Recommended Reads


Recommended Reads
Recommended Reads
The Store - Goods & Curiosities, is participating in the Page Turners section of
Shore Publishing’s papers including the Valley Courier and six other regional
newspapers. We want to share these reviews and invite you to drop by the
Store. Come browse our outstanding selection of books.
Saying Grace: Blessings for the Family
Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers and Praise
Songs of Thanksgiving
Edited Sarah McElwain
By Katherine Paterson and Pamela Dalton
“There is no joy in anything unless we
share it” – (American Proverb) is just one
of the 120 thoughtful non-denominational
blessings for any and all occasions found
in this small book. Spanning generations
and the globe, these are universal and timeless praises
accompanied by delightful illustrations good enough to pass
around the table. (Ellen)
The Art of the Visit
The World on a Plate:
40 Cuisines, 100
Recipes, and the
Stories Behind Them
By Kathy Bertone
I own “How to Live Like
a Lady” by Tomczak
and let me tell you, I
need all the help I can
get! What I like about
this book is its wit—all at once
humorous, informative, and neatly
presented (would we expect anything
less from a book on etiquette?!) What’s
best is that it tackles both sides of the
visit; being the host and the guest.
Presently I am working on The Twelve
Essential Qualities every great host
must possess (specifically the
“planning” aspect!) Just remember: “A
guest sees more in an hour than the
host in a year.” (Ellen)
A book for children, for family, for holiday,
and reflection. It is poetry and proverb and
easily shared around a table. Dalton’s
Scherenschnitte “scissorcuts” art , has
roots in 16th C. Gemany, and came to the US with Pennsylvania
German-Swiss settlers. It is a marvel of artistry sprinkled on
every page. “May the love that is in my heart pass from my
hands to yours” –Traditional American Grace. (Linda)
By Mina Holland
It’s impossible to sum
up the world of food in
one book, but Holland gets pretty darn
close. Voted Best Culinary Travel Book in
the U.K. (there titled Edible Atlas), this is
global gastronomy at its best, with
regional recipes, history, knowledge and
lore, all organized by continent. I love the
anecdotal quality, too—as if learning all of
this from a long lost relative. Keep this
book in the kitchen: it makes each dinner
like a sweet departing, “For when we eat,
we travel.” (Ellen)
A Century of
Restaurants, Stories
and Recipes from 100
of America’s Most
Historic & Successful
By Rick Browne
46,000+ miles of history in a big book
of wonderful photo essays with a
recipe at each stop. Zehnder’s
Famous Chicken Dinners, Michigan is
the oldest working neon sign, Katz’s
NYC Delicatessen is simply infamous,
and The Griswold Inn of Essex, CT,
shares a special occasion Lobster Pot
Pie recipe. The Index by food and
geography is a nice touch for both
travel and cookbook readers. (Linda)
Around Essex: Elephants and River
Literary Connecticut: The Hartford Wits, Mark
Twain and the New Millenium
By Robbi Storms and Don Malcarne
By Eric D. Lehman & Amy Nawrocki
I’m an Ivoryton native, and was
oblivious to the over 300-year history
of this area. Contributing authorship
from the Ivoryton Library Association
offers rich accounts of Essex,
Centerbrook, and Ivoryton—which comprise Essex village,
or “The Point” of Petapoug Quarter. Filled with 19
century photography, history, and storytelling at its best.
Come read and visit this village still steeped in a ship
building, inn dwelling, British raiding past. (Ellen)
An intimate exploration into the life and times
of Connecticut’s authors. Jonathan Edwards’
sermon “Sinners of an Angry God” was
presented in the Connecticut River Valley, 1741.
Noah Webster’s life-work dictionary was
completed, in 1828, on Water Street, New
Haven. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, William Gillette -all of
Hartford. Helen Keller reveled in the Litchfield Hills, while Thornton
Wilder hiked Sleeping Giant Park to work out writers’ block.
Entertaining, tragic, iconic. (Christine)
At The Point of A
By Gregory N.
This is an exciting
real-life historical
account of how in
1722, a young
fisherman named Philip Ashton, is
captured by pirates, tortured, escapes
and is marooned on a Caribbean
island! It is "Pirates of the Caribbean
meets "Robinson Caruso" during "A
Perfect Storm", only it is true! Gritty,
gut-wrenching, horrific—yet
informative and easy to read. This
book will leave you with a better
understanding of life on the open seas
during piracy's golden age! (Christine)
A History of the
World in Sixteen
Good Hunting: An
Spymaster's Story
By Stewart Gordon
By Jack Devine
A comprehensive
examination into
uncharted territory
(and a haunting one
at that) that makes this a history book
unlike any other. With accessibility and
relevance to our times, Gordon depicts
maritime calamities like Kublai Khan’s
Fleet and the Lusitania as benchmarks
tracing civilization as we know it
today— an evolutionary process in its
own right, and a fascinating way to
map the past. (Ellen)
The Remarkable Courtship of General Tom
A sophisticated
personal memoir of
Author Jack Devine's
life and 30 years in the CIA. As Deputy
Director of CIA Operations, Devine
includes an insiders account of Charlie
Wilson's war in Afghanistan, Allende's fall
in Chile, tracking down Pablo Escobar in
Colombia, aid to the Afghan mujahideen,
and Iran Contra. I recommend this book to
anyone who is interested in history from
the 1970s forward - timely and politically
relevant - as we understand the enhanced
importance of covert actions in the 21st
century. (Christine)
Almost Famous Women
By Megan Mayhew Bergman
By Nicholas Rinaldi
This is the story of what many consider to be
America’s first famous (and most beloved)
entertainer—General Tom Thumb, who at
twenty-five inches tall was recruited by P.T.
Barnum and, during his time there, meets fellow performer
Lavinia Warren, falls in love, marries in 1863 Manhattan,
honeymoons at the White House with Lincoln, and embarks on a
“misfits odyssey to find his place in the world”—all within the
backdrop of the American Civil War. This is a historical novel that
is lively, bright, and beautiful, and an honor to a celebrity
Connecticut resident that remains a famous name still! (Ellen)
A captivating account of women lost to
history—by way of tragedy, of
circumstance, of being in the shadow of a
more-memorable relative. Such was the
case of Norma, sister to poet Edna St.
Vincent Millay, whose complicated rivalry
was epitomized by her siblings’ death;
and a life thereafter spent preserving her legacy, and leaving
behind her own. Poignant, intimate, tragic— these are the
stories of lives lived inches from the limelight: of thirteen
eccentric, determined, and largely forgotten women. I
couldn’t get my hands on this paperback fast enough. (Ellen)
The Remedy for Love
By Nuruddin Farah
By Bill Roorbach
Uncertain about the
next step in her life,
a grieving Canadian
woman born in
Somalia, returns to
Mogadishu searching
for, what? War torn, hot, dusty,
poverty-ridden, violent-she is drawn to
making part of her world better than
she found it. This exploration of what
can happen when we go blindly into the
unknown makes for a gripping story of
refusal to take no for an answer. This
author has written 10 novels and has
received international awards for his
work. (Linda C.)
A small town lawyer in
Maine offers a hand
with groceries, then a
ride, to a woman clearly
on the edge of
homelessness. The
“storm of the century” plus a few mishaps,
bury them in snow at a remote summer
cabin. The intensity authenticity and
intimacy of these two characters is
astonishing. The most tender of suspense
novels, with a humble original look at the
people we love and why. (Linda)
Sightlines: A
Conversation with
the Natural World
By Kathleen Jamie
In this collection of 14
essays, nature poet
Kathleen Jamie
transports us across
the world: from iceberg-filled waters of
the Arctic Circle to remote beaches in her
native Scotland. Jamie’s gentle prose
describes the landscapes as pure beauty,
while she grapples with the question of
how we define nature itself, and “where
it reside[s]”. Sightlines is a must-read for
all those who want to escape their
everyday lives, and venture to the most
quiet and untouched parts of Earth.
A Spool of Blue Thread
Blue Plate Special:
An Autobiography of my Appetites
By Kate Christensen
A departure for contemporary
novelist Christensen that will leave
you wanting a second course. She
tells her life story through her palate,
sometimes delectable and at others, hard to swallow.
Sprinkled with recipes from her formative years, this
is a tribute to both the good and bad that define living
for “to taste fully is to live fully”. What dishes tell the
story of your life? (Ellen)
The Last
By J.Patrick
by Roberto
Imagine losing
This book takes on a search to find
it and back again. Richly eloquent
artwork featuring allusionary
characters like Huck Finn, Moby
Dick, and the Little Mermaid allow
adult and child alike to reclaim the
"inward eye" of imagination. Today
will be your "green day of destiny"
Jump in. (Ellen)
By Anne Tyler
A lovely read about family, aging parents,
and the complexities of human
relationships. This intimate look at multigenerational characters during a difficult
time in their lives is centered around their
Baltimore home. Beautifully written and
hard to put down – this Pulitzer Prize winning author has
written us a simple treasure. Anne Tyler’s story will have
special appeal to anyone nearing their golden years. (Christine)
Little Women
By Louisa May Alcott
By Jill Alexander
There is something
about the cold
weather that
brings me to this
classic year after
year—and with this
hand stitched cover, it looks simply
lovely on the shelf. This is just one
within a special edition series, and it
brings a whole new appreciation for
titles like The Secret Garden, Emma,
and The Wind in the Willows. I still
can’t decide which of the March girls I
relate to most—but maybe the point is
that our perspectives change each and
every time we re-enter this book (and
we do, too). A wonderful winter gift.
The Twelve Terrors of
By John Updike and Edward Gorey
A frightfully enchanting
menagerie of the twelve
traditions turned upside
down, by two tremendous
American talents of the 20th C. Pocket-sized and full
of wry humor, the Scrooge in you is sure to come out
(but not without laughing first.) This is a little
holiday...a little Halloween…and all the dark delights in
between. Go ahead, paint your candy cane black.
Hausfrau means
“housewife” in
German…but Anna
is no ordinary
housewife. She is
an American living in Zurich with her
Swiss husband and three children.
Unhappy in her marriage, and unable
to fit in socially because of language
barriers, she is drawn into a series of
sexual affairs which ultimately lead to
her unraveling. A likeable heroine,
despite her bad choices, you will find
yourself rooting for her. Raw,
insightful, tragic, this book will haunt
you long after you’ve read the final
page. (Christine)
That Should Be a Word: A Language Lover’s
Guide to Choregasms, Povertunity, Brattling,
and 250 Other Much-Needed Terms for the
Modern World
By Lizzie Skurnick
Working during vacation. Fighting on
Twitter. Someone with too many cats.
YES—there’s a word for that! In 9 chapters,
wordsmith/neologist Skurnick highlights 21st century terms,
in the most unofficial dictionary you’ve never read (and
probably one of the most entertaining you ever will!). 150
pages of smiling—hard. (Ellen)
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