Virginia Johnson

This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind by Ivan Doig

This House of Sky: Landscapes of a Western Mind by Ivan Doig

Ivan Doig’s This House of Sky is a memoir set in the rugged, sheep-raising terrain of Montana. It was a time when the last of the small-town ranchers were on their way out, pushed along by the Great Depression and rich men buying up failed farms to add to their own.

The author’s people were not of the rich kind. They were scrappy, immigrant stock. Ivan’s grandfather came with family from Scotland. They ran sheep til their luck ran out. Then they worked for the big ranchers.  Ivan’s father was a little guy, but he broke broncos—sometimes breaking his own bones doing it -- rode herd on sheep, bossed the other hands, and fell in love with a 16-year-old girl.

The New Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook by Ellen Brown

The New Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook by Ellen Brown

Fried chicken. Cornbread. Sunday morning bacon. Apple Brown Betty. All of these delicious, home-cooked foods traditionally come out of a cast-iron skillet. At my house, we have three or four of them that have been passed down through generations. While Ellen Brown’s New Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook has takes on these basic things, it opens a wider range of flavors and techniques from around the country and around the world.

The Dogs of Winter by Bobbie Pyron

The Dogs of Winter by Bobbie Pyron

In Bobbie Pyron’s The Dogs of Winter, five-year-old Ivan doesn’t know where his mother went. Maybe she traveled to the City to find work. She had lost her job at the bakery, so they hadn’t had anything good to eat for a long time, and the house had no heat. The bad man who lived with them just said she was gone. Forever.

Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family and Heritage

Kwanzaa, celebrated between December 26 and January 1, is a time for families in the African-American community to come together and enjoy their heritage. Unlike many holidays, Kwanzaa was created by one person, Maulana Karenga, in 1966. He named the celebration Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits" in Swahili.

Make a Gingerbread House

Gumdrops, lollipops, chocolate squares, jelly bears, and peppermint candies. The sky is the limit as far as decorating your own gingerbread house. They are a ton of fun to decorate, but first you need to make the house itself.

The Real Twelve Days of Christmas: Celebrating in the Old-fashioned Way

It ain't over 'til it's over! Every year kids and adults build up a head of steam for the Christmas holidays. Then the magical day comes and goes too quickly, leaving scraps of wrapping paper and half-munched cookies all around the house, as well as the nagging feeling that someone special has been left off the greeting and gifting list.

Sisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill

Sisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill

Sisters Maria and Giovanna are the daughters of one of Venice’s leading makers of artisan glass. They have trained to do certain tasks to help keep the business prosperous after their beloved father’s death. But a provision in his will demands that Maria—who wants nothing more than to help create beautiful things—must be married off to a nobleman while her gorgeous, sweet sister will have no such opportunity.

Colonial Virginia

What was it like to live long ago when Virginia belonged to England? When there were no cars, no computers, few hospitals and no free public schools?

Without cars, trains or airplanes, people traveled by boat, horseback or on foot by "shank's mare". The reason so many colonial towns were located next to rivers is that often the roads were terrible seas of mud. It was so much easier to travel on the rivers!

Make Your Own Holiday Cards

You can create your very own cards to shine, sparkle, and spin. A quick trip to a craft store can net you a few things that can help you turn out beautiful and amazing holiday cards.

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti

From the countryside orphanage to the seedy dives of a whaling town to a mining village literally underlain by ghosts, Hannah Tinti’s The Good Thief is a vivid and engaging tale of filching and family.