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A. M. Dellamonica, Child of a Hidden Sea

Cover of A. M. Dellamonica's Child of A Hidden Sea showing a tall ship's sail behind a woman wearing swashbuckling clothes and a man

Sophie Hansa is a twenty-something videographer living in San Francisco, a much-loved adopted child with a younger (briliant) brother. She’s a child of privilege in that her parents can help her with college and travel; she’s a partially-trained biologist, an all-but-thesis grad student. She’s also been seeking her birth mother,…

Sara Kasdan, Love and Knishes

kasdan_love_and_knishes

Sara Kasdan’s Love and Knishes is both a cultural guide, and a cookbook. Sara Kasdan’s much guide to traditional Jewish cooking (illustrated by Louis Slobodin) first appeared in 1956. The book was rapidly reprinted as it proved strikingly popular with Jews and non-Jews alike who wanted to know how to make…

Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, Eds. The Art of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Cover of The Art of Lord of the RIngs, ed. by Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond, showing Tolkien's jacket design for The Lord of the Rings of

The Art of The Lord of the Rings is a magnificent book. Published to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of The Lord of the Rings, this collection of Tolkien’s art was edited by Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, the top-notch Tolkien scholars previously responsible for The Art of The Hobbit, among…

Samuel Fromartz, In Search of the Perfect Loaf: A Home Baker’s Odyssey

Cover of Samuel Fromartz IN Search of the Perfect Loaf

I was intrigued by the basic premise of Samuel Fromartz’ book In Search of the Perfect Loaf: A Home Baker’s Odyssey. An experienced journalist with a weighty list of credits, Fromartz got That Call in late 2008. The economy was in a downward spiral and he lost two major long term gigs…

Kate Elliott, Court of Fives

Kate Elliott has created a richly detailed world in Court of Fives, her first YA novel, though not her first excursion into heroic fantasy. Jessamy, or Jess, is a twin, one of four sisters, the daughter of a Patron (or Saroese) army officer, and his Efesa (and hence a Commoner)…

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

Sometimes I’m very late to the party. There’s little to do in those cases, but make my apologies as I make my entrance. That’s the situation I find myself in, now, endeavoring to review David Mitchell’s excellent and award-winning novel, Cloud Atlas, more than ten years after its release. I’m…

Neil L. Rudenstine, Ideas of Order: A Close Reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Cover of Neil Rudenstine's Ideas of Order

Neil L. Rudenstine is a retired English literature professor specializing in Renaissance literature, a former President of Harvard University, and a Rhodes Scholar. Ideas of Order: A Close Reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnets is exactly what the title says it is—a close reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Rudenstine is neither the first…

Laura Anne Gilman, Silver on The Road

Cover of Laura Anne Gilman's Silver on the Road

One of the things I most love about Laura Anne Gilman’s fantasy/paranormal books is the way she takes folklore and myth and makes it her own, rendering the familiar into something new and strange, but at the same time coherent and consistent. She excels at world building. I think Silver…

Amy Pennington, Apples: From Harvest to Table

Cover of Amy Pennington's Apples from Harvest to Table

Amy Pennington’s Apples: From Harvest to Table is an apple cookbook, beautifully illustrated with photos by Olivia Brent. These are made-from-scratch recipes, and were written with an eye to using local and fresh, and an awareness of issues like low sugar needs and gluten tolerances, or cooking with (and for)…