Library staff warmed up their colleagues with crockpot recipes this November at our staff Slow Cooker Showdown. Four indulgent recipes were offered up for tasting and voting by the library staff: Crock pot hot chocolate, Chicken and dumplings, Mexican lime soup with shredded chicken, and Curried butternut squash soup (vegan). It was a close call, but Mexican lime soup, created by children’s librarian LeAnna, won the coveted traveling trophy. It was a SOUP-er good day!
Dice the onion, celery, and jalapeño (scrape the seeds out of the jalapeño before dicing). Mince the garlic. Add the onion, celery, jalapeño, garlic, and olive oil to a large soup pot and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the chicken breast, chicken broth, diced tomatoes with chiles (with juices), oregano, and cumin to the pot. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and bring the broth up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the pot simmer for 45 minutes.
After simmering for 45 minutes, carefully remove the chicken breast from the pot and use two forks to shred the meat. Return the shredded meat to the pot. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the soup (2-3 Tbsp juice).
Rinse the cilantro and then roughly chop the leaves. Add the chopped cilantro to the soup, give it a quick stir, then serve. Slice the avocado and add a few slices to each bowl.
Get ready to deck the halls and cozy up with a cup of cocoa because the library is spreading holiday cheer with a delightful collection of Hallmark Christmas movies on DVD! Whether you’re a sucker for heartwarming romances or enchanted by the spirits merry and bright. Dive into the enchanting world of Hallmark Christmas movies with our selection, featuring three delightful tales that capture the essence of the season.
Check Inn to Christmas
Julie Crawley, a determined lawyer eyeing a promotion, takes a holiday break in her hometown, Crestridge, Colorado. There, she reconnects with Ryan Mason, a fellow Crestridge native, sparking a romance. Both families are locked in a feud over prime property, threatened by the looming Edgestone Corporation’s plans for a modern resort. As Julie and Ryan’s love grows, they hatch a plan to unite their families and save their community from corporate takeover, blending romance, holiday spirit, and a dash of business savvy in this heartwarming tale. Can they bridge the gap and secure a future where love triumphs over rivalry?
Director: Sam Irvin; Cast: Rachel Boston, Wes Brown, Richard Karn, Christopher Cousins; Runtime: 1 hr. 24 min.
Christmas Comes Twice
Cheryl Jenkins, Deputy Director at the Federal Science Association in Washington DC, reflects on a pivotal decision five years ago that derailed her dreams of becoming an astronomer. During her Christmas visit to Wellsboro, she mysteriously travels back in time to that fateful week, aiming to reshape her past decisions. With the chance to fix a disastrous date, guide her sister’s career, and avoid meeting her current boss, Cheryl navigates the complexities of altering her past while cherishing moments with her mentor. As she attempts to forge a different future, Cheryl discovers new perspectives on relationships and life’s unexpected turns.
Director: Michael M. Scott; Cast: Tamera Mowry-Housley, Michael Xavier, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Zarrin Darnell-Martin; Runtime: 1 hr. 24 min.
Jules Cooper, a thriving New York businesswoman, inherits ‘Christmas Land,’ her late Grandmother Glinda’s enchanting Christmas-themed village. Faced with the choice of selling to a real estate tycoon or revitalizing the magical haven, Jules encounters Tucker Barnes, the charismatic lawyer managing the estate. As she navigates the complexities of decisions in both life and love, Jules discovers the transformative power of Christmas Land and the potential for magic in her own life during this heartwarming holiday tale.
Director: Sam Irvin; Cast: Nikki Deloach, Luke Macfarlane, Jason-Shane Scott, Maureen McCormick; Runtime: 1 hr. 24 min.
12 Gifts of Christmas
Anna, a struggling painter facing financial challenges, lands an unexpected job as a personal Christmas shopper for Marc, a rigid corporate executive. Through their collaboration, Marc discovers the true essence of Christmas giving, realizing it’s about the thought behind the gift rather than its cost. Simultaneously, Anna finds unexpected success as an artist, exploring a path she never anticipated. In this heartwarming tale, both characters undergo transformative journeys that extend beyond the holiday season.
Director: Peter Sullivan; Cast: Katrina Law, Aaron O’Connell, Donna Mills, Melanie Nelson; Runtime: 1 hr. 23 min.
Christmas in Love
In the quaint town bakery famous for its Christmas Kringles, aspiring crafter Ellie Hartman finds herself at odds with the new CEO, Nick Carlingson, whose modernization plans could jeopardize jobs. Assigned to teach Nick the art of making Kringles, Ellie aims to prove that success lies in the people, not machines. As their paths intertwine and Ellie grapples with her entrepreneurial dreams, she discovers the warmth and kindness in her community. However, a glimpse of Nick’s automation plans on his laptop leads to feelings of betrayal. When Nick reveals his future ideas, Ellie faces a choice—whether to trust him and take a leap of faith in pursuing her own dreams.
Director: Don McBrearty; Cast: Brooke D’Orsay, Daniel Lissing, Mary-Margaret Humes, David Keeley; Runtime: 1 hr. 24 min.
With Love, Christmas
Melanie Welch, a diligent producer at Farnsworth Advertising Agency, is vying for a promotion as Creative Director, with colleague Donovan Goodwin as a contender. Despite Donovan’s indifference to Christmas, they’re tasked with creating a heartwarming ad for a crucial client. Complicating matters, Melanie draws Donovan’s name for the office’s Secret Santa, leading her to explore his preferences through a fake email. Unbeknownst to her, Donovan is in a similar situation, harboring feelings for Melanie. As they collaborate, their connection deepens, culminating in a heartwarming Christmas ad idea inspired by Melanie’s family festivities. In the process, they exchange meaningful gifts, revealing their growing understanding of each other.
In the bustling Manhattan department store of McGuire’s, ambitious Sloan Van Doren competes with laid-back Jake Dooley for the coveted role of the next window dresser during the festive Christmas season. Tasked with creating captivating storefront windows, their rivalry intensifies as they vie for the attention of passersby, and a silent but mutual attraction blossoms. Complicating matters is Sloan’s well-to-do boyfriend, Kenneth, who fails to grasp the significance of the job. Amid the contest, McGuire’s veteran window washer Mac and spirited bathroom attendant Rita add their own romantic subplot. In this holiday tale, love is in the air, but unexpected twists challenge the outcome of the love triangle.
Director: Michael M. Scott; Cast: Chyler Leigh, Paul Campbell, Naomi Judd, Terence Kelly; Runtime: 1 hr. 26 min.
Looks Like Christmas
In a heartwarming holiday tale, two type-A single parents find themselves in a spirited competition for control of the Christmas holiday festivities at their children’s middle school. As they clash over organizing the perfect celebration, what begins as a fierce rivalry turns into an unexpected journey of self-discovery and a realization of the true meaning of Christmas. Amid the joyful chaos, both parents open themselves up to the possibility of a new romance, discovering that the magic of the season extends far beyond the battle for holiday supremacy.
Director: Terry Ingram; Cast: Anne Heche, Dylan Neal, Sean Michael Kyer, Farryn VanHumbeck; Runtime: 1 hr. 24 min.
In this enchanting Christmas tale, Isobel Gray’s meticulously planned storybook holiday with her boyfriend takes an unexpected turn when he goes AWOL, leaving her alone in Fall River, Oregon. Armed with a Christmas bucket list filled with cherished traditions, Isobel finds herself entangled in a tempting new romance with Jamie Houghton, a charming local contractor and volunteer fireman. As Isobel navigates the challenges of completing her festive checklist, she begins to question whether Brett, her absent boyfriend, is truly “the one.” Will Isobel find a White Christmas ending under the mistletoe, or is a new chapter of love waiting to unfold in this perfect Christmas town?
Director: Paul A. Kaufman; Cast: Alicia Witt, Gabriel Hogan, Peter Benson, Wanda Cannon; Runtime: 1 hr. 24 min.
As the calendar turns to October 2023, it brings with it a harvest of exciting new young adult books, each offering a gateway to captivating realms, relatable characters, and thought-provoking narratives. Get ready to discover the next compelling chapter in YA literature! Put one (or more) on hold today.
A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber
Evangeline Fox ventured to the Magnificent North in search of her happy ending, and it seems as if she has it. She’s married to a handsome prince and lives in a legendary castle. But Evangeline has no idea of the devastating price she’s paid for this fairytale. She doesn’t know what she has lost, and her husband is determined to make sure she never finds out . . . but first he must kill Jacks, the Prince of Hearts.
Zhara by S. Jae-Jones
Magic is forbidden throughout the Morning Realms. Magicians are called abomination, and blamed for the plague of monsters that razed the land twenty years before.
Jin Zhara already had enough to worry about—appease her stepmother’s cruel whims, looking after her blind younger sister, and keeping her own magical gifts under control—without having to deal with rumors of monsters re-emerging in the marsh. But when a chance encounter with an easily flustered young man named Han brings her into contact with a secret magical liberation organization called the Guardians of Dawn, Zhara realizes there may be more to these rumors than she thought. A mysterious plague is corrupting the magicians of Zanhei and transforming them into monsters, and the Guardians of Dawn believe a demon is responsible.
In order to restore harmony and bring peace to the world, Zhara must discover the elemental warrior within, lest the balance between order and chaos is lost forever.
When You Wish Upon a Star by Elizabeth Lim
“Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight . . . ” so begins the wish that changes everything—for Geppetto, for the Blue Fairy, and for a little puppet named Pinocchio. The Blue Fairy isn’t supposed to grant wishes in the small village of Pariva, but something about this one awakens some long-buried flicker within. Perhaps it’s the hope she senses beneath the old man’s loneliness.
Or maybe it’s the fact that long ago, before she was the Blue Fairy, she was a young woman named Chiara from this very village, one with a simple wish: to help others find happiness. Her sister Ilaria always teased her for this, for she had big dreams to leave their sleepy village and become a world-renowned opera singer. The two were close, despite their differences. While Ilaria would give anything to have a fairy grant her wish, Chiara didn’t believe in the lore for which their village was famous.
Forty years later, Chiara, now the Blue Fairy, defies the rules of magic to help an old friend. But she’s discovered by the Scarlet Fairy, formerly Ilaria, who, amid a decades-long grudge, holds the transgression against her sister. They decide to settle things through a good old-fashioned bet, with Pinocchio and Geppetto’s fate hanging in the balance.
Will the sisters find a way back to one another? Or is this, like many matters of the heart, a gamble that comes with strings?
The Isles of Gods by Amie Kaufman
When Selly’s father leaves her high and dry in the port of Kirkpool, she has no intention of riding out the winter on land while he sails to adventure in the north seas. But any plans to follow him are dashed when a handsome stranger with tell-tale magician’s marks on his arm boards her ship, presenting her and the crew with a dangerous mission: to cross the Crescent Sea without detection so he can complete a ritual on the sacred Isles of the Gods. What starts as a leisure cruise will lead to acts of treason and sheer terror on the high seas, bringing two countries to the brink of war, two strangers closer than they ever thought possible and stirring two dangerous gods from centuries of slumber…
Champion of Fate by Kendare Blake
Behind every great hero is an Aristene.
Aristene are mythical female warriors, part of a legendary order. Though heroes might be immortalized in stories, it’s the Aristene who guide them to victory. They are the Heromakers.
Ever since she was an orphan taken in by the order, Reed has wanted to be an Aristene. Now, as an initiate, just one challenge stands in her way: she must shepherd her first hero to glory on the battlefield. Succeed, and Reed will take her place beside her sisters. Fail, and she’ll be cast from the only home she’s ever known.
Nothing is going to stop Reed–until she meets her hero. Hestion is fiery and infuriating, but what begins as an alliance becomes more, and as secrets of the order come to light Reed begins to understand what becoming an Aristene may truly cost. Battle looming, she must choose: the order and the life she had planned, or Hestion, and the one she never expected.
A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid
Effy Sayre has always believed in fairy tales. She’s had no choice. Since childhood, she’s been haunted by visions of the Fairy King. She’s found solace only in the pages of Angharad – author Emrys Myrddin’s beloved epic about a mortal girl who falls in love with the Fairy King, and then destroys him.
Effy’s tattered, dog-eared copy is all that’s keeping her afloat through her stifling first term at Llyr’s prestigious architecture college. So when Myrddin’s family announces a contest to design the late author’s house, Effy feels certain this is her destiny.
But Hiraeth Manor is an impossible task: a musty, decrepit estate on the brink of crumbling into a hungry sea. And when Effy arrives, she finds she isn’t the only one who’s made a temporary home there. Preston Héloury, a stodgy young literature scholar, is studying Myrddin’s papers and is determined to prove her favorite author is a fraud.
As the two rival students investigate the reclusive author’s legacy, piecing together clues through his letters, books, and diaries, they discover that the house’s foundation isn’t the only thing that can’t be trusted. There are dark forces, both mortal and magical, conspiring against them – and the truth may bring them both to ruin.
I was looking for a pumpkin scone recipe, and while I didn’t find one of those, I did find Bouchon Bakery. It’s a pretty big book filled with all sorts of bread, muffins, and other carb-filled confections. As with most modern cookbooks, personal anecdotes, pieces of advice, and beautiful photos are interspersed between recipes. The personal anecdotes don’t mean much to me, since I have no idea who these folks are, but I did find a lot of good advice I had never heard before. Who knew you were supposed to lightly beat and strain eggs before mixing them to batter? Without the photos this would definitely feel overwhelming. Even with the photos, this cookbook could keep you busy for a very long time– reading it and baking from it. The authors are in favor of sacrificing convenience for the freshest ingredients and most authentic flavors. This means you better be prepared, as some doughs need to rest before they are baked. You also might need to look in specialty shops for things like fresh vanilla beans or whole nutmegs.
Some advice they gave, however, felt unrealistic or unfeasible for a hobby baker. I personally don’t plan on ordering pre-cut rectangles of parchment paper from restaurant specialty shops or acquiring a bicycle pastry cutter, and I definitely don’t have all (or even most) of the pastry bag tips they suggest. Unfortunately, the too-small font combined with the sheen of the pages and the unwieldy size of the book make this book difficult to read for very long.
Since I didn’t find my pumpkin scone recipe, I went with the next closest thing: pumpkin muffins. I opted to not decorate, frost, or fill mine (sorry, coworkers).
I did make a few changes to this recipe to make it work in my kitchen:
I didn’t have a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, so I whisked the batter by hand.
I used ground nutmeg instead of fresh grated nutmeg.
I used unsweetened applesauce in one batch (instead of eggs) for a vegan friendly version.
I also didn’t have a kitchen scale, so I used the cup/spoon measurements provided.
Since I had the home team advantage, I tried one of each (traditional and eggless) as soon as they were cool enough to eat. I could tell that they were dry but had the bready fall flavor I was looking for. Aside from that, I couldn’t tell the difference between the two once they were baked. In dough form, it was visibly obvious that the applesauce batter was more moist. The consensus from my coworkers was that the muffins were dry but had a lot of flavor–the clove flavor especially stood out. Some of their comments include:
Good, but not as moist as I would like.
Delightfully crusty on top, and crumbly inside. Appreciate that they aren’t greasy like so many muffins.
A little dry, very dense, I like the cloves.
Good spice flavor, but very dense and somewhat dry. Afterburn with the clove, which is nice.
Very tasty, but they are a tad dry. The no-egg version [muffins] are much more moist! Very good!!
A couple of people suggested adding things like chocolate chips or walnuts. Overall, I thought these were pretty tasty and definitely worth the effort.
All-purpose flour 200 grams | 1 ¼ cups + 3 tablespoons
Baking soda 2.3 grams | ½ teaspoon
Ground cinnamon 2.2 grams | ¾ + ⅛ teaspoon
Ground cloves 0.6 gram | ¼ teaspoon
Freshly grated nutmeg 0.5 gram | ½ teaspoon
Ground allspice 0.1 gram | pinch
Kosher salt 1 gram | ½ teaspoon
Granulated sugar 222 grams | 1 cup + 2 teaspoons
Canola oil 100 grams | ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons
Pure canned pumpkin puree or fresh pumpkin puree 210 grams| ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons
Eggs 100 grams | ¼ cup + 2 ½ tablespoons
Golden raisins (optional) 80 grams | ½ cup + ½ tablespoon
Cream cheese frosting 286 grams | 1 ¼ cups
You’ll need a 6-cup jumbo muffin pan, muffin papers, a disposable pastry bag, a pastry bag with an Ateco #865 French star tip (optional), and a 1 ⅜ inch round cutter (optional)
TO BAKE THE MUFFINS: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (standard). Line the muffin pan with muffin papers and spray the papers with nonstick spray.
Transfer the batter to the disposable pastry bag and cut ½ inch of the tip from the bag; or use a large spoon. Pipe or spoon the batter into the papers, stopping ½ inch from the top (140 grams each).
Place the pan in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F, and bake for 45 to 48 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely.
TO FILL THE MUFFINS: Using the round cutter, cut through the top of each muffin, stopping ½ inch from the bottom, and carefully remove the center (or use a paring knife to remove the centers).
Transfer the frosting to the pastry bag with the star tip and fill the cavity of each muffin with 35 grams/2 ½ tablespoons of the frosting. Then pipe a rosette in the center of each muffin. Refrigerate uncovered for about 30 minutes to firm.
The muffins are best the day they are completed, but they can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to 3 days. Unfilled muffins can be wrapped individually in a few layers of plastic wrap or stored in a single layer in a covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 week. Makes 6 muffins.
As the autumn leaves turn, October 2023 heralds a fresh wave of adult nonfiction books that promise to ignite curiosity and broaden horizons. From illuminating science and history to compelling personal narratives, these upcoming releases cater to diverse intellectual tastes. Join us in this blog post as we dive into a curated selection of new nonfiction titles, perfect for readers seeking knowledge, inspiration, and a meaningful October reading journey.
Why We Love Baseball: A History in 50 Moments by Joe Posnanski
In Why We Love Baseball by Joe Posnanski, readers are treated to a captivating journey through 50 iconic moments in the history of America’s beloved pastime. Posnanski’s storytelling prowess and unique perspectives, from fans to players, bring these moments to life, whether it’s Willie Mays’s legendary catch or Kirk Gibson’s limping home run. Building on his prior work, The Baseball 100, Posnanski explores the heart of the game, spanning from historic duels to breaking racial barriers, offering fresh insights into our enduring love for baseball. This book serves as an affectionate tribute to a sport that continuously inspires, thrills, and leaves us yearning for more.
While You Were Out: An Intimate Family Portrait of Mental Illness in an Era of Silence by Meg Kissinger
In While You Were Out by Meg Kissinger, the façade of a charmed 1960s suburban Chicago family with eight children and loving parents conceals a darker reality. Behind closed doors, their mother grapples with anxiety and depression, their father exhibits manic tendencies, and their children face bipolar disorder and depression, resulting in tragic outcomes. Meg Kissinger’s personal family story evolves into a journalistic career, shedding light on the flaws within America’s mental health care system. This powerful blend of memoir and investigative reporting exposes the consequences of silence, flawed policies, and the potential for healing through innovative treatments.
The Milkweed Lands by Eric Lee-Mäder
The Milkweed Lands offers a captivating exploration of the often-overlooked milkweed plant and its intricate ecosystem. Ecologist Eric Lee-Mäder and botanical artist Beverly Duncan provide engaging text and stunning illustrations to trace every stage of milkweed’s lifecycle and its vital role in supporting a variety of creatures, from monarch butterflies to bumblebees. The book also delves into different milkweed species, garden propagation, industrial uses, and more, making it a comprehensive and delightful journey into the world of this remarkable plant.
The Horrors of the House of Wills by Daryl Marston
In The Horrors of the House of Wills: A True Story of a Paranormal Investigator’s Most Terrifying Case, readers are drawn into the heart-pounding world of Daryl Marston, co-lead on A&E’s Ghost Hunters, as he recounts a spine-chilling journey that pushed the boundaries of his paranormal expertise. Within the malevolent confines of the House of Wills, a former funeral home in Cleveland, Ohio, Marston confronts an insidious evil that has simmered for years, culminating in a nightmarish paranormal maelstrom. Marston’s gripping firsthand account unravels the thirteen-hour investigation, marked by lost time, phantom footsteps, and relentless dark spirits attempting to breach his psyche. This true story unfolds as a haunting exploration of the unexplained and leaves an indelible mark on both Marston and readers alike, showcasing the depths of terror that can be found within the House of Wills.
Talking to Spirits by Sterling Moon
In Talking to Spirits by Sterling Moon, readers are guided through the art of spirit communication. Moon, drawing on extensive experience, provides step-by-step instructions and engaging stories to help readers develop their own practice. The book covers diverse spirit types, from ancestors to elementals, and includes practical techniques and journal prompts. Moon also offers guidance on managing haunted situations and explores various communication tools. With a strong focus on ethics and protection, this comprehensive guide is suitable for both beginners and experienced practitioners.
As the leaves don their fiery autumn attire and the air takes on a crisp, inviting chill, we bibliophiles know that it’s time to cozy up with a book that promises to whisk us away to distant realms, provoke thought, and maybe even raise an eyebrow or two. Enter October 2023, with a dazzling array of literary delights for the discerning reader. From pulse-pounding thrillers to introspective tales of love and self-discovery, this month’s book releases are poised to cater to a variety of tastes. Prepare to be drawn into the world of these upcoming adult fiction releases, whether you have a penchant for well-established authors or an insatiable appetite for fresh voices in the literary scene.
So, grab your cherished blanket, brew that steaming cup of tea or coffee, and join us on a journey through the pages of these remarkable stories that are sure to make your October nights all the more enchanting. Welcome to the realm of October 2023’s literary treasures; you’re in for a treat!
The Leftover Woman by Jean Kwok
The Leftover Woman is a gripping novel that weaves together the lives of two remarkable women in the bustling backdrop of New York City. Jasmine Yang, a determined Chinese immigrant, seeks her lost daughter while escaping her oppressive past, while Rebecca Whitney, a seemingly privileged publishing executive, faces the unraveling of her picture-perfect life. As their paths intersect, this suspenseful and emotionally charged story delves into themes of identity, motherhood, and the unbreakable bonds that transcend cultural and economic divides in a city of contrasts.
Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward
In Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward, readers are taken on an emotional journey through the harrowing world of American Slavery, guided by the resilient Annis. From the Carolina rice fields to the New Orleans slave markets, and the brutal Louisiana sugar plantation, Ward’s storytelling paints a vivid portrait of a dark and painful history. Annis’s story, shaped by her memories of her mother and the tales of her African warrior grandmother, is a testament to the enduring strength of heritage and the human spirit. Ward’s narrative blends history with elements of the supernatural, offering a profound exploration of resilience and hope amidst unimaginable adversity.
My Darling Girl by Jennifer McMahon
In Jennifer McMahon’s spine-tingling psychological thriller, a woman named Alison, initially resistant to the approaching holiday season, is compelled to confront her traumatic past when her estranged, terminally ill mother, Mavis, seeks reconciliation. Despite her reservations stemming from a history of alcoholism and abuse, Alison reluctantly agrees to welcome Mavis into her Vermont home, hoping for a chance at healing and a better relationship. However, as mysterious and paranormal events unfold upon Mavis’s arrival, Alison becomes increasingly suspicious of her mother’s true nature. The holiday festivities take a nightmarish turn, forcing Alison to grapple with the unsettling possibility that something malevolent is targeting her family, leading to gut-wrenching choices to protect her loved ones.
The Exchange: After The Firm by John Grisham
In The Exchange by John Grisham, readers are reunited with Mitch and Abby McDeere, the courageous couple who exposed the criminal activities of Memphis law firm Bendini, Lambert & Locke in the previous blockbuster thriller, “The Firm.” Fifteen years have passed, and the McDeeres have relocated to Manhattan, where Mitch has risen to the rank of a partner at the world’s largest law firm. However, their peaceful life is upended when a mentor in Rome calls upon Mitch for a favor that propels him into a web of intrigue with global repercussions. As he becomes entangled in a sinister plot that threatens not only his own life but also the safety of his colleagues, friends, and family, Mitch must once again rely on his wits and cunning to outsmart his adversaries. In this high-stakes sequel, Grisham keeps readers on the edge of their seats as Mitch McDeere faces an adversary with nowhere to hide, showcasing his unparalleled talent for crafting gripping legal thrillers.
What We Kept to Ourselves by Nancy Jooyoun Kim
In What We Kept to Ourselves by Nancy Jooyoun Kim, a family’s secrets and the enduring consequences of their choices unfold across two timelines. In 1999, the Kim family grapples with the mysterious disappearance of Sunny, their mother, leading to an unexpected discovery in their backyard—a stranger’s lifeless body clutching a letter addressed to Sunny, unleashing a cascade of questions about the stranger’s connection to their mother. Meanwhile, in 1977, we follow Sunny, pregnant and disillusioned in Los Angeles, as she yearns for the American dream she had envisioned, her isolation punctuated by a fateful encounter at a bus stop. This powerful and suspenseful narrative explores the family’s profound secrets and the intergenerational silence that shapes their lives, all while meditating on themes of identity, migration, and the enduring pursuit of dreams in the American landscape, offering both a captivating page-turner and a poignant family saga.
The chilly season is upon us, as it’s now officially fall. Grab one of these new DVDs, a good blanket, and your binging buddy to watch the latest flicks!
What’s Love Got to Do With It?
How do you find lasting love in today’s world? For documentary-maker and dating app addict Zoe (Lily James), swiping right has only delivered an endless stream of Mr. Wrongs to her eccentric mother Cath’s (Emma Thompson) dismay. For Zoe’s childhood friend and neighbor Kaz (Shazad Latif), the answer is to follow his parents’ example and opt for an arranged (or “assisted”) marriage to a bright and beautiful bride from Pakistan. As Zoe films his hopeful journey from London to Lahore to marry a stranger chosen by his parents, she begins to wonder if she might have something to learn from a profoundly different approach to finding love.
Director: Shekhar Kapur | Starring: Mim Shaikh, Iman Boujelouah, Lily James, Emma Thompson | Runtime: 1 hr 48 min
The Little Mermaid
The youngest of King Triton’s daughters, Ariel is a beautiful and spirited young mermaid with a thirst for adventure. Longing to find out more about the world beyond the sea, Ariel visits the surface and falls for the dashing Prince Eric. Following her heart, she makes a deal with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to experience life on land.
Director: Rob Marshall | Starring: Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Melissa McCarthy, Javier Bardem | Runtime: 2 hr 15 min
A young recruit to a mysterious agency of assassins finds himself going rogue on his first assignment, tracking down a dangerous group of human traffickers.
Director: Tom DeNucci | Starring: Ruby Rose, Lucas Till, Don Johnson | Runtime: 1 hr 26 min
A father fights for the love of his daughter and grandson, after serving twelve years in prison.
Director: Catherine Hardwicke | Starring: Sarah Anderson, Maynard Bagang, Kate Beckinsale | Runtime: 1 hr 40 min
In Korea, Na Young, a girl and Hae Sung, a boy are school mates and good friends. They often walk back home together after school. Na Young moves to Canada and then to New York with her parents. Hae Sung continues living in Korea, does his engineering course, goes through a short spell of military service and then takes up a job. Both keep in touch periodically through video chats where they talk of their past and general stuff. Meanwhile in New York, Na has changed her name to Nora, made a name as a playwright and is happily married to Arthur, an American. Hae is keen to meet Nora and visits her in New York where he spends some time with her and Arthur. What has the future in store for Nora and Hae in their relationship?
Director: Celine Song | Starring: Greta Lee, Teo Yoo, John Magaro, Moon Seung-ah Runtime: 1 hr 45 min
In the not-too-distant future, the last two men on earth must adapt and evolve to save humanity.
Director: Mel Eslyn | Starring: Sterling K. Brown, Mark Duplass | Runtime: 1 hr 46 min
George & Tammy
The limited-series chronicles the country music power couple, Tammy Wynette and George Jones, whose complicated (but enduring) relationship inspired some of the most iconic music of all time. Remembered as the “First Lady of Country Music,” Wynette’s most successful song “Stand by Your Man” remains one of the most iconic and best-selling country singles by a female artist. George Jones’ song “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” is still widely called the greatest country song of all time. With over 30 number-one country songs between them, including duets “We’re Gonna Hold On,” “Golden Ring” and “Near You,” George and Tammy’s legacy, both musically and romantically, remains one of the greatest love stories ever told.
Creator: Abe Sylvia | Starring: Jessica Chastain, Michael Shannon, Steve Zahn, David Wilson Barnes | Episodes: 6
As a run-of-the-mill literary fiction fan, the novels on this list will not surprise anyone, however, I challenged myself with a few memoirs. Here are five recent reads I highly recommend.
Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal
As a craft beer enthusiast, this book had me at ‘hello’ and bonus points for a Mid-Western setting. The story follows two generations of women brewers, both talented chemists and business professionals, and illustrates how entrepreneurial spirit can lose its way in stuffy board rooms and bottom lines.
Driftless by David Rhodes
Perhaps I’m biased (I was born in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin) but this was a fantastic read. Small town, small farm characters are fleshed out in each of their own chapters, lives intertwining, as is true. It’s a substantial book and beautiful to read.
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Why did I choose this book? Well, the hold list at the library indicated something was going on here. When my copy finally came in, I went along for the ride through this high energy, mid-century setting, hitting sexism head-on with humor, a sentient dog, and many good digs at the patriarchy. ‘This would make an excellent movie’ – I said before I realized it has been made into an Apple TV series!
The Storyteller by Dave Grohl
As a Gen-Xer, musician Dave Grohl’s memoir of the hard work and lucky breaks that led to his fame with Nirvana and Foo Fighters, is pop culture candy. The audiobook kept both my husband and I entertained for hundreds of miles in the car, and the audio book narrated by Dave himself really comes to life with his authentically goofy and riotous voice.
Epilogue by Will Boast
Initially, this memoir peaked my interest because of my familiarity with the settings of Boast’s coming of age (small-town Wisconsin and Knox College), but I whole-heartedly recommend it as an undeniably powerful story in its subject and craft.
Bert’s drunken past catches up with him 20 years down the road when he and his father are kidnapped by those Bert wronged 20 years ago while drunk on a college semester abroad in Russia.
Follows a dominatrix and Hal, her wealthy client, and the disaster that ensues when Hal tries to end their relationship.
Charles is a womanizer while Elaine is a gold digger. The duo learn humanity when forced to team up and pursue robot doubles of themselves.
Renfield, Dracula’s henchman and inmate at the lunatic asylum for decades, longs for a life away from the Count, his various demands, and all of the bloodshed that comes with them.
On the day of his scheduled execution, a convicted serial killer gets a psychiatric evaluation during which he claims he is a demon, and further claims that before their time is over, the psychiatrist will commit three murders of his own.
Follows a half human and half werewolf, as she finally finds a place where she fits, but, when a devious plan to destroy Monster High threatens to reveal her identity, she must learn to embrace her true monster heart and save the day.
A young woman tries to ease the pain of her fiancé’s death by sending romantic texts to his old cell phone number, and forms a connection with the man the number has been reassigned to.
Follows four Asian American friends as they bond and discover the truth of what it means to know and love who you are, while they travel through China in search of one of their birth mothers.
Welcome book enthusiasts! Today is an exciting day for all you nonfiction lovers, as we share some of the most recent true stories to hit our shelves. From captivating biographies that illuminate untold stories, to thought-provoking explorations of science, history, and culture, this latest release of nonfiction books promises to expand your horizons and challenge your intellect. Join us as we delve into the pages of these newly released works that are set to redefine the way we perceive the world around us.
Ultra-Processed People: The Science Behind Food That Isn’t Food by Chris van Tulleken
It’s not you, it’s the food.
We have entered a new age of eating. For the first time in human history, most of our calories come from an entirely novel set of substances called Ultra-Processed Food. There’s a long, formal scientific definition, but it can be boiled down to this: if it’s wrapped in plastic and has at least one ingredient that you wouldn’t find in your kitchen, it’s UPF.
These products are specifically engineered to behave as addictive substances, driving excess consumption. They are now linked to the leading cause of early death globally and the number one cause of environmental destruction. Yet almost all our staple foods are ultra-processed. UPF is our food culture and for many people it is the only available and affordable food.
The Happy Home: The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Home That Brings You Joy by Chelsea Foy
This lovely and inspirational guide, organized around six joyful qualities, will show you how to create a happier home, through prompts, quick fixes, afternoon projects, and mindful design and organization— The Happy Home is not just a title, it’s a promise.
Energize. Uplift. Comfort. Calm. Empower. Express. The road to happiness is paved with good emotions. In fact, a happy home is infused with these six actions and this cheerful book will help you create a space you love and that loves you back. Lovely Indeed creator Chelsea Foy offers up more than 50 creative ideas to engage all the senses to brighten your mood throughout your home. This book sits at the intersection of HGTV home improvements and design, thoughtful Marie Kondo practices, and a cheery color palette fans of the Home Edit will love.
Tangled Vines: Power, Privilege, and the Murdaugh Family Murders by John Glatt
Among the lush, tree-lined waterways of South Carolina low country, the Murdaugh name means power. A century-old, multimillion-dollar law practice has catapulted the family into incredible wealth and local celebrity―but it was an unimaginable tragedy that would thrust them into the national spotlight. On June 7th, 2021, prominent attorney Alex Murdaugh discovered the bodies of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, on the grounds of their thousand-acre hunting lodge. The mystery deepened only months later when Alex himself was discovered shot in the head on a local roadside.
But as authorities scrambled for clues and the community reeled from the loss and media attention, dark secrets about this Southern legal dynasty came to light. The Murdaughs, it turned out, were feared as much as they were loved. And they wouldn’t hesitate to wield their influence to protect one of their own; two years before he was killed, a highly intoxicated Paul Murdaugh was at the helm of a boat when it crashed and killed a teenage girl, and his light treatment by police led to speculation that privilege had come into play. As bombshells of financial fraud were revealed and more suspicious deaths were linked to the Murdaughs, a new portrait of Alex Murdaugh a desperate man on the brink of ruin who would do anything, even plan his own death, to save his family’s reputation.
Owner of a Lonely Heart: A Memoir by Bich Minh Nguyen
At the end of the Vietnam War, when Beth Nguyen was eight months old, she and her father, sister, grandmother, and uncles fled Saigon for America. Beth’s mother stayed—or was left—behind, and they did not meet again until Beth was nineteen. Over the course of her adult life, she and her mother have spent less than twenty-four hours together.
Owner of a Lonely Heart is a memoir about parenthood, absence, and the condition of being a refugee: the story of Beth’s relationship with her mother. Framed by a handful of visits over the course of many years—sometimes brief, sometimes interrupted, sometimes with her mother alone and sometimes with her sister—Beth tells a coming-of-age story that spans her own Midwestern childhood, her first meeting with her mother, and becoming a parent herself.
Mystical Mushrooms: Discover the Magic & Folklore of Fantastic Fungi by Aurora Kane
Mystical Mushrooms defines the beauty of mushrooms by focusing on their magical connections and symbolic meanings through folkloric tales and superstitions throughout the world. Go for a walk in the woods on any given summer day and you may find yourself surrounded in fungi galore as they lay nestled among the ferns and trees. After a rainstorm, peek out in your backyard and you may see tiny spores sprouting from the grass, forming what is known as a fairy ring. Mushrooms grow in all shapes, sizes, and colors and—depending on where you live—you might find some that are conducive to magic practice. Mystical Mushrooms enters this realm, exploring the magical properties, mythological connections, and symbolic qualities of the fungi that so intrigue us . Author Mandie Quark takes you on a journey through the mystical universe of mushrooms. From Buddhist traditions to the concept of fairy rings, Quark reveals how mushrooms have long been entwined with the supernatural in art, literature, and religion.
LGBTQ Family Building: A Guide for Prospective Parents by Abbie E. Goldberg
From surrogacy and adoption, to transgender pregnancy and finding child care, parenting as an LGBTQ person is complex. This book is an authoritative, comprehensive, and easy‑to‑read guide to parenthood and family building for LGBTQ people.
The path to becoming a parent is complicated for LGBTQ people. Some LGBTQ people don’t consider parenthood because of stereotypes and barriers, while others are interested in parenthood but unsure about the first steps or overwhelmed by the path to take. Still others are discouraged by the attitudes of their family, community, or religion.
Incurable Optimist: Living With Illness & Chronic Hope by Jennifer Cramer-Miller
At twenty-two, Jennifer Cramer-Miller was thrilled with her new job, charming boyfriend, and Seattle apartment. Then she received a devastating autoimmune diagnosis—and suddenly, rather than planning for a bright future, she found herself soaking a hospital pillow with tears and grappling with words like “progressive” and “incurable.”
That day, Cramer-Miller unwillingly crossed over from wellness to chronic illness—from thriving to kidney failure. Her chances of survival hinged upon on the expertise of doctors, the generosity of strangers, and the benevolence of loved ones. But what kind of life would that be?
When a Loved One Has Dementia by Eveline Helmink
A vital source of solace and compassion for those whose loved one has dementia, rooted in the author’s unflinching experience of caring for her mother.
Dementia enters life through the back door, slipping in unnoticed. Once it’s there, it can make you feel powerless, angry, and unsure how to move forward. When her mother developed dementia, Eveline Helmink wasn’t prepared. As she learned firsthand, when your loved one is suffering, it takes a toll on you, too.