Review: BlackTold: 33 Dynamic Essays from Andscape edited by Steve Reiss

About the book, BlackTold: 33 Dynamic Essays fron Andscape Blacktold Essays

Publisher: Hyperion Avenue (October 4, 2022)
• Hardcover: 304 pages

ESPN’s website, The Undefeated, publishes content that explores how race and identity impact American culture. This will be a collection of the best articles published on the site. Timely and relevant, BlackTold will cover current events such as the BLM movement, the Covid-19 pandemic, race and the NFL, and more.

Here’s a sample of some of the articles that will be included:

George Floyd’s mother was not there, but he used her as a sacred invocation. With his dying breaths, Floyd called for her as an assurance of memory.

The importance of Chadwick Boseman to African Culture
In many ways, Black Panther helped normalize African heritage and style in popular culture by truly celebrating it.

Naomi Osaka made sure Black lives mattered at the U.S. Open
She’s grown more sophisticated in how she discusses race, and more comfortable with doing so publicly

Can a black heroine fix the racist stereotypes infecting ‘King Kong’?
In new Broadway production, actress Christiani Pitts steps into the role first made famous by Fay Wray

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


About the editor, Steve Reiss

Steve Reiss is the Executive Editor for Culture and Enterprise at Andscape. He has held leadership positions at many of the leading journalism outlets in the U.S., including the Washington Post, the Miami Herald, Crain Communications, and ESPN. He has worked with several winners of the Pulitzer Prize and of numerous other awards. He is the editor of the New York Times bestseller The Fierce 44: Black Americans Who Shook Up The World.


My Thoughts MissMeliss

This collection of essays from Black writers should be required reading for all non-Black Americans. It is poignant. It is powerful. It is honest. And it is beautiful.

Each essay exposes a different aspect of life as a Black person in America. Some of the themes, such as the fact that everyone calls for their mother at their last hour – are universal, though the essay about George Floyd was not.  It’s about more than just the facts of his murder at the hands of police, and it’s hardly the most difficult read in the collection, but it’s the first essay in the book, and that gives it extra impact.

Grouped into sections such as “Black Lives Matter,” “American History,” “Arts and Culture,” and “Sports” these essays run through every aspect of life, whether or not they’re about the Utah Jazz basketball players, identifying with Breonna Taylor, or talking about “Black Twitter” these essays are informative, thought provoking, and brilliant. As a recent emigre to Florida, the piece that struck me most was “The Gut-Wrenching History of Black Babies and Alligators, by Domonique Foxworth which not only discusses the way we weigh human life against animal life, but also talks about a particularly heinous piece of American history.

“Can you imagine an America when that was not true? Can you imagine an America when a child’s life was so insignificant that he was intentionally put into the pen of a dangerous zoo animal? An America when a child was intentionally placed at the edge of alligator-infested waters to lure the ferocious beast for hunters?” Foxworth writes, and then explains that using Black children  – Black babies – as gator bait used to be standard practice.

Overall, this collection, carefully curated from ESPN’s website The Undefeated gives us a much-needed look into the truth of Black life in America. Hopefully, we will learn from it.


Check out the Other Participants on This Tour: TLC Book Tours

Wednesday, October 19th: Instagram: @amysbooketlist

Tuesday, November 1st: Instagram: @naturegracereader

Thursday, November 3rd: Instagram: @kelly_hunsaker_reads

Monday, November 14th: TikTok: @thelife0fbooks

Thursday, November 17th: Instagram: @turnxthexpage

Friday, November 18th: Instagram: @shook_sbooks

Monday, November 21st: A Bookish Way of Life

Monday, November 28th: TikTok: @storytimewithshelbs

Monday, November 28th: Instagram: @bathtubbookworm

TBD: Friday, November 25th: Bibliotica

 

 

Review: National Geographic’s Birding Basics by Noah Strycker

BirdingBasicsAbout the book, Birding Basics

• Publisher: National Geographic (November 15, 2022)
• Paperback: 256 pages

Targeted to beginners and beyond, National Geographic’s fun, inspiring guide to the art, craft, and science of bird-watching combines practical know-how and expert knowledge. Browsable and bursting with helpful illustrations and photographs, Birding Basics offers new ideas for when, where, and how to get to know the birds in your world.

Not a field guide but a primer in best practices, authored by birding expert Noah Strycker, this breezy book features easy-to-follow advice on what to look and listen for, how to use field guides and birding apps, the best equipment to start with, and ways to engage with other birders around the world. Filled with fun facts and seasoned advice, this useful book will help you attract birds to your backyard, master bird identification, name a bird by its song, and witness the magic of migration. Sidebars feature fun facts, identification tips, and easy projects for exploring the world on the wing.

For everyone who loves watching the birds, whether out the window or on the trail, this colorful, easy-to-use guide to better birding has everything you need.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


My Thoughts: MissMeliss

As with all books published under the National Geographic imprint, Birding Basics is a beautiful book with full-color photographs throughout. It could easily be a coffee table book, but it’s soft cover makes it a book that can more easily be used in the field. It is not a field guide, but a primer on birdwatching – where to start, what gear is essential or non-essential but nifty to have, and when the best birding is for various regions.

What I really appreciated was that this book included some useful tips on how to use actual field guides, and even recommended birding apps.

The language is accessible enough for readers of most ages, and I could easily see this book being at the center of family outings.

Goes well with: bottled water and trail mix.


Check Out the Other Participants on This Tour TLC Book Tours

Tuesday, November 15th: Instagram: @beachesandreads

Wednesday, November 16th: Books, Cooks, and Looks

Friday, November 18th: A Bookish Way of Life

Monday, November 28th: Instagram: @readinggirlreviews

Tuesday, November 29th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Wednesday, November 30th: Stacy’s Books

Thursday, December 1st: Instagram; @delightfully.Brittany

Friday, December 2nd: Jathan & Heather

Friday, December 9th: Instagram: @thebookend.diner

TBD: Thursday, November 17th: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews

TBD: Monday, November 21st: Bibliotica

TBD: Tuesday, November 22nd: Instagram: @stumblingintobooks

Review: National Geographic’s Stargazer’s Atlas

About the book, Stargazer’s Atlas National Geographic Stargazer's Atlas

• Publisher: National Geographic (October 25, 2022)
• Hardcover: 432 pages

Richly illustrated with luminous photographs and informative maps and graphics, this expansive book is the perfect guide for everyone discovering the wonders of the night sky, from those just learning the constellations to dedicated telescope observers.

Combining science, exploration, and storytelling, National Geographic Stargazer’s Atlas invites readers to roam the night sky for constellations, planets and moons, eclipses, comets and meteor showers, auroras, and deep-sky treasures including nebulae and galaxies—many visible to the naked eye and all with binoculars or a backyard telescope.

Beginning with basic space science and including a complete set of night sky maps for all four seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, this fascinating book guides the reader toward the most rewarding observations. A unique chapter on astrotourism highlights ancient observatories, dark-sky preserves, and other global destinations for the sky-seeking traveler; a final chapter details current and future space missions and what they might discover.

Richly illustrated with awe-inspiring imagery—including photos from space missions and telescopes, science-based artists’ interpretations, and explanatory graphics—the book also contains 170 maps and charts of planets, moons, and constellations, from Earth’s moon to moons of Saturn. Practical advice throughout helps readers see what they have been reading about, building key observational skills such as “star hopping” from easy-to-find stars to fainter deep-sky objects and focusing on “deep sky treasures:” areas rich in observable phenomena.

Approachable and authoritative, gorgeous and fascinating, National Geographic Stargazer’s Atlas will intrigue all who love to gaze up in wonder at the night sky—and find themselves wanting to know more.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Amazon | Disney Publishing | Goodreads


My Thoughts MissMeliss

As with all National Geographic books, this coffee table-sized tome is a work of art, with gorgeous photographs and artist’s renderings. This book also includes one of my favorite features from the magazine: maps. In this case, they are maps of the night sky for each hemisphere in each season, so it’s really easy to go outside and compare your own starry night to the information provided.

The information in this book is well organized, and has tidbits of data that lead down wonderful rabbit holes of exploration. The astrotourism section was one of my favorites, but as a new telescope owner, I really loved being told where to go and how to point my device for the best results.

A young friend of mine leads star parties at his university, and I feel like this is a book he’d love to have in his personal library, but it’s by no means only for academics. Rather, it’s an easily accessible guide to the night sky, that presents science fact but leaves from for pure, unadulterated wonder. However, it should be noted that it’s sheer size makes it impractical as a field guide.

Goes well with: a clear night, an elevated location, and hard cider to toast with.


Check Out the Other Participants on This Tour TLC Book Tours

Tuesday, October 25th: Instagram: @tarheelreader

Wednesday, October 26th: Instagram: @addictedtobooks86

Sunday, October 30th: Instagram: @kelly_hunsaker_reads

Tuesday, November 1st: Instagram: @mariasbookshelves

Wednesday, November 2nd: Instagram: @nurse_bookie

Thursday, November 3rd: A Bookish Way of Life

Friday, November 4th: Stranded in Chaos

Saturday, November 5th: Instagram: @thereadingchemist

Monday, November 7th: Instagram: @thebookend.diner

Tuesday, November 8th: Books, Cooks, and Looks

Friday, November 11th: Instagram: @bookbruin

Monday, November 14th: Bibliotica

Thursday, November 17th: Instagram: @pattyisbooked

Friday, November 18th: Jathan & Heather

Monday, November 21st: Write – Read – Life

TBD: Friday, October 28th: Instagram: @gracesbookblog2

TBD: Wednesday, November 9th: Instagram: @readinggirlreviews

 

Review: National Geographic’s Food Journeys of a Lifetime, 2nd edition

About the book, Food Journeys of a Lifetime, 2nd Edition Food Journeys of a Lifetime

• Publisher: National Geographic (October 18, 2022)
• Hardcover: 320 pages

Few experiences are as satisfying as a chance to explore the world through food. Compiled from the expert travel writers at National Geographic, Food Journeys of a Lifetime scours the globe for the world’s best dishes, markets, and restaurants that are worth traveling far and wide to savor.
In this fully revised and updated edition, find the best of the best, including:

• Tokyo’s famed fish market and its 226 Michelin-starred restaurants–the most of any city in the world
• The ultimate Philly cheesesteak from the city of brotherly love
• The perfect cup of tea in China
• The spice markets of Marrakech
• The juiciest cuts of beef in Argentina
• The freshest pasta in Italy
• And the ultimate Swiss wine route

Featuring more than 60 new bites and destinations, this book is the key to building a foodie traveler’s ultimate bucket list. Within the flavors and tastes of every cuisine, you’ll find unique stories about the places, cultures, climates, and chefs that produce these extraordinary dishes. A wide selection of recipes invite you to try new cooking techniques and obtain flavors from abroad at home; top 10 lists offer side trips from chocolate factories to champagne bars.

Filled with a dazzling array of diverse recommendations, each page of this inspiring book will make your mouth water–and spur your next gourmet vacation.

Purchase and discussion links for this book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Disney Books | Goodreads


My Thoughts

MissMelissI love these “coffee table” books from National Geographic, because they’re not only incredibly informative they’re also just beautiful. After all, they feature photographs from some of National Geographic’s best photographers, and articles from some of their best writers. This book, the second edition of Food Journeys of a Lifetime, is no exception. The photographs are not just of food – although many of them are – but also of fabulous food markets and unique restaurants. All are eye-catching. Some are mouth-watering.

But this book is more than just pictures. It has pages that describe the best-know foods from individual U.S. states, and various countries around the world and has fascinating supportive text. Did you know that real wasabi (not the fake stuff we Americans get most of the time) has antibacterial benefits? I didn’t until I read this book. No, it won’t kill all the parasites in raw fish, but sashimi fish isn’t truly raw in the sense that it’s untouched. It’s just not cooked. (Also parasite-ridden fish isn’t served.)

The other thing I loved about this book is that, as much as it’s a work of art, it’s also a reference guide. I would rank it right next to one of my favorite foodie resources, The Flavor Bible, in its usefulness to anyone who wants to improve their home cooking. Health experts tell us to “eat the rainbow.” With Food Journeys of a Lifetime you can broaden the number of colors, and enjoy vicarious travels at the same time.

This book is great if you read it from cover to cover, but perfectly suited to pick up now and then, or skip around in.

Goes well with: eggplant caponata and crusty sourdough baguette.


Visit the Other Great Stops on this Tour TLC Book Tours

Tuesday, October 18th: Instagram: @kelly_hunsaker_reads

Wednesday, October 19th: Instagram: @jessicareadsrunbooks

Thursday, October 20th: A Bookish Way of Life

Monday, October 24th: Instagram: @nurse_bookie

Tuesday, October 25th: Instagram: @readingfortheseasons

Wednesday, October 26th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Thursday, October 27th: Books, Cooks, and Looks

Friday, October 28th: Bibliotica

Thursday, November 3rd: Instagram: @itsbibliotherapy

Friday, November 4th: Jathan & Heather

Friday, November 4th: Instagram: @thereadingchemist

Sunday, November 6th: Instagram: @addictedtobooks86

Sunday, November 6th: Instagram: @thebookend.diner

TBD: Friday, October 21st: Instagram: @mariasbookshelves

Review: A Man of the World, by Gilbert M. Grosvenor with Mark Collins Jenkins

About the book, A Man of the WorldA Man of the World

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ National Geographic (September 13, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages

The captivating inside story of the man who helmed National Geographic for six decades is a front-row seat to audacious feats of exploration, from the successful hunt for the Titanic to Jane Goodall’s field studies. Offering a rare portrait of one of the world’s most iconic media empires, this revealing autobiography makes an impassioned argument to know―and care for―our planet.

Though his career path had been paved by four generations of his family before him, Gilbert M. Grosvenor left his own mark on the National Geographic Society, founded in 1888 and recognized the world over by its ubiquitous yellow border. In an unflinchingly honest memoir as big as the world and all that is in it, Grosvenor shows us what it was like to “grow up Geographic” in a family home where explorers like Robert Peary, Louis Leakey, and Jane Goodall regularly crossed the threshold. As staff photographer, editor in chief and then president of the organization, Grosvenor oversaw the diversification into television, film, books, as well as its flagship magazine, which under his tenure reached a peak circulation of nearly 11 million. He also narrates the shift from a nonprofit, family-focused enterprise to the more corporate, bottom-line focused world of publishing today.

For Grosvenor, running National Geographic wasn’t just a job. It was a legacy, motivated by a passion not just to leave the world a better place, but to motivate others to do so, too. Filled with world travel, charismatic explorers, and the complexities of running a publishing empire, A MAN OF THE WORLD is the story of one man, a singular family business, and the changing face of American media.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Goodreads


About the author, Gilbert. M. Grosvenor

Gilbert Melville Grosvenor is the former president and chairman of the National Geographic Society, after having served as the editor of National Geographic magazine from 1970 to 1980. The great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell and the third Grosvenor to serve as editor-in-chief of the magazine, Grosvenor has received 14 honorary doctorates and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 for his leadership in geography education.


My Thoughts

MissMelissLike the author who, according to some biographies, “grew up Geographic,” the familiar yellow rectangle that represents the National Geographic magazine has been part of my entire life. Once, I was even on a plane to La Paz, BCS, Mexico when I realized most of the men on the plane were wearing black baseball caps with that logo. It took me a moment to realize they were all photographers on their way to meet the National Geographic Society’s boat for a photography excursion. My point in relating this is that reading about one of the men “behind the scenes” of one of my favorite institutions was a natural choice for me. I love biographies. I grew up on National Geographic magazine and the TV specials and I even had a subscription to National Geographic World, which was designed for kids, when I was ten. When something is imprinted with that yellow rectangle, you know you can trust it.

Gilbert M. Grosvenor is more than just a former president of the National Geographic Society. He’s a traveler, an explorer, a photographer, and educator, and a storyteller in the grandest sense of the word. In this book, with the help of the Society’s archivist Mark Jenkins, he tells his own story – how National Geographic literally runs in his veins, as his grandfather was a founding member and his father ran things before him. (He shares that he’s also a descendant of Alexander Graham Bell, but that’s really just a factoid thrown in to give context to his family history.)

Having read the book and listened to the audiobook, I feel like I’ve been steeped in Mr. Grosvenor’s story, but that’s not a bad thing. This book is well-paced and has a nice balance of adventures in the world (spending part of his army service as a photographer) and behind a desk (he was instrumental in creating that kids’ magazine, meant to be child-friendly without dumbing things down) . He shares anecdotes about meeting Jane Goodall and Robert Peary, but also  tells how they managed to get inside photos of the Apollo missions even though Life Magazine had an exclusive contract with the astronauts. His writerly voice is full of wonder when he talks about Robert Ballard’s discovery of the sunken Titanic, and full of poignance when he discusses Koko the Gorilla and her use of language. While this book is very much the story of the magazine as we know it today, it’s equally the story of the man, Gilbert M. Grovesnor, who was instrumental in making it into the entity we all know and love.

Reading A Man of the World is like having the author sitting in your living room regaling you with tales of his adventures and experiences, and while it was a satisfying read, I felt myself wanting more, just because I enjoyed it so much.

Goes well with: a juicy streak, a baked potato, a simple salad, and a glass or two of Shiraz.


Visit the Other Stops on This Tour TLC Book Tours

Thursday, September 29th: Books, Cooks, and Looks

Friday, September 30th: A Bookish Way of Life

Monday, October 3rd: Instagram: @kelly_hunsaker_reads

Tuesday, October 4th: Write – Read – Life

Thursday, October 6th: Instagram: @jenniaahava

Thursday, October 6th: The Bookish Dilettante

Sunday, October 9th: Instagram: @megsbookclub

TBD: Instagram: @books_with_bethany

TBD: Instagram: @nurse_bookie

TBD: Instagram: @mariasbookshelves

TBD: Thursday, September 22nd: TikTok: @stephreadsalot

TBD: Tuesday, September 27th: Jathan & Heather

TBD: Thursday, September 29th: Bibliotica

Book Review: Backyard Witchcraft by Cecilia Lattari

About the book, Backyard Witchcraft backyardwitchcraft-cover

• Publisher: Ixia Press (September 14, 2022)
• Paperback: 160 pages

Embark on an exploration of modern-day witchcraft, embracing the green path, which connects us to nature.

Herbalist Cecilia Lattari guides readers to reawaken their inner witch by tuning in to the magic and sacred energies of their everyday lives, using the hidden powers of nature to foster positive connections between mind, body, spirit, and living spaces. Filled with colorful, compelling illustrations, this handbook introduces green, hedge, and kitchen witches. Readers will learn how to create their own witch’s tool kits, purify their homes, work with the four natural elements, build magic laboratories, and discover the path that encourages a harmonious transformation.

  • The green witch is a manifestation of Mother Earth, who nurtures, cares, and observes. She practices with herbs, flowers, plants, and remedies, and surely has volumes upon volumes of plant books on her bookshelves.
  • For the kitchen witch food is a gift from Mother Earth. The kitchen is this witch’s sacred space, involving spells of tradition and creation. She works with ordinary tools and knows that cooking reveals our true nature. The kitchen witch understands the sacred aspects of everyday life as she prepares recipes for sacred foods.
  • The eclectic path of the hedge witch includes herbalism, healing, and shamanistic actions. Her focus is the home, and she knows the power of fables and preserves popular knowledge.
  • Take a guided tour of herbs, flowers, plants, poisonous plants, potions, oils, teas, tinctures, and remedies.
  • Learn the magical practices of purification using herbs, bells, candles, and incense.
  • Get in touch with nature by preparing a sacred outdoor space and centering yourself.
  • Learn to grow, harvest, and dry herbs and understand the difference between air, fire, land, and water plants.
  • Observe how the four elements of air, earth, fire, and wind carry messages from nature through various types of plants.

For the modern-day Wicca, backyard gardener, and naturalist, this indispensable guide offers an exploration of the intimate relationship between humans and Mother Earth.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


About the author, Cecilia Lattari

Cecilia Lattari is a professional actress who graduated from the School of Theater in Bologna and has a degree in Herbalist Techniques. She works in the field of relationships, stimulating people to know the most authentic part of themselves using theatrical practices and sensorial experiences in the world of plants.


My ThoughtsMissMeliss

I have friends who identify as kitchen witches and hedge witches, but I’ve never really known the difference or how those terms apply in the contemporary world. This book, Backyard Witchcraft, is an easy but interesting read that explains the different terms and also introduces people to some of the traits that all witches have, even before they self-identify as such. “All witches have a garden,” is one of the things that really struck me, because while no one in my family practices Wicca, we all have gardens of some kind. Mine is mainly in pots, but apparently that counts. Even having a stash of seeds you intend to plant some day (hi, guilty) counts according to this book.

More than just quietly identifying latent witches, though, Backyard Witchcraft is part manual, part love letter to anyone who wants to get closer to the natural world. Understanding how the elements – fire, water, air, land –  work may seem like magic, but it’s really applied science and observation. Sun-loving plants have different needs from those which prefer shade, after all.

This is one of those books that you can read from cover to cover, but that may be more useful stashed among your cookbooks (especially if you’re a kitchen witch) or herbals (if you’re a green or hedge witch) for reference whenever you need it.

With beautiful pages and clear, concise prose, Backyard Witchcraft is a beautiful addition to anyone’s library, whether they’re a witch or not.

Goes well with: hot herbal tea laced with local honey.


Visit the Other Great Stops on This Tour:

Wednesday, September 14th: Instagram: @drcreadsbooks

Tuesday, September 20th: Bibliotica

Wednesday, September 21st: TikTok: @jessbeyondthepages

Friday, September 23rd: Instagram: @oddandbookish

Monday, September 26th: Stranded in Chaos

Wednesday, September 28th: Instagram: @bookedwithheather

Thursday, September 29th: Kahakai Kitchen

Monday, October 3rd: Instagram: @parksidereads

Tuesday, October 4th: Instagram: @webreakforbooks

Wednesday, October 5th: Instagram: @jypsylynn

Thursday, October 6th: Instagram: @just_another_mother_with_books

Friday, October 14th: Instagram: @books_bulldogs_booze

TBD: Stacy’s Books

TBD: Instagram: @a_bookish_dream

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Review: Remember Whose Little Girl You Are, by Ellen Nichols

Remember Whose Little Girl You AreAbout the book, Remember Whose Little Girl You Are

• Koehler Books: May 3, 2022
• Paperback: 128 pages

Remember Whose Little Girl You Are captures the flavor of the Deep South like no author since Eudora Welty or Flannery O’Connor. Ellen Nichols captures the tenor of small-town Southern life in the fifties and sixties, with its vicissitudes and hilarity. One is captured with her openness and drawn deeply into the dialogue-so much as to, according to one reader, sometimes feel guilty of spying.

Read it and see if you want those times back-or are just relieved they’re gone.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


nana-headshot-1About the author, Ellen Nichols

Ellen grew up in the American Deep South, but with a spirit of adventure, she went up to Toronto, Canada, to go to graduate school, and stayed 50 years.

No, she wasn’t a slow student, she just ended up getting married, raising a family, and building a successful career in charitable fundraising. She has been writing for a living for years, but was always writing for someone else. Her grant proposals, direct marketing letters, and especially her thank you letters, are legend. Her persuasive writing skills raised millions of dollars.

Those Canadians loved her tales about her southern life so much, she decided to write them down and they became Remember Whose Little Girl You Are.

Recently, she moved back down south where she lives on Santa Rosa Sound near Pensacola. And yes, she is now writing about all her Canadian adventures.

You can learn more about Ellen on her website.


My Thoughts

MissMelissAt only 112 pages Remember Whose Little Girl You Are, with it’s cute cover of a girl in knee-socks, is deceptive. It seems like a light, fluffy read – and parts of it are light (though none of it is fluffy) but it’s really a very rich collection of memories and anecdotes, mostly from the author’s childhood, and early adulthood.

Born a preacher’s daughter in America’s deep South, Nichols grew up during the Civil Rights movement, and was a supporter. Her stories from that time are the strongest in this collection – which really reads more like a an anthology of essays than a single cohesive piece. That’s not a bad thing, but the structure feels a little bit unintentional.

What really sings is the author’s writing voice. The conceit of her book is that she’s sharing memories of her life after losing a parent, and you can hear her Southern identity and her Canadian one in the language she uses, in her phrasing, and in her descriptions, which are vivid and compelling.

I look forward to more from Ms. Nichols.

Goes well with sweet tea and poutine.


00-tlc-tour-hostVisit the Other Great Participants on This Tour

Monday, May 30th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

Tuesday, May 31st: The Bookish Dilettante

Wednesday, June 1st: Books, Cooks, and Looks

Friday, June 3rd: Stranded in Chaos

Monday, June 6th: Instagram: @megsbookclub

Wednesday, June 8th: Instagram: @jenniaahava

Friday, June 10th: Helen’s Book Blog

Monday, June 13th: 5 Minutes For Books

Tuesday, June 14th: Instagram: @americanlitteacher

Wednesday, June 15th: Instagram: @shook_sbooks

Thursday, June 16th: Bibliotica

Friday, June 17th: Instagram: @bookworm.susanc

Monday, June 20th: Stacy’s Books

Thursday, June 23rd: What Is That Book About

Friday, June 24th: View from the Birdhouse

TBD: Thursday, June 2nd: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews

TBD: Monday, June 6th: Laura’s Reviews

 

Book Spotlight: Dear Dana, by Amy Weinland Daughters

About the book: Dear Dana: That time I went crazy and wrote all 580 of my Facebook friends a handwritten letter

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ She Writes Press (May 17, 2022)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ May 17, 2022
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English

DearDanaWhen Amy Daughters reconnected with her old pal Dana on Facebook, she had no idea how it would change her life. Though the two women hadn’t had any contact in thirty years, it didn’t take them long to catch up—and when Amy learned that Dana’s son Parker was doing a second stint at St. Jude battling cancer, she was suddenly inspired to begin writing the pair weekly letters.

When Parker died, Amy—not knowing what else to do—continued to write Dana. Eventually, Dana wrote back, and the two became pen pals, sharing things through the mail that they had never shared before. The richness of the experience left Amy wondering something: If my life could be so changed by someone I considered “just a Facebook friend,” what would happen if I wrote all my Facebook friends a letter?

A whopping 580 handwritten letters later Amy’s life, and most of all her heart, would never, ever, be the same again. As it turned out, there were actual individuals living very real lives behind each social media profile, and she was beautifully connected to each of those extraordinary, flawed people for a specific reason. They loved her, and she loved them. And nothing—not politics, beliefs, or lifestyle—could separate them.

Praise for Dear Dana

“This is a book for anyone who wonders about the differences between a Facebook friend and a Real-Life friend and who yearns to see a person’s real life behind their Facebook image. It is also about the power of prayer and the abundance of kindness in our world. But ultimately, it’s about connection and how we are all connected when we come from love.” Rivvy Neshama, author of “Recipes for a Sacred Life: True Stories and a Few Miracles”

“Amy shows us how something as simple as a letter — let alone 580 of them! — can change a life. Who else would decide to write a personal letter to every one of their Facebook friends? The stories from these letters provide insights into how we can help people through difficult times and connect with others—and, of course, plenty of good laughs.” Brad Aronson, bestselling author of “HumanKind: Changing the World One Small Act At a Time”

“An intriguing and inspiring exploration of different forms of communication.” Kirkus Reviews

“Dear Dana is an inspirational memoir about caring for friends near and far by reviving a lost art.” Foreword Reviews

Pre-Order Dear Dana

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million


About the author, Amy Weinland Daughters

AMY DAUGHTERS has spent the past 10 years freelancing on topics from college football to emotions. She is the author of “You Cannot Mess This Up: A True Story That Never Happened” (2019), for which she received recognition at the 2019 Foreword INDIES and the 2020 Next Generation Indie Awards. When she’s not writing, Daughters can be found researching history, golfing, or ribbon dancing. She lives in Tomball, Texas with her husband Willie and two sons, Will and Matthew.

Connect with Amy:

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DearDana2

 

Review: Brilliance Beyond Borders, by Chinwe Esimai

About the Book, Brilliance Beyond Borders: Remarkable Women Leaders Share the Power of Immigrace

  • Publisher: Harper Horizon (February 15, 2022)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages

Brilliance Beyond BordersWhat if the traditional narrative about immigrant women–that those who come to the United States will succeed as long as they work hard, stay focused, and have supportive families–is a lie?

Of the 73 million women in the US workforce, 11.5 million are foreign-born. The truth is–even in the midst of headlines and political debates about immigration reform and in the wake of MeToo and other female-centric movements–millions of immigrants, especially women, aren’t living their fullest potential.

Based on her personal experience and the stories of trailblazing women from around the world and in diverse industries, author Chinwe Esimai shares five indispensable traits that make an ocean of difference between immigrants who live as mere shadows of their truest potential and those who find purpose and fulfillment–what Chinwe refers to as their immigrace:

  • Saying yes to your immigrace, an immigrant woman’s expression of her highest purpose and potential
  • Daring to play in the big leagues
  • Transforming failure
  • Embracing change and blending differences
  • Finding joy and healing

These five traits are the foundation of the Brilliance Blueprint, a step-by-step guide to help readers achieve to their own extraordinary results and build their own remarkable legacies.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


About the Author, Chinwe Esimai

Chinwe Esimai is an award-winning lawyer, corporate executive, writer, and speaker who is passionate about inspiring generations of women leaders.

She is Managing Director and Chief Anti-Bribery Officer at Citigroup, Inc. She is the first person to hold this title in the bank’s history. In this role, she oversees Citi’s global anti-bribery program, which develops and maintains a framework for compliance with anti-bribery laws and regulations across all of Citi’s lines of business, covering over 200,000 employees, and in over 167 countries where Citi does business. 

In March 2020, Leading Ladies Africa named Chinwe one of 100 Most Inspiring Women. Tropics Magazine named her on the prestigious list of African Doers: Most Powerful Africans Shaping the Future of Africa. The Nigerian Lawyers Association named Chinwe Trailblazer of the Year, and she is the recipient of the Face-to-Face Africa Corporate Leadership Award. 

A passionate philanthropist, she is chair of the Board of Harambee USA Foundation, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting education and sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa, and supports a wide variety of charitable causes. 

Chinwe’s leadership insights have been featured on her blog and in leading publications around the world, including ForbesThrive GlobalBlack EnterpriseReal Business UK, Business Intelligence Middle EastKnowledge@Wharton, and Current History, which has also featured prominent authors such as George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, and Condoleezza Rice. 

A prolific public speaker, Chinwe has delivered keynotes to prestigious audiences, academic institutions, and conferences around the world. She has spoken three times at the United Nations. 

Connect with Chinwe:

Goodreads | Twitter


My Thoughts

MissMelissAs a third-generation American, my immigrant roots are still close to me, so I was excited to read Brilliance Beyond Borders: Remarkable Women Leaders Share the Power of Immigrace. My own relatives arrived here in a time when there were fewer opportunities for women, no matter their origins, so it was interesting to me to learn how contemporary women perceive their struggles.

Author Chinwe Esimai personalizes the stories of seventeen women by including her own. I’ve had many friends who have either Americanized or completely changed their names in order to “make things easier,” so her sharing the recommendation of doing the same – and her decision to retain her name and identity – really resonated with me. In my own family, our surname was changed to a more American word when my great-grandparents opened a diner. (They eventually changed it back.)

I also appreciated the concept of immigrace – the finding of true purpose and fulfillment. While used by Esiimai to descibe immigrant women, specifically, that gap between where we are and where we should be in life, in business, in relationships, is something all women can appreciate, because those goals are universal.

This is a great book for any woman coming into adulthood right now, especially for those who are recent arrivals to this country. The concepts are clearly presented, and the individual women profiled have stories that are poignant, frustrating, and uplifting, often at once.

Goes well with: espresso con panna and thin mint Girl Scout cookies.


TLC Book ToursVisit the Other Great Tour Stops

Tuesday, February 15th: @diariesofabibliophile

Wednesday, February 16th: @as_seen_in_life

Thursday, February 17th: @nurse_bookie

Tuesday, February 22nd: @booknerdkat

Tuesday, February 22nd: @glendaofalltime

Wednesday, February 23rd: @purrfectpages

Wednesday, February 23rd: @welovebigbooksandwecannotlie

Thursday, February 24th: @karendeeandabc

Thursday, February 24th: @wonderousreads

Friday, February 25th: Helen’s Book Blog

Friday, February 25th: @chill_jilland_read

Saturday, February 26th: @suethebookie

Monday, February 28th: @bookdragon217

Tuesday, March 1st: @colesbooknook

Wednesday, March 2nd: @readingwithmrsleaf

Thursday, March 3rd: @bookitqueen

Friday, March 4th: @mrsboomreads

Monday, March 14th: 5 Minutes for Books

Tuesday, March 15th: Girl Who Reads

Wednesday, March 16th: @shobizreads

Thursday, March 17th: Bibliotica

Sunday, March 20th: Subakka.bookstuff Blog and @subakka.bookstuff

Review: The Blue Zones Challenge, by Dan Buettner

About the Book, The Blue Zones Challenge

• National Geographic (December 7, 2021)
• Hardcover (240 pages)

Blue Zones ChallengeIn this companion to the number one New York Times bestseller The Blue Zones Kitchen, Dan Buettner offers a four-week guide and year-long sustainability program to jump-start your journey to better health, happiness, less stress, and a longer life.
Get started on the path to a longer, healthier, happier life with this quick start to building your own Blue Zones lifestyle. Dan Buettner, founder of the Blue Zones and author of the New York Times number one best-selling Blue Zones Kitchen, offers the challenge of a lifetime: Build a foundation for better nutrition, more exercise, and a stronger social life that will extend your lifetime by years.
In this easy-to-implement guide, you’ll start with the rules of the Blue Zones Challenge, including tips and tricks from the five Blue Zones–locations around the world where people consistently live to 100–advice for setting up a successful kitchen and pantry, and resources for expanding you support network. Then, follow week-by-week prompts to
• Change your diet
• Increase your activity
• Update your living spaces
• Build your social life.

After four weeks–and with the help of easy-to-use worksheets and recipes–you’ll see results in your weight, your well-being, and your general health. From there, follow the Blue Zones challenge through the rest of the year with an 11-month sustainability calendar that will continue to encourage you and build upon the foundation you’ve already started.

Buy, read, and discuss this book:

IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Dan BuettnerAbout the author, Dan Buettner

Dan Buettner is the founder of Blue Zones, an organization that helps Americans live longer, healthier lives. His groundbreaking work on longevity led to his 2005 National Geographic cover story “Secrets of Living Longer” and two national bestsellers, The Blue Zones and Thrive. He lives in Minneapolis, MN.

Connect with Dan:

Visit him on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and at his website bluezones.com.


My Thoughts

MissMeliss2021In March, 2020, I had the privilege of reviewing Dan Buettner’s The Blue Zones Kitchen, which I loved so much, I bought copies for friends and family, so I was excited about this book, The Blue Zones Challenge, not the least because we’ve all developed some Pandemic Pudge.

What I love about Buettner’s work is that he’s passionate about his subject. The Blue Zones represent parts of the world where people practice clean eating as a way of life, and live longer, healthier lives because of it. Dan Buettner suggests that if we alter our diets to emulate those found in those zones, we, too, will live longer, healthier lives.

My familiarity with Buettner’s previous work meant that I was expecting these recipes to be mainly vegetarian, with seafood as the dominant animal protein. But this book isn’t just a cookbook. It has some recipe suggestions, but it’s really a holistic approach to a better lifestyle overall.

The best part is, the suggestions in the book aren’t difficult, and there’s no judgement in the author’s tone. Rather, there are guidelines on how to do small things to improve your overall health. Move more. Eat mindfully. Choose foods that aren’t processed. Make sure your social needs are met as well.

With the new year and “resolution” season approaching, this book could not be better timed. The Blue Zones Challenge is the perfect way to begin 2022 as you mean to go on.

Goes well with: Pumpkin Pancakes.


TLC Book ToursTour Stops

Tuesday, December 7th: A Bookish Way of Life

Wednesday, December 8th:  Instagram: @nurse_bookie

Monday, December 13th: Jathan & Heather

Tuesday, December 14th: Instagram: @literannie

Wednesday, December 15th: Run Wright

Thursday, December 16th: Instagram: @americanlitteacher

Monday, December 20th: Instagram: @megs.notes

Tuesday, December 21st: Bibliotica

Wednesday, December 22nd: Instagram: @readresa

Thursday, December 23rd: Kahakai Kitchen