To get into the holiday spirit this year I’ve been cranking up the Christmas tunes, decorating the Christmas tree, and drinking hot cocoa while watching Home Alone, but when it comes to books I need something a little less sparkly and bright. I like to read realistic fiction – nothing against a good cozy mystery or a holiday themed romance, but I enjoy the struggle of real life in my reading. It helps me recognize what I’m thankful for and helps me feel less alone if I’m having a hard time. Here are some fiction reads, for however you spend the season, to bring some empathy, understanding, and maybe a little chaos.
Disgruntled: A Novel by Asali Solomon: “Kenya is teased mercilessly by her Philadelphia grade-school classmates for her Kwanzaa-celebrating family’s odd ways—and they don’t know the half of it. Her father preaches “black anarchy” as the volatile leader of the Seven Days, a group he and Kenya’s mother, Sheila, who grew up in the projects and who supports her family as a librarian, has pulled together. Preternaturally observant and mordantly funny, Kenya is a hypnotic narrator coping valiantly with an increasingly bewildering life.” (Booklist) Continue reading “Holiday Reads for the Rest of Us”
Today is Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season and historically the busiest shopping day of the year. If the idea of battling frenzied crowds for the latest must-have doo-dad makes you want to pull the covers over your head and never come out, we have an idea for you – make your own gifts! You’ll get to stay home, avoid the clogged streets, and maybe even learn a new skill. And nothing says you care like a homemade present! Here are a few recent titles to inspire you:
Terrariums are among some of the easiest, quickest and cheapest crafts to make. Try it out yourself at our Holiday Craft workshop coming up next Thursday, November 29th at the Central Library, 5:30 pm (free and open to all while supplies last).
Take a Tin by Jemima Schlee
You’ve probably got a few tin cans lying around the house somewhere. Upcycle these ubiquitous household items into lamps, storage and other fun gifts. Continue reading “DIY Holidays: Crafty Gifts and Gifts of Food”
Did you know that April 12 is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day!?
Grilled cheese has always been one of my favorite comfort foods — and I know I’m not alone: People have been loving its ease and possibilities for nearly 100 years. “The United States modern version of the grilled cheese sandwich originated in the 1920’s when inexpensive sliced bread and American cheese became easily available. Originally it was made as an open-faced sandwich,” says the National Day Calendar.
Grilled cheese now is even better with experimentation, adding pesto and tomatoes, using sour dough and apple jelly, or adding chutney and brie. I used to love trying out the sale cheeses at QFC to see which ones made the best sandwich (Port Salut is my favorite). Then of course all the wonderful things you can dip it in…
Here are a few books in the library to get your grilled cheese experiment on:
Grilled Cheese Kitchen: Bread + Cheese + Everything in Between by Heidi Gibson
Melted cheese between slices of toasted bread — the ultimate in comfort food. This mouthwatering cookbook features 39 grilled cheese recipes created by Heidi Gibson, winner of seven grilled cheese championships and the co-owner (with husband Nate) of the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco.
Continue reading “Time to melt: National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day”
Librarians give – and get – a lot of books this time of year. Seeing that familiar shape surrounded by festive wrapping is a special thrill. Sure, we know it is a book, but what book? We recently shared some ideas on how to choose good books for your loved ones. Now here are some titles we’re especially excited to be giving – or receiving – this year.
Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt. An uncommon look at a seemingly common bird, this is narrative nonfiction at its best. And, yes, Mozart had a pet starling. So did Haupt. From the Seattle author who brought you Crow Planet. – Linda
Pie & Whiskey edited by Kate Lebo and Sam Ligon. These two Spokane authors have been hosting spirited literary events inspiring northwest authors to write poems, stories, and essays under the influence of butter and booze. The resulting anthology is funny, wise, insightful, irreverent — and handy. Fits in a (large) stocking! – Linda Continue reading “Ideas for Book Giving this Holiday”
Books make the perfect gift, except when they don’t. Few presents are such a joy for a reader to open as a well-chosen book, but we all know that sinking feeling when a literary gift strikes out. Giving a book can be an emotional minefield, as the books we share are reflections our ourselves, bound up with our own values and sense of self. Rightly or wrongly, it is like giving a piece of yourself. For an amusing consideration of this, check out Jen Adams’ diverting collection The Books They Gave Me, which shares 200 anonymous accounts of literary gifts, and how wonderful and terrible those results can be.
The trick about bookish giving is to try to find something that your recipient will enjoy, rather than something you enjoyed. Continue reading “How to Succeed at Gifting Books this Holiday Season.”