BookClique

Here we will post our musings on a wide variety of titles. You can comment on our posts and find the titles in our catalog.

Ottolenghi: the Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi

imagesOttolenghi: the Cookbook has a cover that upsets librarians! When this New York Times top title  is returned, we gasp! Why? Because Jonathon Lovekin’s clever food photographextends beyond its borders to create the illusion of a book smeared with food. And what delicious food it is! Ottolenghi features 140 recipes culled from the popular Ottolenghi restaurants and inspired by the diverse culinary traditions of the Mediterranean. The recipes reflect the authors’ upbringings in Jerusalem yet also incorporate culinary traditions from California, Italy, and North Africa. Featuring abundant produce and fish and meat dishes, as well as Ottolenghi’s famed cakes and breads, Ottolenghi invites you into a world of inventive flavors and fresh, vibrant cooking. Yotam Ottolenghi arrived in the UK from his native Israel in 1997 and set out on a new career in food, after having completed an MA in Comparative Literature whilst working as a journalist in Tel Aviv. In London he attended The Cordon Bleu after which he worked as a pastry chef in various establishments.  In 2002, Yotam and his partners set up Ottolenghi, a unique food shop offering a wide range of freshly made savory dishes, baked products and patisserie items. There are now four Ottolenghi’s, as well as NOPI, a brasserie style restaurant in Soho, London. Since 2006 Ottolenghi has written a column in The Guardian’s Weekend Saturday magazine. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling books Plenty, Jerusalem, and Ottolenghi. Sami Tamimi is a partner and head chef at Ottolenghi. Their 2012 cookbook Jerusalem was also a bestseller and was awarded Cookbook of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Amy P.


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Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn

imagesMrs. Queen Takes the Train is the first novel from historian William Kuhn who has also written biographies about key characters in Queen Victoria’s court and a look at Jackie Kennedy’s personality through the books she edited. Mrs. Queen novelizes an unusual day in the life of the United Kingdom’s reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Feeling out-of sorts and missing the royal yacht Britannia, the Queen ‘disappears’ from Buckingham Palace and the staff endeavor to locate her without calling in MI5! It’s a day of interesting adventures for the Queen who walks along London streets she has not visited since World War II and then travels north to Leath on the train! Mrs. Queen Takes the Train also explores the lives of the royal staff and contains an interesting subplot involving a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. It’s both a gentle send-up of British society and a look at aging. For more material in a similar vein, readers should also try Alan Bennett”s The Uncommon Reader where the Queen stumbles across a mobile library and is guided through many literary adventures. TCPL owns 6 novels about Elizabeth’s life. Ask your librarian to help find them!

Amy P.


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The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

imagesThe Signature of All Things is the 19th century story of Alma Whittaker a plain yet brilliant woman and daughter of the formidable entrepreneur Henry Whittaker. The story tells of Alma’s growing up on a wealthy Philadelphia estate surrounded by acres of wildlife, aggressively educated by her Dutch mother Beatrix. Though plain Alma’s knowledge of botany and the natural world far exceed those around her, her keen intellect leads her to a life of spinsterhood, alienating any prospective suitors. Alma’s vigorous botanical career and personal disappointments bring her to travel the globe, where, in Tahiti she has a euphoric revelation about the natural world and her role in it. Gilbert’s writing is eloquent and descriptive and I found myself connecting with Alma and rooting for her triumph.

Rachel P.


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Dog Songs by Mary Oliver

imagesI love dogs, and I love poems, and I happened across this book quite by accident. When I saw it, I immediately had to snatch it up, and I read it in one day. This was a library copy, and so, after finishing the book, I had to immediately buy a copy for myself. This is a book I will certainly read over and over again. Mary Oliver is a new poet for me, but she is well-known in the literary world, having won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Her works in Dog Songs are straight-forward, and at first glance, almost simple. They are not, however, simple in any way. Rather, Mary Oliver communicates the small, every day happenings that give depth to the relationships between dogs and people. And for me, while many of the poems seemed to celebrate what it means to be a dog, I found myself reflecting more on what it means to be a person, and what it means to be me. This one, for example, reminded me of joy, and how I often forget to appreciate the wonder of each moment:

The Storm (Bear)

Now through the white orchard my little dog
romps, breaking the new snow
with wild feet.

Running here running there, excited,
hardly able to stop, he leaps, he spins

until the white snow is written upon

in large, exuberant letters,

a long sentence, expressing
the pleasures of the body in this world.

Oh, I could not have said it better

myself.

Read Dog Songs. Even if you are not a dog lover, I promise you will enjoy it. And if you are a dog lover, then, like me, you will certainly read this book more than once.

Annette G.


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Vanity Fair 100 Years by Graydon Carter

imagesWeighing in at 8.5 pounds and measuring 14.4 x 11.5 x 1.5 inches, Vanity Fair 100 Years, is a sumptuous celebration of the magazine and the culture from the jazz age to today. With a tip of the hat to the origin of the phrase, (Vanity Fair appears as a place for rascality in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progess, 1678), this large coffee table book celebrates the magazine from its inception in 1895 to 1913 and then its rebirth in the 1980s. It’s an odd celebration of  100 years with a wealth of information about publishing, style and popular culture. Sandwiched in the middle of many glossy pages is a 57-page section titled “Wisdom & Whimsy” that includes a selection of excerpts from articles organized by year. These would be a treasure trove for young social scientists working on school reports or practicing ‘period’ writing. Aspiring journalists will enjoy the behind the scenes stories of the magazine. Of course, the iconic images are all here; many of which do not seem nearly as unsettling as in their original appearances. Among those are Whoopi Goldberg in her milk bath, a wet Darryl Hannah and some exuberant pictures of Michael Jackson, so sad to view in retrospect. Another wonderful book from Abrams Publishing, that is sure to spark many memories, some which may be hard to explain to younger generations!

Amy P.


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The Chopin Manuscript by Jeffrey Deaver

imagesHarry Middleton is in the middle of an intricate mystery.  Is the Chopin manuscript a fake? If so, why is Heinrich dead, and why is Harry being chased, and framed? The Chopin Manuscript is a fast-paced thriller, filled with classical music, past war crimes, theft, secret codes and murder in Kosovo, Poland and D.C. The story of how the novel was written is almost as interesting as the novel itself.  Jeffrey Deaver, (The Copper Bracelet) conceived the idea and wrote the first few chapters. It was then sent to over 10 other mystery writers (including Lisa Scottoline and Lee Child) to add one chapter each. Then  it was up to Deaver to complete the final few chapters, tying up the many loose ends and reconciling the plot and the myriad characters. If you are a fan of any of the included authors, or a fan of TV mystery dramas, give this one a try.
Kate M


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The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

imagesThe Weight of Blood is a coming-of-age story, one wrapped in mystery and woven together with family ties and truths. Lucy loves her family and friends, but the discovery of a murdered friend’s pendent in an unexpected place causes Lucy to start to question what she really knows about them. Everyone has secrets, she discovers, and perhaps the secrets of those closest to Lucy are darker than most. One of the darkest secrets may involve the disappearance of her mother, Lila, years ago. Will revealing the secret bring her friends and family peace, or destroy them all together? Two women are missing—one from the past and one from the present. Long ago, Lila Dane went missing; she was last seen running into a local cave carrying a gun. In present day, her daughter Lucy is distraught over the loss of her friend, Cheri, who is found murdered
after being missing for a year. When Lucy finds Cheri’s pendant, Lucy starts to ask questions, dangerous questions. As tensions mount, Lucy begins to suspect that Cheri’s murder and her mother’s disappearance are related. The cost of the truth, she realizes, may be more than she is willing to pay. This novel, set in the town of Henbane in the Ozarks, is a starkly beautiful tale. The author deftly shows us the ties that bind the small community of Henbane together, for better or for worse. She brings the landscape to life so clearly that I could almost hear the buzz of mosquitos and feel the heat and humidity of a late Southern summer. This is Laura McHugh’s first book, and it is a doozy. I look forward to her next book with great anticipation.

Annette G.


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Great Design by Philip Wilkinson

imagesDorling Kindersley is the British publisher best known for its many visual explorer titles for children. I was somewhat surprised to see this entry for adults. This 2013 title,Great Design, has made the New York Times Notable books of 2013 It’s no wonder. Befittingly, this book on great design…is a beautifully designed visual feast! Each 2-4 page spread in a 10 x 12 inch format, features a design artifact in the Smithsonian’s collection covering the period from 1860 to the present. There’s enough detail on each item to whet your appetite to learn more about the designer or the movement discussed. I can imagine great family discussions about what your top five items in this collection are! It would be a great book to spark discussion in art, industrial design, and social history classes. A real treat for the eyes, the heart, and the mind.

Amy P.


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Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

images“On the morning of its first birthday, a baby was found floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel.”  From this inauspicious opening sentence through to the satisfying conclusion, Katherine Rundell delights with an imaginative tale for middle grade readers.  While Sophie joins a legion of plucky orphans found in children’s literature, she and her guardian Charles, a fellow passenger on the doomed ship, have their own humorous and endearing ways of doing things, including searching for Sophie’s mother.  The National Childcare Agency threatens to separate them so Sophie and Charles escape England. They follow the only clue they have about Sophie’s past which is a Parisian address on the cello case that once saved her. It is in Paris that Sophie ventures up to the rooftops and discovers the world of “sky-treaders,” the children who live outside but are not homeless. Sophie never gives up the hope that she will find her mother. This strength of spirit, combined with the love and support of Charles as well as the new friendships she makes on the rooftops, give Rooftoppers a warm glow.  They follow the music throughout their adventures to find the things that matter most.  (AR 3.5, Lexile 490L)

Melissa F.


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Archetype by M.D. Waters

imagesEmma Burke wakes up in a hospital, with no memories of how she got there and of her life before. As she becomes stronger, her husband Declan and her doctor fill in her past, telling her she was attacked by enemies of Declan. These enemies are fighting Declan’s company, and are against his plan to improve the fertility rates among women in a world where babies are an increasingly rare thing. Declan is handsome and charming, and seems to genuinely care about Emma; surely he cares about others as much as he cares about her. But Emma’s dreams hint of a darker, harsher reality, one where girls are trained in large camps to be wives, and where the world is caught up in the turmoil of war. When Emma picks up a paintbrush and starts painting, it as if she is painting directly from the life of another. A man named Noah Tucker seems to recognize the memories captured on Emma’s canvases, and she is shocked to realize that her dreams may be the key to changing the world. Archetype is a rare book: it’s a brilliant blend of science fiction, romance, and mystery. The writing is fresh, and the storytelling inventive. You uncover the truth of Emma’s life as she does, and see, through her eyes, as her reality begins to unravel, revealing something new and unexpected. I won’t spoil it by giving away any more than that. Read it and enjoy it. I am already looking forward to the second book, titled Prototype, coming out in July.

Annette G.


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Tippecanoe County Public Library * 627 South Street * Lafayette, IN * 47901 * 765 429-0100