In Spring, a young man’s fancy turns to LOVE, so the saying goes…but in Spring a BOOK LOVERS fancy turns to…MORE BOOKS! Here are some brand new (and new-ish) titles to check out and buy right now. Have you read these or do you plan to read them? Please leave your comments. You can also follow me and share your thoughts on GoodReads.
ew of 8 new books for Spring 2015
I can’t imagine anything more frightening than being trapped inside own body body,unable to move, speak or communicate in any way, but yet completely aware of life around you. You want to scream “I’m in here!” but you can’t tell anyone. It seems almost unimaginable, but that’s exactly what happened to Martin Pistorius, the author of Ghost Boy: The Miraculous Escape of a Misdiagnosed Boy Trapped Inside His Own Body ( Thomas Nelson 2013). Born in South Africa in 1975, Martin Pistorius suddenly began to succumb to a mysterious illness when he was 12. After going home from school with a sore throat one day, he stopped eating, started sleeping almost constantly, and stopped communicating. Within eighteen months he was mute and wheelchair-bound. Martin’s parents were told an unknown degenerative disease left him with the mind of a baby and less than two years to live. But Martin didn’t die, and gradually he began to wake up, but he couldn’t tell anyone! The book tells of the fear, heartache, feelings and abuse he suffered as he spent fourteen years in institutions. But eventually he broke through the barrier and someone realized that he understood what they were saying. In 2001 he learned to communicate via computer, and with that, he got a “voice.” Eventually he met a woman, married, and he regained some strength, so he can drive, and he even went to college and has his own business. The book is kind of terrifying, but totally honest. If you ever feel like your life isn’t going well, or you’ve had a bad day, think of Martin, and you’ll immediately count your blessings. The story is riveting, raw, and real. It’s hard to put it down.
Most books with so-called “tours” of an area tend to either by outdated, or so dry and boring you don’t even feel like going out. But Awkwafina’s NYC by Nora Lum (Potter Style, April 14, 2015) is a newly-minted travel guide by Queens native and rapper Awkwafina (aka/ Nora Lum — responsible for a viral hit “NYN Bitche$” and “My vag”) and surprise! it’s actually a funny, insightful book of tours you can take to various parts of NYC that will make you actually want to get off your couch and go out and see the world around you. No, it’s not the sights, spread a bit unevenly across the 5 boroughs, that are so new and exciting. It’s her take on these sights, seen with gritty realness and the irreverent, sometimes snarky way they are described, that make them somehow seem more appealing. You might even get a reluctant child to go with you on a historical tour of Staten Island is touted as: “The Place Where Ben Franklin Pooped, or How Staten Island Won my Cold, Dead, Judgmental Heart.” Check out places you might not have considered, even if you are a native New Yorker, such as Louis Armstrong’s house in Corona or dining on authentic pierogi in Little Poland, or maybe a boozy Koreatown Barcrawl is more your speed. Whatever you are into, you’ll find a fun day ahead of you using Awkwafina’s NYC. I kind of inwardly groaned when I got this book thinking it was going to be uber-stupid, but I ended up loving it. Send it to someone who needs inspiration to get out more! Then go out together and do it Awkwafina’s way!
I was invited to a book party at the Morrison Hotel Gallery for THE ROCKSTAR REMEDY: A Rock & Roll Doctor’s Prescription for Living a Long, Healthy Life by Dr. Gabrielle Francis with Stacy Baker Masand (HarperWave, 2014) but I couldn’t attend. Instead, I got a copy of the book. When people hear “party like a rock star” they automatically think of sex and drugs and lots of excess, but the author, known to many in the music industry fondly as the “Rock n’ Roll Doctor” is a holistic practitioner and therapeutic masseuse to the music industry’s elite who has helped famous rockers to repair, recover, and refuel from the demanding schedules and occasional over indulgences that come along with the rock star lifestyle. In this book she shares he techniques and tips for how to deal with being overscheduled, sleep-deprived, on the road, or occasionally eating or drinking to excess which (let’s face it) almost everyone experiences in real life, not just rock stars. I was really intrigued, excited to read this book. But what she suggests isn’t going to appeal to everyone. It is easy to get massages and life a certain way when you have a staff to support it, but the over-taxed mom with a demanding family for example, might at best be able to find a few little gems in the pages to try out. So while I wouldn’t disagree that the Rockstar Remedy has potentially healthy, healing ideas, you may not embrace it wholeheartedly if you’re not into holistic healing, herbs, sleep, massage and acupuncture” and a daily dose of a “smooothy” drink that (the author) cautions in the early pages of the book is essential, but not appropriate for everyone (check with your doctor, she cautions). If you are already into a holistic lifestyle or you want to adopt one, this book will inspire you, especially with all the quotes from musicians and other “famous” clients of Gabrielle’s that you might recognize. But I, for one, didn’t feel that I could embrace, adopt or maintain a lot of what she suggests. I liked the way the book was written, but the “remedy” won’t may not be your “cure.”
Oh No! I thought, not another book telling women how to make money and get their sad, pathetic, financial lives in order –yawwwn! — But I was wrong,. Rich Bitch: A Simple 12-Step Plan for Getting Your Financial Life Together…Finally By Nicole Lapin (Harlequin (February 24, 2015) was entertaining, educational, and most of all, actually different and useful. Money expert and financial journalist Nicole Lapin tells you what mistakes she made in life, career and even in love when it comes to finances, so you don’t make them too. To be sure, it’s about money and finance and you have to get through the “money-speak” but as the author admonishes, without that you can’t go forward successfully. The focus of the book really isn’t about how to become wealthy, but how to manage the money you have so you don’t end up living in your car (or a cardboard box–a woman’s worse fear) and fare better financially than you might have if you didn’t prepare yourself properly. The book is well organized, with chapters that deal with virtually every topic you might need to know about, even the difficult ones such as how to deal with falling in love, moving in with someone, and getting married with questions you probably never thought to ask (e.g. whose name is going to be on the utility bills)? Not everything in the book is astoundingly new, but it’s presented in a “folksy’ just-between-us-girls way that makes it easier to deal with. If you’ve always shied away from balance sheets, and even balancing your check book, Rich Bitch might inspire you to at least do “a little better.”
Prepare to be grossed out, I thought when I picked up This Is What You Just Put in Your Mouth?: From Eggnog to Beef Jerky, the Surprising Secrets by
Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Selfies…so many people are using cameras and smart phones to photograph more than ever before. Capture the Moment The Modern Photographer’s Guide to Finding Beauty in Everyday and Family Life by Sarah Wilkerson (mphoto Books (April 7, 2015) provides a treasure-trove of useful if basic information, tips and ideas to make your photos (be the taken with a smart phone or an actual camera), better and more interesting. The book is nicely organized, divided into six chapters, each focused on something you might want to know about if you’re new to photography: Natural Light; Composition; Storytelling; Fine Art; Black & White; and Low Light. For advanced photographers, there isn’t going to be a lot more to impress other than the pretty photos but as an art book it’s nice just in itself. As an advanced amateur, I admit that I didn’t find much to help me improve my photos that I didn’t already know, but I was inspired just by the photos. For the beginner, contributions by the members of Clickin Moms, the photography industry’s largest social network of female photographers, will offer ideas to give you those coveted “Likes” on Instagram, and “shares” of pins on Pinterest. not to mention just making your own personal photo albums, better. Learn about how to use light, frame a photo, and pick just the right place to post your subject for maximum impact. At just $16.000 in hardcover, this would a also make a nice Mothers/Father’s Day gift or for a bridal shower gift.
Readers who follow personal blogs and columnists often feel as though they’ve become “friends” with the author as they peek into their private lives with columns on everything from their latest headache to their newest online purchase. yes, these seem to fascinate their fans. But there is a difference between a blog post or newspaper column, and writing the same kind of column or blog post as a book. Then, if you’re not familiar with the author’s daily or weekly musings, you might not find what they have to say so fascinating. That was my issue with Have A Nice Guilt Trip by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella ( St. Martin’s Press 2014). It was published last Summer and it’s been sitting in my “to read” queue for a while. It sounded so clever I couldn’t wait to start it and I wanted to finish it..but the reason this review is delayed is that I kept picking this book up, reading a few “columns” and then I lost interest. Lisa Scottoline writes a column for the Philadelphia Inquirer and she wrote this book, really a collection of columns, with her daughter (who gets smaller typeface billing on the cover). Mother and daughter have the age range covered. The daughterhas the attention of the younger women, the Mom, the more mature ones. This is a can’t-lose formula, but it was a disappointment. How many “cute” posts does one really need to read about mother and daughters, dogs, fried butter (you should try frying “Crestor” because after eating that you’d need to”), or babies …uh…boring This collection of columns is nicely written but “much ado about nothing” and not very insightful or really interesting. Yes, I related to this “women’s issues”, but I am busy living my own life and frankly, the book got boring. I kept giving up before I could finish the whole thing. Lisa lovers and Francesca fans..I’m sorry and I know you’ve already bought this book or will do it right now, but I just wasn’t impressed.
Looking for something special to serve your gluten free and gourmet guests? Finding fault with the same-old, same-old cakes and cookies? Kyotofu: Uniquely Delicious Japanese Desserts By Nicole Bermensolo (Running Press, 2015) is a brand new book of delightful and unusual dessert recipes using traditional Japanese and Western ingredients in not-so-traditional ways. Nicole Bermensolo founded Kyotofu Bakery in 2006 in Brooklyn NY and eventually closed it to focus on a larger, bi-coastal, Wholesale operation. She currently runs Kyotofu and Hana Kitchens, selling her products nationwide. In this book she shared not just mouth-watering photos but dessert recipes you probably have never considered, tasted, or imagined. Try a miso chocolate tart, matcha creme brulee, or something unique a bit strange (but compelling) such as brown rice “nama” chocolates. The recipes are organized by star ingredient: miso, soy, green tea, sesame, rice, and yuzu. While some of the ingredients may not be easily attainable in your local market, most can be purchased online. None of the recipes are extremely difficult, and all are reasonably healthy. I might not tell the kids that the fun (no bake) cheesecake has green tea and tofu in it ..just let them think it’s “super cool” because it’s tasty (and green). If you’re looking for healthier and more interesting dessert options, this book offers plenty of them — with a hint of the exotic, and the photos are “eye candy” enough to devour on their own.
With the 50 Shades of Grey movie still making tons of money, The Advice Sisters are suggesting one “adult” book of short stories that may fuel your fantasies in this direction. Best Bondage Erotica of 2015 edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel/Foreward Annabel Joseph (Clies Press 2015) is a new collection of short stories that go far beyond the “rope and duct tape” Christian Grey bought from Ana in the books and movie. The book is full of kinky stories, pairing couples in various ways. I would have liked to see the book organized by “kink” but the stories are short enough that if you don’t like the subject or characters in one just move on to the next. You will find your favorites, for sure. Note: this really sin’t a collection of stories for younger people, and some of the stories are graphic, so keep the book to yourself if you don’t want your teens or tweens asking a lot of questions. But if you’re ever wondered what it’s like, emotionally and physically, to be tied up in various ways, you’ll wonder less (and perhaps take your own fantasies to the next level with your partner) after reading this book.