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FDL Reads: Salad Cookbooks

FDL Reads Special Edition! A message from Dawn Dickey, Reference Assistant:

It’s too hot to cook, so I’ve been checking out cookbooks. I mostly prefer cookbooks that have nutrition information for each recipe, plenty of photos, and ingredients that are relatively easy to find.-Dawn Dickey, Reference Assistant

Cover image for Cooking Light : big book of salads.Cooking Light Big Book of Salads

Shaun Chavis, ed. 288 pp.

The editors of Cooking Light know how to publish recipes that catch the eye of cooks and consumers. This well-rounded cookbook includes

  • Pictures with every salad recipe + nutritional analysis of each salad
  • Ingredient guides; “100 Calorie Salad Boosters” (like 1 Tablespoon crunchy Chinese noodles); and “Shout-out” sections for various ingredients, like couscous, mangoes, or artichokes
  • Try: Soba noodles with chicken and vegetables p. 123; Greek chicken and barley salad, p. 155

Three Words that Describe this Book:  colorful, helpful, mouth-watering

Give this a try if you like to try easy-to-make recipes that will likely please your palate!

Rating:  5/5 – top notch!!

 

Cover image for Tossed : 200 fast, fresh, and fabulous saladsTossed:  200 Fast, Fresh, and Fabulous Salads

by Jane Lawson. 432 pp.

This cookbook has an intriguing title, but for me, the intrigue stopped there. I think the cookbook tries to be trendy but falls short on practicality. For example, the “poolside” section has a recipe for “marinated baby octopus salad,” not something I’m going to take to the pool any time soon – ditto for recipes asking for quail eggs and smoked trout. Not all the recipes have photos, and the text, interspersed with extra-large words, is annoying. And there is no nutrition information for the recipes – an essential for me. Interesting recipes to try:  chicken with mixed rice, golden raisins, and cashews (p. 254) or Thai-style chicken salad (p. 329).

Three Words that Describe this Book:  trendy suburban eats

Give this a try if you don’t mind slogging through uninspiring text/font to find some interesting recipes.

Rating:  3 out of 5 because of the annoying things & lack of nutrition information

 

Cover image for Salad as a meal : healthy main-dish salads for every seasonSalad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season

by Patricia Wells. 360 pp.

The title of this book is a bit misleading. The author writes:  “In my own personal definition, a salad as a meal does not need to include lettuce or greens; it can simply be a light and refreshing salad-related entity.” This runs counter to my own definition of “salad” and means that the cookbook contains many types of main dishes. The recipes reflect the author’s location in southern France. For a Midwesterner in the U.S., this poses a challenge in locating ingredients such as fresh mackerel or mussels or buffalo-milk ricotta cheese. There is no nutrition information, and, although there are photos, the photos are often artful garden photos and not photos of the actual dishes. Try:  Provence on a Plate (p.92).

Three Words that Describe this Book:  fresh, flavorful, unique

Give this a try if you like … cooking with a French flair, especially seafood

Rating:  3 out of 5 for interesting recipes but lacking in practicality

FDL Reads: Donner Dinner Party

Cover image for Donner dinner partyDonner Dinner Party (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales) by Nathan Hale

Reviewed by: Sylvia Shults, Circulation

Genre: Historical Fiction (Graphic Novel)

Suggested Age: Tweens, Teens

What is the book about?: Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales is a graphic novel series that describes events from history in a way that makes them easy to understand and very, very entertaining. It helps that the author chooses stories that really have the potential to hold an audience’s interest … things like the Donner party tragedy. You say history is boring? Not when Nathan Hale is here to tell those hazardous tales! The secret is that there are two Nathan Hales. Nathan Hale the Revolutionary spy tells the stories, while Nathan Hale the author writes them all down.

My Review: This is some seriously entertaining stuff about some serious subjects. The point of this series is that Nathan Hale, a spy hanged during the American Revolution, puts off his execution, Scheherezade-style, by telling the hangman and the British officer in charge of the hanging tales from American history. It’s a macabre premise for a series, but boy does it work. And the stories Hale shares border on the macabre too. I started off with Donner Dinner Party, curious to see how this could possibly be in any way funny. Hale (both the storyteller and the author) does manage it. Other stories include Harriet Tubman’s story (not macabre but intense), the Battle of the Alamo, and the First World War (Treaties, Trenches, Mud and Blood).

Three Words That Describe This Book: Funny, informative, thrilling

Give This a Try if You Like… History and/or graphic novels.

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: Landline

Cover image for LandlineLandline by Rainbow Rowell

Reviewed by: Susie Rivera, Reference Specialist

Genre: Speculative Fiction

Suggested Age: Teens, Adults

What is the book about?: Landline is about a marriage in trouble and a magic phone that might have the power to save it.  Georgie and Neal have been together since their college years.  They love each other, but there have been problems in their relationship that have been festering for some time. Georgie is a T.V. show writer in Los Angeles who is very involved with her job.  Neal is a stay-at-home dad who takes care of their two small children. Georgie’s demanding career seems to always come first, and Neal has had enough. The book begins when Neal takes the children away, leaving Georgie behind. Georgie goes to stay with her mom and when she tries to call Neal from a landline phone, she discovers she is talking to Neal in the past. Will this magic phone help fix their marriage before it even starts?  Can she even change the future at all?

My Review: I read this book for FDL’s Out of the Box book club.  We had a great discussion about it.  I was very excited to see it on the upcoming reading list because I have read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.  I had very high expectations for Landline because I loved Eleanor and Park so much.  That book was one that I couldn’t put down, and I remember staying up past 1:00 a.m. to find out what happens.  Landline didn’t seem to have the same effect on me. Though I loved Georgie’s character, it was just an okay read.  Overall, I felt the author could and has done better work.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Realistic (except for the magic phone), Romantic, Funny

Give This a Try if You Like… Contemporary fiction with a twist of magic realism, Books about complicated relationships

Rating: 3/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: Scythe

Cover image for ScytheScythe by Neal Shusterman

Reviewed by: Joscelyn Lockwood, Youth Services

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction

Suggested Age: Teens, Adults

What is the book about?: Humanity has reached the point that immortality is no mere dream. Nanos in the bloodstream mute pain, heal, and have the ability to make a person young again with proper manipulation. Suicide has become an activity that teens do for entertainment, and governments have been replaced by the all-knowing Thunderhead.

Rowan and Cita are normal teens chosen to become apprentices to a Scythe. This means they have to learn the one method of population control that society has left, sanctioned killing. Neither of them particularly want to become Scythes, and they know only one will be chosen at the end of the year long term.  Which begs the question, can one ever become okay with the idea of taking lives?

My Review: I cannot contain my excitement for this book. My expectations were a little low, given the recent rash of Young Adult books that seem to all follow the same blueprint. Mr. Shusterman just blew that right out of the water. The world he has created and the depth of the characters are wonderful. Rowan and Cita’s perspectives and thoughts are engrossing, and you really feel empathetic towards them. Each Scythe they meet in their journey is unique, and their outlooks towards death transcended the book and made me think about how our own culture views death and the possibility of immortality. Far more than your average YA romp, this novel is, thankfully, free of awkward love triangles. I really wish more writers could be this creative while still staying within the genre. It was a treat to read.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Action, Suspense, Thought-provoking.

Give This a Try if You Like… Any type of YA, dystopian worlds, unexpected twists and turns.

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things

Cover image for Courtney Crumrin and the night thingsCourtney Crumrin and the Night Things by Ted Naifeh

Reviewed by: Sarah Baker, Circulation

Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Suggested Age: Teens

What is the book about?: Courtney and her parents are moving out of the city and in with her great-uncle Aloysius in his creepy house.  Her new classmates are snobbish and mean.  Her parents are wrapped up in their own concerns and in climbing the social ladder.  And the one kid she started to make friends with just got eaten by a goblin.  But Courtney isn’t taking that kind of thing lying down.  She’s snuck a look at her uncle’s study and he has books about these creatures.  Courtney is going to meet the Night Things head on.

My Review: I started this series back in ’03 when I was working at Waldenbooks and absolutely adored it.  Then life kept happening and it got forgotten.  I remembered it again after cruising through a Goodreads list and decided to give it another go.  It’s held up surprisingly well – a dark fantasy world with a teen witch finding her way, discovering that everything has a price, and  who retains what makes her her.  The art work is stark and highly reminiscent of Mike Mignola, and gives great atmosphere to the tale. Courtney has a bad attitude and refuses to change who she is.  14 year old me would have adored her; 34 year old me still does.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Dark, Magical, Intriguing

Give This a Try if You Like… The Addams Family, Gunnerkrigg Court, The Dresden Files

Rating: 4/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: Stranded: A Story of Frontier Survival

Cover image for Stranded : a story of frontier survivalStranded: A Story of Frontier Survival by Matthew P. Mayo

Reviewed by: Sylvia Shults, Circulation

Genre: Western

Suggested Age: Adult

What is the book about?: A young girl, on her way to Oregon with her family, is stranded for the winter in a valley at the foot of the Rockies.​ Her father and brothers have gone off to hunt buffalo in preparation for their journey over the mountains. When the men don’t return, Janette must find a way to survive. She must battle not only loneliness and hunger, but the wild animals who prowl the valley looking for prey.

My Review: This book has a Western sticker on the spine, but if you’re not a fan of westerns, do not let that put you off reading this book! Stranded is an adventure tale above all. Told in the form of a diary kept by Janette Riker, this is actually based on a true story. Janette Riker was left behind to guard the wagon when her father and two brothers went off to hunt. When they didn’t return, she had to find a way to survive the winter. The real Janette didn’t keep a diary, but if she had, it may have been filled with grit and determination, just like this book.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Powerful, raw, awe-inspiring

Give This a Try if You Like… The Revenant by Michael Punke, or the movie based on the book.

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: Snow White

Cover image for Snow WhiteSnow White by Matt Phelan

Reviewed by: Joscelyn Lockwood, Children’s Department

Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Suggested Age: Children, Tweens

What is the book about?: A retelling of the classic Snow White fairy tale, set in Depression-Era New York City. Samantha “Snow” White is a young girl sent away to a boarding school by her father, a stock market tycoon, shortly after the death of her mother and arrival of her step-mother.  Tragedy strikes again for young Snow and she’s left on her own against the evil ministrations of her step-mother.

My Review: Though incredibly light on the dialogue, I was surprised by how much I loved this book. My favorite parts were easily anything involving the Seven, though they aren’t dwarves like in the original Disney version of the tale. This would be a great short read for a child just looking to get into Graphic Novels, or even an adult seeking something different from what they’d normally pick. I’m definitely going to be looking into this author’s other works.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Emotional, Fun, Unique

Give This a Try if You Like… Graphic novels, Fairy tale retellings, Quick Reads

Rating: 4/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: The Cuckoo’s Calling

Cover image for The Cuckoo's CallingThe Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Specialist

Genre: Mystery

Suggested Age: Adults

What is the book about?: Robin Ellacott is new to London, having just moved there to be with her fiance Matthew. She’s working for a temp agency that sends her to the office of Cormoran Strike, Private Investigator. Strike never asked for a temp, but keeps her on anyway, which turns out to be good for him as he’s about to take on the case of his career. Mega supermodel Lula Landry has fallen to her death from her third floor balcony. The police have ruled it a suicide, but her brother thinks she’s been murdered and hires Strike to find out who did it. Cormoran and Robin make for an interesting team. What starts as an unwanted pairing on Strike’s part turns into an intellectual partnership as they frantically search for Landry’s killer among a wide ranging and eclectic series of suspects.

My Review: I loved this book so much and I think loved more for the fact that I don’t read mysteries. They just aren’t my thing. But I read this for a book club and enjoyed it so much that I read the next two in the series and can’t wait for the fourth. The mystery itself was engaging. Any of the suspect characters could have murdered Lula Landry and I found myself liking some of them to hope that they weren’t the one who did it. Cormoran and Robin are both well rounded, well written characters and I ended up caring more about them as people than the mystery itself. However, Rowling uses the mystery of the killer to reveal information about her detective and his assistant throughout the book. She really has a very strong gift for character development and making small gestures or actions covey more than you might originally think. I was also completely surprised by the killer in the end. I won’t spoil anything, but knowing who it is makes so much other information in the book take on extra meaning when you think back to information imparted to readers even from the very beginning. In short, this is a well crafted mystery that goes beyond a typical “who done it?” to make readers care about the characters outside of the murder being investigated.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Surprising, Comfortable, Addictive

Give This a Try if You Like… Masterpiece Mystery, Sherlock Holmes, Batgirl

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: Empty Hands

Cover image for Empty Hands, a MemoirEmpty Hands: One Woman’s Journey to Save Children Orphaned by AIDS in South Africa by Sister Abegail Ntleko

Reviewed by: Dawn Dickey, Reference Specialist

Genre: Autobiography

Suggested Age: Teens, Adults

What is the book about?: Empty Hands tells the story of Sister Abegail Ntleko, a nurse and health activist who was born into an impoverished family during the time of apartheid in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The second youngest of 13 children, Abegail’s mother died when she was about 3 ½. The remaining children were then split up, and soon, at a very young age, Abe found herself the sole caretaker of herself and her father, cooking, washing, tending to animals and crops. Abe has an intense desire to help people, and she wants to become a nurse, but her traditionally minded father does not believe in education for women. Finally entering first grade at age 14 when her father relented on Abe’s education, she went on to graduate from nursing school, adopting the first of her dozens of children while still studying nursing. Sister Abe brought together many people and resources to provide rural health care services. When the AIDS crisis hit, Sister Abe was in the thick of it, advocating for better training and education about the disease and offering care and comfort to the sick and survivors by providing or finding “psychological, medical, and legal assistance.” Sister Abegail received the Unsung Heroes of Compassion award from the Dalai Lama in 2009.

My Review: This is a powerful story, told in Sister Abe’s own matter-of-fact language. Despite innumerable obstacles, Abe worked tirelessly to help others throughout her long career, even through heartbreaking times when her own children died of AIDS. Early on in the retelling of her life story, Abegail introduces us to the concept of ubuntu, the “Zulu understanding that you are a person because of other people, and it is the reason for your helping others and others helping you. . . . a natural sense that we are all in this together, a sense of belonging to a community, that by doing for others, you help yourself.” This understanding seems to be Sister Abe’s foundation for the remarkable work that she did. What an exceptional woman!

Three Words That Describe This Book: inspiring, uplifting, humbling

Give This a Try if You Like…  real life heroes.

Rating: 5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

FDL Reads: Universal Harvester

Cover image for Universal harvesterUniversal Harvester by John Darnielle

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Specialist

Genre: Weird Fiction, Horror

Suggested Age: Teens, Adults

What is the book about?: It’s the late 90s and Jeremy is working at a small video renal store in a small town in rural Iowa. Day to day life isn’t all that exciting until people start complaining that there’s something wrong with the video tapes they’re checking out. Jeremy decides to see for himself and finds parts of other videos spliced into the movies on the tapes. Weird videos. Creepy videos. His boss, Sarah Jane, gets involved. She starts coming to work less and less and doesn’t want to talk about the weird tapes. Jeremy doesn’t really want to either, but when one of the regular customers insists that someone nearby might be getting hurt, he takes reluctant action. And then things start to get weird.

My Review: I had to sit with this book for a while and think about it before writing a review. I had read it back in February. I originally thought of this book as horror. The first half of it literally made my skin prickle because it was so creepy. The book as a whole is creepy for sure, but without giving anything away, the story changes partway through into something that isn’t quite horror but also isn’t conducive to the warm fuzzies either. This book has elements of horror but it’s not a gore fest or supernatural in any way. It’s more of a meditation on loss and how loss shapes our lives. It’s about how some people go about their day to day lives dealing with loss and how others… don’t.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Creepy, isolating, sad

Give This a Try if You Like…  The Ring (movie), cults, music by The Mountain Goats

Rating: 4/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!

imagine, inform, inspire