8 Great Books to Kick Of Summer Reading, Relaxing, Gifting
by Alison Blackman
You’ve been invited for the weekend. Instead of another predictable bottle of wine, bring something more lasting, like a gift book!
And whether you’re traveling, or just relaxing, there are great books to be discovered!
Included are direct links to Amazon, but you can also get them other places should you choose.
The opinions expressed in this Book Roundup are my own. I’d very much welcome yours!
Coffee Table Books
If you are visiting Cape Cod this Summer, you absolutely must bring your host/hostess a copy of the new book Cape Cod and the Islands Where Beauty and History Meet 2nd Edition Paintings & Text by Kathryn Kleekamp. (Schiffer Publishing 2017). It’s a lovely way to remember your vacation in Cape Cod, be an armchair traveler, or just enjoy the beauty of the scenery and the paintings.
At $35, it’s cheaper than a half-decent bottle of wine and will delight your weekend host/hostess along with future guests.
This coffee-table sized book is not just a book about the beauty, history, and delights of the Cape Cod area, it’s also a showcase for 50 photos of artist Kathryn Kleekamp’s original oil paintings of land and sea. with accompanying text.
Not everyone will have the chance to visit this picturesque area, but the book gives you a very good idea of what you’re missing.
There are also some fairly easily and truly delicious recipes from the area including some of my favorites: lobster bisque, classic oyster stew golden scallops with pineapple-ginger sauce.
I vividly remember meeting Gabriela Hernandez, the founder, and CEO of Bésame Cosmetics many years ago, dressed in retro-chic with flawless makeup, promoting her (then new) cosmetics line of delightful retro cosmetics.
Classic Beauty The History of Makeup 2nd Edition by Gabriela Hernandez (Schiffer Publishing Ltd. 2017) like her makeup line, is so amazingly fun! The coffee-table sized colorfully illustrated history of facial beauty ideals and the evolution of cosmetics from ancient times and offers product development timelines and color-correct vintage palettes for each decade, from the 1920s to today, as well as corresponding application guide.
The history of the ancients to the 1900’s is fascinating, but I had such fun time looking at the makeup styles and cosmetics ads, from the 1920’s through 1990’s (and beyond). Highlights of the decades, fashions, even how-to create the face/eyes/lips makeup or each era is included. A detailed timeline in the back will teach you more about cosmetics than you ever thought possible.
It’s a treasure-trove of amusement, information, inspiration and a fabulous resource for anyone who loves makeup, history, fashion, or who wants to wear “vintage” It’s also really quite a bargain at $50!
Everyone has a different idea of what beauty is, but Gorgiality by Photographer/Director/multi-media artist
The stunning color photographs in this oversized, suede-covered coffee table book may not showcase traditional beauty, but they demonstrate that every woman is “an inspiration.”
The stunning color photographs in this book makes you look within yourself to see where your own “Gorgiality” (a term coined by Sabag for how to view beauty), resides.
The book is hardcover and is $45 Profits from the book sales will be donated to the Look Good Feel Better Foundation.helping people with cancer cope with the appearance side effects of their treatment. Get the book for yourself, for gifts–it’s a great idea!
Adult Coloring Books
Adult coloring books are a “thing” and some say they help to reduce stress.
Butterfly Mandalas and Positively Inspired are two new coloring books for adults from author/Illustrator Jess Volinski (Design Originals 2017). She creates designs to color that are”happy, colorful, and fun to make you smile.
Along with a bit of a color wheel lesson from Volinski, you get 30+ pages of (mostly very easy) coloring fun, with positive messages.
These are the types of “affirmations” that people put on their refrigerators to remind them to “have a happy day” but snickering aside, coloring in designs with positive, inspirational sayings (e.g. stay strong” or “Have a Happy Day’) can actually have an effect on a person’s mood. That’s not bad at all!
For those who find selecting the right colors just too stressful, the author gives you clues about what colors might be appropriate, but go do your own thing and feel good about it!
At under $10 they make a nice gift for someone who is not feeling well, for your weekend hostess, or just to try and relax. You can frame them as the paper is archival-grade, acid-free, 200-year paper. Perforated pages detach easily for gifting or display.
The Metal Cats Coloring Book by Alexandra Crockett illustrations by Chuck Gonzales (PowerHouse Books, July 2017) will answer the question:”do metal musicians love cats?” The answer is YES! Skulls and Siamese kittens do mix well.
This cute and clever adult coloring book features 30 original drawings that show the true personality of some of your favorite metal musicians in ways you’ll never expect to see them — loving their cats!
Based on the photographs of the book Metal Cats, the music men and their meow-ers are shown together. The musicians are from bands like Black Goat, Thrones, Isis, Lightning Swords of Death, Book of Black Earth, Skarp, Harassor, Akimbo, Aldebaran, Atriarch, Oak, Ghoul, Ludicra, Holy Grail, Xasthur, Cattle Decapitation, Murder Construct, Exhumed, Morbid Angel, Municipal Waste, Skeletonwitch, Gypsyhawk, Nausea, Phobia, and Napalm Death, along with many others.
I didn’t know the musicians and they’re not labeled so if you’re not already a fan you might feel a bit lost. Also, the coloing book drawings are taken from the Metal Cats book and aren’t very finely detailed (get the book Metal Cats and you’ll see all the hilarious photos) but no matter, the metalheads and their personalities shine through. For fans, it will be fun to personalize and it’s the quirkiest coloring book I have seen for adults, yet!
If you don’t look carefully at the cover and liner notes and just start reading the book, you might believe that the young tennis player in Trophy Son by Douglas Brunt (St. Martin’s Press 2017) is a real person. He’s fictional, but his character could very likely be that of a real athlete.
The story follows prodigy Anton Stratis from an isolated childhood of grueling tennis practice under the eye of his overbearing father, to his dramatic rise through the competitive world of professional tennis, with all the joys, sorrows and consequences that follow.
The rigorous training schedule Anton describes makes him an isolated, lonely, socially immature and unhappy teenager and young adult. As he rockets to stardom, he is forced to make sacrifices that leave him somewhat morally bankrupt (e.g. performance enhancing drugs) and wondering what his life will be after his tennis career is over.
The dialogue is peppered with actual “famous names” in the tennis world, but it’s not really a book about the sport of tennis as much as it is about how much pressure someone might endure to make it to the top, an entire family consumed by one person’s career, a young man wondering if it’s all worth it, and a book that has a happy ending that’s also a beginning. It’s well written, and fascinating. A great travel or beach read.
I started my online career in 1997 but worked with computers way before that. In this, author Jess Kimball Leslie and I have something in common. We remember when “mobile phones” needed a suitcase (literally) a Palm Pilot was a status symbol and using code to write a simple text letter saved to a large floppy disk.
Reading I Love My Computer Because My Friends Live In It: Stories From an Online Life by Jess Kimball Leslie (Running Press 2017) was so much fun It was a walk down memory lane for me. It will delight anyone who has been around long enough to remember the earlier days of “tech” when there wasn’t any Facebook and smartphones weren’t so genius yet.
The book is really witty and a fast read (I read it on the beach in Cancun in a sitting) but it’s also a commentary on the way we use social media and technology. I loved it!