Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cooking Comically: Recipes so Easy You'll Actually Make Them by Tyler Capps

Cooking Comically: Recipes so Easy You'll Actually Make Them by Tyler Capps

Food is a wonderful thing. As cook books are a way to make that wonderful thing, they too are great, except those books that simply give you a list of stuff and a list of directions. While utilitarian, such recipes do not inspire salivating. Cooking Comically is anything but a boring cook book.

Capps, owner of the website, has the stated goal of provided recipes that are easy, tasty, and cheap. He then delivers such foodly instructions in a way that resembles comic panels, complete with a black and white, snarky stick figure. He provides images of not only the end product, but the ingredients and the processes too. The stick figure adds pop culture references, jokes, and some excellent tips and explanations.

Capps’ Cooking Comically will not help you master the art of French cooking, or Italian, or any specific style. Instead, he aims to show the uninitiated what tasty things can be accomplished with only a little effort.  Personally, I feel fairly accomplished in the kitchen, I know which end of the spatula to hold and have been known to my friend and family to deliver some delectable dishes. I still learned from this book and added some recipes and tricks to my collection. Cooking Comically is entertaining, delicious, and an all-around solid cookbook. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Spice Up Your Fall with Some Great Mexican and Tex-Mex Cookbooks!

Cookbooks are awesome!  Tasty, eye-catching, and fun to read!  So, explore the library's huge cookbook collection this month!

Mexican cuisine is primarily a fusion of indigenous Meso-American (area from Central Mexico down to Northern Costa Rica) cooking with European, especially Spanish, elements added after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in the 16th century. The staples are native foods, such as corn, beans, avocados, tomatoes, and chili peppers, along with rice, which was brought by the Spanish. Europeans introduced a large number of other foods, the most important of which were meats from domesticated animals (beef, pork, chicken, goat, and sheep), dairy products (especially cheese), and various herbs and spices.

While the Spanish initially tried to impose their own diet on the country, this was not possible and eventually the foods and cooking techniques began to merge.  Mexican cuisine is an important aspect of the culture, social structure and popular traditions of Mexico.

Try some great Mexican recipes from the following authors:

Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America by Gustavo Arellano

Fiesta at Rick's: Fabulous Food for Great Times with Friends by Rick Bayless

Taco Loco!: Mexican Street Food from Scratch by Jonas Cramby

Knack Mexican Cooking: a Step-by-Step Guide to Authentic Dishes Made Easy by Chelsie Kenyon

Planet Taco: a Global History of Mexican Food by Jeffrey M. Pilcher

Simple Food, Big Flavor: Unforgettable Mexican-Inspired Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours by Aaron Sanchez

Antojitos: Festive and Flavorful Mexican Small Plates by Barbara Sibley and Margaritte Malfy

Dos Caminos' Mexican Street Food: 120 Authentic Recipes to Make at Home by Ivy Stark

Tacos: Recipes and Provocations by Alex Stupak and Jordan Rothma

Tex-Mex (from Texan and Mexican) is a term describing a fusion of United States cuisine and Mexican cuisines, deriving from the culinary creations of Tejanos (Texans of Spanish descent). It has spread from Border States such as Texas and others in the Southwestern United States to the rest of the country as well as Canada. 

Some ingredients are common in Mexican cuisine, but other ingredients not typically used in Mexico are often added. Tex-Mex cuisine is characterized by its heavy use of shredded cheese, meat (particularly beef and pork), beans, and spices, in addition to Mexican-style tortillas. Moreover, Tex-Mex has imported flavors from other spicy cuisines, such as the use of cumin, introduced by Spanish immigrants to Texas from the Canary Islands.  Tex-Mex is most popular in the state of Texas.

So, if you have a hankering for some Tex-Mex grub, these are some excellent books to try:

Chili Madness: a Passionate Cookbook by Jane Butel

Tex-Mex from Scratch by Jonas Cramby

The Southwest Table: Traditional Cuisine from Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona by Dave DeWitt

Eat More Tortillas by Donna Kelly and Stephanie Ashcraft

Enchiladas: Aztec to Tex-Mex by Cappy Lawton

Truly Texas Mexican: a Native Culinary Heritage in Recipes by Adan Medrano

Meatless in Cowtown: A Vegetarian Guide to Food and Wine, Texas Style by
Laura Samuel Meyn

Southwestern Vegetarian by Stephan Pyles

The Tex-Mex Cookbook: a History in Recipes and Photos by Robb Walsh

The Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbacoa Cookbook by Robb Walsh

Monday, October 31, 2016

November's In the Queue

It's time to warm up with a great new book! You'll find chillers, thrillers and a little romance in November's In the Queue.

The Twenty-Three by Linwood Barclay
The jaw dropping finale of the Promise Falls Trilogy points to the number 23. Working out why brings Detective Duckworth closer to death than he's ever been before.

The Spy: A Novel by Paulo Coelho
An unforgettable story of Mata Hari, a woman who dared to defy convention and paid the ultimate price. Her only crime was being an independent woman.

To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin
Historical fiction at its finest. Set against the construction of the Eiffel tower this novel explores the relationship between a Scottish widow and a French engineer, who despite their differences in class and wealth meet and fall in love.

Conclave: A Novel by Robert Harris
The Pope is dead. 118 cardinals are about to hold the world's most secret election. These are holy men, ambitious men, and all have rivals. In 72 hours one will become the most spiritual and powerful figure on earth.

The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
The thrilling conclusion to a masterful trilogy. Kelsea Glynn has gone from awkward girl to a powerful and beloved Monarch. She chose to save her kingdom by giving herself to her enemy. Her regent vows to do whatever he must to rescue her.

I'll Take You There by Wally Lamb
An evocative and deeply moving story of how three unforgettable women changed the life of Felix Funicello. A radiant homage to resiliency, strength and power of women.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Dazzling and energetic this is a story about friendship and music, stubborn roots, and how we are shaped by these things and how we survive them. Two mixed race girls meet in dance class. One has talent, the other does not. As the girls grow and turn into women their paths diverge, but dance remains a part of their lives. 

New Books By Best Selling Authors

The Sleeping Beauty Killer by Mary Higgins Clark The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly
The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg
Tom Clancy True Faith and Allegiance by Mark Greaney
Curtain of Death by W.E.B. Griffin
The Midnight Bell by Jack Higgins
When All the Girls Have Gone by Jane Ann Krentz
The Chemist by Stephenie Meyers
Cross the Line by James Patterson
A Christmas Message: A Novel by Anne Perry


Jump: Take the Leap of Faith To Achieve Your Life of Abundance by Steve Harvey
Harvey shares the secret of his success and teaches you how to achieve the blessed full life that belongs to you.

To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey With Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History by Lawrence Levy
The never-before-told story of Pixar's improbable success.

A Matter of Honor: Pearl Harbor by Anthony Sumners
A provocative story of politics and war, of a man willing to sacrifice himself for his country only to be sacrificed himself. Revelatory and definitive, this is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the scapegoating of the admiral who was in command, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was in office the day 2,000 Americans died at Pearl Harbor. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

Kate Beaton has long been one of my favorite cartoonists, wielding a finely honed wit as she approaches significant cultural and historical movements with an eye towards humor that belies a sharp, sometimes critical perspective. When she came out with a children’s book, I was somewhat skeptical as this is a fair ways outside my usual reading material. However, I was not disappointed with the tale of Princess Pinecone and her stout Shetland pony.

We start the tale with Princess Pinecone wishing desperately for a horse to befit a great warrior. All around her others get suitably warrior birthday gifts; shields, horned helmets, etc. Her typical gifts of cozy sweaters are a great disappointment and she makes sure everyone knows her desire for a true warrior’s horse. The stubby legged, barrel shaped, tongue sticking out, farting when excited pony she gets is somewhat of disappointment. Undaunted she sets out to forge this pony into the toughest horse possible for the upcoming great battle. I won’t ruin the ending for you, but it is certainly cute and may involve a few fart jokes. It is a good book to read and a good book to have little ones try to read, if nothing else to that to hear them try out words like “flummoxed”.

As a side note, I got this book, along with many others, for my three-year-old niece last Christmas. Of the veritable stack she received, she settled on Princess and the Pony as one of her favorite stories. If you don’t trust my recommendation, perhaps you can believe hers!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Be Adventurous! Read a Children's Book!

October is Children's Literature month at the library so we are sharing our favorite books. 

For as long as I can remember, I have been an avid reader and frequent visitor to the library.  My mom would take us every week or two to check out books.  I even remember once, after the Blizzard of '78, walking in the street past the snow piles towering above our heads to get to the library on Salem Avenue.  

I loved solving mysteries with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and traveling the South Seas with Pippi Longstocking.
I remember devouring books by Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, and S. E. Hinton and reading classics such as White Fang by Jack London and Just-So-Stories by Rudyard Kipling. These library books opened so many new worlds for me and my siblings and had a huge impact on my life (I am now a librarian).

The following are some of my absolute favorites:

The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House in the Big Woods
Farmer Boy
Little House on the Prairie
On the Banks of Plum Creek
By the Shores of Silver Lake
The Long Winter
Little Town on the Prairie
These Happy Golden Years
The First Four Years

Stormy, Misty's Foal and Mustang, Wild Spirit of the West 
by Marguerite Henry

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
  The Magician's Nephew
  The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe
  The Horse and His Boy
  Prince Caspian
  Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  The Silver Chair
  The Last Battle

Never underestimate the power of children's literature, and please remember how vital books and libraries are for a child's growth, enrichment, and down right fun.

2016 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Winners

The Dayton Literary Peace Prize (DLPP) began in 2006. The express mission of the award is to honor the advancement of peace through literature. The DLPP is the only annual literary award in the United States to take on this mission. Works of adult fiction and nonfiction promoting peace and humanity published within the past year are able to be nominated for cash prizes. It is a unique and prestigious award, and it is a Dayton original!
The 2016 winners of the DLPP offer an interesting range of subjects, which is not uncommon to the awards. Each year four books and one lifetime achievement winner are recognized.

Holbrooke Award Winner for Lifetime Achievement
This year Marilynne Robinson was selected to receive the Richard C. Holbrooke Lifetime Achievement award. Graceful and accomplished, ethical and humane, Robinson’s writing has for over thirty years reminded, encouraged, pushed, and sometimes prodded readers to do that right thing and, in the process, to become reacquainted with what a U.S. President (who would surely also have admired her work) called “the better angels of our nature.”

Fiction Winner
Viet Thanh Nguyen's debut novel The Sympathizer  is
 a profound, startling, and beautifully crafted story of a man of two minds, someone whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties. 
It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.

Nonfiction Winner
Susan Southard wrote Nagasaki : Life After Nuclear WarPublished on the seventieth anniversary of the bombing, Nagasaki takes readers from the morning of the bombing to the city today, telling the first-hand experiences of five survivors, all of whom were teenagers at the time of the devastation. Susan Southard has spent years interviewing hibakusha (“bomb-affected people”) and researching the physical, emotional, and social challenges of post-atomic life. She weaves together dramatic eyewitness accounts with searing analysis of the policies of censorship and denial that colored much of what was reported about the bombing both in the United States and Japan.A gripping narrative of human resilience, Nagasaki will help shape public discussion and debate over one of the most controversial wartime acts in history.

Fiction Runner-up
Delicious Foods by James Hannaham

Nonfiction Runner-up
Find me unafraid : love, loss, and hope in an African slum by Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner

To place holds on the books or view last year's winners, please check out our new Dayton Literary Peace Prize booklist.

For more information on the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, please go to

Monday, October 17, 2016

The One and Only Ivan: An Unforgettable Award Winning Crossover Novel

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is one of my favorite novels. This is a story of hope and resilience. It illustrates how an unexpected friendship can change your life. It may seem odd that this hauntingly beautiful tale is told by Ivan, a silverback gorilla. However once you read won't question it any longer.  Ivan lives at the Big Top Shopping Mall in a glass enclosure on display. People stop and watch him daily as he paints. Yes, Ivan enjoys painting. He is quite happy with his painting and enjoys talking with his friends. His friends Stella, an elderly elephant and Bob, a stray dog, enrich his life. 

His life begins to change when Ruby, a baby elephant arrives.  Ruby, as all children do, questions everything and, when she asks Ivan where he lived before he was at the Big Top, he begins remembering, and his life transforms. He does not recall being free, but he has a vague recollection of green bushes. As his past begins to resurface, Ivan starts painting pictures of what he recalls. One child notices, and as all children do, asks questions.

This NY Times best-selling novel is a Newbery Award winner. I urge you to read this book. If you can't get past the idea that this is a children's book, find a child, a grandchild, a niece, a nephew, and read it to them. You and the child will fall in love with Ivan and his friends!

If you are still apprehensive about reading a children's book, let me give you additional incentive. This is a fictionalized account based on a true story of Ivan, a gorilla who lived for nearly three decades in a shopping mall.  Public outcry helped the real Ivan get a new home at Zoo Atlanta, where he became a beloved celebrity for his paintings. This was made into a nonfiction story called, Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

I urge you to make time to read this beautiful story. If you have time, read both books.