English Country Cookbook has Mass Appeal

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. I was thrilled to finally review a cookbook. I grew up surrounded by cookbooks and have a deep appreciation for beautiful cookbooks with photographs of every dish that provide clear directions as well. The Cottage Kitchen: Cozy Cooking in the English Countryside by Marte Marie Forsberg is a masterful cookbooks that did not disappoint. Forsberg, born and raised in Norway, learned to cook from her mother. She traveled the world, learning new cooking techniques along the way, before she settled in the English countryside. Forsberg began her blog, The Cottage Kitchen, in order to chronicle her new countryside life. This is Forsberg’s stunning debut cookbook. The Cottage Kitchen includes an introduction telling Forsberg’s traveling and cooking journey. It is well-written and full of beautiful details. The cookbook is broken down into seasons, includes an introduction section for each season along with a list of recipes for each season. Forsberg focuses on using quality ingredients (some will be difficult to find outside of American metropolitan areas) and provides both metric and American measurements in her recipes, which takes the guesswork out of converting metric measurements. The photographs of each dish vary in setting and style; not every dish was depicted on the same table using the same dishes and place settings....

Art Professor Explains Foundations of Drawing

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is Foundations of Drawing: A Practical Guide to Art History, Tools, Techniques, and Styles by American artist Al Gury, who is a professor at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia (PAFA), which was released on June 13. Gury chairs the painting department at PAFA and has shown his works at several museums and galleries around the United States. Foundations of Drawing begins with Gury telling everyone why they need to buy and use his book. I was frankly turned off by this approach and, thus, struggled to finish reading Gury’s book as a result. At least there are redeeming qualities of the book that make up for this disappointing start. The cover of Foundations of Drawing is a gorgeous display of different drawing styles and is ultimately why I chose this book to review. The back cover copy is mediocre and does not tantalize readers. The body font is readable with a layout that is reminiscent of art textbooks, such as H.W. Janson’s History of Art. Gury covers the history of drawing, drawing with different drawing media, and drawing techniques. The absolute gems of Foundations of Drawings are the examples of different drawings throughout the book. Visually, these examples are like...

‘Leading Lady’ Delves Into a Long Hollywood Career

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. My latest book selection is Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker by Stephen Galloway, which was released as a hardback on April 25. Galloway, who lives in Los Angeles, is the executive features editor for the Hollywood Reporter. I really wanted to jump into and explore Leading Lady, which focuses on the career of Sherry Lansing, the former CEO of Paramount who is now a philanthropist. I struggled to even read this book. I honestly did not care one iota for the career exploits and the first world struggles of a Hollywood executive. With that said, Galloway is a good writer. He took a difficult subject and distilled it into a great story supported by 352 separate references. The front cover is rather boring and lacks the pizzazz of Hollywood. I am not sure as a reader if this is intentional; I feel like the cover should be more engaging. The body font is easy to read. The back cover copy is comprised of accolades from President Jimmy Carter, Meryl Streep and Michael Douglas. The information about Galloway on the inside back cover is limited to two small sentences that reveal little about the author. At $27 for the hardcover edition, Leading Lady...

Accepting Ourselves in a Material World

Fashion in the late 20th century was not a kind industry to the world at large. Consistently providing images of tall, super-skinny youth, the fashion industry does not typically showcase the differences of women’s bodies around the world in a positive and encouraging manner. Personally having grown up in the Vogue magazine shadows of lithe beauties such as German Claudia Schiffer, Canadian Linda Evangelista, Americans Claudia Mason and Michele Hicks, New Zealander Kylie Bax and Nederlander Esther de Jong, I was acutely aware I was as different from them as I was from the cheerleaders in my high school. Even blessed genetically with a high metabolism, a body proportionally balanced and the inability to sit still for more than 5 minutes, I did not resemble the images of the models in Vogue, a magazine I coveted in high school and college. The models all had gaps in their thighs, flat abdomens and long locks of hair. Breasts were either non-existence or perkily smallish. While I did not relate physically to the models in Vogue, I secretly loved looking at the clothing designs, the bright colors and bold patterns, the set locations in cities around the world and the confident attitude splashed throughout the photo spreads. The shoes alone were beautiful creations of cruelty requiring grace of movement and superb balance, which this born klutz simply does not possess despite years of gymnastic and tap dance lessons. At some point in college, I fell in love with my own body and embraced my curves, the lack of a gap between my muscular thighs and my perpetual pixie cut. As I became...

Physicist Explains the Science Behind Everyday Items

I am reviewing books through the Blogging for Books program in an effort to support my community’s Little Free Library, thus the addition of book reviews outside of the usual sexual health topics to Your Sexy Librarian postings. After being reviewed, the book gets stamped “Always a Gift, Never for Sale” and placed into a Little Free Library for others to enjoy. Guided by curiosity, my latest book selection is The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day by American physics professor and author James Kakalios, which was released on May 16, with a selling price of $26 for hardback. Kakalios is the Taylor Distinguished Professor in the school of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota and the author of The Physics of Superheroes. Kakalios graciously acknowledges Domenica Alioto in The Physics of Everyday Things for suggesting his new book “follow someone through a typical day.” Alioto “coined the term ‘narrative physics’ to describe the book’s structure.” Her proposal was spot-on and helps transition the book from one item to another in a seamless manner. The Physics of Everyday Things is an amazing foray into science that chronicles a person’s journey throughout his day, from that first cup of morning coffee to driving a car to taking an overnight business trip. This day of physics lesson is reminiscent of the Science television show How It’s Made as it encompasses the same style of knowledge appreciation. Without spoiling The Physics of Everyday Things for other readers, my favorite sections are about how credit cards and proximity cards (such as work identification badges and hotel room...