are inconclusive and she is warned not to revel this to anyone or risk death. As Beatrice struggles to come to terms with what her test results mean and her future she discovers that the society she lives in is not as perfect as it seems. Reminiscent of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, this is recommended for teens that enjoy dystopian fiction.

The Night Circus

The Night Circus Book Cover

Le Cirque des Rêves (The Circus of Dreams) arrives without warning. It is extraordinary, only open at night, and has no color except for black and white. The circus is the arena in which Celia and Marco compete. Bound in a deadly game while they were children, they must demonstrate their magical abilities within the circus with no clear rules and only one intended winner. Eventually, the two fall in love complicating the game. There are other memorable characters, each with their own role and story in relation to the circus. The book is hard to describe but will appeal to both adults and young adults that enjoy reading fantasy or books about magic with an unusual twist.

Death of the Mantis: A Detective Kubu Mystery

Death of the Mantis: A Detective Kubu Mystery Book Cover

When a group of bushmen in Botswana are accused of murdering a game ranger, Khumanego solicits the help of his childhood friend, Detective Kubu. Khumanego fears the bushmen will be wrongfully prosecuted due to prejudice against his people. The plot thickens as another similar murder takes place and may be linked to an earlier set of deaths in the same area. Detective Kubu unravels the mystery while facing the hardships of the Botswana desert. The likeability of Detective Kubu and the descriptions of the Botswana landscape, culture, and people make reading this book an entertaining and educational experience.

Johnny Got His Gun

Johnny Got His Gun Book Cover

This is a harsh, honest, fast-moving and engaging book that will, hopefully, make you reconsider the principles of war. Joe loses all his limbs, his face: nose, eyes, mouth and his hearing. With no way to communicate he is left to contemplate his short 20 year life, how he got here and what future, if any, he has. The novel pulls you in as Joe contemplates everything from love and friendship to philosophy and morals. He creates an elaborate system to determine how much time passes, and more suspenseful, wonders if he will ever communicate with the outside world again. Most powerful, he contemplates the terrors of war that are kept far from public view; speaking of ‘The Great War’, but universal to those today: “anybody who went out and got into the front line trenches to fight for liberty was a goddamn fool and the guy who got him there was a liar”.

One Summer

One Summer Book Cover

This is book is about a man Jack, who has served our country in the Middle East and survived , yet he has developed a terminal illness and is not supposed to live past the holidays. Most of his life was spent traveling which left little time to develop a relationship with his kids. He has already written letters to his wife (Lizzie) and kids to be opened upon his death. Then on Christmas Eve, his wife goes out in an ice storm to pick up his medicine and dies in a car accident and the miracle happens! He then begins to recover from his illness and is determined to begin a new life with starting to be a better dad. Unfortunately his mother in law has other plans to raise her grandchildren so the battle begins to rebuild his family. Enjoy the journey from Ohio to a small town in South Carolina where Jack begins to rebuild his family and finds himself in love again. One would think this book was written by a female by the way it is written.