If you’re seeking a sizzling Summer read this book review roundup features a whopping TEN of them, along with links to download or purchase on Amazon.com for instant gratification. From fashion to food, mystery to Muhammad Ali, there’s something for everyone. Get one of these for your weekend host/hostess, send it as a gift in advance, and watch your weekend get just that much better!
10 Great Books
Made For Walking, A Modest History of the Fashion Boot by Andy Peake (Schiffer Publishing May 2018) is a walk through time, literally (pun not intended). Detailing with photos a much-beloved type of footwear, boots are detailed from every era almost from the time that the boot as a style, was born.
There are anecdotes, fashion photos, and a lot more background information to show how boots evolved with fashion and with the times. For shoe fans, there’s plenty to absorb and enjoy.
Given the fashionistas penchant for boots and with all the fabulous boots to be found, the examples provided seems rather bland and that was disappointing. However, as reading material for the history or fashion fan, Made For Walking will teach you lot about how the boot evolved and why we wear them. Get this one for your weekend hostess or for that shoe-obsessed friend!
He claimed that he was “the greatest” and who would disagree that Muhammad Ali was a fighter, showman and an “influencer” in his own time. Ali on Ali: Why He Said What He Said and When he Said It” by Hana Ali with Danny Peary (Workkman May 2018) is an intriguing book of sayings photos, and stories compiled by his daughter, Hana Ali with sportswriter Danny Peary.
Some of the sayings are ingrained into our popular culture(e.g. “Your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see”), but this book shows the fighter as a multi-faceted man with lots of convictions and interests beyond the world of sports. For anyone who is an Ali fan or who wants to know more about Ali, this little book will be a perfect gift idea. It’s a fascinating look at this unique man. Many of the sayings are truly food for thought. This would make a lovely gift book, too.
Summer is the perfect time to read a delightful story that makes you feel good. I love it when a woman triumphs over adversity. Digging In A Novel by Loretta Nyhan (Lake Union Publishing April 2018) follows the evolution of Paige Moresco a woman whose life has been completely turned around by the sudden death of her husband and the turnover in management and philosophy of the company she works for.
When change is forced upon you, it’s up to you to adapt. The use of a vegetable garden as a metaphor for something taking root in a tangible way is a clever one. The rebellious son, the crazy new boss, the irascible neighbor are believable but not obnoxious. It’s a great beach read.
I hope My Voice Doesn’t Skip by Alicia Cook (Andrews McMeel Publishing June 2018) is the author’s second collection of poems and songs. For those who like the genre, Ms. Cook provides the usual array of topics from mental health to relationships, to social issues, heroin addiction, loss, and even death. Arranged as the EP and LP track lists (to tie in with the vinyl record theme) many of the so-called poems really are songs with links to where readers can access them.
The poems are authentic and raw, but the one thing that baffled me was a “trigger warning” about one of the poem( “Ten Little Girls) informing readers with “delicate” sensibilities, there are topics in that poem that could be disturbing. This is the first time I have ever seen this in a book of any kind. The poem does allude to drugs, anorexia, inappropriate touching kidnapping and a host of other not so nice things.
I get that these are tough topics but this is a book for adults and should not drive anyone to hysterics. I thought it was ridiculous. Life is tough and the author points that out. If you’re up for reading poetry with provocative topics you don’t need a label to warn you. Just deal with it.
There is a lot more going on in Recipes for a Delicious Life by Zipora Einav (HigherLife Development Services, Inc. 2018) than just recipes. In fact, most of this book is about how to eat more joyfully and mindfully, and it really isn’t a cookbook (look elsewhere if that’s what interests you). The “recipe” is life advice (for the most part) for those who want to cook and eat better and find more joy in life through eating and music. This Israeli celebrity chef has toured with singers including Mariah Carey, been a private chef for Bob Hope and his wife, and many more. The recipes are few and far between, but there’s an “app” you can download to get interactive content, and it comes with a CD featuring the music of Neil Argo (Dynasty, Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 9010…).
Zipora isn’t a braggart about the famous and wealthy people she has cooked for although there are definitely plenty of personal stories about them along with a sprinkling of favorite recipes. No, this is more about using music and food to make your life better, and feed your soul. The advice is heartfelt “feel good” and although it might not make you into a world-class cook, you could do a lot worse than following some of her “Joie de vivre” advice for life and happiness.
The Jim Beam Bourbon Cookbook (Thunder Bay Press April 2018) is a cookbook with recipes focusing solely on the use of Jim Beam bourbon. The recipe for Jim Beam’s signature Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey has remained essentially the same since 1795. Bourbon is a wonderful ingredient to cook with and 70 recipes all include the signature bourbon whiskey. The recipes aren’t complicated and the photos look amazing. You can handle them easily if you are a beginner.
Along with BBQ and other meat recipes, there are recipes that are mouth-wateringly delicious such as mac and cheese with a bourbon crust. yum!
If you are a bourbon fan you will enjoy the classic cocktails section and the entire book will delight you. If bourbon isn’t your favorite libation, you’ll still love the way it works with and in food!
I read The Flight Attendant A Novel by Chris Bophjalian (Doubleday March 13, 2018) in two sittings. The first was on an airplane en route to Chicago, the second at a dinner where I was dining solo. I was so involved in the book that I didn’t realize I was the last person in the restaurant, although I was one of the first when I sat down.
This murder mystery thriller focuses on a self-destructive flight attendant whose drinking and bad behavior leads her into a dangerous situation where life and death are closely intertwined. She ends up with a wicked hangover in a Dubai hotel room to find that the man she slept with the night before was dead in bed next to her. What happens next will keep you on the edge of your (airplane or other–seat. Some of the pages could have been removed. In addition, the author weaves the tale well until the end, when things wrap up a bit too neatly, Still, it’s is a riveting read and no, I’m not saying a word more.
Take it with you on vacation or to your weekend home, for a rainy afternoon.
SNEAK PEEK: There’s something truly heartbreaking about Will I Still Be Me? Finding a Continuing Sense in the Lived Experience of Dementia by Christine Bryden (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, August 2018). Christine Bryden was diagnosed with dementia in 1995. This book is her second about the disease and her personal experience with Dementia and her feelings about what is happening to her. The main message in this book is that although those with dementia may cease to find the right words to express themselves and therefore appear “vacant” because they can’t communicate as most of us do, but they’re still feeling human beings “in there.”
The key is to look for new and often nonverbal ways to connect. She writes with such compassion and clarity you might wonder how, due to her own declining abilities. Her idea is that those with dementia are not necessarily fading away and that there is still a person in there, not an empty shell. If you or someone you know has dementia, this might give you quite a different perspective about how to relate to them and provide some consolation and support. This book will be available next month.
Leaving You…For Me by Alex Nicolette Delon (Nicollet Press (May 1, 2018) is one of those books that makes you feel happy, sad, angry and a whole lot of other emotions. This book is about f re-entering the dating pool after a long, monogamous relationship and in your 60’s when it’s hard to recover from the companionship, the routines, and the loss of self. In this book, Alex Delon married her college boyfriend and stayed married to a man who verbally and mentally abused her and cheated on her.
At age 65 she finally “sees the proverbial light” about her husband, and leaves. Becoming co-dependant, she then has to learn how to stand up for herself, a hard-won goal. She manages to make new connections both male and female along the way that help her move forward.
What she describes in this book may help other women who are in similar situations feel less alone. No matter what your age, rebuilding your confidence and feeling up to the challenges of a new life is difficult at any age. This book lays it out there as the author sees it. Does this book have a happy ending? It all depends upon what your view of life really is.
SNEAK PEEK! In the last holiday book review roundup (see review December 2017) I reviewed The Address by Fiona Davis (Dutton August 2018) The historical fiction centers around the NYC apartment building, The Dakota and the main character, Sara Smythe who in 1884 travels from England to America to become the female “Managerette” of The Dakota. It hasn’t even been occupied when she arrives. Now Fiona Davis takes on another iconic NYC landmark, Grand Central Station, in The Masterpiece: A Novel .
This time, the historical fiction author uses the lost art school within Grand Central Station as the backdrop for a story about Clara Darden, a teacher illustration and one of the “lost” and former artists in the now-defunct school and the down-on-her-luck and newly divorced Virginia Clay (circa the 1970’s) who takes an interest in what happened to the school and the artists. It’s a mystery and love story with lots of interesting twists and turns.
There is even an environmental message in it for those who believe in historic preservation. If you like historical fiction, you will definitely like The Masterpiece.