Reading Room Blog
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.
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.
The Next Life Might Be Kinder, by Howard Norman, has one of those great first lines: “After my wife, Elizabeth Church, was murdered by the bellman Alphonse Padgett in the Essex Hotel, she did not leave me.”
For his first published novel, cartoonist and writer Edgar Cantero has given the world an exquisite and mysterious work of speculative fiction in The Supernatural Enhancements. The narrator, a twenty-something European man who only goes by A. Wells, inherits the Axton House, an old plantation mansion in Point Bless, Virginia, after he learns of a second cousin, (“twice removed”) who has recently committed suicide by jumping out of a window. To A.’s surprise, the suicide follows a familiar pattern in the Wells family tree: the same age, the same time of the year, and the same method of suicide…and the worst of it is, A. is getting especially close to falling in with the same death pattern himself.
Nuclear reactors have ruptured in the Midwest, spreading radiation sickness and crippling civilization as we know it. Roving marauders now plague the land. Your mission is to survive and travel to a safe stronghold in what used to be Kansas. Welcome to Trace Italian, a game invented by Sean Phillips.
Wolf in White Van is a haunting portrayal of how we carry the scars of adolescence with us for the rest of our lives, be they emotional or physical. Ever since the accident involving his father's rifle, Sean's facial disfigurement has pushed him into isolation. Seeing him shocks people, and he knows this.
Full of fun facts and ephemera such as a fan club card, Barbie All Dolled Up celebrates the iconic doll’s 50th birthday. Author Jennie D’Amato collects photos, newspaper articles, quotes and the memorabilia of Barbie’s life in this scrapbook tribute to her influence with charm and humor and lots of fashion! Whether you played with a Barbie, collect Barbies, or just enjoy browsing through the life of a pop culture princess, this book is nostalgic, fun, and has lots of color--especially pink since Barbie practically invented the color.
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.
High and low culture collide in The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes. The literary journal has collected its humor pieces, featuring all sorts of short essays, lists, and ephemera related to classic literature.
After years spent working in East Africa for a world health aid organization, Frankie Rowley returns to her parents’ (formerly summer, now permanent) home in the small New Hampshire town of Pomeroy. Although she had come stateside on numerous occasions, this visit is different. In Sue Miller’s The Arsonist, Frankie finds herself torn between the challenging but transient nature of her current job and the need to find something more permanent…permanent in terms of locale and permanent in terms of relationships.
The ten Boom family lived a quiet, respectable life in the Dutch town of Haarlem. Corrie and her father made and repaired clocks. Her sister was their housekeeper. They were loved by the community. But in neighboring countries, Nazi Germany was rising, and soon it would sweep into the Netherlands.