NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller Introduces “The Forbidden Bookshelf”

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This summer, NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller launched the Forbidden Bookshelf project, re-introducing important books that were suppressed, lost or discredited.  These books cover important topics that are relevant today, from covert CIA operations to the battle over abortion rights.  These books also take a stance against today’s oppressive climate for free expression.

Mark Crispin Miller’s independent news service is called News From Underground. You can visit and sign up for alerts here.  Miller is professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University.

The first 5 books on the Forbidden Bookshelf are being made available as e-books.

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Giveaway: The Pearl That Broke Its Shell

pearl-that-broke-its-shellThe Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell is the story of two afghan women separated by a century, but who share similar destinies.  In Kabul, 2007, with a drug-addicted father and no brothers, Rahima and her sisters can only sporadically attend school, and can rarely leave the house. Their only hope lies in the ancient custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age. As a son, she can attend school, go to the market, and chaperone her older sisters.  But Rahima is not the first in her family to adopt this unusual custom. A century earlier, her great-great grandmother, Shekiba, left orphaned by an epidemic, saved herself and built a new life the same way.  Nadia Hasimi’s debut novel weaves the stories of these two women across time and allows the reader to share in some of what it must be like to live in a culture so different from our own.  If you love Khaled Hosseini, Lisa See, or Jhumpa Lahiri then you will enjoy The Pearl That Broke Its Shell.

Now for the giveaway!  I have one hardback copy of The Pearl That Broke Its Shell to share with another booklover.   There are two ways to enter, first you can leave a comment on this post about your favorite book that takes place in an exotic location or involves a culture far different from American culture.  The second way to enter is by subscribing to this blog.  Current subscribers are already entered — they only need to leave a comment to get a second entry!

I will use the sequence generator at random.org to choose one winner and will contact them by email.  It is important that you leave your email address if you leave a comment.  Note: There are a maximum of two entries per person.  The giveaway ends on Sunday, August 30th and the winner will be contacted by email on Tuesday, September 2nd.  This contest is open to U.S. addresses only.

Good luck!

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One of the Most Banned Books in America

giverBusiness Insider just posted an article on why The Giver is one of the most banned books in America.  It is worth reading simply for that reason alone.

The Giver is another of those books on my too-read list that hasn’t made it to the top, but it’s position on that list may change given the controversy the release of the motion picture may spark.  My preference is to read the book, rather than see the movie.  Any one else have thoughts on this?  Please share your thoughts on whether you prefer books to movies or vice-versa.  Also, have you read The Giver and want to tell other booklovers something about it?

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Book Review: Kombucha Revolution

KombuchaThe Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Recently I visited an Earth Fare store and noticed all of the kombucha on the shelves.  I had not tried kombucha, but had heard of it and thought it was time.  Interesting!  For those that have not heard of kombucha, it is a drink, typically found in health food stores and increasingly making its way into the mainstream.  According to Stephen Lee and Ken Koopman, authors of Kombucha Revolution, it is “a cure-all that detoxifies the body, aids digestion, reenergizes the mind, and even helps reverse the symptoms of cancer.  Shortly after that visit to Earth Fare, I found Lee and Koopman’s book.

Kombucha Revolution tells you everything you want to know and need to know about kombucha.  Whether you are interested in just learning more about the fermented beverage, with the intention of just buying it, or whether you want to brew your own drink, Stephen Lee and Ken Koopman have written a comprehensive book.  Don’t let the description “comprehensive” put you off through.  The book is readable and it makes brewing your own kombucha very doable.  The recipes are easy to read and follow and best of all the ingredient lists are short!  Who knew there were so many ways to enjoy this unusual beverage.

My one complaint with the authors is that they made scant recommendations to the reader for sourcing the most important ingredient of all – SCOBY.  SCOBY is short for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast and is what ferments the tea to make the kombucha.  For someone completely new to homesteading, brewing, etc. and not having friends who are into this sort of thing, finding a source seemed a little intimidating!  A quick Internet search can get you started, but I do wish the authors had written a little more about this all important beginning ingredient and its sourcing.

I thoroughly enjoyed Kombucha Revolution and will continue to try the recipes for a long time.  If you want to try home brewing, it seems to me that this book and kombucha are an easy way to begin.  If you are interested in fermentation, then again this book is a great beginning place.

Book Details:   Published by Ten Speed Press (June 3, 2014), 160 pages, ISBN: 1607745984.

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Interview With Writer Lawrence Block

Last Thursday morning as I was driving to work, NPR played a wonderful interview with crime fiction writer Lawrence Block.  I have to confess that I haven’t read any of Mr. Block’s novels, but am interested.  The interview is such a treat though, relax a few moments and just listen.

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We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to the winners of our Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed  giveaway!   The subscriber initially chosen by the sequence generator at randon.org did not claim her prize, so I will award each of the entries by comment a copy.  This is three copies instead of the one initially promised!  The winners are Kathryn N., Lesley D., and Carl S. 

The Booklover has another giveaway waiting in the wings, so make sure you subscribe to get notification of our next giveaway.

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Book Review: The Silkworm

jk-rowling-cuckoos-calling-sequel-cover-fullThe Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

One thing I dislike intensely is the London Tube.  It is crowded, hot and subterranean.  I don’t like it at all.  Once in a while you meet someone nice and it is tolerable for a bit.  Having said that I am so glad that I am not riding the Tube this week.

The London Tube is oft-mentioned in The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith’s second novel featuring private dectective Cormoran Strike.  It is a wonderfully-written crime novel.

The novel opens as novelist Owen Quine goes missing and his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days – as he has done before – and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.  But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

If you are a fan of Tana French or Kate Atkinson, then you will enjoy this book immensely.  Galbraith will surely take his place among the best of the British crime novelists in due time.

Book Details:  Published by Mulholland Books (June 19, 2014), 464 pages, ISBN: 0316206873.

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