Here’s a quick look at the books I’ve been curling up on the couch with. Well, curling up with these, a big grey cat, and a hot mug of Earl Grey tea.
My tea and reading are taking a slightly different turn for a few months as I’ve subscribed to the Muse Monthly box. This box sends along a hardcover book and loose leaf tea each month. I received my first box in December featuring a 6 oz. tin of Winter Solstice herbal tea from Fusion Teas and the hardcover version of T.C. Boyle’s The Terranauts. If you enjoy tea and books as much as I do, it’s a nice box to receive – highly recommended!
I love giving books as Christmas gifts because, ahem, I get to read the books before I give them. So is the case with The Secret Rooms: A True Story of A Haunted Castle, A Plotting Duchess, and A Family Secret by Catherine Bailey. If you’re a genealogist or historian, or just plain like digging through stacks of books in the library, you will enjoy this read. There’s a good chance mom hasn’t read the book quite yet, so I won’t tell you much more.
In “stating the obvious” category, there is Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books by blogger, baker, and real-life butcher Cara Nicoletti. You like reading books and talking about books and cooking or eating yummy food? Definitely worth a look.
Second Sight by Judith Orloff, MD. The subtitle is a mouthful: an intuitive psychiatrist tells her extraordinary story and shows you how to tap your own inner wisdom. Useful in helping me understand the many ways I sense the world.
The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King. Another one of mom’s Christmas gifts, this is terrific mystery series in the Sherlock Holmes tradition. In fact, it even features Holmes nd a young, female assistant. Given the post World War I setting, there’s a twist of Maisie Dobbs but definitely more than enough to hold it’s own. I’d be happy to read many more of these. (P.S. I already have the new Maisie Dobbs on pre-order; it shall arrive sometime in March.)
The Why Did I Bother?
Miriam’s Kitchen: a Memoir by Elizabeth Erlich. On one hand I enjoyed this book – I always love reading about people’s relationship with food. On the other hand, Miriam’s Kitchen felt disjointed, like it was trying to tackle too much for a memoir. I did save some of the recipes to try later, but still, it was work to finish the memoir.
Hidden Lives: A Family Memoir by Margaret Forster. I really wanted to like this book, even anticipated the thrill of following along as the author unraveled a family mystery. Alas, there were threads, but no unraveling. Like Miriam’s Kitchen, these book felt split into at least two parts and they didn’t work together to create a literary symphony.
The Terranauts by T. Coraghessan Boyle. At the top of the post I said I received this in Muse Monthly, and I did. But I also think I read an advance copy of this sometime in 2016. Can’t remember when, and it so-so re-read at that. Set in the 1990s the novel captures the “before internet” feel of the world. The idea of creating a bio-dome is intriguing, but is missing the abundance available from forest gardening. I’m pretty sure the terranauts would have had better diets and relied less on raising and butchering livestock if they’d followed permaculture principles.