We Have a Winner!

pearl-that-broke-its-shellCongratulations to the winner of our The Pearl That Broke Its Shell giveaway!   The  sequence generator at random.org choose Katie S. of Antioch, TN as the winner of the giveaway.  Thanks to all subscribers to this blog! 


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Business Insider: New Books to Read Fall 2014

Business Insider has posted a slideshow of 20 new books to read this fall.  Most of the books are not somethings to get too excited over in my opinion, but there are a few gems.  The slideshow is definitely worth checking out.  A much better list to check out is on The Millions.  You can’t miss with their second-half preview.

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NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller Introduces “The Forbidden Bookshelf”


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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