Monday, August 29, 2011

Pick up "Bobby Flay's Grill It! Just in Time for Labor Day!

I know it's hot out, and maybe you aren't in the mood to grill, but Bobby Flay's Grill It! just might change your mind. With 150 recipes, divided alphabetically into chapters based on the main ingredient, you'll get great recipes for grilling everything from asparagus to white fish. The photography is inspiring and gorgeous.

Flay says, "This is the book to turn to when you know what you want, but don't know how you want it." So, if you are at the Brunswick Farmer's Market and Maxine has some really beautiful squash, pick them up! Turn to the chapter on "Squash and Eggplant" and you'll see two delicious squash recipes (and more eggplant for another time). I've tried both of the squash dishes and they were delicious and easy to prepare. If your favorite grocery store has a great buy on Salmon, Bobby Flay's Grill It! gives you 9 different recipe suggestions.

There are chapters for everything you've ever thought about grilling, plus some foods you probably never considered putting on a grill. Have you ever grilled a banana? Wow! Delicious and different, especially with the Cinnamon Orange Sauce and Dulce de Leche Ice Cream.

I've tasted about a dozen of the recipes, and my favorite was the Grilled Cremini Mushroom, Fontina and Arugula Pressed Tacos. Big wow!

And although the recipes are great, what makes this book even better is the grilling technique instruction. I always struggle with grill temperature and he covers that in each recipe. Flay offers tips on charcoal and gas grilling, plus at the beginning of each chapter, he also gives tips for shopping the best produce, meat and seafood.

This is a cookbook you could enjoy all year round, but why not pick it up now, just in time for Labor Day grilling!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks makes a convincing case that non-fiction can be just as riveting and compelling as fiction.

The book is part mystery, part history, and part story of Henrietta Lacks whose cultured cells were the first human cells to grow outside a person’s body and to survive indefinitely. Her cells enabled scientists to research the genes that cause cancer and those that check it. Her cells helped develop drugs for treating herpes, leukemia, influenza, hemophilia, and Parkinson’s disease. Henrietta’s cells were essential to the development of the polio vaccine, cloning, and gene mapping.

More than facts, this book is stories about relationships. The story begins with Henrietta growing up in Clover, Virginia, picking cotton and going to tobacco auctions in South Boston. There is the relationship between Loretta Pleasant, her nine siblings, and her husband, David Lacks. There is the journey to discover the relationship between Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah, and the mother and the sister Deborah never knew. There is the connection between the Deborah’s four siblings and their families. There is the narrative of the author’s struggle to build a relationship with the Lacks’ family. This mini-story is filled with unexpected twists and turns as the Lacks family learns about their mother, her cells, and their lack of financial compensation for Henrietta’s cells. Finally, there is the relationship between science, business, and the rights of patients. The author raises the questions of ethics in science but allows readers to make their own judgments.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a narrative which embraces scientific fact and explores human nature. The reader could skip the medical notes and still close the book knowing the undeniable impact of Henrietta Lacks on individual’s lives both past and present. I highly recommend this book.
submitted by Ruth Heany, member of Hattie's Third Tuesday Book Club

Next month we will be reading "The Room" by Emma Donoghue, a New York Times Book Review Best Book of the Year. Join us on each Third Thursday at Hattie's for a lively discussion and some great snacks!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Meet September's Award Winning First Friday Author - Maggie Toussaint

Currently a freelance reporter, Southern author Maggie Toussaint loves to write fiction. Her romantic suspense titles include House of Lies, No Second Chance, Muddy Waters, and Seeing Red. Her debut release, House of Lies, won Best Romantic Suspense in the 2007 National Readers Choice Awards. Her mysteries include In For A Penny and On the Nickel, with Death, Island Style and Murder in the Buff contracted for release in 2012.

Maggie will be signing books and talking about writing fiction. Meet her at Hattie's Books on Friday, September 2nd. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Review - House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Hosting a girl's book club is a blast! I get to read young adult fiction (one of my favorite genres) and discuss it with some very sharp middle schoolers. Often we choose our books while we hang out in Hattie's. I am usually perusing the nicely stocked Newbery section, which is where our latest book was shelved.

House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, received a Newbery Honor Book Award, a National Book Award and the Michael L. Printz Award For Excellence In Young Adult Literature. Some awarded books may be good literature, but in the end, don't really appeal to kids. That was most definitely NOT the case with this book. We all were completely taken in by the book, once we got past untangling the many characters. 

The futuristic story of Matt, a clone being raised for spare parts, is both shocking and believable. The story takes place in a empire called Opium between the United States and Azatlan (formerly Mexico). Matt is the clone of the 141-year-old drug lord emperor of Opium, Matteo Alacran. Clones are despised outcasts in this society and often treated worse than animals. Matt experiences periods of care and deprivation. 

The people who love him do what they can to protect and educate him, which ultimately keeps the story engaging. Here is what some of our book club girls had to say about House of the Scorpion.

SBS said, "This book was amazing! The whole idea was so clever and intriguing. I loved the plot and characters!"

AB said, "House of the Scorpion was an absolute page turner. I just couldn't put it down. This was one of my favorites!"

BH said, "Personally, I loved it! It's a really good book, and it had me turning pages faster (and faster). The whole futuristic, born in a cow, I'm a clone, and the end part (which I shall not reveal :D) all had me going! It was awesome."

I finished House of the Scorpion quickly, before most of the girls started it. After reading it, I was confident that the girls would love it, once they got started. Several of the girls needed encouragement through the early part of the book, but they were so happy they stuck with it!

Highly recommended! (not just for kids!!!)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New in Paperback - August 2011

Each month we will publish our picks among the books just becoming available in paperback. This month's selections range from the quirky ("Swamplandia!") to the futuristic ("Adam & Eve"). See something you'd like to read? Contact Marcia at Hattie's (912-554-8677) and she'll put one aside for you!

Adam & Eve
A Novel, by Sena Jeter Naslund
A story about "a futuristic Eden... powerfully told, incorporating romance adventure and suspense. Another orginial novel from a marvelous author." 
—Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Bury Your Dead
A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel,
by Louise Penny
”Engaging characters from previous books make their appearances, but it isn’t necessary to have read the others to totally enjoy this book. Heartily recommended for all lovers of good mysteries.”
—Ann Carlson, Harborwalk Books, Georgetown, SC

Let’s Take the Long Way Home
A Memoir of Friendship, 
by Gail Caldwell
”This is the heart-warming and heart-wrenching story of the author’s deep friendship with writer Caroline Knapp. An honest and unforgettable tribute to best friends.”
—Ellen Jarrett, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

Moonlight Mile

A Kenzie and Gennaro Novel,
by Dennis Lehane
”Lehane is a master at exploring—yet not answering or resolving—difficult issues of morality and individual and social responsibility, all while giving the reader great dialogue, unexpected plot twists, and unforgettable characters. This is a sequel worthy of its predecessor.”
—Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL


A Novel, by Karen Russell
"Located in the Florida Everglades, the Swamplandia island theme park is also home to the Bigtrees, a family of alligator wrestlers. When the mom and star of the show dies... Dad heads to the mainland to find investors, while his three teenagers are left to deal with their losses.”
—Michael Keefe, Annie Bloom’s Books, Portland, OR