What do Julia Child, Nachos, and Woodstock have in common?

If you guessed today, August 15, you’re right!

Go buy yourself a plate of nachos as a prize. Or a French dish… Or tickets to a music festival. Whichever you’d enjoy most.

WHAT A DAY!

August 15 is a big day in the world of cuisine as it happens to be the birthday of both Julia Child (1912) and Ignacio Anaya Garcia (1895).

Julia Child, in case you don’t know, was a hugely popular and influential chef, cooking show host and author whose career spanned decades and helped change the way Americans cook. She is a household name to this day and her cookbooks continue to inspire home chefs to try their hand at French cuisine.

Ignacio Anaya Garcia worked in the El Moderno restaurant in the Texas-Mexico border town of Piedras Negras in 1943 when a group of American women came in looking for a quick snack. The kitchen was shutting down for the evening (or, depending on which story you hear, hadn’t finished setting up for lunch) and didn’t have any food ready so Ignacio threw together some ingredients and called it “Nachos Especiales.” Nachos were here to stay!

And, as if that wasn’t enough to make today special, today is also the 50th anniversary of the opening of the original Woodstock music festival!

Joe Cocker performs in front of huge lighting- and soundtowers

In honor of everything connected with this special day, here is a short and eclectic list of books for you to enjoy.

Thumbnail The Road to Woodstock Ultimate Nachos : From Nachos and Guacamole to Salsas and Cocktails Mastering the Art of French Cooking
The Everything Easy Mexican Cookbook : Includes Chipotle Salsa, Chicken Tortilla Soup, Chiles Rellenos, Baja-Style Crab, Pistachio-Coconut Flan... and Hundreds More! My Life in France Woodstock : The Oral History Dark Side of the Spoon : The Rock Cookbook

It’s Not All Bad: The Search for Rational Optimism in a World Saturated with Sensational Pessimism

Sometimes the world can be a worrisome, scary place. But maybe it is not as bad as politicians, pundits and news networks make it seem.

Good News

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Here’s a quick list of books that highlight to good things, both in the world as it is right now and into the future that we will all be making and experiencing together.

Read and feel better about things.

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One small step for man…

Happy Moon Day, everyone!

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Fifty years ago, on July, 20 1969, the crew members of Apollo 11 became the first human beings to land on the Moon. 

Just in case that puts you in the mood to read about our closest celestial neighbor, here is a small selection of moon books for your consideration:

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Thursday Ditto

For fans of history, royal dynasties, court intrigue and politics.

The Romanovs Shelf End Ditto

Best Sellers List: July Update

NYT BEST SELLERS: Combined Print & E-Book Fiction

  1. SUMMER OF ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand (NEW)

42283286Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century! It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket: but this year Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, a nursing student, is caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests, a passion which takes her to Martha’s Vineyard with her best friend, Mary Jo Kopechne. Only son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother who is hiding some secrets of her own. As the summer heats up, Teddy Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, a man flies to the moon, and Jessie experiences some sinking and flying herself, as she grows into her own body and mind.

  1. WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens
  2. THE RECKONING by John Grisham
  3. CITY OF GIRLS by Elizabeth Gilbert
  4. EVERYTHING by Jennifer Weiner
  5. BEFORE WE WERE YOURS by Lisa Wingate
  6. UNSOLVED by James Patterson and David Ellis
  7. LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng
  8. THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ by Heather Morris
  9. GOOD OMENS by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  10. TOM CLANCY: ENEMY CONTACT by Mike Maden
  11. THE ORACLE by Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell
  12. COTTAGE BY THE SEA by Debbie Macomber
  13. THERE GOES MY HEART by Bella Andre (NEW)
  14. PAST TENSE by Lee Child

Books to Film: Summer Break Edition

Shaft by Ernest Tidyman

12466775Shaft (2019) film poster.pngMovie: Shaft
When it comes out: June 14
What the book is about: Shaft has no prejudices. He’ll kill anyone- black or white. Who is John Shaft? A black Bogart who says the Revolution is a new way to chase chicks…the Mafia is a meatball…and life is going to screw you if you don’t screw it. John Shaft is a private eye. John Shaft is a black man made of muscle and ice.

American Woman by Susan Choi

285086American WomanMovie: American Woman
When it comes out: June 14
What the book is about: When 25-year-old Jenny Shimada steps out of the Rhinecliff train station in New York’s Hudson Valley, the last person she expects to see is Rob Frazer, a shadowy figure from her previous life. On the lam for an act of violence against the American government, Jenny agrees to take on the job of caring for three younger fugitives whom Frazer has spirited out of California. One of them, the granddaughter of a wealthy newspaper magnate in San Francisco, has become a national celebrity. Kidnapped by a homegrown revolutionary group, Pauline shocked America when she embraced her captors’ ideology, denouncing family and class to enlist in their radical cell.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

1325218Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark film logo.jpgMovie: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
When it comes out: August 9
What the book is about: This spooky addition to Alvin Schwartz’s popular books on American folklore is filled with tales of eerie horror and dark revenge that will make you jump with fright. There is a story here for everyone—skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chimney. Stephen Gammell’s splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories—and even scary songs—all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark.

The Kitchen by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle

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Movie: The Kitchen
When it comes out: August 9
What the book is about: The Irish gangs of Hell’s Kitchen rule the neighborhood, bringing terror to the streets and doing the dirty work for the Italian Mafia. Jimmy Brennan and his crew were the hardest bastards in the Kitchen, but after they’re all put in prison, their wives—Kath, Raven and Angie—decide to keep running their rackets. And once they get a taste of the fast life and easy money, it won’t be easy to stop.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

3153910The Art of Racing in the Rain.jpgMovie: The Art of Racing in the Rain
When it comes out:
August 9
What the book is about:
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

13526165Where'd You Go Bernadette (film poster).pngMovie: Where’d You Go
When it comes out:
August 16
What the book is about:
Bernadette Fox has vanished. When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces–which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where’d You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter’s love for her mother.

 

Three Seconds by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström

9292518click for larger (if applicable) Movie: The Informer
When it comes out:
August 16
What the book is about:
Piet Hoffman, a top secret operative for the Swedish police, is about to embark on his most dangerous assignment yet: after years spent infiltrating the Polish mafia, he’s become a key player in their attempt to take over amphetamine distribution inside Sweden’s prisons. To stop them from succeeding, he will have to go deep cover, posing as a prisoner inside the country’s most notorious jail. But when a botched drug deal involving Hoffman results in a murder, the investigation is assigned to the brilliant but haunted Detective Inspector Ewert Grens–a man who never gives up until he’s cracked the case. Grens’s determination to find the killer not only threatens to expose Hoffman’s true identity-it may reveal even bigger crimes involving the highest levels of power. And there are people who will do anything to stop him from discovering the truth.

 

The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War by Marcia & Thomas Mitchell

4578102Official Secrets PosterMovie: Official Secrets
When it comes out:
August 23
What the book is about:
British secret service officer Katharine Gun’s only crime was telling the truth, but she paid a steep price when she exposed a U.S.-U.K. spy operation to secure UN authorization for the Iraq invasion. Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, this book tells the story of the young woman Sean Penn describes as “a hero of the human spirit.”