Reading Room Blog

10/27/2015 - 12:19am
The Murder House by James Patterson and John Ellis

No. 7 Ocean Drive is just like any other handsome, well-to-do Hamptons McMansion. With its grand arches, towering peaks, and high windows, No. 7 is every tourist’s dream.

At least, that’s what it looks like from the outside.

10/21/2015 - 3:16am
Drink the Harvest: Making and Preserving Juices, Wines, Meads, Teas, and Ciders

Sometimes, there is more in the garden or orchard than you can use up at the dinner table. The same might hold true if you tend to go a little wild at farmers’ markets or on your co-op order. What to do with the oceans of apples, bunches of mint, or the bushels of berries? Sure, there are pies, preserves, and other delightful things that might be made from the bounty, but another possibility is to take at least some of your harvest and bottle it.

10/20/2015 - 3:16am
Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

Some people today fear going under the surgeon’s knife. It’s mostly a dread of the unknown. What might happen while they are knocked out, unaware of what is going on around them. They may not realize how fortunate they are. In Dr. Mütter’s Marvels, readers are swept back in time to a period before anesthesia was generally used. A good surgeon was a swift, careful cutter who could make the operation as mercifully short as possible for his wide-awake patient. He might even do some good for the patient in the process.

10/14/2015 - 2:02pm
Halloween: 101 Frightfully Fun Ideas from Better Homes and Gardens

You want to make Halloween sweet and spooky fun for your family. But you’re too clever (and too strapped for time and cash) to make a plan that will haunt your wallet and your sanity. You need Better Homes and Gardens’ Halloween: 101 Frightfully Fun Ideas.

10/14/2015 - 9:34am
Craft Your Own Handmade Holiday Gifts

Every year the holidays start sooner and sooner with advertising bombarding us about all the great deals and discount gifts, but you don’t have to plan a big shopping trip to spoil your loved ones. Handmade gifts can be more fun, exciting, and thoughtful to give than the newest gadgets and gizmos.

10/08/2015 - 10:58am
A goblet across the pages of Romeo and Juliet

When you first approach reading Shakespeare, it can be a daunting experience. Even though I grew up reading books with similar language, I still found Shakespeare difficult unless I had a teacher holding my hand every step of the way. I could just about understand the basic plot line and even some of the language, but many of the jokes, the history, and the language went over my head.

Over the years, I have found several things helpful in reading Shakespeare’s plays. With these aids, I am able to enjoy Shakespeare so much more than before as well as understand the plays at a deeper level.

09/18/2015 - 5:47pm
Most-Wanted Westerns

I’ve never really liked horses. The way they side-step with those ginormous, clippy-cloppy hooves, bare those big, big teeth, and roll those huge eyes until the whites show all the way around?  Very scary!  Yes, they are beautiful, and yes, their shiny coats are like stroking silk. But still. Horses. <shudder>

My fear of horses probably is the reason that I never really wanted to read Westerns. But I quite often looked at Westerns.  So many great covers!  So many sub-genres!  I read Doc, by Mary Doria Russell.  And then Epitaph, the sequel. I wanted more, more, more!

I still don’t really like horses, but I have discovered that I really like Westerns! Check out some favorites in my Most-Wanted list.

09/15/2015 - 2:55am
The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

In Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son, Jun Do works for the government of “the most glorious nation on earth” as a professional kidnapper. This isn’t a science fiction dystopia, but rather it is a raw, searing novel concerning one man’s life under a regime that crushes its citizens, body and soul.

Jun Do doesn’t know his real name. Like his fellow orphans, his was chosen from a list of North Korean war heroes. There is decency to Jun Do, even as he surmounts a horrific childhood only to realize that he (and everyone else) exists primarily for their usefulness to the state. But Jun Do has ambitions.

09/22/2015 - 11:50am
The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

A dream to get out of the drudgery of domestic service led Tess to take a leap of faith and board the H.M.S. Titanic. She knew she had more to offer the world than cleaning her mistress’ dirty linen, so when the beautiful dress designer Lady Duff Gordon agrees to take her on as a personal assistant,Tess is eager to become part of another, more glamorous life. In Kate Alcott’s The Dressmaker, Tess’ voyage veers from Cinderella story to disaster. Its aftermath will test her loyalties and love for two very different men.

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