Books to curl up with: a librarian's musings

Friday, April 30, 2004


I just finished pulling travel books for a patron. It seems like an odd thing for me to blog about because you don't curl up with them, but I thought I'd talk about my two favourite travel guide producers.

The first is Rick Steves. He also has a popular PBS series Europe through the backdoor. He does a variety of guide for Europe, which focus on the traveller, who is not is sporting solid gold MasterCard. His guides are small but valuable. I love that he will prioritize things you should see. If you have 3 days see... If you have 5 ... He will also come out and say if something isn't worth seeing at all. He also visits all the B&Bs, hotels etc that he talks about. When I checked in at a B&B in York, England, he had stopped by earlier to say hi to the owner and charge his notebook battery.

Lonely Planet is another juicy plum. Besides regular travel stuff, Lonely Planet Guides are packed with the detailed history about the places you will see. The authors have usually spent some serious time visiting the places they write about, if they are not locals. It is always in my bag when I leave the hotel on a trip. Lonely Planet covers the whole world with their guides, even the less beaten path.

Neither has a big focus on shopping. You will want a Fodors or Frommers for that. Steves and Lonely Planet are great resources for the budget conscious traveller, who wants to experience the culture.

Friday, April 23, 2004

My Cup

Teens fell in love with Georgia in Angus, thongs and full frontal snogging a couple of years ago. It was sort of a Bridget Jones for the teen set. It's success has spawn several similar books.

The latest is My cup runneth over: the life of Angelica Cookson Potts by Cherry Whytock. Angel as she is called by friends and family lives in London. Her most divine and wonderful friends are Mercedes, Minnnie and Portia. The foursome sticks together through thick and thin, grotty boys, wierd parents and life in general.

Angel is maddly in love with bad boy wanna be Adam. She wants to be a cook just like Jamie Oliver. She wished her ex-model mother and her darling but dotty father were just a little more like other people's parents. She wishes she were thin. And she longs for snotty Sydney to drop of the face of the earth for all his jokes about her cup size.

This was a fast read and my only real complaint is that I thought it was a bit short.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Ladies of Covington Update

Joan Medlicott, author of the Ladies of Covington series is scheduled to attend The West Virgina Book Festival in Charleston, WV the weekend of October 16th and 17th.

The new book At Home in Covington is due out in July of this year.

Friday, April 16, 2004

How would you like your pasta?

Gina Cascone has written a number of children's books, but now she has written a fun book about growing up Italian American. Life al Dente reflects on her life in the old neighborhood and the transition to the American dream - the suburbs. Her parents and grandparents played a vital role in her life and their personalities, quirks and all flavour this book. She also has recipes for some of the dishes of her childhood. I like that they usually start with "pour yourself a glass of chianti." I mean you've got to take care of the cook. :)

She wrote an early book called Pagan Babies about going to Catholic school, which I haven't read. I plan to look it up now.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Oldie but a goodie

H.E. Bates wrote several serious novels, but today he is treasure for his series about the Larkin family. The Darling Buds of May was re-released and contains the first three books of the series. If you are a fan of "Britcoms" on PBS, you will love the Larkin family.

The first book opens with poor Mr. Charlton showing up to discuss with Pops his failure to file his taxes. The sheltered Mr. Charlton doesn't know what hits him as the boisterous family sweeps him along during the course of the weekend and he is beguiled by the lovely Mariette, the oldest daughter.

Bates has a delicious sense of comic timing that will carry you away to England after the war as viewed through Pops rose-coloured, but "practical" glasses.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Guilty pleasures

I read Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie the other day. It was a funny, quick, sugar coated read. Min has just broken up with Dave, her boyfriend and date to her sister's wedding. Not a good way to start the evening.

She and her friends are consoling themselves and taking about the men at the Long Shot. Min overhears her ex and the good looking Cal make a bet that Cal can't get her into bed in a month. Or that's what she thinks she hears. Min thinks she'll string him along for the month of the bet and have a replacement for the wedding. Then she'll dump him like the cad he appears to be. Dinner that night is a disaster and they vow never to see each other again.

However not all is as it seems. With the help of tempting food forbidden to the wedding dieting Min, cute nephews, pushy friends and Emilio's restaurant, Min and Cal find themselves pushed together. A delicious piece of candy or perhaps a piece of Emilio's chicken marsala, you'll find you can't put this down.

To read more about Jennifer Cruisie works visit her web page.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Fiesty Seniors

The three ladies in Ladies of Covington Send Their Love have been sent out to pasture by their families. They are leading depressing lives in a retirement boarding house. When Amelia inherits a house in Covington, N.C.; she, Hannah and Grace make a "jail break" just to check it out. What they discover is that they aren't ready to settle down, to be safely taken care of until they die. They find they have a lot of life yet to live. They decide to stay at the house in Covington over the objections of family and friends. This is the story of the new lives and friends they make.

Medlicott's book will appeal to fans of Jan Karon's Mitford series. If you like this novel, there are several sequels. Medlicott's web page.