Thanksgiving is going to be here before you know it, and we found a nice tight stack of reads you can settle down with on a quiet cold day and unplug from the digital world.
Call us old fashioned, old school or downright behind the times, but we love books.
Actual bound and uniquely put together hardcover and softcovers where you can pick it up and go somewhere quiet, and never worry if what you hold in your hands needs to be charged.
However, all of our picks for holiday break 2016 can also be bought for Kindle or NOOK type readers. Make sure you check out these entertaining, interesting and informative reads, as we organize them in categories for taste and genre. We think these authors did a great job.
Blind Acceptance by Sandra Pimentel
This is a terrific book to consider as a gift and is a captivating read with a fascinating backdrop of the social and political upheaval of those noisy and fractious years in the 1960s.
Pimentel has turned in a page-turning memoir, written by this Italian-American girl from Quincy, Massachusetts who raised a family during the turbulent ’60s.
Sandra Pimentel, humanitarian, motivational speaker and author’s new book Blind Acceptance is a must-read book to have in 2016 and is available at major book retailers and online including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Xlibris.
Pimentel recounts her life growing up in Quincy (adjacent to Boston) in an Italian working-class family whose enlightenment of sorts saw her swept into action as she participated in community organizations that fought racism and the war (Vietnam).
The 60’s jolted a lot of people including Pimentel out of their suburban stupor who saw the societal wrongs and wanted to change the racial and social inequalities in American society.
This is a page turning and wonderfully wrought story about being a woman in that changeling dynamic era when roles and gender expectations of women in marriage and mothering were turned on their head.
This is the perfect book club book for middle-aged and older men and women to discuss. It is funny and sad, and a really warm and engaging recounting of times that were never boring. Pimentel draws you in with on point and endearing prose that makes you laugh as she also serves as a chronicler of American life that was a turning point for our policies, politics and gender rights.
In the Mountains of Madness: The Life, Death, and Extraordinary Afterlife of H.P. Lovecraft
by W. Scott Poole
H.P. Lovecraft was a New Englander and a writer who died in poverty but in the years after his death, his horror fiction – tales like “The Call of Cthulhu” and “The Shadow over Innsmouth” earned him a cult-like fan base that has grown over time thanks to video games, and adaptations of his work for TV and film.
Some of his works showed a direct influence by another regional writer, Edgar Allen Poe. Of late, Maine native and author Stephen King called Lovecraft “the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.”
He was by several biographic accounts a sickly child who was indulged in his passion for astronomy and chemistry by his mother Sarah and for gothic horror by his maternal grandfather Whipple.
More than a traditional biography, In The Mountains of Madness will place Lovecraft and his work in a cultural context, as an artist more in tune in our time than his own.
This bio interweaves his life story with an exploration of Lovecraft as a phenomenon who deeply permeated our pop culture. Lovecraft’s reclusive nature is explored as is his eerie “grimoire” catalog of stories and this will appeal to the horror and science fiction fans who know Lovecraft through films, Role Playing Games, and video games directly influenced by his work but are scant in their knowledge of the man himself.
Poole shows us how Lovecraft was instrumental and influential in relation to the comics of Joe Lansdale, the novels of Stephen King, and some of the biggest blockbuster films in contemporary America.
Poole discusses how writers like Robert E. Howard and August Derleth “championed him” while “contemporary geek culture” created a “multi-billion dollar entertainment juggernaut” of video and board games, TV and films and even the steampunk ethos and fashion that is influenced by Lovecraft’s works. Great read. Amazon
Raise your hand if you have the “itis”… or any nonsense going on with your thyroid gland.
Hypothyroidism can affect every part of the body, and manifests as chronic fatigue, weight gain, headaches, constipation, chronic infections, skin problems, hair loss, chronic pain, menstrual issues, pregnancy complications, anxiety, and depression.
It can also be a major factor in heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. It is common for hypothyroidism to be overlooked, misdiagnosed, and mistreated in both women and men. Often times low thyroid function goes undetected and people are often told their blood work is normal. But for some hypothyroidism cannot be determined by blood tests alone.
A few years ago my thyroid went on the fritz and I learned I had an exotic-sounding disease, Hashimoto’s disease, and it forever changed the way I look at food and how to go about eating for my condition. Hashimoto’s is more than just hypothyroidism. It is a thyroid autoimmune condition where the body attacks its own thyroid gland. There are many potential triggers including blood sugar imbalance, gluten, adrenal failures, leaky gut, inflammation, heavy metal toxicity, and more.
In this book, the author, Kate Barrington, has done a marvelous and thorough job at offering background on Hashimoto’s disease along with integrating diet, nutrition, health, and recipes to ameliorate the symptoms.
Clear and concise, this is a great Hashimoto’s disease is, and then explains and outlines all the information in the book in a way that makes sense. This is a book to get for anyone looking for ways to manage and heal an inflamed Thyroid gland.
The dietary advice is very focused on the Hashimoto’s healing diet with excellent recipes that are easy and delicious. Amazon
Pop culture – TV
The Revolution Was Televised by Alan Sepinwall
TV (The Book) by Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz
Two great compendiums on TV you must own if you grew up with and love the boob tube and all the occasionally great shows meted out over the years.
The first book, The Revolution Was Televised, is by Alan Sepinwall, lead TV critic for website Hit Fix. The second is by Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz who worked together at the Newark Star-Ledger who together created TV (The Book), winnowing a tight and bright top-100 list of shows.
Sepinwall’s The Revolution Was Televised (Amazon) is a reference monster of the great history of TV and notable moments that have occurred in American television. It could serve as a college textbook on the medium, but his prose is not academic and dry, he pulls out the points of interest deftly, making it a fun read.
Background and histories on iconic dramas and comedies are dissected and revealed, with interviews and anecdotes we have a useful and highly entertaining book told by someone who absolutely eats television and gives it great consideration and thoughtful analysis.
Sepinwall takes the reader on an accessible journey through TV time where we see how precursors in the medium influenced modern television.
The Revolution Was Televised will give people outside the industry a great understanding of the creative processes that take an idea and turn it into a multi-million dollar business with employees from above and below the line, where a creator, showrunner, writing team and production crew and staff interface and shape what we see in the final cut.
The newer second book TV (The Book) (Amazon) is an exhaustive collaborative tete a tete between TV critics Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz, who list their favorite shows and concisely and persuasively argue the merits of why they picked them and what they disagree or agree ranking shows based on six criteria: innovation, influence, consistency, performance, storytelling and peak (a season when it vibrated at highest levels).
Like the aforementioned book by Sepinwall, this is a hefty beast and a great book to have on hand as a guide to go back in time with Netflix or Hulu or whoever has the catalog of great TV shows you may have missed, like Freaks and Geeks or The Wire.
Of note, British and other foreign TV shows aren’t listed in this book, which is a darn shame. My early TV days were greatly influenced by BBC miniseries I, Claudius, early Doctor Who (thanks, PBS affiliate WGBH-Boston!) and ITV miniseries Lillie.
Pop culture fan fiction – horror anthologies
The Creepypasta Collection: Modern Urban Legends You Can’t Unread Paperback – September 2, 2016
by MrCreepyPasta (Editor), Vincent V. Cava (Contributor), Matt Dymerski (Contributor)
Things that go bump in the night? More like a psycho killer, q’est ce que c’est? The compendium of tall nightmarish tales is here.
This is utter horse hockey and nonsense, and great fun to read under the covers with a flashlight or in a big creaky house all by your lonesome.
This is urban legend tall tales writ large. “There are stories that scare you. And then there are the dark and disturbing creepypasta stories that will leave you seriously freaked out” reads the tagline.
Made for mindless escapism, this The Creepypasta Collection anthology is a grab bag of terror, nightmares and creatures “from unearthly supernatural beings to the murderously disturbed.”
Our top stories these days on M&C are about ghosts and the supernatural, so this collection is made for all of you clicking away on stories like Kindred Spirits’ paranormal investigation leads to Wallingford Shoe Box murder and Rockwood Mansion investigated in last ever episode of Ghost Hunters on Syfy so you people love this stuff, and this is the book you need to read.
Perfect gift for your horror fans who love to get lost in fantastical tales that go south fast with grisly and gruesome shocks and twists. Lock the doors, check under the bed, turn up the lights, and make sure you have your wubbie at the ready.
The Patriarch: A Mystery of the French Countryside (Bruno, Chief of Police Series)
Much like Mayle’s Toujours, Provence series of books, this is also a story set in southern France and are a wonderful window into the unique ways of a country that baffles a lot of people.
The stories revolve around the life and activities of Bruno, the chief and only policeman in the small southern French town of St. Denis.
This author has penned over 7 books involving this character with ripped from the headlines themes that mirror today’s news.
The books work in such threats as Islamic jihadists, and even heroes from the old World Wars as Bruno’s childhood hero, famous World War 2 flying ace, Marco Desaix, who is worked into the latest story that layers many mysteries and settings. Amazon
A fantastic debut novel, which is a hybrid of mystery, thriller, noir fiction and travelogue.
The poetic style of this story paints vivid imagery in each short chapter where we follow three main characters, a father and his two adolescent kids as we follow their lives and learn their paths. This is a story of how a war hero deals with reintegration back into civilian lives.
We travel from Pennsylvania, Maine to Washington State, with the American landscape becomes the backdrop for a veteran running from his violent past while keeping his two children close.
Dominick Sawyer, a former Army Ranger and veteran of the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars, has come back home to his family in rural Pennsylvania a changed man. He suffers post-traumatic hallucinations and his personal life crumbles, losing his wife.
Sawyer goes on the run with 15-year-old Clarke and 11-year-old Kingsley—in his attempt to keep the rest of his family together.
Veteran FBI agent Charlie Basin is tasked with apprehending the dangerous fugitive, who’s wanted for the shooting death of a Pennsylvania sheriff, but his mission becomes complicated when Basin, the father of two, begins understanding Sawyer’s motives and identifying with his plight.
Pop culture – cocktail reference book
Go Ahead, Make My Drink by Anthony Marinese
We love cocktail books that have easy to follow recipes and fun tie-ins to pop culture, and this book delivers the goods.
Celebrate your favorite movies and television shows with this stylish and fun cocktail guide featuring delicious recipes and adorable illustrations.
From the Cosmopolitans on Sex and the City and the absinthe in Moulin Rouge to the Big Lebowski’s White Russians and James Bond’s martinis, this is the ultimate guide to the most famous cocktails in pop culture.
Concocted by San Francisco bartender and cocktail expert Anthony Marinese, these tributes to notable television series and cult films like Game of Thrones, Rocky Horror Picture Show, the Walking Dead, Back to the Future, and more make for a wonderful gift.
Complete with colorfully whimsical illustrations, this is what you need for any binge watching events where you need some clever drink inspirations.
This 144-page full-color hardcover recipe book from Insight Editions is illustrated brilliantly as each drink recipe has instructions, and explanatory text on the inspiration and a photograph of the prepared item, with a full-color illustration by Horacio Cassinelli.
The book is divided into “The Classics” and “Some New Classics.” The range goes from old faithful’s like a Screwdriver to modern adapted drinks like the “Orange Whip” from The Blues Brothers and the “Vesper Martini” from the James Bond franchise.
Look for a Ghostbusters drink called the “Toasted Stay Puft” (garnished with a fire-toasted marshmallow), and Evil Dead with a heated sipper “Boomstick” containing absinthe as a rinse like a sazerac.
There’s plenty of balance between iconic films and TV series.
The book navigates well as a reference with a clear and thorough index and table of contents. After the author’s introduction, there’s a section covering techniques and tools, with photographs that explain what you need to build a proper home bar and make these concoctions. Amazon