Fran Wilde, Updraft

Fran Wilde’s Updraft is a debut novel from a writer with a strong record of short story publication. Set in a post apocalyptic culture where people spend their lives above the clouds in living towers of bone, depending on fliers using silk and leather wings for transportation, and governed by…

John D. Rateliff, The History of the Hobbit

Image of the slipcase and books of John D. Rateliff's History of the Hobbit

John D. Rateliff’s The History of the Hobbit is a handsome three-volume slip-cased set of hard covers. The first two volumes are the actual History of the Hobbit, in the form of Part One: Mr Baggins, and Part Two: Return to Bag-End. The third volume in the set is Tolkien’s…

Stephen King, Finders Keepers

Cover of Stephen King's Finders Keepers showing an open book with blood raining down in front of it

Stephen King’s summer release, Finders Keepers, picks up the saga of retired police detective (“Det Ret”) Bill Hodges, a story King began in his previous novel, Mr. Mercedes. Although it’s book two of a planned Bill Hodges Trilogy, Finders Keepers doesn’t suffer from any of the usual middle-of-a-trilogy weaknesses. The novel stands…

Sarah Owens, Sourdough: Recipes for Rustic Fermented Breads, Sweets, Savories, and More

Sarah Owens is a sculptor, a trained horticulturist, formerly the steward of the Cranford Rose Collection at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the founder of an artisan microbakery called BK17 Bakery. Sourdough manages to unite her passions for art, horticulture and sourdough. The first half of the book is a…

Massimo Montanari, Medieval Tastes

There are three things you need to know about Montanari’s Medieval Tastes: Food, Cooking, and the Table; first that this is an academic treatise, that it was translated from the original Italian by Beth Archer Brombert, and that it is a culinary history, rather than a cookbook. That being said,…

Archie Fisher, A Silent Song

I should confess right up front that Archie Fisher is one of my very favorite song writers and performers. It isn’t overstating the case to say Fisher (along with Jean Redpath and NPR’s Fiona Ritchie and Thistle and Shamrock) had a lot to do with my interests in the Child…

Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

One of my earliest kitchen memories is my mom — who is a truly excellent cook — sending me to fetch her “Red and white checkered cookbook.” It was easy to find for a little kid who didn’t read yet, because it was exactly as described: A big three-ring binder…

George Greenstein, A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets

The subtitle of George Greenstein’s A Jewish Baker’s Pastry Secrets is Recipes from a New York Baking Legend for Strudel, Stollen, Danishes, Puff Pastry, and More. And the title page adds the names “with Elaine Greenstein, Julia Greenstein and Isaac Bleicher” to that of George Greenstein. This is more than…

Eyewitness Travel Guides, Eyewitness Travel Guide Ireland

Eyewitness Travel Guide Ireland is one of a series of Eye Witness Travel Guides from DK Inc., better known as Dorling Kindersley. If you are at all familiar with the high quality of Dorling Kindersley books for children and adults, particularly the image-rich Eye Witness Guides, you’ll know what to…

Alison Bechdel, The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For

I was late discovering Dykes to Watch Out For, and the amazing Alison Bechdel. I heard about Dykes to Watch Out For from my friends, and at first, I thought Lois and Mo were fellow students of the women I met for coffee after our seminars. Instead, they were characters from…