Maybe it’s the change of seasons, but I found myself with a lot of pitches for books that dealt with mental and emotional issues. I am sure that these books can be very helpful to those who need inspiration. But I wanted to be more upbeat for Spring 2023 book suggestions. However, I included two books that focus on healing and moving forward from trauma. You never know when something you believed could never happen to you, does. On a lighter note, How to Write Erotica, a book of important and interesting women of color, two cookbooks, and a beautiful novel about memories of life in India as “The Raj” was fading. Find a book and get some great “me” time reading.
*note: I can’t write book reviews by saying everything I read is super fabulous. Honestly, in this review, I liked some of the books more than others. It’s my personal opinion, but I also try to show where there are benefits to taking the time to read them. It’s up to you, the reader, to figure out if I did a good and balanced job.
How to Write Erotica
Did you ever read a sexy romance novel and thought ” I could do this too?” Well, you can! How to Write Erotica by Author Rachel Kramer Bussel (Cleis Press (February 14, 2023) gives you all the information you need. Along with a lot of food for thought, there are snippets of steaming erotic writing to enjoy.
Not everyone has a fertile imagination, but those who do can make a nice chunk of change from this style of writing. The author lays out the good, bad, and squirmy in step-by-step instructions including some pretty steaming erotic excerpts (don’t give this book to the kids)!
She also has interviews with successful erotica authors who started out just as you might today or tomorrow, putting “pen to paper” for the first time. You don’t have to be Jane Austen or J.K Rowling to be successful. It isn’t a genre I plan to write books in, but I found How to Write Erotica highly informative and entertaining. You might be so inspired that your book(s) will be reviewed here on advicesisters.com. Ready to dip your pen into some erotic ink? To get started, Buy The Book.
Life in India Before and After the Raj
Love the Dark Days by Ira Mathur (Peepal Tree Press, September 2022) is an unusual novel about a woman working with a writer on a book centered on her family and past life writing a book about her early life in India. The girl “Poppet” is a child of mixed middle-class Hindu and Elite Muslim parents. It is Poppet’s grandmother who takes care of her as a young girl along with her even younger sister.
Eventually, her family leaves India and moves to Trinidad–three generations of women. Poppet’s family is privileged but fractured by religion and values. I found some of the behavior shocking but not unexpected for the time when “the empire” was changing and yet the family focuses on past glories and regal associations. Through a series of events, Poppet meets and shares her manuscript of home and family with Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott. He acts both as mentor and therapist, guiding her novel to its fruition. Author Ira Mathur It’s an interesting and nicely written story, captivating to the end. Buy the Book.
Our Brave Foremothers by Rozella Kennedy (Workman Publishing Company (April 11, 2023)) is a colorful book with colorful characters celebrating accomplished women. Actually, the book focuses only on black, brown, Asian, and Indigenous women. You may not have heard of many of these ladies, but they all did something significant. The Illustrations by Joelle Avelino are eye-catching and well-done. The prose is simple, and I think, mostly meant to inspire young women of color. A nice touch is a suggestion of something the reader can do along the inspiring lines of each woman’s bio.
However, after reading the entire book from start to finish, I began to feel I start to feel a bit exhausted from the subtle and not-so-subtle attacks on one group of people. What happened in the past shaped these women, for sure. They suffered for sure. But “back then” some of the social issues that distress us today were just part of life. That doesn’t make it good, but the political correctness in the book felt more like brainwashing. Young women are impressionable. So, to use a word I don’t like to use often, Our Brave Foremothers seemed overly “woke” and one-sided. That’s a pity because learning about these awesome women could have been told with more balance focusing on the historical facts, instead of as an exercise in political correctness.
Two Cookbooks to Try
Ooodles of Noodles
There is nothing more comforting than a steaming bowl of Japanese noodles on a cold day (or cold ones on a hot day). Therefore, I was excited to see The Ultimate Japanese Noodles Cookbook: Amazing Soba, Ramen, Udon, Hot Pot, and Japanese Pasta Recipes by Masahiro Kasahara (Tuttle Publishing (May 3, 2022). I couldn’t wait to get started making some of these recipes. As a bonus, the author offers an interesting background about each noodle type and its role in Japanese cuisine. Also, there are suggestions for appetizers that go well with noodles. If you have leftovers, there is information about that as well.
I realize that you May need some ingredients that you might not find in your local grocery store. And, to be honest, a lot of these recipes are labor-intensive. You can boil water and make plain noodles in minutes! Most recipes have you doing a lot of dicing, slicing, and following several steps.
On the other hand, make a big pot of Udon and you can enjoy it more than once. If you are a Japanese noodle fan and can’t find places to eat them in your area, this book can and will fulfill all your noodle dreams. Buy the book
Rachael’s Good Eats: Easy, Laid-Back, Nutrient-Rich Recipes by Rachel DeVaux (St. Martins Griffin April 18, 2023) will be officially published by the time this book review is ready for your viewing.
I was so excited to get an advance hardcover copy as this popular influencer and author is all about good food and healthy living. She is also a fitness trainer. I can’t find any fault at all with the recipes, the directions, or the lovely photographs. Except… many of the recipes seemed a bit labor-intensive or have a long string of ingredients. To me, that isn’t quick and easy. Also, I was really surprised that no calorie or nutritional information is added.
I didn’t love the recipes, but that’s just my personal taste. I know that lots of people will find it fab, especially for vegetarian and super healthy recipes. If you’re you are going gluten-free, or are on a special diet, the recipes could be a real boon to what might be otherwise boring meals. If you want to eat healthier, don’t let me dissuade you from checking it out. Buy the book.
Two Books About Trauma (and getting over it)
Healing from Trauma by Forgiving
Geoff Thompson has written over 40 books. This one was just published on April first. Geoff was sexually abused by a trusted teacher at an early age. He carried his shame and anger inside until as a 30-year-old adult he began to sublimate his rage into violence, sexual self-harm, and debilitating depression. He tried but failed to find a way to handle his issues, but finally had to look for the answers, himself.