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  • Melissa Albert 2:30 pm on 2018/03/28 Permalink
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    8 Cookbooks to Gift Mom this Mother’s Day 

    While moms should be celebrated year round, Mother’s Day is a great excuse to give the maternal figures in our lives an extra bit of love. For the moms who love cooking, these recently published books make great gifts. They’re penned by veteran cookbook authors, home improvement specialists, athletes, and fiction writers, proving that everyone has a story—and a recipe—to share.

    Giada’s Italy: My Recipes for La Dolce Vita, by Giada De Laurentiis
    “La dolce vita,” or “the sweet life,” is an Italian saying that signifies indulgent existence; for many, that means enjoying good meals in great company. Celebrity chef and Italian food specialist Giada De Laurentiis is also known for her family-centric life. In this book, she invites guests not just into her home, but into her motherland of Rome, where she shares traditional family recipes like Grilled Swordfish with Candied Lemon Salad, Bruschetta with Burrata and Kale Salsa Verde, and, to truly bring some sweetness to your life, Fennel Upside-Down Cake.

    Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering, by Joanna Gaines and Marah Stets
    Together with her business partner and spouse, Chip—also her cohost on HGTV’s popular Fixer Upper—Joanna Gaines is famous for knowing her way around any house, whether it’s designing it, remodeling it, or, of course, fixing it up. Gaines also knows her way around the kitchen, and the couple opened their first restaurant, Magnolia Table, this past February. Her cookbook by the same name hits shelves in April, and is full of recipes centered around Gaines family favorites, from classic Mac and Cheese to Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Bacon, Toasted Pecans, and Balsamic Reduction.

    True Roots: A Mindful Kitchen with More Than 100 Recipes Free of Gluten, Dairy, and Refined Sugar, by Kristin Cavallari
    No gluten? No dairy? No refined sugar? No salt? What could possibly be left to cook with? In truth, an abundance of yummy ingredients. Former reality star turned writer Kristin Cavallari shares what she cooks for her family in her first cookbook, True Roots. Cavallari developed the recipes with chef Michael Kubiesa, whom she met through her husband, Jay Cutler, while Kubiesa was working as the chef of the Chicago Bears. Dishes focus on fresh and organic ingredients, ranging from simple but flavorful breakfasts like Warm Coconut Oats, to savory main courses like BBQ Chicken Salad with Pineapple Chipotle Ranch Dressing.

    Debbie Macomber’s Table: Sharing the Joy of Cooking with Family and Friends, by Debbie Macomber
    Award-winning romance author Debbie Macomber is known better for her steamy love scenes than for steaming vegetables, but she’s taking a turn from the library and to the kitchen to write about her love of cooking. Fans of her series will have fun spotting how her fiction inspired her food. Fall in love all over again…with Macomber’s tantalizing Grilled Fish Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Sauce, Honey-Chipotle Oven-Roasted Ribs, and—a natural for an author known as the queen of winter romance—Eggnog Cookies.

    Food for Life: Delicious & Healthy Comfort Food from My Table to Yours!, by Laila Ali and Leda Scheintaub
    Distinguished boxer Laila Ali not only knows how to pack a knockout punch, but can serve a knockout dinner. She has competed on hit TV Show Chopped, twice taking home the championship, and health and wellness are among her top priorities. She starts readers off with a go-to pantry shopping list, then gets into the recipes. They’re good for you, but nutritious doesn’t equal flavorless, as Ali demonstrates in Stovetop Ratatouille, West Coast Southern Greens, and Heavenly Lemon Yogurt Cake. This delicious book is dedicated to her father, Muhammad Ali.

    Chloe Flavor: Saucy, Crispy, Spicy, Vegan, by Chloe Coscarelli
    Fans of celebrity vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli will be happy to flip through the pages of her fourth cookbook, a beautiful complements to earlier books focusing on vegan basics, Italian food, and desserts. Start the morning right with Chloe’s Avocado Pesto Toast or an Almond Butter Berry Bowl, and end it with Caesar Brussel Sprouts or Hawaiian Teriyaki Sliders. Let Chloe show you vegan can be synonymous with delicious!

    Cake, by Maira Kalman and Barbara Scott-Goodman
    This enchanting cookbook book is already eye candy, and that’s before you even get to the deliciously sweet recipes between the pages. Author and illustrator Kalman’s unique illustrations have appeared in publications including the New York Times and the New Yorker, and here she teams up with food writer and cookbook designer Scott-Goodman to bring her colorful cookbook to life. Enjoy the sights, smells, and tastes of Flourless Chocolate Cake, Pavlova with Fresh Berries, and Pistachio and Almond Pound Cake.

    My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family, and Food, by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich
    Behind every impressive meal is an impressive person. Lidia Bastianich has written numerous cookbooks sharing her delicious recipes, but for those looking to set cooking aside and peek behind the curtain into a successful chef’s life, this new memoir is a must-read. Bastianich is a famous chef, cookbook author, TV personality, restaurateur, and mother to fellow food personalities Joe and Tanya Bastianich, but before fame she was a child growing up in the political turmoil of a war-torn region, forced to flee her home and find a new one. After living in a refugee camp, her family moved to the U.S., where she began her career in the kitchen. This memoir beautifully recounts her life story, and how food brought her home.


    The post 8 Cookbooks to Gift Mom this Mother’s Day appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Melissa Albert 6:45 pm on 2018/03/16 Permalink
    Tags: , heal thyself, ,   

    7 of the Best Irreverent Self-Help Books 

    Self-help is a nearly ten-billion-dollar industry. By adding a healthy dose of humor and a fresh perspective from today’s real world, these authors make the case for guidelines that stick—just don’t be fooled by their light-hearted, easy-to-read style. Irreverent self-help books are packed with powerful, relevant concepts and ideas that just might change your life. At the very least, they’ll make you laugh, and some days that’s the best medicine of all.

    Adulting, by Kelly Williams Brown
    The funny, helpful nuggets of advice in Adulting are geared toward twenty-somethings and run the gauntlet from cooking/hosting (“How to make a dope cheese plate,” “Do not fear the puff pastry”) to socializing (“The small-talk bell curve”) to employment (“Do not steal more than three dollars’ worth of office supplies per quarter.”) A self-help book with a little something for everyone.

    Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow
    Little Golden Books have been around since 1942, and The Poky Little Puppy, by Janette Sebring Lowrey and illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren, remains the top-selling children’s book of all time. Who better than Diane Muldrow, the longtime editorial director at Golden Books, to curate the best pieces of wisdom from these classic kids’ stories? Timeless, charming illustrations byRichard Scarry, J.P. Miller, Mary Blair, and Gertrude Elliott make every page a nostalgic delight, while Muldrow suggests that the tenets of a full life include, “Be open to making new friends, even if you’re very, very shy”; “Go ahead and make a big deal over your birthday”; and “Give in to a good cry. You’ll feel better afterward!”

    Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads, by Gary Greenberg
    There are approximately one zillion books for new moms and considerably fewer for dads, so Greenberg’s Boy Scout–themed guidebook is not only a necessity, it’s one of the most fun, entertaining, and creative parenting books out there. Need to baby-proof a hotel room, find activities baby and dad will both enjoy, or create a decoy drawer for baby to explore, so he’ll leave your good stuff alone? What about rigging an emergency diaper in the dead of night? (Hint: duct tape, sock, and a towel.) It’s all in there, plus illustrations and asides written in a positive, pragmatic, and non-alarmist manner—exactly what all parents deserve.

    How to Be a Person in the World, by Heather Havrilesky
    Practical, illuminating, and always relatable, Havrilesky’s book (based in part on her advice column at New York magazine’s The Cut) reads like a combination of Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed, and The Vine at Tomato Nation.  As Havrilesky puts it, “Part of what I like about giving people advice is that I never f*cking know how I’m going to pull it off. I’m not some kind of swami or guru.” Using relentless empathy, Havrilesky underscores her points by sharing personal anecdotes, which serve to remind readers they’re never alone. “This is your life, and it’s going to be big and bright and beautiful.”

    You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero
    If you’re into the idea of using positive thinking to attract certain energies from the universe, you’ll find a lot to inspire you here; Badass is The Secret in a cocktail dress, albeit with a more down to earth approach. (“Feed your fear a suck-it sandwich.” “Give painful people the heave-ho.”) Sincero has a knack for reconfiguring familiar concepts into specific, helpful “aha” moments.

    The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, by Margareta Magnusson
    An accomplished artist aged “between 80 and 100,” with a bundle of kids and grandkids and a lifetime of travel behind her, Swedish author Magnusson has enjoyed—and continues to enjoy—a full, robust life. This gem of a book teaches readers to “remove unnecessary things and make your home nice and orderly when you think the time is coming closer for you to leave the planet.” It’s perfect for older relatives who’d like to downsize, or anyone who wants more control and less clutter in their home, regardless of age. Though Magnusson has a wicked sense of humor, there’s very little sugar-coating here. She means it when she says, “If it was your secret, keep it that way,” i.e., don’t burden your loved ones with embarrassing box-loads of private items. In Magnusson’s words, “Save your favorite [sex toy]—but throw away the other fifteen.”

    The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson
    A popular blogger-turned-author, Manson holds the view that into each life a little rain must fall—sometimes a lotof rain—that’s neither fair nor deserved, and pretending everything’s  “for the best” can sometimes do more harm than good. Since we all have problems, Manson challenges us to ask ourselves to take control of them: What kind of problems do you want? (After all, the pain of hard work and living our values isn’t easy, but does bring fulfillment.) In other words, it’s not that you won’t give a f*ck about anything, it’s that you’ll give your f*cks selectively, prioritizing and paying attention to what matters most to you and letting the rest go.

    The post 7 of the Best Irreverent Self-Help Books appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Melissa Albert 4:30 pm on 2017/07/31 Permalink
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    White FurAuthor Jardine Libaire Shares Her Favorite Autobiographical Books by Rebellious Women 

    More than one of us cancelled dinner plans so we could finish reading Jardine Libaire’s White Fur, her gorgeous novel about love and obsession set in gritty 1980s New York. This ferocious and seductive—almost hypnotic—story is absolutely unforgettable. We asked Jardine to tell us what she read while she was working on White Fur, and this is what she said:

    “The female protagonist in White Fur is a woman named Elise, and I got fueled to write about her by entering the consciousnesses of other strong and original women, women who didn’t quite do what they were told. I particularly love to read about these women and their worlds in their own words. Whether they all thought of themselves as feminists is less important to me than the monumental power they demonstrate to be who we want, to write what we want, and to love who we want.”

    Here’s the author to share some of these inspiring books

    Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black, by Cookie Mueller
    Right out of the gate, Mueller runs on high-test gasoline, defiantly becoming who she is in high school—teased hair and cat eyes, in love with a boy and with a girl—and never looking back. This is a furious life, full of adventures, mishaps, love, drugs, fun, hitchhiking, friends, art, and burning houses. And no apologies.

    Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home, by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
    Reading this is like stumbling through someone’s psychedelic notebook after she handed it to you and warned you not to expect answers or epiphanies. You get messy, exquisite life instead. You get the jewels of data that constitute someone’s daily thought experience.

    Dust Tracks on a Road, by Zora Neale Hurston
    I love this book for many things but largely for the joyful dissidence, the imaginative and creative rebellion. Hurston was not going to be what she was told to be, but she was also not going to be anything that had already been established as an alternative. She would be someone else, someone unprecedented.

    M Train, by Patti Smith
    How do you funnel the drive and the heart that goes into being a young wild bohemian rock star into the years that follow? This book is a pocket guide on staying fierce, on creating rituals (like graveyard sessions in other countries, or having brown bread and coffee every single morning) that help a woman maintain a blueprint of untamed living.

    The Letters of Frida Kahlo: Cartas Apasionadas, by Frida Kahlo
    Kahlo has fascinated me since I was young, and I used to be baffled by how she could be so autonomous, so proud, so strong, and also so attached to a man who gave her (what I thought was) less than she deserved. Now I deliberately respect the whole chaotic truth of her life, because it was her life, no one else’s. And it’s my honor and pleasure to read about it in her words.

    The post White FurAuthor Jardine Libaire Shares Her Favorite Autobiographical Books by Rebellious Women appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Melissa Albert 7:00 pm on 2017/07/11 Permalink
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    Swell Author Jill Eisenstadt Shares Her Picks for Essential Summer Reading 

    Jill Eisenstadt’s debut, From Rockaway, was bound by the nihilistic routines of a trio of lifeguards who spend their summers surveying New York’s Rockaway Beach. Though still young, their lives already seem decided, split between watching the waves and working blue-collar jobs in the cold months. Her latest, Swell, returns to the shore thirty years later, in the story of a family with some serious baggage, moving into a Rockaway house that’s haunted in more ways than one. An unwanted houseguest and the return of a character who first appeared in From Rockaway round out this darkly funny, sympathetic tale.


    Both books make for perfect beach reading, set seaside but far from candy-colored. Here’s Eisenstadt to share a list of more ideal waterfront reads, for your summer enjoyment.

    What makes a good beach read? For me, it’s mainly about practicality. Leave the heavy tome at home. Avoid the minuscule print (though that’s advice for everywhere). Don’t bother with anything you’d care about getting stained with sunscreen or sandwich drippings. Wind, wet, sand, salt – such conditions require a book you can wrangle. Break the spine, throw the sopping towel over accidentally, or fold down pages when your bookmark vanishes. Other than that, it’s a matter of your current mood. So have a good assortment handy – old and new, serious, light, something in between. Content-wise, I tend to go for sweltering settings or themes, but that’s personal. There can be no bad beach books because, thank Poseidon, books don’t need charging or batteries.

    Some for Summer 2017:

    Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, with an Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld, chaser
    Like beaches, Jane Austen is a place to escape from the news. Curtis Sittenfeld’s modern take is pure fun, an inside joke for the outdoors.

    Men Without Women, by Haruki Murakami
    Short stories work well on the beach, particularly ones that tend toward the spare and philosophical. Between stories you can take a swim or stare out to sea wondering why Murakami used a Hemingway title, whether the men in the book could be weirder, and ultimately what it all means.

    The Soul of an Octopus, by Sy Montgomery
    If you haven’t heard, octopuses are in. And no, it’s not octopi, as you’ll learn if you read this. Includes many other fascinating insights into these intelligent, emotional beings.

    The Member of the Wedding, by Carson McCullers
    “It happened that green and crazy summer when Frankie was twelve years old. This was the summer when for a long time she had not been a member. She belonged to no club and was a member of nothing in the world. Frankie had become an unjoined person who hung around in doorways, and she was afraid.”

    Endless Love, by Scott Spencer
    I haven’t looked at this novel in decades but nor have I forgotten it. And I just recounted to verify….yes, the sex scene is 36 pages long! Definitely high time to revisit.

    The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith
    Psychological thrillers do not get better than this. Exciting and intelligent and set in fabulous sometimes beachy locales (the Ligurian coast). Never will you find yourself more fervently rooting for a sociopath.

    Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed
    Lie on the sand on a big soft towel and listen to your daughters (or friends) take turns reading advice aloud. This book, culled from columns originally run in the Rumpus, written by the once anonymous and shockingly wise Cheryl Strayed, is a guaranteed conversation starter. When and if you gather the will to finally take a walk, there’s also a handy spinoff podcast with the wonderful Steve Almond.

    Sea Grapes, by Derek Walcott
    Poetry on the beach is essential. Because, as Walcott himself writes in the title poem of his most famous collection, “The classics can console. But not enough.”

    The post Swell Author Jill Eisenstadt Shares Her Picks for Essential Summer Reading appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Melissa Albert 7:30 pm on 2017/06/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , , elin hildebrand,   

    Elin Hildebrand Shares Her Favorite Summer Reads 

    In Elin Hildebrand’s The Identicals, out next week, Hilderbrand takes readers to the sunny shores of Martha’s Vineyard. There, we meet the 39-year-old Frost sisters: fun-loving, hard-drinking Harper, who’s allergic to responsibility, and her estranged identical twin sister, Tabitha, a cultured and elegant woman and single mother who lives a few miles away in Nantucket, where she struggles to keep their mother’s boutique afloat. The twins haven’t gotten along in years, but when scandal engulfs them both, they decide to swap islands—and lives—in a desperate attempt to help right each other’s wrongs. In preparation for Hildebrand’s latest scrumptious and intelligent beach fare, the author shared her picks for the best summer reads.


    For me, a great summer read does NOT have to be set at the beach.  It merely has to be completely engrossing, a real page-turner, and extra points for escapism.

    Saints for All Occasions, by Courtney Sullivan
    This is a good old-fashioned family saga.  It begins in Ireland in the fifties and follows the immigrant parents over to Boston right up to 2009. When tragedy strikes, the family gathers and all the secrets come out.  You may feel as though you’ve read this story before, but Sullivan’s gorgeous, precise, empathetic prose draws you in and makes the whole thing fresh and new.  You WILL fall in love with this family. Suggested for: New England beach vacations!

    The Vacationers, by Emma Straub
    Possibly the perfect beach read.  This novel follows an upper class American family to Majorca for the summer.  It’s whip-smart, erudite, and so, so clever.  It has sumptuous European details and juicy scandal.  Extra points for escapism! Suggested for: Your trip to the south of France or Santorini!

    Before the Fall, by Noah Hawley
    After a private plane filled with important people crashes off of Martha’s Vineyard, there are only two survivors, and authorities puzzle over what happened. This is a thriller AND a beach book!  It’s written in the kind of prose you can vividly see in your mind’s eye—I say it should be a movie!—and I devoured every delicious page.  Suggested for: anywhere BUT Martha’s Vineyard.

    The Admissions, by Meg Mitchell Moore
    This is one of my favorite books in recent years. It’s about a family with three daughters, and the eldest is desperately trying to get into Harvard.  Set in the high-stress, high-tech, high-property-value world of San Francisco, this novel keeps you guessing and cheering and biting your nails to the very end. Suggested for: summer college tours, parents only.

    Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult
    I read this novel while on St. John this past March and was both mesmerized and inspired. Picoult is the GOAT (Greatest of All Time), especially when it comes to novels that deal with “issues.”  This novel takes on Race with a capital R, but Race takes a backseat to Picoult’s impeccable characterizations; you develop sympathy for all of the characters in this book, even those you might not naturally be inclined to like. And that, my friends, is a feat only the most masterful of storytellers can pull off.  Suggested for: everyone, everywhere.

    The post Elin Hildebrand Shares Her Favorite Summer Reads appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

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