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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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22 02, 2017

Review: Groovin’ by Rich Israel

By | February 22nd, 2017|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , |2 Comments

Rating:

groovin' book coverReviewed by Lauren Cannavino

Rich Israel’s playful, bright and fantastical memoir of the 1960’s experience is a fun, well-written read for fans of counterculture and coming-of-age tales. Groovin’: Horses, Hopes, and Slippery Slopes is raucous, trippy and expressive, full of adventure, hijinks and personal discoveries. From hitchhiking, to a month long horseback riding adventure out west, Rich takes the reader through a time that many can only read about and others will remember fondly.

The book reminded me of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, full of crazy characters, road trips, adventures and drugs, but peppered with self- reflection, excellent insight and the running political commentary in the background.

10 10, 2016

Review: The Boiling River by Andres Ruzo

By | October 10th, 2016|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , |3 Comments

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the boiling river book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

The Boiling River is a book based on a TED talk by Andres Ruzo. I’ve heard of TED talks and have since watched quite a few of them online. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. They cover a very wide range of topics and typically focus on interesting new discoveries and understanding about the world around us.

The Boiling River is about a river that is close to boiling, bubbling away in the Amazon. The river is particularly special because no one knew about this amazing place and people living in the area denied its existence. And even more impressive was the sheer volume of water that was flowing at this temperature.

16 06, 2016

Review: Confessions of a Paris Party Girl by Vicki Lesage

By | June 16th, 2016|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , |1 Comment

Rating:

paris party girl book coverReviewed by Lauren Cannavino

This feel good memoir by Vicki Lesage is not the typical “American Girl in Paris” read. Instead, Lesage presents her vulnerabilities, her hopes and all of her successes in a conversational fashion, while also including details on her favorite haunts to catch a drink and her frequent mishaps with having too much to drink. Confessions of a Paris Party Girl does not read as a story of a drunken party girl as the title would leave a casual reader to believe and instead is a very real tale of a woman trying to find her footing abroad, while also trying to discover important facts about herself.

17 05, 2016

Review: The Hundred-Year Walk by Dawn Anahid MacKeen

By | May 17th, 2016|Categories: Historical, Nonfiction, Politics & Government, Travel|Tags: , , , , , |2 Comments

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hundred-year walk book coverReviewed by Vera Pereskokova

Every year, on April 24th, Armenians around the world commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Between 1915 and 1917, the government of the Ottoman Empire (present day Turkey) ordered the systematic deportation and extermination of hundreds of thousands of its Armenian residents, as well as other Christian ethnic groups. Although Turkey still denies that the events of those years constitute genocide, estimates suggest that as many as 1.5 million people perished as a result of death marches or outright massacres.

I am half-Armenian from my mother’s side and while I’ve always been aware of the Armenian Genocide, I knew little of the facts. So when an email describing The Hundred-Year Walk by Dawn Anahid MacKeen popped up in my inbox, I jumped at the chance to read it.

The Hundred-Year Walk is a true account

24 02, 2016

Review: Motions and Moments by Michael Pronko

By | February 24th, 2016|Categories: Entertainment, Humor, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

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motions and moments book coverReviewed by Lauren Cannavino

In his third book of essays about living in Tokyo, Japan author Michael Pronko provides an insider’s view of the city, with the perspective/respect of a one-time outsider. As an American writing and teaching at the University level and living in Tokyo for over eighteen years, Pronko has learned how to navigate the city, the customs and all of the quirks, while still being open to adventure and new discoveries. Always ready to explore and discover something new, Pronko is proud of his residence in Tokyo, proud of the citizens, his students and the hustle and bustle. This hustle and bustle is explored in a deeply intimate and well thought out manner and Pronko’s perspective, often reflected through observations made at the train station or on the train, show that there is much

14 08, 2015

Review: Doubling Back by Linda Cracknell

By | August 14th, 2015|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , |2 Comments

Rating:

doubling back book coverReviewed by Nina Longfield

Doubling Back by Linda Cracknell is a series of stories following Cracknell’s travels through the British Isle, points in Europe, and Kenya. Cracknell’s stories slip easily through time. In her opening essay, Saunters, the reader accompanies Cracknell in the contemporary setting of Switzerland ambling through flowering gardens or the wooded slopes of the Aubonne valley then, at the next moment, we are stumbling along on Cracknell’s first solitary outing as a four-year old child exploring her new backyard in a Surrey suburb. The present and past are intrinsically linked together through a weaving of activity (walking) and place. There is always an air of discovery in Cracknell’s treks whether the walk is familiar or new to her.

Doubling Back is reflective and vibrant. Linda Cracknell has a keen ability of painting landscapes with her words.

25 06, 2015

Review: Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard

By | June 25th, 2015|Categories: Cooking, Food, Wine, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , , , |3 Comments

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picnic in provence book coverReviewed by Alysia George

Picnic in Provence: A Memoir with Recipes is the lovely follow-up to Elizabeth Bard’s best-selling memoir, Lunch in Paris. Bard continues to chronicle her life as an American living in France as she moves from being a newlywed in Paris to becoming a new mother and starting a brand new business venture in Provence. Everything is tied together cohesively with the common topic of food, each chapter ending with a few recipes that have been referenced or alluded to throughout that chapter.

As a reader who is not particularly enthused about cooking, I did little more than skim over the recipes. With that admission, these recipes are not as intimidating as I assumed at first glance. In fact, they are fairly simple and easy to follow, with most ingredients being readily available, even in an American

25 03, 2015

Review: Emaho Tibet! by Simhananda

By | March 25th, 2015|Categories: Nonfiction, Photography, Travel|Tags: , |0 Comments

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emaho tibet book coverReviewed by Holly Madison

Emaho Tibet!: Blessings from the Land of the Snows initially caught my eye because I love the Buddhist philosophy, and I have always wanted to see Tibet. More or less, it is a book of photography, with photos from different places that the author journeyed to in his travels through the Land of the Snows.

My favorite photo in the book features a landscape, showing the valley surrounded by all of the mountains. I never pictured Tibet this way, and it gave me a whole new perspective on the land. It was haunting–something out of a dream. So much more than high mountainous desert…. a land that holds memories of beauty and deep spirituality. It was very fitting for what I think the author was trying to achieve in his book.

Each turn of the page shows a

17 02, 2015

Review: Dirty Chick by Antonia Murphy

By | February 17th, 2015|Categories: Animals, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , , |3 Comments

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dirty chick book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

In her humorous book, Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer, Antonia Murphy invites readers to take an inside peak into life as an amateur lifestyle farmer. Her story starts with her babysitting some chickens for her father and step-mother. At the time, their farming experiment was of little interest to Antonia, and when one chicken ended up dead, she was rather traumatized by the experience. Living near San Francisco, she did appreciate the work of artisan farmers for all the delicious options they made available to consumers, but that was as far as her interest in agriculture extended.

Years later, Antonia and her husband moved with their two children to New Zealand. With its more remote population, the foodie in her realized that if she wanted to experience the culinary options she had at

10 02, 2015

Review: While the Gods Were Sleeping by Elizabeth Enslin

By | February 10th, 2015|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , |1 Comment

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while the gods were sleeping book coverReviewed by Nina Longfield

While the Gods Were Sleeping is the fascinating journey of a Seattle native to Nepal and to herself. Elizabeth Enslin’s observations are keen. It is at Stanford University where Enslin meets and falls in love with Pramod Parajuli. Unknown to her at that time, this relationship would also lead to her relationship with Nepal and the social changes rocking the landlocked nation just like changes happening around the world in the late eighties.

During her doctoral studies in anthropology, Enslin changes her focus from researching in Africa to Nepal. With board acceptance, she travels to Nepal to record how social changes are affecting Nepali women. This change in research direction leads Enslin, Pramod, and their son on a journey through two cultures, American and Nepali. Being married to a high-caste Nepali, Enslin is both