Lazy Days of Summer can seem very long if the weather isn’t cooperating. If your plans are ruined by rain or delayed flights, there will be no boredom if you add some of these books to your Summer reading list. Just pick up your Kindle, or E-reader and download the titles that intrigue you. Better yet, a hard copy of a book to enjoy and pass on to someone else. Watch the hours fly by!
These Women Will Wow You!
What’s the definition of a superwoman? You’ll find out by reading Antarctic Pioneer: The Trailblazing Life of Jackie Ronne by Joanna Kafarowski (Dundurn Press, May 2022). Jackie was an ordinary American woman whose life changed forever after marrying rugged Antarctic explorer Finn Ronne. She took on the role of a traditional housewife, but she also fully participated in her husband’s zeal for discovery. They not only planned together, but they also went on discovery quests together. She went with her husband on the Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition From 1946–1948 and was the first working American female member of an antarctic expedition.
Jackie Ronne dedicated her life to Antarctica. She helped shape the narrative of 20th-century Antarctic exploration. She participated fully in her husband’s life, work, and expeditions, handling more than most women could possibly dream of. At home, she still did the laundry, cooking, etc. Her husband got the accolades and Jackie was pretty much forgotten, until now. Buy this Book
When Jackie Kennedy got married she wore a dress by black designer Anne Lowe. At the time of the 1953 wedding, there was predictably lots of interest in Jackie’s dress, but no mention at all of Anne. There have been other books about Anne Lowe, but this is the latest one. By Her Own Design: A Novel of Ann Lowe, Fashion Designer to the Social Register by Piper Huguley (William Morrow June 2022).
You couldn’t have believed this if you didn’t know it was a fact not fiction. That is, the captivating story of Anne Lowe and her famous clients and the creation of “that dress.”
Anne, the granddaughter of slaves, elevated herself with hard work and struggle. She became a favorite designer of socialites in the South. However, in 1953 Less than a week before the Kennedy wedding, a pipe burst in her dress shows ruining 11 dresses including the wedding dress. Ms. Lowe and her seamstresses rose to the occasion to create a dress as iconic as Princess Diana’s. This is a story of self-empowerment and you’ll love it! Get this Book
Woman through the Ages by Ann Merivale (John Hunt Publishing 2022) is 754 paperback pages. It’s a beefy read which will keep you busy for weeks maybe months if you are a slow and careful reader. The author is a deep-memory process therapist who shares her past lives in various periods. This is a truly beefy read for those who want their books to last past the weekend or the week. There are no photos to distract you.
While I found the sheer size daunting, you can indulge in one piece at a time. For those who need to know, Deep Memory Process DMP® “combines the influences of Jungian active imagination, bodywork from William Reich, Moreno’s psychodrama with shamanic/spirit journeying, and integration between lifetimes derived from the Buddhist bardo wisdom of The Tibetan Book of the Dead.”
It is a strange book in many ways. But it captivated me enough to keep reading. The stories are vibrantly portrayed and quite revealing and fascinating. If you’re looking for a book to invest your time in for a longer haul, Woman Through the Ages could be the one you are looking for. Buy This Book
Cookbooks for Summer Reading:
I love country fairs and have won my share of blue ribbons for jellies and jams. But I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened the book Country FairNostalgic Blue Ribbon Recipes From America’s Small Towns by Liza Gershman (Images Publishing Dist Ac, 2021). The photographs are nostalgic and memorable and the food looks mouth-wateringly good with about 80 blue ribbon-winning recipes.
A lot of these items are for those with a sweet tooth. Fortunately, most look easy (or deceptively easy) to make. You don’t get to win a blue ribbon unless you can present your product perfectly and it tastes better than anyone else’s. There are tips for stocking your kitchen and some easy basics to make such as different types of frosting and glazes.
I love country fairs, especially since I’m a multi-blue ribbon winner (shameless promotion, I know!). If you are someone who doesn’t really like spending time in the kitchen, just enjoy the beautiful photographs of days gone by, happy children, and lots and lots of things you’d love to have on your plate. I envy the judges who got to award the blue ribbons to these cooks. *click the amazon logo to get this book.
Who doesn’t love Italian food? But Italian street food is another thing you might not know about. Italian Street Food: Recipes from Italy’s Bars and Hidden Laneways by Paola Bacchia (Smith Street Books, 2022) shows people doing what they’d typically do in real life–eat food on the street or from carts. The book takes you on a photograph tour (with recipes) of everything from iconic Italian Gelato, pizza, and panini, to sweets, sauces, meat, and more. Not everything might appeal to you but I can’t wait to try the Potato Croquettes (Crochette di Patate)
To be truthful, a lot of the dishes didn’t particularly appeal to my taste. There is a lot of fried food. However, this is a beautiful book. As with the Blue Ribbon Recipes, they will be fun to try. It’s Summer so get the guests together and cook an Italian feast! *click the amazon logo to get this book.
Air fryers are the trendiest appliance around. But once you get yours home, what are you going to do with it? The answer might just be to get the new I Love My Air Fryer Three-Step Recipe book by Michelle Fagone of Covergirl cuisine.com (Adams Media June 2022). Inside you’ll find really easy and quick recipes to use your air fryer from morning to noon to night.
If there is a downside it’s that the basic pre-heat time listed is always 3 minutes. However, in my tests, the air fryer took a lot longer to heat up. Also depending upon the size of your air fryer and how it is configured, you maybe not be able to make the recipe. This could be because you need a certain size pan. You can use some of these recipes using your oven, although the cook times will vary. That said, for many people, an air fryer is a perfect and quick way to make healthier meals.
Three steps and you’re done? I’m all over it. The prep times and all the basic information about servings and calories are included, With 175 recipes including vegetarian items, it’s a great place to start using your air fryer. Buy this Book
Tempting Summer Reading for Travel Fans:
Tokyo Up Late byis not just a cookbook. The focus of this charming hardcover book is the nighttime, not on the traditional gardens and temples. It’s all about what and where Japanese people eat after dark when the day is done. In fact, you could consider it a bit of a gourmand’s travel diary.
The author recounts places where the real folk go before the last train home, or to shake off the tensions of the day. As the sun sets, the neon lights of Tokyo flicker to life: hidden restaurants and bars come alive. Sights and sounds of nightlife fill the air. You may not have all of a Japanese pantry’s essentials, but most are available online. The photographs are beautiful, even if some of the dishes don’t appeal to you or seem impossible to make.
The author doesn’t just write about the recipes, he really writes poetically about the experiences you would have if you visited some of these places after dark. While I found the book fascinating, the recipes themselves have a fair amount of exotic ingredients and require some prep work to make at home. However, there is a recipe for pork buns that I’d love to try since I can’t get them easily where I live anymore. This is a great host/hostess gift for your friend who can’t get enough of Japan or anyone intrigued by different cultures. *click the amazon logo to get this book.
I love Paris in the Springtime…so goes the classic song. However, I love Paris all year. So I was excited to read Sacred Paris: A Guide to the Churches, Synagogues, and the Grand Mosque in the City of Light by Susan Cahill (St. Martin’s Griffin (April 2022). This paperback guide to religious institutions (mostly churches and a few synagogues and a mosque) in Paris could have been stellar. To be sure, there is a lot of information about a lot of places to visit. But attention to detail is sorely lacking.
It is an interesting guidebook, but I have a few issues: The photos were disappointing in grainy black and white. Also disappointing was although the author mentions the metro stops, it would have been nice to add little maps. Since many of the sacred places are a bit off the beaten path for newbies to Paris, maps would have been helpful. Also, I cringed when I saw the photo of Notre Dame, a pre-catastrophic fire. Although it isn’t pretty to see all the scaffolding, that’s the reality of what you’ll encounter as a visitor. In fact, as of 2022, you cannot even visit the interior. Why not make this clear?
It’s a difficult job to suggest every single religious building in a big city like Paris. So I give thumbs up to the author for including for those who love visiting religious edifices, plenty of small and less famous ones. I just wish that there were maps and better photos. Get This Book
Summer Reading for Fantasy and Romance Fans:
I remember being fascinated by King Arthur and the Nights of the Roundtable when I read my first beautifully illustrated book about the fabled King. Now there’s a new book beautifully that does a deep dive into the legend and all the fables. I loved The Great Book of King Arthur & His Knights of the Roundtable by John Matthews with illustrations by John Howe (Harper Design, June 2002).
If you are new to the stories of King Arthur and Merlin, Lancelot and Guinevere, Galahad, Gawain, Tristan, and the rest of the Knights of the Roundtable, and the search for the Holy Grail you will not be able to put this book down. However, if you read these stories in the past, the story will come alive for you once again. The legend was born when an obscure 9th Century Celtic hero named Arthur generated tales that were passed down by storytellers and that would be inscribed some 900 years later by Thomas Malory in his classic Morte D’Arthur (The Death of Arthur).
The author, John Matthews has studied the legends of King Arthur for a lifetime. Included are some even earlier tales of Arthur. Since this new book uses more contemporary prose, people of all ages will find it a beefy but fairly easy read. The beautiful hardbound book is one to pass down to future generations or to gift to a curious pre-teen/teen/adult. Get This Book
Do you love reading romance novels? Well, we do get a lot of books from this genre to review. I particularly liked A Daring Pursuit by Kate Bateman (May 2002 St. Martin’s paperback). Advicesisters.com only reviewed this Regency romance, book 2 of a “Ruthless Rivals” trilogy. The Davies and Montgomery families have been locked in a feud for a long time, but that’s not the only story here.
Carys Davies in her power to avoid marriage. Staying single is the only way to hide the secret that could harm her and her family. She tries to be carefree and perhaps scandalous. However, there is one man who sees right through her. That’s Tristan Montgomery, one of her family’s rivals. Without giving away too much, Tristan and Carys enter into an indecent proposal for one week. But that one week might change the course of their lives forever. The book has more of an interesting plot than others. I read it through and enjoyed every minute. Buy this book.