Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Plant Recipe Book by Baylor Chapman

This plant book is unique in that the author creates arrangements that can be used for special events or occasions, and than used for weeks or months in your home, or repurposed in the garden or other arrangements. Some of the designs can last for years with care, while others are more temporary, but can be reused later.
You begin with a toolbox, containers, soil, plants, techniques, and the ingredient chart. Then follows 100 beautiful arrangements. The pictures are gorgeous, and the author is obviously gifted and talented in her ability to put plants together so skillfully. I frequently will start to long for green things this time of the year, and yes, I did buy a few succulents to try my own hand at making an arrangement. Such a cool book that you too can check out form the library!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Andy and Don by Daniel de Vise

If you are feeling a little nostalgic as the winter comes to a close, I recommend picking up Daniel de Vise's Andy and Don. Even if you are not a huge fan of The Andy Griffith Show, the book makes for an enjoyable read of our country's television past and the rise of two of its biggest stars - Andy Griffith and Don Knotts. If you are a huge Mayberry aficionado, this book may not open a lot of doors for you information-wise, but de Vise still manages to tell a good story of how Griffith and Knotts became friends, worked together, and enjoyed each other's company until the death of Knotts in 2006.
Both Griffith and Knotts were big influences in the American comedy scene of the 1940s and 50s, Griffith with "What it Was, Was Football" and Knotts with his television characters, including the Nervous Man. de Vise explores what came before these creations in their careers, and then how they lead the way to the humor of the Griffith show in the 1960s and beyond.
Andy and Don is a quick read; I read it all in the course of one day. It is at times both funny and sad as you think back on simpler times, simpler ideas and the fact that these two television greats are no longer with us. Overall, I lean to the happy, however, as there is plenty of humor to go around in this book.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin

I learned about the author from the editor and forward of the book.  Berlin was an amazing writer raising four sons despite her health and alcoholism, which she overcame later in life.  The short stories are semi-biographical depicting switchboard operators, cleaning ladies, physician's assistants and laundromat attendants. - professions she had before teaching at the University of Colorado. These workers try to make a living and face all kinds of hardships, but are at peace with their situations.  Berlin wrote about the nuances of everyday lives, the decisions and ramifications one must face up to.  In Unmanageable a mother tries her best to cope with her alcoholism to function.  Some of these stories reflect time she spent with her sister dying of cancer, and police brutality long before it came in the news.  I'm glad to discover the author and hope to read more of her works.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Last Midwife by Sandra Dallas

In 1880, Gracy Brookens is the only midwife for miles surrounding the Colorado mountain town where she lives.  She has delivered hundred of babies, and people trust her.  Then the baby of the prominent mine owner turns up dead, and he claims that Gracy killed the baby.  Evidence from the doctor and coroner support his claim.  How will Gracy be able to clear her name?

I enjoyed this book, which is both a murder mystery, as well as an engaging story about a strong woman, and life in an 1800s mountain mining town.