I have to warn you up front, I can’t pick a favorite from this month’s book list. They are so different from each other and have value in different ways. But I can tell you that I had fun perusing through my stack of Christmas magazines. I always enjoy a good magazine, but I especially love Christmas magazines. Looking through Christmas magazines brings back the magic of being a child for me. I find it to be very much like going through the eagerly awaited Christmas catalogs with the huge selection of toys in the back. In addition to the Sears catalog, we had the JC Penney’s and Montgomery Wards books. I spent hours sitting on the couch, paging through each book, turning down the page corners on the items I decided to put on my list for Santa Claus. It took me so long because I wanted so many things and knew I had to limit it to a few. I would go back and forth over which items to leave off my list to arrive at a reasonable number. I hope each of you have equally fond holiday memories.
Without further ado, here is my list of magazines and books that I read this December.
Magazines: Country Living (2), Good Housekeeping, Taste of Home Christmas edition, HGTV Christmas Idea Book, Taste of Home regular edition, Taste of Home Holiday Baking, Woman’s Day, Country Living Christmas Spectacular, Better Homes & Gardens Farmhouse Christmas
- The Plot and the Pendulum-Jenn McKinlay
Librarian Lindsey Norris is back solving another crime in coastal Briar Creek Connecticut. This is the 13th book in the Library Lover’s Mystery series. The library becomes the beneficiary of a considerable collection of books from the town’s Dorchester mansion. Lindsey stumbles across a skeleton in a secret room while packing books at the mansion. Thus surfaces the unsolved case of “the runaway bride”. This book had a very Nancy Drew vibe for me, and I loved Nancy Drew. I snatch up each new release in this series as soon as I can find it at the library.
2. Death of an Ice Cream Scooper-Lee Hollis
This is the 15th in the Hayley Powell series. She and her friends live in Bar Harbor, Maine. She writes a food column in the local paper and owns a restaurant. Her ice cream supplier finds an employee dead in the ice cream shop. The question is,” Who done it”? These are light-hearted mysteries. I do wish she included more about what it is like to live in Maine as that is one of my favorite places.
3. Make Space for Happiness-Tracy McCubbin (Non-fiction)
This book was not what I expected. I thought it would give me ideas on how to store and organize belongings. Instead, it was about why we collect and hang onto things and how to overcome it. Interesting.
4. The Lost Summers of Newport-Williams, Willig, and White
Just finished this one and, wow! The story is told in three different time periods, about three different women a family line. This is a book about sins of the father, class, right and wrong, and so many other things, not just a shallow story about rich people as I had feared. With every chapter change in character and time, I decided each was my favorite. I highly recommend it.
5. Starry Night-Debbie Macomber
To heck with Mariah Carey, maybe Debbie Macomber should be called the queen of Christmas. She writes a new Christmas novel every year. In this one, reporter Carrie Slayton is looking for the story that will get her off the society page and on to serious investigative journalism. If she can get an interview with reclusive Finn Dalton, her editor promises her the new job. Dalton is a survivalist type living in Alaska. Carrie is able to track him down and get the interview but will publishing it be worth the cost to their budding relationship. The story is not very realistic, but it is a “feel good” book and I enjoyed it.
6. Driving Miss Norma-Tim Bauerschmidt & Ramie Liddle (Non-fiction)
Ninety year old Norma is diagnosed with cancer as her husband is in the hospital dying. Rather than undergo surgery and further treatment with months of painful recovery and unlikely success, she decides to go on the road with her son and daughter-in-law and their standard poodle. They travel across the country in an RV and make the most of Norma’s remaining time. This is not the most exciting book I have ever read, but there are lessons to be learned.
7. Out of the Clear Blue Sky-Kristan Higgins
Lillie Silva is going through big life changes. Just as her son is due to go far away to college, her husband leaves her for a gorgeous, much younger woman. Lillie is a nurse-midwife and ends up delivering the new wife’s baby. At first, I thought the women were immature and a waste of my time with all the stunts and dishonesty that took place. As I read on, the characters developed and matured and, in the end, I really enjoyed the book. There are lots of female characters and we see a support system that is there during the tough times. I recommend the book. Some of Lillie’s antics will give you a laugh.
8. The Blue Zones American Kitchen-Dan Buettner (Cookbook)
Another Blue Zones book about long-lived groups of people. Apparently the diets of most Americans have not been good for a long time. They did come across some local native dishes that fit the pattern of what long-lived people eat. Most of the recipes in this book call for things I don’t stock and would have trouble finding. The scientific findings are still interesting. And, I did find one recipe for garbanzo beans involving coconut milk and turmeric that I made and will make again.