Inspiring Women to Read About

Inspiring Women to Read About

Roundup by Holly Scudero

December is traditionally a time for looking back, hopefully with fondness, on what the previous year has brought. We think of what we’ve accomplished, the state of the world, the good and the bad, and analyze. And December is also a time for looking forward, with hope for a promising future. We think of what we’d like next year to bring, the dreams we’d like to see realized, the beautiful twists and turns life may take. A good book can help us with both of these goals, letting us both think on history and dream for the future. Read on for some of December’s best biographical offerings.

Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years
By Julie Andrews
Hachette Books
$30.00, 352 pages, Hard

Beloved performer Julie Andrews has continued the story of her life in Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years. In it, Andrews discusses her life as an actress, going into detail about how she quickly became famous from some of her earliest and most enduring films and the challenges that brought to her life. Andrews also talks about motherhood, the end of her first marriage, adoption, and her love for Blake Edwards. Fans of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music will love getting this in-depth look at the wonderful Julie Andrews and her fascinating life.

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life
By Ali Wong
Random House
$27.00, 240 pages, Hard

Comedian Ali Wong captured the national spotlight with her recent Netflix comedy special, and her momentum continues with Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life. Ostensibly a series of letters addressed to her own daughters, these pieces will resonate on some level with nearly anybody who picks up Wong’s book, as she talks very candidly on a wide variety of topics: parenting, marriage, her own ethnic background, and the pains of being a working mom. This hilarious and insightful collection is a must-read.

The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir
By Samantha Power
Dey Street Books
$29.99, 592 pages, Hard

Anyone who has followed politics over the past decade or so will likely recognize the name Samantha Power. While she may be most widely known for her work as US Ambassador to the United Nations, she has a long history of activism, and The Education of an Idealist takes readers along on the journey of her life. We hear about her childhood Dublin, her time spent in Bosnia, and her eventual rise to a position in the White House. It’s a fascinating story, and really brings home the idea that one person really can do a lot if they’ve got the drive to do it.

Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For
By Susan Rice
Simon & Schuster
$30.00, 544 pages, Hard

Scholar and diplomat Susan Rice is perhaps most closely associated with Benghazi in the minds of most Americans, but she has been a political force for the past three decades, and has been involved with a number of incredibly complex issues that the United States has had to deal with. In Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For, Rice gives readers fresh insight into these issues, telling her role in the political front line with vivid clarity. Readers will emerge from the pages with a fresh drive to keep American from falling victim to domestic partisan squabbles.

The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women
By Mo Moulton
Basic Books
$30.00, 384 pages, Hard

Novelist Dorothy L. Sayers is famous for her detective series starring Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane, but this early-twentieth-century author made waves in British society long before that by daring to enroll at Oxford University. As one of the few women to have been admitted, Sayers naturally gravitated toward her fellow female classmates, and together they formed a club of sorts known as the Mutual Admiration Society. This book explores the lives of Sayers and her friends, and the many ways in which they fought to change women’s place in the modern world.

AOC: Fighter, Phenom, Changemaker
By Prachi Gupta
Workman Publishing Company
$14.95, 144 pages, Trade Paperback

Before her name was a nationally-recognized abbreviation, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a bartender, as the stories go. But what drove this fierce, outspoken women to run a wildly successful Congressional campaign powerful enough to defeat a ten-term incumbent and become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress? In this book, author Prachi Gupta explores AOC’s roots, from her childhood in Westchester County, New York, through her education at Boston University and onward.

Sontag: Her Life and Work
By Benjamin Moser

Ecco
$39.99, 832 pages, Hard

In twentieth century America, Susan Sontag was a force to be reckoned with. From her first major essay in 1964 until shortly before her death in 2004, Sontag wrote and wrote and wrote about a wide variety of topics, primarily in the form of essays and novels. Sontag especially focused on controversial topics like war, popular culture, human rights, illness, and sexuality, and she also wrote extensively about photography. Sontag: Her Life and Work offers readers the most in-depth vision of Sontag ever published, examining her body of work in detail while also providing context about Sontag’s life via interviews and photographs.

If cold, gloomy winter weather has you down, the time is right to pick up a great book on an interesting, influential woman. These selections offer great opportunity to learn about people from our past and present, and to be inspired for the future. Have you read any of these biographies? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Hot Graphic Novels Roundup

Hot Graphic Novels Roundup

Roundup by Thomas Rojek

The last few months brought us some wonderful graphic novels. I’ve taken the liberty of creating this roundup of my favorites and providing a summary of each book and why I loved each of them.

Midnight Radio
By Iolanda Zanfardino
Lion Forge, $14.99, 160 pages, Trade Paperback

In Midnight Radio, four strangers in San Francisco grappling with various life struggles from sexuality to PTSD, are unexpectedly brought together by a mysterious late-night radio message that changes their lives. Artist Lolanda Zarafardino’s style is beautiful and captivating, its color palette warm and striking, and the story feels personal, topical, and important. The characters put us affectingly in their shoes, making the issues they struggle with feel raw and real. It’s an important work and a compelling story done in beautiful style.

Blackbird Volume 1
By Sam Humphries & Jen Bartel
Lion Forge, $16.99, 168 pages, Trade Paperback

Blackbird is the story of Nina Rodriguez, a young woman who lost her mom at a young age and become obsessed with the idea of a secret society of Paragons, or wizards, and is treated as if she is crazy for it. All that changes after a giant monster kidnaps her sister and she is thrust into a world that she had always hoped to find, but nothing is as it seems, and she soon finds that everything that she knows has been a lie. Sam Humphries, Jen Bartel, and the rest of the team behind Blackbird have given us a fantastic and beautiful story full of intrigue, and I cannot wait to see what comes next in the series.

Milo’s World Book One: The Land Under the Lake
By Richard Marazano, Christophe Ferreira
Lion Forge, $12.99, 120 pages, Hard

Richard Marazano and Christopher Ferreira bring us the story of young Milo, a boy who stumbles across a magic goldfish that brings him to another realm where he must help stop an evil sorcerer. With the help of a thief, a goldfish, a grumpy villager, and his aunts, he will help to restore peace to a world on the other side of the lake. Milo’s World is a very sweet story with a charming cast of characters with an adorable art style that draws you into the story. Marazano and Ferreira do an amazing job with what is sure to be a beautiful and charming story.  

Old Souls
By Brian McDonald, illustrated by Les McClaine
First Second, $24.99, 256 pages, Hard

Brian McDonald and Les McClaine have brought us Old Souls, a story about a world in which you can unlock and live through your past lives by using a form of hypnosis, and, for Chris, it very quickly becomes something of an addiction. After meeting an elderly homeless man named Jack, who claims to have known him in a past life, Chris is dragged into a world in which he gets to re-live everything and everyone he has been, but he soon starts to slip further and further away from his family and those that care about him, and an unhealthy obsession begins to develop. Both McDonald and McClaine are masters in their respective fields and together they have created something truly beautiful.

BTTM FDRS
By Ezra Claytan Daniels and Ben Passmore
Fantagraphics Books, $24.99, 288 pages, Hard

BTTM FDRS by Ezra Claytan Daniels and Ben Passmore is an important narrative and stylistic entry into the graphic novel cannon, which currently lacks in the area of Afrofuturism. But more than offering a stellar instance of Afrofuturist style, BTTM FDRS, much like Jordan Peele’s Get Out, explores the horror/comedy of everyday social injustices–gentrification, in this instance. The symbolism of an insidious force drawing evil power from the oppression of a vulnerable group is intentionally evident–and it becomes the source of both biting satire, absurdist comedy, and genuine, well, horror. Brilliant, striking, unique, compelling, and just a damn good read, BTTM FDRS is a triumph. 

Monstress Book One
By Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda
Image Comics, $49.99, 528 pages, Hard

I don’t even know where to begin with this book. Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda have won multiple awards and received high praise for this beautiful graphic novel already, and I can see why. The story follows Maika Halfwolf as she hunts for a link to her past, and those that hunt her for the crimes she has committed in an attempt to find freedom. Accompanied by a talking cat, a fox-child, and an eldritch abomination, they are continuously and viciously pursued as they try their hardest to stay one step ahead of everyone. Anyone looking for something new and unique needs to pick this up; the artwork is beautiful, the story is full of beautifully done characters and environments and features a matriarchal society, and the world building is staggeringly deep. Do yourself a favor and get a copy as soon as you can.

The Magicians Original Graphic Novel: Alice’s Story
By Lilah Sturges
Archaia, $26.99, 208 pages, Hard

If you are unfamiliar with The Magicians series by Lev Grossman then you should probably go pick the series up (it is basically Harry Potter goes to college). Unlike the original series of books and the tv show, this one focuses on Alice’s perspective. We get to see her as she forces her way into Brakebills to try and join, her own struggle, and ultimately her own decision that saves the known universe. Lilah Sturges and Pius Bak do a fantastic job of breathing new life into the story from Lev Grossman. Well worth a read for any fans of the series.

Cooking With Spices

Cooking With Spices

By Thomas Rojek

With summer officially coming to a close, we’re taking a look at cookbooks that embody robust spices, which invite Fall cooking.

 

One Dish – Four Seasons
By Jordan Zucker
Publisher: Home Sauce Publications
$44.00, 208 pages

One Dish – Four Seasons brings an interesting idea on cooking to the table. What about a single recipe with four variations based on the season that you are in to help you utilize those fresh ingredients? And, if that alone isn’t enough for you, then what about a wine pairing for each season in the recipe? Still not interested? What if each recipe came with an album to accompany it? Featuring more than 80 recipes, jokes, and beautiful photography, this cookbook is bound to delight the foodie in you.

Tahini and Turmeric: 101 Middle Eastern Classics–Made Irresistibly Vegan
By Ruth Fox • Vicky Cohen
Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books
$24.99, 304 pages

Vegan food gets a bad rap as far as most people are concerned because of the idea that substitution of meat/animal products takes away from the authenticity of a dish. Cohen and Fox are here to prove otherwise. There are thousands of traditional dishes that are vegan right out of the gate, and a big one is Middle Eastern cuisine. Featuring beautiful color photographs, excellent instructions, descriptions of traditional Middle Eastern cuisine, and walkthroughs on how to build up the perfect pantry, Tahini & Tumeric is a wonderful addition to any culinary library.

Japanese Table
By Sofia Hellsten
Publisher: Hardie Grant (UK)
$29.99, 192 pages

Most of my diet during college consisted of Japanese cuisine and running into little ramen/sushi restaurants, enjoying a few simple dishes and reading/working on whatever project I had at that time. Japanese Table is a beautiful book that discusses the elements of setting out a simple and elegant meal with wonderfully flavored dishes. Sofi Hellsten walks us through the basics of setting up the pantry with ingredients we will be using regularly, discusses the basics of flavor profiles, and how to properly prepare and plate the food. This book is beautiful and features breathtaking photos to help inspire you on your journey.

Spiced: Unlock the Power of Spices to Transform Your Cooking
By America’s Test Kitchen
Publisher: America’s Test Kitchen
$19.49, 304 pages

We all know that person who is overwhelmed with the idea of seasoning/spices and who worries of over seasoning something or using the wrong thing. Spiced is here for you, with easy-to-follow instructions and ideas. This book will help you or friends who suffer from a lack of flavor to gain some good tips and tricks for seasoning, as well as the beautiful recipes and photos to help you create high quality meals.

 

 

Summer Sci-Fi Roundup

Summer Sci-Fi Roundup

Our round-up of great science fiction novels that have come into the store. What did we miss that you loved?

Tiamat’s Wrath, James S. A. Corey

The latest and eighth book in James S. A. Corey’s Expanse series, Tiamat’s Wrath is obviously not a good place to start reading the series if you haven’t already, but it does place you in a wonderful spot to have eight wonderful sci-fi novels to read through. That being said, spoilers ahead. Corey opens with a memorial service for the recently deceased Chrisjen Avasarala and picks up with James Holden in his new role of honored prisoner. The narrative also follows the continuing adventures of Elvi and the crew of the Rocinante–split up but are still fighting–and we find Teresa trying to keep up with her father’s ambitions as well as keep a couple of secrets of her own. James S. A. Corey has definitely outdone himself with this latest addition to the series.

 

Fall; or, Dodge in Hell, Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson will always have a soft spot in my heart after Snow Crash, and his newest book brings a lot of the themes that I have loved for ages plus a couple of new ones that are welcome additions. Fall; or, Dodge in Hell brings us into a world where Richard “Dodge” Forthrast is pronounced brain-dead, and, due to a stipulation in his will, his brain is scanned by a cryonics company, and years later, his brain is turned back on and loaded to an afterlife called Bitworld. However, this wouldn’t be a novel by Stephenson if it didn’t have a few dark twists in store for the readers.

 

Velocity Weapon, Megan E. O’Keefe

Megan E. O’Keefe has the start of a brand new series in the making: Velocity Weapon is the first book in The Protectorate series and introduces us to Sanda, who awakens from a cold sleep to find that she is missing a leg, naked, on an enemy ship that happens to be sentient and goes by the name of Bero. And to make things worse, it is 230 years in the future. O’Keefe does a fantastic job of creating a setting that is new and exciting and full of drama. This is definitely the beginning of a series that everyone will enjoy.

 

The Hive, Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

The Hive is the second book in the Second Formic War series and picks up where the first book left off—with a humanity that just barely eked out a victory over the scout ship sent by Formic and that is now looking at a mothership preparing to invade. And if you enjoy this universe, you still have the First Formic War series, as well as all the rest in the Ender universe to enjoy.

 

Eve of Man, Giovanna & Tom Fletcher

The first book written by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher as a couple, Eve of Man follows Eve, the first woman born in 50 years, who after her 16th birthday is set to meet three potential males who have been preselected for her based on their prospects as a perfect genetic match. But that all changes when she meets Bram, the boy behind her best friend. The Fletchers do an amazing job creating a realistic dystopian world where abuse of the environment has led to massive and destructive storms, people fighting in the streets, and an authoritarian control on women’s rights. Equal parts believable and horrifying, this is a great start to a new series.

 

 

Warning: Graphic (Novel) Content!

Warning: Graphic (Novel) Content!

By Tommy Rojek, Ross Rojek & Danielle McMannus

Today’s graphic novels, while kin with the comic books that pioneered the genre, their diverse stories, art styles, and narrative voices have burst through those old boundaries. Whether you’re new to graphic novels or you’re a connoisseur, these new releases need to be on your radar. If you’re a newbie, these are great entries that show the range and impressive promise of graphic novel storytelling. If you’re an old hand, these are titles that bring new spirit and creativity to this already incredible genre.

As of the date of this post, we have all of the books below in the store. You may check availability in our online store. If a book sells out, you may order it from our online store, and we’ll message you when it arrives in the store (or have it shipped to your home/work).

Old Souls

Brian McDonald and Les McClaine have brought us Old Souls, a story about a world in which you can unlock and live through your past lives by using a form of hypnosis, and for Chris, it very quickly becomes something of an addiction. After meeting an elderly homeless man named Jack, who claims to have known him in a past life, Chris is dragged into a world in which he gets to re-live everything and everyone he has been, but he soon starts to slip further and further away from his family and those that care about him, and an unhealthy obsession begins to develop. Both McDonald and McClaine are masters in their respective fields and together they have created something truly beautiful.


BTTM FDRS

BTTM FDRS by Ezra Claytan Daniels and Ben Passmore is an important narrative and stylistic entry into the graphic novel cannon, which currently lacks in the area of Afrofuturism. But more than offering a stellar instance of Afrofuturist style, BTTM FDRS, much like Jordan Peele’s Get Out, explores the horror/comedy of everyday social injustices–gentrification, in this instance. The symbolism of an insidious force drawing evil power from the oppression of a vulnerable group is intentionally evident–and it becomes the source of both biting satire, absurdist comedy, and genuine, well, horror. Brilliant, striking, unique, compelling, and just a damn good read, BTTM FDRS is a triumph.


Moonshadow

It is such a milestone to see this book back in print. The first fully painted graphic novel, Moonshadow was originally published by Marvel Comics’s Epic imprint in 1985, and then again by DC comics in 1998. There have been a few collections of the complete series, including a limited signed edition by Graphitti Designs, but now Dark Horse has stepped in with a new complete collection, and they’ve done an admirable job on the production value. The titular character, Moonshadow, is the child of a 60’s flower child and a orbish alien. Moonshadow, his cat, and Ira, a fairly obscene alien, wander through the stars as Moonshadow searches for his father and the reasons for his abandonment.

The paintings by Jon Muth are really well done, and Dark Horse’s reproductions do them justice. Moonshadow is an odd book, and one that should have gotten wider recognition but that was probably too early for its time. It’s a book that will appeal to a broader audience when presented in a complete package like this. Get it before its out of print for another 20 years.


Midnight Radio

In Midnight Radio, four strangers in San Francisco grappling with various life struggles from sexuality to PTSD, are unexpectedly brought together by a mysterious late-night radio message that changes their lives. Artist Iolanda Zarafardino’s style is beautiful and captivating, its color palette warm and striking, and the story feels personal, topical, and important. The characters put us affectingly in their shoes, making the issues they struggle with feel raw and real. It’s an important work and a compelling story done in beautiful style.


Blackbird

Blackbird is the story of Nina Rodriguez, a young woman who lost her mom at a young age and become obsessed with the idea of a secret society of Paragons, or wizards, and is treated as if she is crazy for it. All that changes after a giant monster kidnaps her sister and she is thrust into a world that she had always hoped to find, but nothing is as it seems, and she soon finds that everything that she knows has been a lie. Sam Humphries, Jen Bartel, and the rest of the team behind Blackbird have given us a fantastic and beautiful story full of intrigue, and I cannot wait to see what comes next in the series.


Milo’s World

Richard Marazano and Christopher Ferreira bring us the story of young Milo, a boy who stumbles across a magic goldfish that brings him to another realm where he must help stop an evil sorcerer. With the help of a thief, a goldfish, a grumpy villager, and his aunts, he will help to restore peace to a world on the other side of the lake. Milo’s World is a very sweet story with a charming cast of characters with an adorable art style that draws you into the story. Marazano and Ferreira do an amazing job with what is sure to be a beautiful and charming story.


Monstress

I don’t even know where to begin with this book, Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda have won multiple awards and received high praise for this beautiful graphic novel already, and I can see why. The story follows Maika Halfwolf as she hunts for a link to her past, and those that hunt her for the crimes she has committed in an attempt to find freedom. Accompanied by a talking cat, a fox-child, and an eldritch abomination, they are continuously and viciously pursued as they try their hardest to stay one step ahead of everyone. Anyone looking for something new and unique needs to pick this up; the artwork is beautiful, the story is full of beautifully done characters and environments and features a matriarchal society, and the world-building is staggeringly deep. Do yourself a favor and get a copy as soon as you can.

Bite into the Summer’s Best Grilling!

Bite into the Summer’s Best Grilling!

By Booksellers Tommy Rojek & Danielle McMannus

 

Summer is upon us, so it’s time to kick off grilling season. Tom and Danielle turn it up a notch this year with these genre-defining (and -defying) guides to perfect grilling! As of the posting of this article, all of these books are available in the store.


 

Weber’s Ultimate Grilling: A Step-by-Step Guide to Barbecue Genius

The experts from Weber, the most venerable name in grilling, bring you this collection of 100 barbecue recipes perfect for barbecuers of all stripes, from tender beginners to well-seasoned grillmasters. Every recipe includes full-color photos that illustrate step-by step instructions designed to make grilling accessible to even the least confident among us. The guide leads you through the tips and tricks of lighting the grill, perfecting the temperature, and grilling everything from vegetables to seafood to poultry, pork, and beef. You can’t ask for a more comprehensive or authoritative guide to all things grilling.

See interior images.

 

 

 

 

Martha Stewart’s Grilling

With trademark gorgeous photos, Martha Stewart’s Grilling presents classic grilling recipes with an elegant twist, from honey-brined chicken wings to kielbasa bites, all perfect for memorable meals to celebrate summer. And beyond the excellent recipes, Martha Stewart covers the secrets to good grilling, from why pressing the meat into the grill is a terrible idea to what temperature the meat should be when it hits the grill. Don’t miss this classically smart, stylish, and, above all, delicious guide to grilling.

See interior images.

 

 

 

 

The Bacon Bible by Peter Sherman and Stephanie Banyas

From Peter Sherman, the renowned bacon maestro behind New York bacon-gastropub BarBacon, comes this aptly named biblical tribute to that delicious, beloved, and infinitely versatile meat, bacon. With over 200 recipes, The Bacon Bible shows you how to incorporate bacon into virtually every imaginable meal in every imaginable way, from bacon rubs to bacon cocktails, from bacon pancakes to bacon hot chocolate (and there’s even a bacon-free chapter just in case you’re feeling wild and crazy). And with information on how to cure your own bacon from scratch and how to turn pretty much anything into bacon (hello, tuna bacon), this book will truly make you nothing less than a bacon god. If you didn’t love bacon before, you definitely will now!

See interior images.

 

 

 

 

The Campfire Cookbook by Nico Stanitzok and Viola Lex

The Campfire Cookbook brings together camping veteran Viola Lex with chef Nico Stanitzok to explore the possibilities of cooking on an open flame, be it a fire, a grill, or a camp stove. And the possibilities they discover! Recipes run an impressive gamut, from the traditional kebab skewer to the unexpected chocolate cake…baked inside an orange. But beyond wildly inventive recipes, the book also includes clever camping hacks and packing lists. With its beautiful color photos and simple step-by-step instructions, this is a book for connoisseurs, apsirationists, and master campers alike.

See interior images.

 

 

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