Thursday, February 28, 2008

Real Vegetarian Thai

In an earlier posting, I spoke highly of Quick & Easy Thai: 70 Everyday Recipes by Nancie McDermott. I received a copy at Christmas and have been enjoying its recipes, not least of which has been curries with green curry paste I made myself.

Building on that success, we recently got a copy of her Real Vegetarian Thai for the bookstore, which I have had a quick look at. This is not really a comparable offering, since it more thorough in every way. The comparable book is her Real Thai: The Best of Thailand's Regional Cooking, which I haven't had a chance to examine. In my family, I have vegetarians who care deeply about preparing food and knowing what goes into their bodies, and I have those that would gladly live on grilled cheese sandwiches every day. If you are in the first category, vegetarian or not, you want to look at Real Vegetarian Thai. (If you are in the second category, please start with Quick & Easy.) This book doesn't have the color photographs that make Quick & Easy so visually attractive, but there are more recipes.

Compared to Quick & Easy, there is more context provided for each section and recipe, enhancing your understanding of Thai cuisine. There are recipes for making each of the Thai style curry pastes, along with many other basic recipes. There is even a discussion of opening coconuts and making your own coconut milk (not the coconut water sloshing around in whole coconuts). And why have a grilled cheese sandwich when red curry with hard-boiled eggs and peas is quick to assemble from ingredients in your refrigerator right now, along with a few items easy to add to your pantry. Vegan alternatives are suggested for recipes with eggs or cheese.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Anthology to benefit American Diabetes Association

We recently received Voices for the Cure, a speculative fiction anthology edited by James Palmer. This 10 story collection was put together to benefit the American Diabetes Association. There are some famous authors (Mike Resnick, Cory Doctorow) and some not so famous. These are really well-crafted stories - a few would be right at home on the Twilight Zone, and many are quite funny. There's everything from superheroes to a futuristic security blanket to an antiques/junk dealer. (For the linux geeks, there's a particularly amusing take on Night of the Living Dead. No, you'll have to read it.)


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Coming Soon from Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri has already given us a Pulitzer Prize winning collection of short stories, and a best selling novel. I've been reading an advanced copy of Unaccustomed Earth, due out this spring from Knopf. This new work is a collection of longer stories, exquisitely written, about Bengalis in America, living lives slightly out of their comfort zones. The stories are told in vignettes constructed of memory, dissonance between cultures, generations, and settings, and a beautifully described present. Vignettes are punctuated by sharply drawn moments where deep emotional truths are revealed, or realized, in lines that are astonishingly direct. The characterizations are powerful and complex, and the prose is simply stunning. As a reader with a weakness for strong, well-crafted prose (e.g., Cormac McCarthy), I was impressed by these stories. I'm guessing they will have broad appeal, like her earlier work, and look forward to having this book in the shop, perhaps in April.


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Friday, February 15, 2008

Cool idea in a book

I was looking at our origami books, preparing for the seminar coming up next week - and I just thought, ooh, what if they came alive? Wouldn't that be a cool, twilight-zone-like story - to have your origami critters become alive?


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Memoirs in 6 words

Not Quite What I was Planning - Six Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure, edited by SMITH Magazine, is a charming, hilarious and poignant compilation. This is "This I Believe"-Lite. SMITH Magazine instigated the whole thing on based on the tale about Ernest Hemingway being challenged to write a full story in six words.

We read along, finding mostly unknown writers and both profound and humorous entires, then we hit someone famous. And find they are the same.

Lest you think this is easy, I challenge YOU to write your own memoir in 6 words.
Lauretta (Astronomer turned Bookseller, Soon Type B?)

And for the bookstore:
Before TV, radio, stars our stories

Friday, February 8, 2008

New Stephanie Meyer's Books

Some of you know how popular Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse are with teenagers. Well, the fourth one is due out at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, August 2. Its name is Breaking Dawn!

Hmn, maybe time for another Midnight madness party?

There's also an Adult novel called The Host coming out May 6.

Thanks to Shelf Awareness for the heads up,

The Exchange Artist by Jane Kamensky

And we thought the dudes from Enron were a piece of work!!

Andrew Dexter, Jr. 'bought' (read swiped) real estate property left behind by Tory sympathizers heading back to England after the Revolutionary War. Then he flipped them - using banks that were printing paper money for the first time. It is a tale of a confidence man and capitalism versus the Puritans and conservatism set in New England. Dexter parlayed his pyramid schemes into the 7 story 'skyscraper' (this was the 1800s, remember?) known as the Exchange Coffee House in Boston. Just as the building was about to open, the pyramid collapsed and Dexter escaped to Canada.

This is a fascinating look at the first banking scandal in the infant USA.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Event for Bookstore Buyers and Frontline Staff

On February 27, 2008, independent book wholesaler BookStream will host TitleWave, a unique event including a lunch with authors, new title information, author presentations, and handselling tools, for the benefit of independent booksellers. TitleWave will take place at the Sheraton East Hartford, a central location for many of the area's finest bookstores, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The authors who will take part in this event are Steve Toltz, author of the novel Fraction of the Whole (Spiegel & Grau); Hillary Jordan, author of the novel Mudbound, (Algonquin); and Richard Price, author of the novel Lush Life, (Farrar Straus & Giroux). The event is free for booksellers, but space is limited; attendees must RSVP with BookStream for a place at the event.

To inquire about the February 27 event, booksellers should call BookStream sales rep Carolyn Bennett toll-free at 866-416-1112 x209, or email

This public service announcement brought to you care of Constellation Books and BookStream.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

T for Trespass Sue Grafton

Sue Grafton has sown some thoughtful observations on character into this book. We meet a sociopath who is always one step ahead of Kinsey. This is a view of Kinsey from another's eyes. She smelt her scent ' something feminine and floral that didn't suit her at all.' Our sociopath thought 'The hazel of her eyes was eerie - green with gold flecks and a lighter ring around the iris that made her eyes blaze like a wolf's.' I have grown so used to Kinsey - we are in the last quarter of the alphabet now. This description gave me a thrill reading it.

Kinsey has the usual profile for a private detective - difficulty with relationships and commitment(the lone wolf maybe?) , curiosity, perseverance, a rule breaker, a hunter who presses on past the social boundaries to catch her prey. She is cunning with an ability to think on her feet - some might call it lying.

A twitch one way and these qualities are a plus for for society - rounding up the baddies. A twitch the other way and we have a person who preys on society.