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Jun 22

Calling All Grillmasters!

Posted on June 22, 2015 at 11:08 AM by Craig Jacobson

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barbecue chicken.jpgIt’s official!  Summer’s here, so let the grilling begin! If you have meat, fire, smoke, and time -you have the makings of a great barbecue.  Ray Lampe, known as Dr. BBQ, is the author of, Slow Fire: the beginner’s guide to barbecue.  He will tell you everything you need to know to make fall-off-the-bones dishes.  Whether you have a stove-top smoker or a regular backyard grill, you will be a complete success when you use any one of his 68 recipes.

Myron Mixon, known as the “winningest” man in barbecue, is quite the expert when it comes to smoking meat.  Whether you want to compete or just grill in your backyard, Mixon makes it simple and delicious.  In his book, Everyday Barbecue: at home with America’s favorite pitmaster, there are 150 great recipes for such things as Ribs the Easy Way or King Rib Sandwiches.  Grilling becomes easy with all of his helpful hints so that you will want to barbecue everyday instead of just special occasions.

Bobbie Flay, from the Food Network, wants you to get everything right when it comes to grilling.  In his book, Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction, he shares 150 great recipes ranging from Tuscan Rosemary Smoked Whole Chickens to Pimento Cheese Bacon Burgers.  There are recipes for side dishes, appetizers, and great drinks to serve your guests.  Besides the great recipes, he also tells you everything you need to know about the different grills, fuels, woods, and utensils for grilling.  There are also ten tips for the perfect cookout.  Guy Fieri, also from the Food Network, has great advice for outdoor cooking in his book, Guy on Fire: 130 recipes for adventures in outdoor cooking.  Whether you’re having a backyard barbecue, going camping, or joining friends for tailgating, Guy has the perfect recipe for any occasion.

Grill This Not That, is a great book if you are interested in saving time, money, and calories.  It contains 125 great recipes as well as cool tips, industry secrets, and essential information on how to grill great tasting and healthy food.  This book has done all the homework to figure out which ingredient should be substituted with another ingredient to get rid of unwanted calories.  It’s done the same for which grills and utensils are the best to use and to get the job done.

20140903-big-flavor-grill-cover-ed-anderson-2.jpgIf you are a Cook’s Illustrated aficionado, then you are going to love what they have done to grilling in their latest book, The Big Flavor Grill. To bring flavor to their dishes, they avoid the marinating step and use spice rubs.   Using spices from around the world, they have created 130 recipes for Asian, Mediterranean, Latin, and Caribbean dishes.  Once the grilling is complete, marinade-like ingredients (citrus, hoisin, ginger, basil, etc.) are then added to the dish to enhance the flavor even more.   It takes grilling to a whole new level.  Another great book to try if you like using marinades and rubs would be The Barbecue Lovers Big Book of BBQ Sauces.  With 225 recipes you are bound to find the perfect sauce for meat, seafood, or vegetables.

COVER-hi-res-final-Grilling-Vegan-Style-by-John-Schlimm.jpgThe Cooking Light Magazine is also able to show you a healthier way to grill in their new book, Cooking Light Way to Cook Grilling.  Whether using gas, charcoal, or an indoor grill, this book will show you how to grill in a healthier way without sacrificing the bold flavor.  They also offer many tips and techniques to help make your grilling experience a success.  If meat is not part of your diet you can still have a great BBQ, Grilling Vegan Style is just the book to help you.  Everything you need to know on how to prepare plant based foods is shown in this book along with 125 recipes to get you started.

Kathie Lee is a co-host of Food Network’s, The Kitchen, and she has just written a book called Endless Summer Cookbook.  What’s great about this book is that it celebrates summer and all the fresh foods that are abundant at this time of year.  With over 100 recipes, you will have everything you need for every day meals or special entertaining.

So what are you waiting for?  Let’s fire up the grill and have a wonderful summer!

Jun 08


Posted on June 8, 2015 at 12:03 PM by Craig Jacobson

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Death is both fascinating and taboo in America and in other cultures around the world. The dead are feared and revered in equal measure. They rise from the grave, advise the living, and seek vengeance for past wrongs. Death itself is personified, then bargained with or tricked or faced with dignity. Sometimes, Death is a friend … or even the hero.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.jpgIn recent years, multiple authors have addressed societal approaches to death. One of the better known authors is Caitlin Doughty, creator of the popular YouTube series Ask a Mortician and the Order of the Good Death. Caitlin answers questions like "Is it legal to have a Viking funeral?" and "How can I have a wake for my pet?" She has also released a book called Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, detailing her work experiences – from the gruesome to the intriguing to the humorous – focusing on the human side of the death industry.

Stiff - Roach.jpgFor a more science-based approach, Mary Roach's Stiff examines the ways in which cadavers have contributed to humanity – from practice surgeries to Space Shuttle flights – and the attitudes on using cadavers for such practices (medical instructors and grave robbery used to have quite a history). Her account ranges from ancient Egypt to modern trends, complete with advice on how to donate your body to science.

Cities of the Underworld.jpgThose who prefer archaeology and history may be interested in Cities of the Underworld, a TV series that includes an episode on the catacombs of Paris. Interestingly, the Parisian catacombs are fairly recent, having been established around 1780 as a way to address in-city graveyards causing unexpected infrastructure damage – including the collapse of part of a building wall. The much older Roman Catacombs date at least as far back as 2 A.D. and are most famous for the recovery of Christian burials long hidden beneath Rome’s streets. Paul Koudounaris offers an account of the discovery of one set of remains in Heavenly Bodies. A partial virtual tour is even available online through the Vatican.

Pratchett and Gaiman.pngThe character of Death features prominently in a number of fictional works, as well. Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is one of the more prominent worlds to include Death as a character, and notable for Death's tendency to speak in ALL CAPS. In the first book in Death's arc, Mort, Death takes an apprentice, with humorous results. (Need help with the complicated Discworld book order? Try this chart.) Neil Gaiman also portrays Death in his Sandman series of graphic novels, as a group of siblings called The Endless. Quite different from Pratchett's Grim Reaper, Neil Gaiman's Death is a young woman who, curiously, wears the symbol of life, and has her own eponymous spinoff graphic novel.

Croak - Damico.jpgBooks about death stretch across all ages, too. In Gina Damico’s Croak, a young woman is sent to live with her uncle for a summer to learn the family business – becoming a Grim Reaper. Death Watch by Ari Berk is about a young man who becomes an “undertaker,” helping the dead say goodbye to their families and putting the violent dead to rest. They both discover that, on occasion, death can be dangerous to the living.

Ghostopolis.jpgFor younger readers, Ghostopolis a graphic novel by Doug TenNapel tells the trials and tribulations of a young man who gets mixed up with a horse of bone who escaped the afterlife – and ends up transported to the land of the dead. He ends up on the run from an evil ruler and must find a way to fix things and return to the land of the living with some help from his grandfather’s ghost. Readers may also enjoy Neil Gaiman’s Newbery and Audie Award winning story, The Graveyard Book about a very normal young boy – except that after his parents are killed, he’s raised in a cemetery by the dead.

Want more of the macabre? Try these titles:
A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
American Afterlife by Kate Sweeney
Elsewhereby Gabrielle Zevin
Funerals to Die For by Kathy Benjamin
The Bone Woman by Clea Koff

**All images courtesy of Easicat.

May 13

Waitlisted? Try These 10 Titles Now!

Posted on May 13, 2015 at 10:49 AM by Craig Jacobson

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Having a hard time getting your hands on the most recent hot titles? Back-up a few months and explore titles from last year that now have little or no waitlist. From book club selections to non-fiction and multiple award winners, there is a little something for everyone on this list. A brief summary introduces you to each title, or you can click on the link for more information and the check availability. 

  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – The award-winning tale of a young man who loses his family, and his connection to a captivating and mysterious piece of art. 
  • One Plus One by Jojo Moyes – Another favorite from the author of Me Before You, this title tells the story of a single mom, a chaotic family, and one quirky stranger. 
  • The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – This popular book club selection is the story of a secret revealed, and a family changed forever.
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – The story of a privileged family and the event that will leave a lasting effect on one grandchild’s legacy.
  • Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger – A coming of age tale that explores family secrets in a small Minnesota town in the 1960’s.
  • Natchez Burning by Greg Isles – Set it early 1960’s Natchez, Mississippi, Isles tells the story of a young man and his father who is accused of murder. 
  • The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs – The true story of a young man who left his hometown of Newark, New Jersey for the Ivy League, only to face the hard truths of returning back home after graduation.
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – The young adult bestseller tells the story of Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters who meet in a cancer support group. 
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – A 2014 movie adaptation skyrocketed this thriller back into the spotlight.  The unsettling story of Nick and Amy is revealed.   
  • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown – Tells the inspiring story of a University of Washington rowing team’s journey to the 1936 Berlin Olympics from a variety of perspectives.  

Not sure which title sounds good to you? Feel free to ask a librarian for a suggestion anytime and happy reading!