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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Finally…the Streak is Broken

I’ve been bemoaning the spate of lackluster books I’ve been suffering through lately, when I realized on my way to work today that the streak has officially ended.  I just recently finished three books, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Let me tell you a little bit about them.  And luckily, they’re all available at your local library!

  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple.  This absolutely hilarious book is set in Seattle (near my hometown), so I can completely empathize with the main character’s frustration with the endless gray clouds and perpetual drizzle.  Bernadette is a mother who used to be an architect but now spends her time avoiding most social interaction, communicating with her virtual personal assistant in India, and planning her family’s vacation to Antarctica.  Already it sounds crazy, right?  Well, it is…it’s also charming and quirky and riotously funny.  We find out that Bernadette has disappeared, so her precocious daughter tries to piece together the how and why of her mother’s disappearance.  The book jumps back and forth between the present and the past, telling the story partly through emails and letters.  This book wasn’t my usual cup of tea, but I couldn’t put it down.  I found myself reading it in line at the post office.
  • A Killing in the Hills by Julia Keller.  This is sure to be a wonderful new series featuring Bell Elkins, a smart prosecuting attorney in West Virginia.  Three elderly men are viciously gunned down one morning at the local diner, and Bell’s teenage daughter is witness to the crime.  She knows more than she’s willing to tell her mother, though.  This portrayal of West Virginia and the problem the state is having with prescription drugs is heartbreaking.  Keller does a stellar job of evoking the feel and landscape of rural life.
  • A Wanted Man by Lee Child.  I don’t often read the latest thrillers, finding them to be too much alike.  But I couldn’t resist Child’s newest book.  Jack Reacher is a different kind of hero – manly but still sympathetic, tough but still willing to show mercy.  Much of the book takes place inside his head, showing us his terrific memory and faculty with numbers and facts.  While hitchhiking, Reacher has the bad luck of being picked up by two men and a woman who were involved in a brutal stabbing.  He pieces together the situation and quickly involves himself with an undercover operation involving the FBI, CIA, and State Department.  Reacher realizes our intelligence and law enforcement agencies are not perfect, but he has great respect for the men and women who serve in them.   And at the end, he goes to great lengths to save one of them, and the explosive ending is not to be missed.
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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

An Evening at the Opera

This month the Main Street Book Club is reading Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, a beautiful book about a group of people taken hostage by terrorists in an unnamed country in South America.  They had assembled to celebrate the birthday of a CEO whose company the host country was trying to persuade to build a factory there.  The CEO came to hear his favorite opera singer, the incredibly famous Roxanne Coss, perform at his party.  The terrorists eventually let all the women go, all the women, that is, except for Roxanne.  What follows is a magical story about loss, love, and longing.  The hostages, who come from different countries and speak many different languages, find themselves bonding with each other and their captors in ways they would not have previously imagined.  The beauty of the music that Roxanne performs brings them together, and time seems to stand still as they discover new talents and new love.

You won’t want to miss this discussion!  If you’ve just discovered the library’s book club and haven’t had time to read the book, come anyway!  You’ll want to learn more about the book the San Francisco Chronicle called “The most romantic novel in years.  A strange, terrific, spell-casting story.”  And what about this from the Washington Post, “Bel Canto is its own universe.  A marvel of a book.”  We’re meeting Tuesday, September 18th at 6:00 p.m. in the Library Community Room.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The Art of Making Tarts

The first tart I ever made was actually a galette, which is a free-form, rustic tart with an open middle (you put all the good stuff in the center of a rolled out piece of dough and then fold the sides up).  The dough had plenty of butter in it and was stuffed with caramelized onions and roasted butternut squash, all topped with asiago cheese.  How could that not be good?  I was fairly nervous to make it, having never used a pastry cutter before but having heard of how temperamental tart dough could be for the novice baker.  I was apprehensive the entire time I was making it, but it turned out great, and all my friends gobbled it up!

Now if you’re like me and you’re a little wary of even thinking about making a tart from scratch, have we got the class for you!  We’ll be making a tart crust so easy and fail-proof you won’t believe your eyes.  Get this. . . you boil the butter.  No freezing bowls and pats of butter and cranking up your air conditioner so that your dough doesn’t get soft.  This one is almost too easy.  But that won’t stop me from sharing it with all of you.  So come learn the secrets to some good tart dough (and pastry cream – because you need something equally wonderful to put in that tender, buttery shell).  And you’ll also get a chance to try out the aforementioned galette.  Be in the Library Community Room for our monthly What’s Cookin’ class Monday, September 10th at 4:30 p.m!  We’ll have recipes, tips, and samples to share.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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