Staff Picks: Week of July 11th

Lucia recommends Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Ice & Aguas Frescas, by Fany Gerson

From the pure, radiant flavors of classic Blackberry and Spicy Pineapple to unexpectedly enchanting combinations such as Sour Cream, Cherry and Tequila, or Strawberry-Horchata, Paletas is an engaging and delicious guide to Mexico’s traditional—and some not-so-traditional—frozen treats.

Collected and developed by celebrated pastry chef Fany Gerson, this sweet little cookbook showcases her favorite recipes for paletas, those flavor-packed ice pops made from an enormous variety of fruits, nuts, flowers, and even spices; plus shaved ice (raspados) and aguas frescas—the delightful Mexican drinks featuring whole fruit and exotic ingredients like tamarind and hibiscus flowers.

Whether you’re drawn to a simple burst of fresh fruit—as in the Coconut, Watermelon, or Cantaloupe pops—or prefer adventurous flavors like Mezcal-Orange, Mexican Chocolate, Hibiscus-Raspberry, or Lime Pie, Paletas is an inviting, refreshing guide guaranteed to help you beat the heat.

Donna recommends The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine, by Alina Bronsky

Told with sly humor and an anthropologist’s eye for detail, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine is the story of three unforgettable women whose destinies are tangled up in a family dynamic that is at turns hilarious and tragic. In her new novel, Russian-born Alina Bronsky gives readers a moving portrait of the devious limits of the will to survive.
“Once you find yourself in the grip of Rosa’s saga, there is no escaping. Brutal, self-absorbed, perceptive, and hilarious, Rosa is as unreliable as she is unforgettable. Set both behind the Iron Curtain and in the reunified Germany, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine is refreshing as well as disturbing. The strengths of the three generations – unsinkable Rosa, her passive but loving daughter Sulfia, and her unpredictable and mysterious granddaughter Aminat – link these women together and simultaneously pull them apart. Their story will fascinate, repel, and bring you to tears.”
– Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL (Indie Next List selection)

Lilly recommends The Art Lover’s Cookbook – A Feast for the Eye, edited by Carolyn Miller

Still lifes, genre scenes, cartoons, photographs, and decorative arts illustrate the amusing and complicated relationships we have with food, our sustenance and our delight. Enjoy tasting and reflecting on these wonderful expressions of the artistry and creativity with which we celebrate food.

Jane recommends Titanic Thompson: The Man Who Bet on Everything, by Kevin Cook

Born in a log cabin in the Ozarks, Alvin “Titanic” Thompson (1892-1974) traveled with his golf clubs, a .45 revolver, and a suitcase full of cash. He won and lost millions playing cards, dice, golf, pool, and dangerous games of his own invention. He killed five men and married five women, each one a teenager on her wedding day. He ruled New York’s underground craps games in the 1920s and was Damon Runyon’s model for slick-talking Sky Masterson. Dominating the links in the pre-PGA Tour years, Thompson may have been the greatest golfer of his time, teeing up with Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Lee Trevino, and Ray Floyd. He also traded card tricks with Houdini, conned Al Capone, lost a million to Minnesota Fats and then teamed up with Fats and won it all back. A terrific read for anyone who has ever laid a bet, Titanic Thompson recaptures the colorful times of a singular figure: America’s original road gambler.

Aida recommends Tree of Codes, by Jonathan Safran Foer

Danielle recommends the Simply Small Series, by Paola Opal

“Bare beauty is what you find in the Simply Small Series books…almost haiku-like.”
Word of Mouse Book Reviews

“…just perfect for the youngest readers.”
ABC Best Books for Children

“Opal uses vibrant onomatopoeic language, such as ‘swoosh,’ ‘thump’ and ‘splash,’ which makes reading aloud to children fun.” — CM Review

BJ recommends The Wheel of Nuldoid, by Russ Woody

The much-anticipated first book by veteran television writer/producer Russ Woody. Inspired by The Hobbit and The Wizard of Oz, The Wheel of Nuldoid is a dark tongue-in-cheek look at the very center of our world, where a society of short, quarrelsome creatures live and operate the machinery that rotates the earth. It’s the story of three unsuspecting humans-sixth grade teacher Warren Worst, his student Leo and Warren’s beautiful neighbor Lily-who are living quietly in San Francisco until the earthquake of October 1989 turns their lives upside down. Literally. Join them as they journey through the Region of Neither Norr, fall hundreds of miles through a giant tunnel-hole, cross the Plains of Low Weather and the Valley of Lopsided Water, fly down the ancient slide of the Droiden Frobble Dynasty and scale the Great Big Canyon.

Julie recommends Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See

In 1937 Shanghai—the Paris of Asia—twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree—until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth. To repay his debts, he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from Los Angeles to find Chinese brides. As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, from the Chinese countryside to the shores of America. Though inseparable best friends, the sisters also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. Along the way they make terrible sacrifices, face impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are—Shanghai girls.

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1 Comment

Filed under Staff Picks

One response to “Staff Picks: Week of July 11th

  1. Julie von Zerneck

    What a fine group of books to pick from. Thank you again Portrait of a Bookstore!

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