Thursday, May 26, 2011

Erica's 5 Books with "Paris" in the Title

I am not a trendsetter but I can usually discern one—especially when it slaps me in the face with all the theatricality of a maudlin 1950’s melodrama. So it is with the latest trend to hit the Indie Bestseller Lists: books with “Paris” in the title. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and the same goes for titles, too, I’m sure, but that’s what I’m about to do. I haven’t read a single book on this list, but like Chuck Norris, I’ve stared them down until I’ve gleaned the information that I wanted.

The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz (Broadway Books, $14.00)
Dear Book Cover, you had me at croissant. If there is a croissant on something I will buy it. And if ever there is a croissant on another croissant I will buy them both.

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard (Back Bay Books, $13.99)
Huh. Stumped on this one. I have no idea what this book could be about. Thankfully Back Bay Books has seen fit to put the following gem of a line on the front cover: “Romance on the front burner… it’s Eat, Stay, Love with a side of spiced apricots.” Well, just as long as no one is falling in love with a Frenchman and peppering her narrative with cutesy recipes.

The Paris Wife by Paula McClain (Random House, $25.00)
Rumor has it that the titular wife in question is the first wife of famed drunkard, er, writer, Ernest Hemingway. I don’t care who she is. The only thing I know is that the Philadelphia Wife could beat the Paris Wife’s @$$ any day.

Hungry Woman in Paris by Josefina Lopez (Hachette, $12.99)
Totally about aliens, brain-sucking, body-leeching aliens. Nothing at all to do with women eating and finding love and/or spiritual awakening in Paris, which is a shame if you ask me. There just aren’t enough of those books.

Paris, Paris by David Downie (Broadway, $15.00)

I’m hoping that this is just like SPECTACULAR, SPECTACULAR, the show within the show that was Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 musical extravaganza Moulin Rouge. In other words, it should be heavy on the Ewan McGregor and light on the Nicole Kidman, who should die of consumption at the end. I base my hopes solely on the fact that this is classified as a travelogue (and that the author wears an eye patch).

-May 2011, Erica David

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Janet's Five Ideas for Mothers and Others

Collect Raindrops by Nikki McClure (Abrams, $29.95)

The beauty of Nikki McClure's work lies in her simplicity. This volume is a collection meant to be left on your coffee table. It is like taking a long deep breath to browse through the celebration of ordinary moments which are illustrated on each page.

Flour by Joanne Chang (Chronicle Books, $35.00)
Yum! Joanne Chang at her best as a pastry chef complete with a degree in applied mathematics and economics from Harvard. But, surprise of all surprises, you too can create these wonderful masterpieces. I sister really liked it (what are sisters for but to do taste tests?)

Never Forget Journal by Gina Triplett (Chronicle Books, $9.95)
We have many wonderful journals but this is one of my favorites. The cover design invites one to express all inner desires within its decorated pages.

The Tree That Time Built selected by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston (Jabberwocky, $19.99)

As a mother, some of my most delightful moments were spent reading collections of poetry to my children which were memorized with such ease. The Tree That Time Built comes complete with an audio CD of many of the poets reading their own work.

Castle in the Sky directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Walt Disney Studios, $29.99)

Take a break on Mother's Day, or at the end of any full day, and watch this wonderful family movie.

May 2011, Janet Elfant

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Five Books that Mo will probably use in Philosoraptors' Cafe Trivia Night

Five Books that Mo will probably use in Philosoraptors' Cafe Trivia Night, now on Tuesday May 17, 2011 at 7pm.

These books offer just a taste of the topics that will be featured at trivia night. Study up for an edge, but know that we're too silly to be completely predictable.

1. Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell (Penguin, $25.95)

2. Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by Jeff Chang (Picador, $17.00)

3. It's Bigger than Hip-Hop by M.K. Asante (Griffin, $14.99)

4. Tinkers by Paul Harding (Bellevue Literary Press, $14.95)

[Editor's Note: Tinkers is also one of Erica's March Picks.]

5. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris, Illustrated by Ian Falconer (Little Brown & Co, $21.99)

May 2011, Mo Speller

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Amy’s 5 Picks for Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gifts*

Chicken and Egg: A Memoir of Suburban Homesteading with 125 Recipes by Janice Cole (Chronicle Books, $24.95)
For the homesteading, chicken-raising, seasonal-minded Mom in your life. This memoir/cookbook has gorgeous photos and wholesome recipes, all of which include either chicken or eggs, and is painstakingly organized by micro-season, “ie: Early Spring/Late Spring”. This is additionally perfect if you or said Mom are completely fed up with having the same old baked chicken or scrambled egg roll-ups for breakfast.

Things to Make and Do: A Journal and Remember: A Seasonal Record by Nikki McClure (Buy Olympia, $16.95)

For the Etsy-shopping, poetry-writing, strawberry jam-making, DIY gardener in your life (or for someone who aspires to do these things one day). You cannot go wrong with one of these journals.

Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery & Cafe by Joanne Chang (Chronicle Books, $35.00)
For the gourmet Mom with a sweet tooth, who likes to read cookbooks in bed, and once in a while actually bake something. Each recipe looks accessible and amazing - Homemade Smores, Sweet Sticky Buns, and Almond Macaroons with Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache.

City Walks With Kids New York: 50 Adventures on Foot
by Elissa Stein (Chronicle Books, $14.95)

For the active Mom who’s wondering just what the heck to do with the kids all summer long. These boxes of cards offer fun and kid-friendly walks through NY. We also have City Walks: Philadelphia and Washington D.C., which would be great for the retired mom who loves to walk off the beaten path.

Head Off and Split: Poems by Nikki Finney (Triquarterly, $15.95)

For the lover of poetry in your life, or for someone who is fairly new to poetry but would appreciate Finney’s powerful imagery and distinct voice; that’s both personal but also intersects with public and historical moments in American life. She will not be disappointed.

*Disclaimer: I would not balk at any of these as a Mother’s Day gift. Nope, would not balk at all.

May 2011, Amy Vaccarella