When it’s mid-Winter and it’s really cold, I have a special fondness for curling up with a cup of tea or hot chocolate, and a great book. Whether you download a book to your e-reader, or enjoy the classic feel of a print book in your hands, reading books is a joy. Here are some new ones to savor, this season.
Wherever possible, I’m including a download link to books on amazon (of course you can get them elsewhere as well) so you can get what intrigues you, instantly.
Nom Nom Nom, Healthy Recipe Book:
Pinch of Nom: 100 Home-Style Recipes for Health and Weight Loss by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone (st. Martins Essentials April 2020) Will be eagerly awaited by fans of the UK food blog Pinch of Nom.
I wanted to love this book, and I did, in some ways.
But the recipes are really geared towards the UK with some ingredients that baffled me until I looked them up. For example, I’ve never heard of Quark, which I suppose is a dairy product something like Yogurt.
A lot of the recipes sound great, but they have a lot of tiny bits of ingredients you might not need again for a while. This always irritates me because I have limited room to freeze leftovers.
While a lot of the recipes are “homestyle” for the Brit (e.g. a Yorkshire Pudding Wrap) they may be less enticing for American tastes.
I tried the Lemon and Blueberry Baked Oats. It was mostly a fail. I followed the recipe, but the oats turned out way too crunchy and the amount of the serving so large I had to cut it in quarters.
That said, some of the recipes are really tasty and easy, such as the cheese twists, which might just show up at my next gathering.
A Book of Clever Quoate-ables:
One of my favorite books ever was the Viking Book of Aphorisms from 1997. In the short phrases are so much inspiration and wisdom.
Now I’ve discovered Civilization’s Quotations: Life’s Ideal by Richard Alan Krieger (Algora Publishing 2001). The author has curated more than 8,000 motivational maxims, from the likes of Grandma Moses, Buddha, Helen Keller, Confucius, Socrates, Frank Lloyd Wright, etc.
Pick any page and find a quote that will make you really think. Feast on ideas from ancient Chinese proverbs to Kahlil Gibran and even Grandma Moses.
Not every quote will be from someone you recognize, but the words themselves are powerful.
You don’t need tarot cards or a Ouija board to get a handle on what’s ahead. Just pick a topic (well organized in this book) and you’re on your way to enlightenment.
Read Book, Meditate, Find Happiness?
Is Meditation on your radar screen this year? Real Happiness: A 28-Day Program to Reality to Realize the Powder of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg ( Workman Publishing Company; January 7, 2020) could be a whole lot better than consulting your spirit animal.
All kidding aside, the author tries to break down what meditation is and how you can use it to use the practice to find personal happiness.
“If you can breathe you can meditate,” says the author (she has written 10 books on the topic). Maybe, but while it might take just a moment (and this book) to start meditating, it could take a lifetime to do it properly and well.
The audio version of this book has 10 downloadable, audio-guided meditations guided by the author. However, while I didn’t get the audiobook version, some on amazon.com didn’t care for the voice quality.
Note that the kindle version does not come with any audio CDs.
You may not be a master of meditation in 28 days, but the positive, encouraging tone of the book will send you on your way.
Gift-y Books For Millennials:
We all need a smile now and then. Two “gifty” books sure to tweak that sweet smile are Avocuddle: Comfort Words for When You’re Feeling Downbeet” and You are 24 Carrot Gold: Words of Love For Someone Who’s Worth Their Weight in Root Vegetables).
The page are full of corny food-oriented sentiments. Eg. from You Are 24 Carrot Gold ( I am SOY into you). From Avocuddle (Peas know how GRAPE you are). True, they’re “groaners” but they will make even a person with lots of issues, crack a tiny smile.
These books are a budget-friendly way to send a gift under $9. They’ll make cute Valentine’s Day offerings, too.
Advice For Millennials:
When you have a large Instagram following someone will publish your book.
That is definitely true for Brooke Barker & Boaz Frankel whose Sad Animal Facts Instagram account has 409K following (they only follow 455 people back).
If you are young and sort of clueless, Let’s Be Weird Together: A Book About Love by Brooke Barker & Boaz Frankel (Workman January 7, 2020) will tickle your small-ish funnybone.
Millennials prefer graphics to text, so the book is a trove of “cute” cartoons that will help you negotiate “life” as this adorable couple sees it.
Enter their world of “cute-ness” and in between some very common-sense advice and weird information (e.g. Can First Cousins Get Married Where You Live?) find obtuse graphics like this one: an alligator with the heading “Love Conquers Alligators.”
I didn’t get it. But I am not a millennial. Even the real-life couple is super cute. Be young, and cute. Read it in one sitting, then pass it on to a friend.
A “how-to” with the sort of advice your mom could give you, but you’d never listen to anyway, is $9 Therapy: Semi-Capitalist Solutions To Your Emotional Problems by Megan Reid & Nick Grene(Morrow Gift/Harper Collins February 11th, 2020).
The book offers “homespun” strategies to do everything from making “big girl” cocktails to #selfcare and how to make tomato sauce from one can of crushed tomatoes (please, no!).
The couple writing this book is billed as “brunch companions” and dub themselves “lifestyle gurus.” You can call yourself anything you want, especially when you have a large social media following.
He has a hipster beard, she wears hoop earrings and a red carpet pose. Adorable.
I can’t say that the content isn’t useful, it’s just…well…do you need to be told to throw out dead houseplants? More stuff like that?
If you need “millennial mom” to tell you how to do #adulting right, get $9 therapy (by the way, the book is $13).