Virginia Johnson

02/08/2017 - 12:30am
Cover to My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier

The haunted newlyweds in Rebecca. The vile and violent act of nature unleashed in The Birds. Deadly family secrets at the Jamaica Inn. British novelist Daphne Du Maurier was the queen of romantic suspense. She knew perfectly well how to portray a broken person who felt helpless in a desperate situation—someone who might have had a happy life were it not for the encroachment of nightmarish scenarios created by the wicked. Every so often, a movie director will rediscover her work and bring a tale of inner torment to the screen. In July 2017, Du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel will enter theaters once more.

02/02/2017 - 12:25am
Cover to I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery

Poems by Cynthia Grady with illustrations by Michele Wood

Cynthia Grady and illustrator Michele Wood have crafted a book to share with children where each poem, together with its picture, is a thoughtful illumination of some aspect of slaves’ experiences.

02/01/2017 - 3:36pm
Author of the Month: Langston Hughes

"I was unhappy for a long time, and very lonesome, living with my grandmother. Then it was that books began to happen to me, and I began to believe in nothing but books and the wonderful world in books — where if people suffered, they suffered in beautiful language, not in monosyllables, as we did in Kansas." (From The Big Sea, one of Hughes’ autobiographies) 

02/01/2017 - 11:36am

Our 16th president was a very odd-looking man. Long-limbed and raw-boned, this frontier president grew up without a lot of the niceties we take for granted today. He grew up surrounded by wilderness and not having much schooling. As he remembered it, "...I could read, write, and cipher (simple math) ... but that was all."

01/23/2017 - 9:06am
Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest

A mother's protection is a wondrous thing. When Rosemary felt her mother's powerful spell wrap around her so hard it forced her to the ground, she knew she had no reason to be worried for her own safety. But then it cut off as though cleaved with a sword, and Rosemary knew that something terrible had happened to her.

01/18/2017 - 12:09am
Cover to The Book of Spice: From Anise to Zedoary

If you like a good cooking show—and a good story—dive into John O’Connell’s The Book of Spice for a lot of kitchen knowledge, delivered with an English accent. From his first try at tandoori chicken at a family picnic, Mr. O’Connell was hooked on the beautiful differences spices could make.

As seasoned cooks know, spice is very nice, and there are certainly more of them available now, both online and in the supermarket. Indeed, there are so many herbs, spices, and blends that it’s a daunting proposition to select one to try out. Surely it would be better if you understood not only their uses but also their fascinating histories.

01/16/2017 - 12:08am
Cover to Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey

Why didn’t Cinderella’s father protect her from the “wicked” stepmother? And surely the prince wasn’t the first handsome boy she laid eyes on! Besides all that, do wishes magically happen? In Cameron Dokey’s Before Midnight, a reworking of the Cinderella story, all of these questions are wonderfully explored.

Cendrillon’s (Cinderella’s) father and mother had a legendary love. When her mother died just hours after she was born, Etienne de Brabant took it . . . badly. He cursed his late wife’s garden, swore that he never wanted to see their baby daughter, and took off for a divided court, leaving behind another baby—a boy whose identity he did not reveal.

01/06/2017 - 11:53am

On May 29, 2005, a public dedication ceremony was held at the Richard Kirkland Monument, adjacent to the newly restored Sunken Road. Workers spent months burying power lines, removing pavement, and restoring the stone wall. All of this recreated the look and feel of what became one of the bloodiest pieces of ground in the Civil War.

Fredericksburg rises from the fall line of the Rappahannock River. Its natural hills are generally considered to be just part of the scenic landscape. Wealthy townspeople, such as the Willis and Marye families, built their mansions on the heights. Before the Civil War, the scenery was pleasant but otherwise unremarkable.

12/27/2016 - 2:55am
Cover to The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook

Heavy holiday meals got you down? Even if you were virtuous and limited your intake of feast foods, odds are for that all that sweet stuff left you more than ready for a change of pace.

For almost 70 years, the Rodale Institute has been teaching people how to bring the good stuff into their diets. Their motto from the beginning: Healthy Soil = Healthy Food = Healthy People. It’s still a good motto. They’ve led the organic gardening and farming movements for generations, and they know what they’re doing. They also know how to cook—and not just the fancy recipes that rely on ultra-special ingredients. The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook is as solid as it sounds.

12/26/2016 - 2:54am
Cover to Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt

All they want is a Homecoming.

Dicey Tillerman is the 13-year-old big sister, and it’s up to her to look after the younger kids—a situation that becomes a lot more complicated when their mentally ill mother abandons them in the parking lot of a shopping mall.

Their mother said they were going on a trip to see their rich Aunt Cilla. Maybe their mother got confused, the way she does. Maybe she is already at Aunt Cilla’s waiting for them. Maybe not.

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