The Physics of Everyday Things

The Physics of Everyday Things, by James Kakalios, is an interesting and enlightening book that describes how science influences our everyday lives.  Kakalios approaches different aspects of the day (morning wake up, commute, doctor visits, travel and business presentations) and explains how science makes things work.  The book was different than what I expected, but I found myself entertained and enlightened as I learned about toasters, cameras, laser pointers and other objects that I might on a nearly daily basis.

The Book of Greens

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The Book of Greens, by Jenn Louis, is a unique cookbook.  At least on my shelf.  The book is dedicated to greens … forty different kinds and almost 200 recipes.  You will find common greens, like arugula, cabbage, kale, spinach, etc., as well as lesser known greens (mizuna, gai lan, red orach and others).  With each green, Ms. Louis provides details about when they are ripe, how to choose, clean, store and refresh them as well as cooking methods and a few recipes.  If you are looking to add more greens to your diet, you will find this book to be a treasure.

Ice Cream & Friends

Another awesome cookbook from Food52!  The cookbook collection is rapidly becoming one of my favorites.  Ice Cream & Friends takes the cook through a series of different ice cream flavors and accompanying drinks and toppings.  The sections of the cookbook include: chocolate, vanilla & company; nutty; fruity; herbs & spices; drink riffs and savory.

My favorite recipes include S’mores Ice Cream, Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Concord Grace Sauce, Homemade Sprinkles, Mango Lassicles, Mint-Basil Chip Ice Cream and Burnt Toast Ice Cream.

Anybody who likes homemade ice cream will enjoy this cookbook!

Blood Rose Rebellion

Blood Rose Rebellion, by Rosalyn Eves, is a fun story about world ruled by magic.  Ms. Eves does a very good job developing her magical world, introducing interesting characters who are worth caring about, rooting for and rooting against.  It tells the story of Anna, a young woman who seems to have no hope of participating in the elite society and her struggles to find success and her placed in the world.  A good read for anyone who enjoys fantasy, magic, new worlds and strong characters.

When God Made You

This was a fun book for me to read with my kids (ages 5 and 7).  When God Made You, by Matthew Paul Turner, is a engaging story about how meaningful each child (each one of us) is to God.  Obviously a spiritual tale, the story helps children know that the really are children of God and that he knows them individually, just as our earthly parents know us.  For anyone seeking to find a story to help their young one’s understand their place in the universe, this is a good read.

A Shadow Bright and Burning

A Shadow Bright and Burning tells the story of a young woman with special magical talents – Henrietta Howell.  The story begins with her wallowing away her time at a home for girls, facing the abuse of the head master.  She is soon rescued by a sorcerer who believes that she is the answer to a particular prophecy … that she will lead the sorcerers in their battle to defeat evil demons and demigods.  The story takes Henrietta on an adventure studying with sorcerers and magicians, learning to control her powers and ultimately battling the demons in her life.  A very good start to a new series.

Tunnels

The Tunnels:  Escapes Under the Berlin Wall and the Historic Films the JFK White House Tried to Kill, by Greg Mitchell, is a very interesting story about tunnels built under the Berlin Wall.  The story takes place shortly after the Berlin Wall was constructed, in 1962, and detailed the stories of those who actually dug the tunnels, the network media professionals looking for the big story to share with the American people and the people who were able to escape East Germany and live in the west.  Mitchell also describes those who failed in their escape attempts and their consequences, which often included death.  The book includes photographs of the tunnels and the personalities and is a great read for anyone interested in the Cold War.

Grain Free Cooking

Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations is a great cookbook for those who have sensitive dietary issues or just for those who have chosen to go grain-free for other reasons.  When I received the book, I scanned through the pages and was surprised and the variety of meals that were covered.  I actually read a number of the titles to my wife because she was a little skeptical as well.   We did make several of the recipes and found them delicious and they tasted much as we would have expected if we used the traditional recipes.  While no one in my immediate family requires grain-free meals, I do have several in my extended family who do and I look forward to sharing these recipes (if not the whole book) with them.

The Drawing Lesson

A very interesting, unique method for teaching someone how to draw.  At first blush, the book looks like a long comic book (about the size of some of the old Far Side or Calvin and Hobbes comic books sitting on my bookshelf).  However, once you delve into it you find a story that begins with a young woman and boy — a boy who is frustrated that he does not and cannot learn how to draw.  The book is, in actuality, a drawing lesson and the young woman teaches the boy different techniques, shows how to execute them and also helps to recognize when you might not be doing things quite right.

I found the book to be first, entertaining, but mostly it was a nice lesson on how to draw with the correct technique.  A book that could be used and enjoyed by novice artists at any age.

The Travelers

The Travelers, by Chris Pavone, is a fast-paced thriller about a journalist who becomes an unwitting spy.  The book travels the world from South America to Europe and back again a couple times, while spending quite a bit of time in the States.  I will say that the timeline moves forward and back a little bit, which I found a little confusing at times.  All in all, it is a pretty good thriller.  The book does have some graphic language and other scenes and, while I understand some language within the dialogue, having graphic language as part of the narrative seems excessive and unnecessary to me.