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...

Stand Upon Stars in the American West

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 We Stood Upon Stars: Finding God in Lost Places by American author Roger W. Thompson, which was released as a trade paperback on May 2, with a selling price of $15.99. According to the back cover copy, Thompson “is a successful entrepreneur, collaborator, adventurer and writer” who “alongside his wife, travels, surfs, snowboards and fly-fishes – and is teaching his two young sons to do the same.” Raised in Ventura, California, Thompson takes readers on a journey throughout the American West as he recounts motorcycle rides with his grandfather and road trips with friends and family. Each chapter lovingly includes hand-drawn maps with animals and geographic details and highlights of where to acquire the best tacos and the best coffee along each route. Thompson notes the location of his favorite bookstores, fishing holes and fly shops on all these maps, which gives local flavor to each area he has traversed. According to the copyright page, all interior art is by Elain Thompson. She is not given any credit on the cover, which is unkind because her drawings add a personal spark to We Stood Upon Stars that would be noticeably missing without her artistic contributions. We Stood Upon Stars is not so much a...

‘Portrait Revolution’ is a Hand-held Art Gallery

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 Portrait Revolution: Inspiration from Around the World for Creating Art in Multiple Mediums and Styles by Julia L. Kay, which was released as a trade paperback on April 11. Kay herself is a gifted and established artist. She brought together hundreds of artists from around the world for a Portrait Party, in which the artists drew and painted one another’s portraits in different media and in different styles. Portrait Revolution features 450 of those very portraits from artists around the world. Portrait Revolution is laid out in sections, much like a museum or gallery, with a section for “Portraits by Media,” “Portraits by Style” and “Portraits by Theme” followed by “Featured Artists” and ending with “On Making Portraits” with a sprinkling of “Featured Subjects” throughout the book. “Featured Subjects” show a single artist captured by multiple artists on a two-page spread. Seeing individual works of the same person side-by-side is an interesting juxtaposition that allows the reader to fully immerse themselves in the featured portraits comprised of different mediums. I found it intriguing to see how individual artists approached the same model and captured his or her likeness. “On Making Portraits” is a gathering of quotes from the artists who participated in...

Foodies Will Drool Over Latest Edition of Roadfood

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 the tenth edition of Roadfood: An Eater’s Guide to More Than 1,000 of the Best Local Hot Spots & Hidden Gems Across America by Jane and Michael Stern, which was released as a trade paperback on March 7. Before Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives debuted on Food Network on April 23, 2007, there was Roadfood to show foodies the way to wonderful eateries across the country. The Sterns coined the term “roadfood” to describe regional cuisine they discovered while driving around America in the early 1970s. They compiled their suggestions into a series of books called Roadfood, the first of which was published in 1977. The Sterns have written more than 40 books including cookbooks, have won three James Beard Awards for their restaurant reviews, and have hosted gastronomic tours of Chicago and Austin as well as New England, New York and New Mexico. Roadfood is a 463-page culinary delight with a beautiful font that is easy to read. Some readers may need a magnifying glass as the font is smaller than most book fonts. The Sterns provide “Notes About Using This Book” to explain their choices of featured restaurants and the price breakdown used for every listing in the book....

A New Book Explains the Power of Women at Work

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 Own It by Sallie Krawcheck, which was released on January 17. Krawcheck is the CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, a digital financial advisor for women that launched in May 2016, chair of Ellevate Network, a global professional women’s networking group founded in 1997, and chair Of Pax Ellevate Management, which launched the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund in 2014. Krawcheck has worked for big Wall Street companies, sometimes being the only female in the room, in the past and has used her experiences as the basis for Own It. She truly does want to change the way women are viewed in the corporate business model of today and to change how women see themselves as compared to men. Krawcheck states in Own It that her approach is different because she wants women to stop trying to be like men and to just be women. Krawcheck’s writing style is upbeat and at times humorous. Her honesty about how she was treated at those big Wall Street firms shines through in her writing. I appreciated her candor. There were many times in the book though where I felt Krawcheck’s audience are women like her, those who are attempting to climb the corporate success...

An Unconventional Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

This year, Americans are estimated to spend $136.57 on Valentine’s Day gifts, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey. I am hoping that this amount is spent on something besides candy, cut roses, Pandora charms and giant stuffed bears because I think people can do way better than those clichéd gifts. It’s time to think outside the gift box! For introverted book lovers, give a year’s subscription to Amazon Kindle Unlimited. The book lover can check out ten books at a time from a collection of over one and a half million e-books. Remember to ask the new Kindle Unlimited fan what he or she is reading and pay full attention to the answer. A certain author or genre of particular interest can spark ideas for future gift-giving moments. For book lovers who enjoy talking about books with others, give the gift of a Little Free Library. It is truly a gift that will keep on giving. Give the new LFL steward a supply of books from thrift stores and secondhand bookstores, a collection of totes or a beautiful bookshelf to contain the library stash or accessories for the little library, such as twinkling fairy lights, on future gift-giving occasions. For techie geeks, give the latest techno gizmo he or she has been talking about or posting about on Facebook. Alternately, search crowdfunding sites to discover a cool start-up that mimics his or her interests and buy into the start-up in his or her name. The start-up will usually send supporters new product once production begins. Read up on tech items or search Google for future tech gift ideas....