I Remember NothingA key to good readers advisory is to be able to remember titles and authors.  One of my favorite audiobooks is I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron. The problem is that I can never remember this title. Not only do I keep checking it out, thinking I haven’t listened to it before,  I also fail to remember the title when I’m telling staff and patrons what a great Book-on-CD it is.

And it really is. Ephron read the book herself and she has a marvelous voice and impeccable timing.  Particularly interesting, I thought, were the stories about her early career in newspaper and magazine journalism. She isn’t shy about dishing about the legendary writers and publishers she worked with, whose names I can’t recall (except for Katie and Phil Graham of the Washington Post).

She also has some handy tricks for social situations in which names (or whether you, in fact, really know a person) escape you.

Recommendation:  check the box marked “Reading History” in your library account, and you’ll always have a record of what you’ve checked out.


you don't sweat muchYou Don’t Sweat Much for a Fat Girl: Observations on Life from the Shallow End of the Pool is a collection of essays by author Celia Rivenbark in which she talks about everyday situations that she either finds charming or have succeeded in getting her all riled up.

Rivenbark has written books previous to this one, all applying her signature Southern style and wit. Read along as she writes witty, humorous, and sometimes sarcastic essays talking about how she read a study that people with twiggy legs are at twice the risk for heart disease compared to *normal* women(she swears it’s true, people!), how yoga is supposedly good for you(beware the farting..), and that she never really understands why and how people get so excited for elementary school science fairs(it shouldn’t be called a FAIR since there aren’t any RIDES). Heavily employing satire, Rivenbark discusses Snuggies, how she’s not opposed to TSA profiling at airports, the explosion of social media, her dreaded friend: Menopause, and many other relatable topics.

Enjoyed this book? The library owns other titles by Rivenbark: We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier, Stop Dressing Your Six-Year Old Like a Skank, Rude Bitches Make Me Tired, Belle Weather, Bless Your Heart, Tramp, and You Can’t Drink All Day if You Don’t Start in the Morning (which is only available in an audiobook).

food a love storyI, for one, love to eat and my friends know it. Our discussions usually go: “What are you eating?” “Where did you get that? I want one…” “You went WHERE to eat without me?!” The typical food-fest. Imagine my joy when I stumbled upon Food: A Love Story by comedian Jim Gaffigan. I had listened to Gaffigan’s standup before and discovered that he LOVES to eat, comes from a very large family, and was raised in the Midwest. I knew I must read it and was not disappointed.

In this book, Gaffigan draws upon his family history, his deep love of ALMOST anything food, and how sometimes you just have to hide your food from others to completely enjoy it and that there is nothing wrong with doing so. Pictures of Gaffigan, his family, and HIS food break up discussions about vegetarians, how he mistakenly overanalyzed and did not realize the worthiness of steak growing up, “adult” junk food, how he decided to eat healthy, and his description of the perceived differences between hot dogs and sausages(and how you must know the correct way to order them in different cities). Make sure to have food nearby as you devour this book and discover the importance difference between many cheeses and it’s okay not to like seafood or fruit.

If you are looking for more Gaffigan, you’re in luck! Food: A Love Story is a follow-up to Gaffigan’s other book, Dad is Fat, which is also available through the Davenport Public Library.

rosie effectDon Tillman and Rosie Jarman are back. The Wife Project is complete, and Don and Rosie are happily married and living in New York. But they’re about to face a new challenge because – surprise! – Rosie is pregnant. Don sets about learning the protocols of becoming a father, but his unusual research style gets him into trouble with the law. Fortunately his best friend Gene is on hand to offer advice: he’s left Claudia and moved in with Don and Rosie. As Don tries to schedule time for pregnancy research, getting Gene and Claudia to reconcile, servicing the industrial refrigeration unit that occupies half his apartment, helping Dave the Baseball Fan save his business, and staying on the right side of Lydia the social worker, he almost misses the biggest problem of all: he might lose Rosie when she needs him the most.

Graeme Simsion first introduced these unforgettable characters in The Rosie Project , which NPR called “sparkling entertainment along the lines of Where’d You Go Bernadette and When Harry Met Sally .” The San Francisco Chronicle said, “sometimes you just need a smart love story that will make anyone, man or woman, laugh out loud.” If you were swept away by the book that’s captivated a million readers worldwide, you will love The Rosie Effect . (description from publisher)

mastering my mistakesFor years, Dana Cowin kept a dark secret: From meat to vegetables, broiling to baking, breakfast to dinner, she ruined literally every kind of dish she attempted to make.

Now, in this cookbook confessional, the vaunted first lady of food and exceptional entertainer finally comes clean about her many meal mishaps. With the help of friends – all-star chefs, including Mario Batali, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Tom Colicchio, among many others – Cowin takes on 100 recipes dear to her heart. Ideal dishes for the home cook, each recipe has a high “yum” factor, a few key ingredients, and a simple trick that makes it special. With every dish, she acquires a critical new skill, learning invaluable lessons along the way from the hero chefs who help her discover exactly where she goes wrong.

Hilarious and heartwarming, encouraging and instructional, Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen will inspire anyone who loves a good meal but fears its preparation. Featuring gorgeous full-color photography, it is an intimate, hands-on cooking guide from a fellow foodie and amateur home chef, designed to help even the biggest kitchen phobics overcome their reluctance, with delicious results. (description from publisher)

mermaids in paradiseOn the grounds of a Caribbean island resort, newlyweds Deb and Chip – our opinionated, skeptical narrator and her cheerful jock husband who’s friendly to a fault – meet a marine biologist who says she’s sighted mermaids in a coral reef. As the resort’s “parent company” swoops in to corner the market on mythological creatures, the couple joins forces with other adventurous souls, including an ex-Navy SEAL with a love of explosives and a hipster Tokyo VJ, to save said mermaids from the “Venture of Marvels,” which wants to turn their reef into a theme park.

Mermaids in Paradise is Lydia Millet’s funniest book yet, tempering the sharp satire of her early career with the empathy and subtlety of her more recent novels and short stories. This is an unforgettable, mesmerizing tale, darkly comic on the surface and illuminating in its depths. (description from publisher)

portlandiaFood plays a very special role in Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s award-winning satire Portlandia – and the way Portlandia’s residents enjoy and talk about food are a huge part of the show’s personality. Fred, Carrie, and director Jonathan Krisel take you to the dishes that define the show, from cult-raised chicken to Stu’s stews, from pickled veggies to foraged green salads.

Complete with new full-color finished food shots and illustrations, and paired with humorous stories, head notes, and sidebars from the loveable food-obsessed Portlandia characters, The Portlandia Cook Book is a funny cookbook, with serious recipes, for people who want to bring Portlandia right into their kitchens. (description from publisher)

calling invisible womenCalling Invisible Women by Jeanne Ray is a delightfully funny novel packing a clever punch.

A mom in her early fifties, Clover knows she no longer turns heads the way she used to, and she’s only really missed when dinner isn’t on the table on time. Then Clover wakes up one morning to discover she’s invisible – truly invisible. She panics, but when her husband and son sit down to dinner, nothing is amiss. Even though she’s been with her husband, Arthur, since college, her condition goes unnoticed. Her friend Gilda immediately observes that Clover is invisible, which relieves Clover immensely – she’s not losing her mind after all! – but she is crushed by the realization that neither her husband nor her children ever truly look at her. She was invisible even before she knew she was invisible. Clover discovers that there are other women like her, women of a certain age who seem to have disappeared. As she uses her invisibility to get to know her family and her town better, Clover leads the way in helping invisible women become recognized and appreciated no matter what their role.

Smart and hilarious, with indomitable female characters, Calling Invisible Women will appeal to anyone who has ever felt invisible. (description from publisher)

most of nora ephronThe Most of Nora Ephron is a whopping big celebration of the work of the late, great Nora Ephron, America’s funniest – and most acute – writer, famous for her brilliant takes on life as we’ve been living it these last forty years.

Everything you could possibly want from Nora Ephron is here – from her writings on journalism, feminism, and being a woman (the notorious piece on being flat-chested, the clarion call of her commencement address at Wellesley) to her best-selling novel, Heartburn, written in the wake of her devastating divorce from Carl Bernstein; from her hilarious and touching screenplay for the movie When Harry Met Sally . . . (“I’ll have what she’s having”) to her recent play Lucky Guy (published here for the first time); from her ongoing love affair with food, recipes and all, to her extended takes on such controversial women as Lillian Hellman and Helen Gurley Brown; from her pithy blogs on politics to her moving meditations on aging (“I Feel Bad About My Neck”) and dying.

Her superb writing, her unforgettable movies, her honesty and fearlessness, her nonpareil humor have made Nora Ephron an icon for America’s women–and not a few of its men. (description from publisher)

raising2If you’re not a fan of traditional parenting books (or even if you are) you might want to check out Elizabeth Beckwith’s Raising the Perfect Child Through Guilt and Manipulation. This book is laugh-out-loud funny and with chapters such as “How to Scare the Crap out of Your Child (in a Positive Way)”, and “Mind Control: Why it’s a Good Thing” Elizabeth Beckwith offers a new spin on the traditional parenting books.

Despite the title, Ms. Beckwith has some pretty sound advice to offer. For example, “speak loudly and disparagingly of people who do bad things”. See a guy speed through a parking lot? Make sure you tell your kid what a moron that guy is, and that that’s how people die. As Ms. Beckwith says “it’s always good to sprinkle the fear of death into these lessons whenever possible”.

This method lets you pepper lessons into daily life rather than having sit-down conversations about topics such as drugs or smoking. See a scantily-clad woman on the street? Make sure you mention that she looks like a hooker. This not only shows your daughter that it’s not ok with you to dress this way, but it also sends the message to your son that this is NOT the kind of girl you bring home.

Each lesson is illustrated with colorful stories from the author’s own childhood. So whether you’re looking for parenting advice or just want a great memoir to read Raising the Perfect Child through Guilt and Manipulation is definitely worth checking out, as long as you don’t mind a little colorful language.