non-fiction

Literary Cookbooks

 

 

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What cook can resist a great new cookbook?

Even better, what foodie/avid reader can resist a cookbook created by his/her favorite author?

 

The following twelve cookbooks have been recommended by the readers of Nightstand Book Reviews as part of their literary and/or cookbook collections. The cookbooks would definitely make a fun gift to a fan of any of the authors. There are some pretty famous writers in the mix and many of the cookbooks have been nominated for awards.  :-)  If you have tried any of the recipes, please let us know in the comments.

 

Click on the book title to learn more about the featured recipes.

 

"Cooking with Jane Austen" – Kirstin Olsen

 

"Food to Die For" – Patricia Cornwell, Marlene Brown

 

"Goldy’s Kitchen Cookbook" – Diane Mott Davidson


"Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader" – Jan Karon

 

"KP Authors Cook Their Books" – 11 Kindle Press authors

 

"Mystery Writers of America Cookbook" – Kate White, editor; famous mystery writer contributors

 

"The Cat Who Cookbook" – Lilian Jackson Braun

 

"The Cozy Cookbook" – Laura Childs & other bestselling cozy writers

 

"The Hemingway Cookbook" – Craig Boreth

 

"The Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook" – Theresa Carle-Sanders

 

"Yashim Cooks Istanbul: Culinary Adventures in the Ottoman Kitchen" – Jason Goodwin

 

"Winnie the Pooh’s Teatime Cookbook" – A.A. Milne
 

 

Happy cooking!  :-)

 


 

The National Book Awards 2016

 

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“The mission of the National Book Foundation and the National Book Awards is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.” *

 

The National Book Award is an American literary prize administered by the National Book Foundation. There are twenty judges for the competition, five in each of the categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature. The judges are a mix of writers, librarians and booksellers. This year, American publishers submitted books published between December 1, 2015 and November 30, 2016, written by American authors. The winners were announced on November 16, 2016. Each Winner will receive a prize of $10,000 each. Each Finalist will receive a prize of $1,000 each. 

 

The winners are indicated in red. Click on the authors’ names to discover information about the books.

 

Fiction Finalists

 

Nonfiction Finalists:

 

Poetry Finalists:

 

Young People's Literature Finalists:

 

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners!  :-)

 

*www.nationalbook.org

 

 

“It’s Not About the Coffee” by Howard Behar, with Janet Goldstein

 

Book Cover - It's Not About the Coffee

Howard Behar’s “It’s Not About the Coffee,” discusses the principles underlying the building of a world famous brand.

 

Behar spent about 20 years in various senior leadership roles at Starbucks. Despite the fact that he did not have an MBA, he and head of the company Howard Schulz, hit it off and Behar became the one to move the Operations forward and make Starbucks profitable. At the time Starbucks only had 28 stores.

 

Behar’s belief is that a company will thrive if it is built on a ‘People First’ philosophy.

His emphasis was not on the bottom line, but rather for the employees to know “Why are you here? Are you in the right place? Are you doing what makes you happy?”

 

This was a shift away from just selling the product and pushing the sale, to service and providing the best product with a smile. It was his sincere goal to make the customers happy to be in that store/chain. If that happened, then customers would come back again and again. An effective approach? Definitely. Today there are over 21,000 stores worldwide – over 11,000 in the USA alone.

 

“It’s Not About the Coffee” breaks the Principles of Personal Leadership into ten chapters:

 

1. Know Who You Are

2. Know Why You’re Here

3. Think Independently

4. Build Trust

5. Listen for the Truth

6. Be Accountable

7. Take Action

8. Face Challenge

9. Practice Leadership

10. Dare to Dream

 

Through it all, Behar appears to set aside the model of manager as a ‘me, my way’ leader and instead chooses the model of ‘we can work together in order to create the best result.’

 

Granted, there has to be a decent product to sell, but Behar’s guidelines in “It’s Not About the Coffee” give value to the employee as a thinking, contributing being, capable of being a partner in the success of the company.

 

Starbucks as a company hasn’t always made the best choices in the eyes of its customers – the logo change a few years back, the red holiday cup this year – but, think about it. What other company (besides Coke) has this kind of customer loyalty that lights up the internet with pro/con opinions when something changes? If you are a Starbucks customer, you are welcomed at each and every store, made to feel at home by its very décor, served with a smile and as you leave with that (some would say) overpriced cup of coffee, you know that you’ll come back again.

 

That satisfied customer feel is something that all companies should strive to deliver. It’s why I never go back to some (other) stores, why some chains fail in tough times, why I will return time after time to certain shops, even if they don’t always have what I need.

 

Full disclosure: I am a loyal Starbucks customer. It’s not because they brew the best cup of coffee in the world; I don’t think they do. But, they deliver consistency, familiarity, a comfortable environment, a decent product, and most of all, wonderful service from pleasant employees wherever I go in the country.

 

When I saw “It’s Not About the Coffee” for sale in an airport, I picked it up, curious about the business model that would take a regional company to international success story in a couple of decades. Great read for anyone who is interested in seeing how one of the guys at the top did it.

 

 

The Agatha Awards for 2014

 

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The nominees for the 2014 Agatha Awards (named for Agatha Christie) were announced earlier in the year and the awards were given to mystery and crime writers at the annual Malice Domestic conference on May 2, 2015. The nominated books were first published in the United States by a living author between January 1 and December 31, 2014.

 

This is one of my favorite book awards, because the Agatha Awards recognize the "traditional mystery," meaning in general that there is no graphic sex and no excessive violence in the novels. This is not the platform for thrillers or hard-boiled detectives, but instead, there is more emphasis on a puzzle to be solved. And, I do love a puzzle.

 

The 2014 nominees and winners (noted in red):

Best Contemporary Novel:
The Good, The Bad and The Emus by Donna Andrews (Minotaur Books)
A Demon Summer by G.M. Malliet (Minotaur Books)
Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)
The Long Way Home by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Designated Daughters by Margaret Maron (Grand Central Publishing)

 

Best Historical Novel:
Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd (William Morrow)
An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd (William Morrow)
Wouldn't it Be Deadly by D.E. Ireland (Minotaur Books)
Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
Murder in Murray Hill by Victoria Thompson (Berkley)

 

Best First Novel:
Circle of Influence by Annette Dashofy (Henery Press)
Tagged for Death by Sherry Harris (Kensington Publishing)
Finding Sky by Susan O'Brien (Henery Press)
Well Read, Then Dead by Terrie Farley Moran (Berkley Prime Crime)
Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber (Midnight Ink)

 

Best Nonfiction:
400 Things Cops Know: Street Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman by Adam Plantinga (Quill Driver Books)
Writes of Passage: Adventures on the Writer's Journey by Hank Phillippi Ryan, Editor (Henery Press)
Death Dealer: How Cops and Cadaver Dogs Brought a Killer to Justice by Kate Flora (New Horizon Press)
The Art of the English Murder by Lucy Worsley (Pegasus Books)
The Poisoner: The Life and Crimes of Victorian England's Most Notorious Doctor by Stephen Bates (Overlook Hardcover)

 

Best Short Story:
"The Odds are Against Us" (PDF) by Art Taylor, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Nov. 2014
"Premonition" by Art Taylor, Chesapeake Crimes Homicidal Holidays (Wildside Press)
"The Shadow Knows" by Barb Goffman, Chesapeake Crimes Homicidal Holidays (Wildside Press)
"Just Desserts for Johnny" (PDF) by Edith Maxwell (Kings River Life Magazine)
"The Blessing Witch" (PDF) by Kathy Lynn Emerson, Best New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave (Level Best Books)

 

Best Children's/Young Adult Novel:
Andi Under Pressure by Amanda Flower (ZonderKidz)
Greenglass House by Kate Milford (Clarion Books)
Uncertain Glory by Lea Wait (Islandport Press)
The Code Buster's Club, Case #4: The Mummy's Curse by Penny Warner (Egmont USA)
Found by Harlen Coben (Putnam Juvenile)

 

I've read a few of the titles on the list and was delighted to meet many of the nominees and winners at the Malice Domestic Conference. There were many strong books in competition with each other, so choosing a winner was tough. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

 

What a great group of writers and mystery fans!   smiley

 

 

 

 

 

Reader Favorites – New Reviews 2014

 

Book Cover - Upstairs at the White House

It’s always fun to discover which new reviews get the most attention during the year. The most popular reviews were ReTweeted dozens of times, shared on Facebook, and Google+, and got some attention on Pinterest. There were old titles, new titles, fiction and non-fiction, seasoned authors and debut authors in the mix. Several were best sellers.

 

In case you missed the reviews, here are the 2014 favorites on NightstandBookReviews in alphabetical order by author. Click on the titles and take a look:

 

Lucy Burdette, “Appetite for Murder

 

Robert Dugoni, “My Sister’s Grave

 

Robert Dugoni, “The Conviction

 

Sarah Graves, “Triple Witch

 

Edith Maxwell, “A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die

 

Leigh Perry, “A Skeleton in the Family

 

MJ Rose, “The Book of Lost Fragrances

 

Barbara Ross, “Clammed Up

 

Daniel Silva, “The English Girl

 

JB West & ML Katz, “Upstairs at the White House

 

Lynn Chandler Willis, “The Rising


Happy reading!

 

“When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi” by David Maraniss

 

Book Cover - When Pride Still Mattered

“When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi,” an incredibly well researched biography, takes an unflinching look at Lombardi’s personal life as well as his famed professional milestones.

 

Vince Lombardi, a legend in American football, is often remembered for having said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” He was a taskmaster, a leader, and well respected as a coach, but it took over two decades to reach national fame in the NFL. He spent a number of years as a coach at St. Cecelia’s in Englewood, NJ before moving on to a coaching position at his alma mater, Fordham University in NYC and then to West Point.

 

His next professional move was to the NFL, where he was an assistant coach for the NY Giants. He worked with some of the greats – Frank Gifford, Kyle Rote, and Charlie Conerly among others. His solid strategies for training the offensive line proved that he had the stuff of head coaches. At the age of 45, he became head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers. He transformed them from a sadly disorganized losing team, to winners of the only three consecutive NFL championships in the history of the game (the last championship before the Superbowl was created, followed by SuperBowls I and II). One of his famous quotes, made at the first team meeting: "I have never been on a losing team, gentlemen, and I do not intend to start now!"

 

Living in a family of football fans as I did, Lombardi was a household name. His ability to have turned around the sad sack Packers and create that amazing team was talked about, rehashed and dissected. The tactic of running the ‘sweep’ repeatedly was astounding to me – if a team runs the same play against the opposition again and again, why can’t the other team defend against it? After all, they knew what was coming. The play was so famous that even the fans knew what was coming. And, of course the opposition did, but not trained well enough against it to keep the Packers from rolling over them.

 

“When Pride Still Mattered” includes interviews, conversations, and assessments from players that worked with Lombardi through the years. There are detailed descriptions of important games and even information about the early Players Association. Read this section and you’ll understand the need to form the first players union back then.

 

Maraniss’ notes about Lombardi’s family are equally revealing. Having a famous father that spent more time with the players than at home, was difficult for Lombardi’s son and daughter. A bizarre story of Susan handing out towels in the ladies room at the Giants games boggles the mind. The strain on his marriage was apparent as Marie took a back seat to her husband’s chosen profession, even during their honeymoon. If she had not attended each and every home game, she might not have seen him at all during the season.

 

That winning spirit pushed Lombardi to greatness in football and Maraniss details the highs and lows along the way.  “When Pride Still Mattered” looks at the principles that drove Vince Lombardi’s life both on and off the field, and lets you draw your own conclusions about whether that driving force is worth the sacrifices made.

 

I highly recommend David Maraniss’ “When Pride Still Mattered,” not only for the fascinating look into the life of a football icon, but for its literary style as well. Lots of biographers turn a person’s life into a list of facts and cute moments and we are left knowing little more than what has already been written in newspaper articles or on the internet. Whether you are a football fan or a fan of sports in general, “When Pride Still Mattered” is worth your time.

 

 

“Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand

 

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Resilient: Attribute of someone who can "bounce back" after shock or injury, whether of the physical or psychological kind.

 

Before Louis Zamperini, the subject of Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken,” became an Olympic runner, he had been a juvenile delinquent, getting into so much trouble that some thought he might not survive his teenaged years. He was restless, reckless and unimpressed by boundaries or rules, outsmarting his targets at every turn. His parents tried, but were unable to rein him in. He was unbowed by physical or verbal threats. Then in high school, his brother helped save Zamperini from himself by persuading the principal to let him race. Over the next year, training consisted of being hit with a stick, running over hills and trails, and running until he dropped. Eventually, running was all he wanted to do.

 

As he matured, he became one of the best distance runners in the world, but WW2 broke out and Zamperini’s future changed. He joined the Army Air Corps, and then was shot down in the Pacific after Pearl Harbor. Despite the ordeal of drifting over 1000 miles in open seas for 47 days with no provisions and surrounded by sharks, he and another airman survived, only to be captured by the Japanese once they reached land in the Marshall Islands. His non-stop harrowing experience at the hands of torturers who never heard of the Geneva Convention would have broken a different man, but Zamperini had an incredible inner strength that brought him through. Resilience.

 

This non-fiction account of his courage and endurance in the face of inconceivable challenges has been on the NYT bestseller list for over 165 weeks. In “Unbroken,” Hillenbrand’s descriptions are gritty, raw and oh, so real. I smelled the decaying bodies. I was in the water when the enemy aircraft shot at the raft. I was terrified when Watanabe (a guard who singled him out) came close and demonstrated the worst form of man’s inhumanity to man.

 

We civilians would hope that this kind of mistreatment does not occur if our loved ones in the military are wounded or captured by the enemy. We also hope that they will return to us mentally and emotionally unscarred by whatever traumas they have experienced, but we know this is not always the case. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is a very real possibility for people serving at the front lines and while nobody gave it a name in WW2, Zamperini must have been a clear example. That Zamperini was capable of forgiveness years later is remarkable in itself, but his action of forgiveness moved even his former enemies.

 

Hillenbrand has shown once again that truth is sometimes more riveting than fiction – remember her engrossing retelling of the story of “Seabiscuit?”

 

Zamperini died July 2, 2014 at the age of 97. His son, Luke, gives talks about his father’s inspirational life and Zamperini’s legacy will also live on in an upcoming movie.

 

Please visit www.laurahillenbrandbooks.com for more information about future plans for “Unbroken.”