Travel Time!

Summer is here at last and it’s a great time to get out there and explore a new part of the world. The library has lots of great new travel books – here is just a sampling.

One of the best ways to explore is on foot and many of the great cities of the world are perfect for walking. National Geographic’s new series Walking shows you the highlights of Paris, New York, London and Rome.

Also from National Geographic, 100 Best Affordable Vacations offers advice on out of the ordinary vacation opportunities, from the Texas state fair to “unknown” national parks.

Embrace your American heritage and hit the road with Reader’s Digest The Most Scenic Drives in America, and discover the most beautiful road every time from Florida’s Road to Flamingo to Hawaii’s Oahu Coastal Lo; from British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Highway to Cape Cod’s Sandy Shore.

 We have lots of new travel books arriving every day for destinations all over the world. Whether you’re planning a trip-of-a-lifetime, or indulging in some armchair travel, you’ll find plenty of ideas for adventure at the library!

 

The Gardener and the Grill by Karen Adler

From garden to grill to fork, nothing tastes better than freshly harvested vegetables grilled to perfection alongside savory meats and plump grilled fruits. The Gardener and the Grill by Karen Adler is the grilling guide for gardeners, seasonal eaters, and “flexitarians” everywhere, and anyone enamored of the powers of the grill.

Keep the grill hot long after summer’s finished with Planked Butternut Squash with Sage and Brie; Grilled Gazpacho; a Blackened Fish Po’Boy with Grilled Green Onion Mayonnaise; Pizza Primavera; Wood-Grilled Shrimp and Yellow Peppers; Tandoori Turkey Burgers: and Grill-Baked Apples with Cinnamon Nut Stuffing. With seasonal recipes, tips on grilling for preserving, a burgeoning “griller’s pantry” of rubs and versatile sauces, and more than 100 vegetarian recipes, this is the must-have resource for eager and experienced grillers and gardeners alike. (description from publisher)

Lowcountry Summer by Dorothea Benton Frank

Right about now, in the frigid frost of  a typical Midwestern mid-winter, a nice hot beach read can come to the rescue.   Fortunately, Dorothea Benton Frank’s Lowcountry Summer fills the bill.  Previous fans will find familiar ground in this sequel to her bestselling novel, Plantation. Though Frank resides in New York, she was born and raised on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, and her knowledge of the area and it’s cultural customs certainly seem to authenticate the already colorful characters.

For some reason, I don’t know why, maybe it was all the references to the mouth-watering food they were eating , but the narrator kept reminding me of Paula Deen.  But then she’d reinvent herself when describing her laugh-out-loud love-life, and yet again when trying to deal with a drunken sister-in-law or comfort her grief-stricken brother.  So there’s more than just sass and sex  — there’s all the dynamics of complicated family relationships with some unexpected and poignant outcomes thrown in along the way.

I think the thing I enjoyed most was how she used dialog for the narrator, Caroline.  For example, Caroline might respond verbally one way (to her 19 year old son in college who’s shacking up with an older single mom) but she also lets the reader know her real thoughts, as shown here:

“But it’s nothing really.  I just go over to her place for dinner, that’s all”

Oh. My. God.  He was having sex.  My son was having sex!

“Oh, Is she a good cook?”  She had better not be a good cook.

See what I mean?  So, come to the library,  pick up a copy and than pretend you’re on vacation on a beach near Charleston.

Hot Diggity

Americans consume 20 billion hotdogs a year.  The key to keeping them “consumed” is to not think about what’s in them, but that’s neither here nor there.

It’s the season, and we’re only a a month an a half away from the ridiculous gorge-fest that is Coney Island on July 4th.

Becky Mercuri has assembled a list of the best hotdogs, some quite artisanal in nature in The Great American Hot Dog Book.  It’s a foodstuff so interwoven into the American tapestry as to be synonymous with baseball and apple pie — and last time I checked people weren’t meandering up and down the bleachers at Modern Woodmen park hollering to, “Getcher red hot apple pie…”

She has the best weenie eateries grouped by region, so plan your California vacation accordingly so you can get one of Pink’s Pastrami Burrito Dogs.

One all-kosher beef I’ve got with the book is no pictures.

May is National Barbecue Month!

bbqJust in time for warmer temps (really, one of these days – it’s going to get warm, maybe even hot) the month of May is a great time to plan your barbecue strategy. There are lots of big reasons to fire up the grill this summer – Father’s Day, 4th of July, family reunions, graduations – but you don’t really need an excuse to get cooking. If you’re looking for tips or fresh ideas, stop by the library – we have more barbecue/grilling/outdoor cooking books than you can shake a barbecue brush at.

Serious Barbecue: Smoke, Char, Baste and Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking by Adam Perry Lang

Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book by Chris Lilly

Wood-fired Cooking: Techniques and Recipes for the Grill, Backyard Oven, Fireplace and Campfire by Mary Karlin

500 Barbecue Dishes: the Only Barbecue Compendium You’ll Ever Need by Paul Kirk

Bobby Flay’s Grill It by Bobby Flay

Jerk from Jamaica: Barbecue Caribbean Style by Helen Willinsky

Barbecue Nation: 350 Hot-off-the-Grill, Tried-and-True Recipes from America’s Backyard by Fred Thompson

Take a Hike

national-parksOr explore a historic house. Or visit one of the natural wonders of this country. Celebrate National Parks Week (April 18-26) and discover some of the special places of America.

The United States established the first national park in the world in 1872 with Yellowstone National Park. Since then, the National Park service has developed hundreds of parks, recreation areas, historic sites, monuments and memorials throughout the country. Everyone’s familiar with the famous sites, like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite but there are many more worth visiting ranging from the seashores of North Carolina to Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home in Kentucky to the volcanoes of Hawaii. The National Parks offers tons of services including ranger talks and ranger-led walks, preservation of the natural and historic treasures and multiple recreational opportunities, almost all of which are free or very low cost.

While it might be a little late to visit a park this week, now is the perfect time to plan your summer vacation or your next weekend getaway. Be sure to check out the books available at the library including:

National Parks of the American West for Dummies

Haunted Hikes: Spine Tingling Tales and Trails from North America’s National Parks by Andrea Lankford

Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks by Lonely Planet

National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States

Great Lodges of the National Parks by Christine Barnes

Yellowstone: a Natural and Human History by David Wallace

Dog Days of Summer

Is it hot enough for you? This period, from July 3 to August 11, is traditionally the hottest time of the year (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) and is commonly known as the “Dog Days of Summer.” According to Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813, this was thought to be an evil time “when the sea boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid . . .” If you can imagine life without air conditioning, some of these conditions would still prevail today!

How did this term originate? Well, in ancient times the star Sirius (also known as the Dog Star) was thought to be the cause of the hot, humid weather because in the summertime the star rose around the same time that the sun did. Their solution was to sacrifice a brown dog, hoping it would “appease the rage of Sirius” (from Chase’s Calendar of Events, 2008).

Fortunately, we longer sacrifice dogs or blame them for the hot weather. In fact, lots of folks really do love their dogs. If you’re looking for a good dog book this summer try one of these:

Dog Days: Dispatches from Bedlam Farm by John Katz

Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan

James Herriot’s Dog Stories by James Herriot

Cesar’s Way: the Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems by Cesar Millan and Melissa Jo Peltier