Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Find in catalogDo you like elephants? I do, & this book is peppered with details of the plights & lives of elephants in Africa, Asia (less so), and in sanctuaries in America. All this elephant lore is woven into the story line of a thirteen year old girl searching for her mother (an elephant researcher) who has gone missing for ten years. There is an unlikely cast of characters & some barely believable scenes, but its fiction, so why not?

The Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld

Find in catalogThe Voluptuous Vegan is not your simple cookbook. It is great for special occasions. Even if you don’t have the time or inclination to work with recipes that are a little more involved than what you might want to tackle after a working day, this cookbook is worth a good look for the inspiration alone. As well as inspirational and mouthwatering recipes, Myra Kornfield has included wonderful menu ideas, and notes on what can be easily made ahead. There is a chapter on soups, a chapter on desserts, and the “main course menu” chapter laid out with the menu, a little menu commentary, followed by each of the suggested menu recipes and menu notes. It is a really fun browse or even a read if you enjoy reading cookbooks the way I do.

“cream of the harvest soup” page 26 “lime-marinated cucumber spears” page 60 “mexicali tamales” page 86 “mushroom fill triangles with delicate-porcini sauce” page 110 “lemon pudding cake with blueberry glaze” page 262 And so on…

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Find in catalogThis book is about racism in America. It takes both a terrible and a somewhat informative look at racism from many sides and points of view, as well as from inside out, so to speak. White privilege is scrutinized to a degree and is an intricate part of this exploration. Some are going to love this book; some will hate it. I hope it begins honest conversations.

Orphan # 8, by Kin van Alkemade

Find in catalogThis historical novel begins when Rachel, the protagonist is about four years old in the early 1900s. The story follows Rachel through the many dramatic events in her life that lead to her growing up in a Jewish orphanage where she is separated from her brother and becomes the subject of medical research.
The story continues on through Rachel’s childhood, the side effects of the medical research, and the many other difficulties and successes she has in life and community.
In adulthood Rachel ends up nursing the doctor who preformed the medical research on her when she was a child.
The novel weaves in a lot of historical background of the times as well as bringing up many thought provoking philosophical and practical questions about the choices we each make, and about how we might respond to the possible choices we have.
Is revenge useful? Can we expect someone to acknowledge their misdeeds? In the end, we must rely on our own ability to accept our fate, heal our own emotional reactions to that fate.
Orphan # 8 was apparently inspired by a true story.

Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats From Around the World: Fantastic, Allergy-Free Ethnic Recipes by Allison Kramer

Find in catalogGreat photos, great recipes. This book has recipes for all sorts of things that I thought I would no longer have the pleasure of eating like crepes and empanadas. The fact that the recipes are both vegan and gluten free opens a whole new culinary world for some folks, because so often gluten free recipes are not vegan, full of eggs and dairy. Words really do the book no justice. Pick up the book and flip through the photos for inspiration. You will find favorites from around the world.

 

The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss

OFind in catalogur local author (Portland), Molly Gloss tells the tale of a young woman who breaks horses in Oregon, in the early parts of the of the twentieth century. The woman, Martha Lessen, is bringing forth a new gentler way of breaking horses while many of the male broncobusters are off at war. She seems to be quite successful at it. The story tells of the hard lives lived on the land in those times. It reveals connections made between folks thrown together in the community and a deep sense of horse love. Highly recommended.

The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati

Find in catalogThis is a fantastic read. It follows the lives of two woman, both doctors, in New York in the 1880s who work primarily with women and the poor. There is a bit of romance woven in, but mainly focuses on familial, social, racial, ethnic, religious, and feminist issues of the day, many relevant today, though expressed somewhat differently in present times. Some of the issues touched upon are abortion, contraception, women in the medical field, immigrants, mixed race within a family, poverty, as well as several more. I was enthralled. The characterization is rich. The family life enviable in the ways each person is embraced for who they are. The story lines are not all wrapped up in the end, which leaves room for a sequel.

 

Still Life by Louise Penny

Find in catalogThree Pines is the rural Canadian village where the death of a well respected resident soon becomes a murder investigation and everyone is a suspect.

In the village of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border in Quebec, we are introduced to Chief Inspector Armand Gamache , and a charming cast of village characters & police investigators who inhabit the 10 sequels Louise Penny has written to this lovely book.

Many of the characters in the book seemed like people I would like to know and with their various styles of quirks they seemed like they might just fit in on the streets of Eugene.

Louise Penny kept me buckled to the book with her character development, lovely writing style, and bits of geographical political history peppered throughout the book.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

The Invention of WingsWow, what a story, and in the end author’s notes you find the even sweeter jewel of information that the sisters Sarah & Angelina are based on real life characters, the first female abolitionist public speakers.

Sarah & Angelina Grimke are two of the 999 women who have made important contributions to history, names inscribed on the floor of Judy Chicago’s art installment, “The Dinner Party,” at the Brooklyn Museum, women often not recognized for their very real contributions.

The novel begins with young Sarah Grimke of Charleston South Carolina, already expressing unthinkable opinions in the early 1800s, refusing her gift of a slave hand maiden received on her 11th birthday.

And the novel takes off. It is a compelling read about the voices of the patriarchy in women’s lives and inside their own heads as well as how one woman came to terms with this over a lifetime.

The story is about slavery and the early thoughts of the abolitionists, which included freedom but did not extend to equality. The story is about sisters. The story is about family, family ties, personal longings, cruelty and greed, and so much more.

The story is told primarily through the voices of Sarah, and of Hetty or Handful as she was commonly known, the slave girl and later the grown woman, who was given as a gift to Sarah at her 11th birthday.

This is a fascinating tale with so many threads of thought and distressing history hidden in the plot. We are not spared the painful day to day life of the southern slave of the era, and even get a tiny bit of insight into various probable ways of looking at life’s daily pain inside that setting.

Sue Monk Kidd has done it again.

Reviewed by H.

Food in Jars: Preserving in small batches year-round by Marisa McClellan

Food in JarsThe lovely recipes in this book are all small batches, and the author takes you step-by-step through the process so that a novice can easily understand it and move easily through a recipe.

There are pickles and chutneys, salsas and jam, and more.

The author discusses safe canning practices, high acid and low acid, as well as altitude, cooking times, and yield, all the variables that might affect your outcome.

The photo illustrations alone were enough to lure me between the covers of the book, and then I got to reading the recipes.

I have always been somewhat intimidated by the canning process, but this book has the means to get me through that.

“Nearly Seedless Blackberry Sage Jam” here we come.

Reviewed by H